Rush Limbaugh does one thing very well: Make women angry.
Is Limbaugh tired of Sandra Fluke? Or is he upset that Fluke has announced her engagement? Either way, on Thursday, he decided to go after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Again.
He must think she is actually gearing up for a 2016 presidential run. Limbaugh’s innate fear of Clinton, whose favorability ratings have reached an all-time high, really shows itself when he starts insulting her.
On his Thursday radio show, Limbaugh mocked Clinton’s title in her role as chief U.S. diplomat, referring to her husband’s infidelities and saying: “all she is is a secretary.” The king of radio vile must have forgotten that Republican Condoleezza Rice, too, once served as "secretary." Does he think of her the same, belittling way? Or is it just Hillary who is the target of his wrath?
Yes, Hillary serves as the 67th Secretary of State of the United States, which is hardly the stereotypical 1960s Mad Men version of a secretary: stenographer notebook in hand, at the ready for her boss’ dictation.
Limbaugh, in what sounded like a slurred voice, continued, saying that he had been prodded to talk about Hillary’s need for Spanx--the body-shaping undergarment--but opted against it. Instead, he said she needed “spankles” more than Spanx. Don’t get the joke? It’s ancient Rush slang, for when he called Clinton’s chubby ankles “cankles.”
Didn’t Hillary-bashing fall out of fashion around 2001, when she became a U. S. senator from New York? Maybe she was less threatening to Limbaugh when she was one of 100, instead of one of the most powerful women in the world. Limbaugh cannot handle a confident, liberal woman who can take on world leaders. It probably makes his own cankles ache.
Limbaugh certainly couldn’t handle Fluke making waves. When the Georgetown law student testified at a House Democrats meeting about mandating insurance coverage for contraceptives, he called her a slut. Limbaugh faced outrage – even from GOP leaders –and rightly so. For a time, advertisers distanced themselves from Limbaugh, but that has now slowed. It shouldn’t.
Sure, I’ll take Rush’s bait and defend Hillary – and every other secretary of state – against his insults. The job of secretary of state--whether held by Hillary Clinton, Condi Rice or any male who has served in that position--isn’t easy. In her current role, Clinton has traveled 1647.40 hours as of Thursday night. That translates into 759,325 miles and 311 days of travel to 95 countries. Few Americans could keep up that pace while studying briefing papers, meeting with the world’s leaders and juggling global conflicts.
In contrast, Rush sits behind a microphone and insults women. Who has the harder job?
And yes, Limbaugh, ever gutsy with his nonsense hot air, dared to revisit the past on Thursday by bringing up Bill Clinton’s extramarital affairs. Yawn. Must we relive the naughty 1990s all over again? I should hope not. But while we are talking about such sordid personal details, let’s take a look at Limbaugh’s personal life. (I’ll be nice and not delve into that nasty little prescription drug addiction.)
While Bill and Hillary weathered their marital woes, Limbaugh has been married four times. He last tied the knot in June 2010 to Kathryn Rodgers. She was 33 years old at the time. He was closing in on 60. Not that there is anything wrong with a vast age difference between a husband and a wife, or even having three ex-wives. But judge not, that ye be not judged, eh, Rush?
Sure, Limbaugh utters hideous comments about Hillary, Fluke and even the Obama daughters in order to generate attention and increase his ratings. It should be easy to disregard such ignorance. But it isn’t. His words resonate via social media and his followers, disgustingly, echo them.
Limbaugh’s insulting words should make any woman, regardless of political leanings, mad as hell. Whether you like Hillary or Fluke is beside the point. Conservative and liberal women should join forces and tell Limbaugh to shut up about Spanx and cankles.
Suzi Parker is an Arkansas-based political and cultural journalist and author of “Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt.” Follow her on Twitter at @SuziParker.