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Posted at 05:08 PM ET, 01/16/2012

D.C. Council member Mary Cheh gets the Rush Limbaugh treatment

UPDATED 10:45 P.M.

Mary Cheh has joined some select company. The Democratic D.C. Council member representing Ward 3 — like Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren , Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan and Democratic National Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz before her — was dismissively referred to on air today by Rush Limbaugh as a “babe.”

“This Mary Cheh babe, C-H-E-H, she is the woman behind the D.C. plastic bag tax,” the influential radio host said toward the end of a monologue on liberal overreach in municipal affairs.

Media Matters for America grabbed the “babe” tidbit from Limbaugh’s broadcast today. For more context, one must consult the transcript of today’s show.

The inspiration for Limbaugh’s monologue came apparently from a WMAL-FM interview with Ken Cuccinelli II, Virginia’s Republican attorney general, where he took aim at the District’s new animal welfare law as requiring exterminators to relocate rat families from the city to the commonwealth.

DCist already poked a number of holes into that line of argument — noting, among other things, that the law actually doesn’t apply to urban rodents. [NOTE: See 10:45 update below.] But Limbaugh took Cuccinelli’s broadside and ran with it.

This is what happens. You go to school, from grade school on you are indoctrinated with this animal rights crap. You grow up, you become a global warmist and all these other liberal things, and finally you get a job in government. And your job in government puts you in charge of animal control. Then you encounter a problem with rats in the District, and as somebody from age 5 on who’s been taught that there’s no difference between a rat and a human being, you simply can’t bring yourself to eradicate the rats.

That led to several minutes on the rat situation at Occupy D.C., complete with a name-check of city health director Mohammad N. Akhter, who compared the conditions at McPherson Square to refugee camps abroad.

Moral of the story: “Look, Washington, D.C., is just as liberal as California is,” Limbaugh said. “Oh, gosh, if not more so.”

Cheh did not immediately return a call for comment. It is worth noting that although Cheh was a prominent supporter of the bag tax, the bill was written and introduced by Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6).

“Obviously he doesn’t know anything about Washington,” Wells said of Limbaugh.

UPDATE, 5:30 P.M.: “They don’t know what they’re talking about,” said Cheh, who was particularly critical of Cuccinelli. “Either that or he’s out-and-out misrepresenting [the bill] to make a cheap point. Either way, it’s pathetic.”

Cheh added that her bill applies only to professional pest control outfits.

“Would these people prefer we just allowed these [businesses] to drown animals in a tub or beat them over the head with a baseball bat?” she asked. “They are so ignorant and keen to make some stupid, cheap point that they don’t care what the law actually says.”

UPDATE, 10:45 P.M.: Brian Gottstein, Cuccinelli’s spokesman, writes in to note that the Cheh bill does not exclude all rats and mice in its definition of “commensal rodents” — specifically mentioning the rice rat and the deer mouse. Those species, it should be noted, are not common in urbanized areas; the rice rat prefers wetlands, and the deer mouse “rarely invades homes, and is found in rural areas.”

”The point he was making is that certain rats, mice, raccoons, squirrels, skunks, and other animals known to carry rabies, Lyme Disease, and other diseases have the possibility of being transported to Virginia, where they could infect humans,” Gottstein said. “That is why he has been concerned about this issue.”

And Gene Harrington of the National Pest Management Association e-mails to take issue with Cheh’s characterization of professionals’ pest-killing methods, calling it an “over the top statement with no basis in fact or reality that unfairly slanders an entire profession.”

”The fact is there is no evidence that pest management professionals have engaged in such despicable activities in the District (or anywhere for that matter),” he writes.

By  |  05:08 PM ET, 01/16/2012

 
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