When Rush Limbaugh talks, who wins and who loses?


Radio personality Rush Limbaugh (Win McNamee/GETTY IMAGES)

(Not so much “we” as thee, methinks. As my mama said the first time she heard me curse in traffic, you’d almost think that wasn’t tumbling out of that mouth for the first time. And re: those remarks about Fluke wanting to have so much sex she can’t afford the birth control, haven’t your wives told you it doesn’t work like that? Why would you think you’d take more pills to have more...Oh.)

So what are we going to do with Rush? Usually, his name-calling is rewarded with the kind of attention that translates into ratings, cigars all around, and maybe even an uptick in tie sales. But two national advertisers, Sleep Number and Quicken Loans, have suspended their ads on his radio program, and another, ProFlowers, is reportedly considering doing likewise.

There is good new$ for the Democrats here, of course, because Rush’s latest assault on civility will raise money, energize female voters in particular and make liberals who had been disappointed in Obama -- who called Fluke on Friday to offer his support, and was mocked by Limbaugh for doing so -- forget they were ever taking time apart to figure things out.

Since Limbaugh’s ravings Thursday, and again on Friday, EMILY’s list has asked me to “Click here to tell Republicans that it’s time to stand up to Rush Limbaugh and condemn him for his vile and despicable comments about Sandra Fluke and all women.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wants me to “Help us reach 250,000 signatures today on our petition demanding Republican leaders denounce Rush’s heinous attacks on women.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) has invited me to counter the “vicious and inappropriate attacks” on Fluke by calling on GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R) to “immediately denounce Rush Limbaugh’s anti-women tirade.” (Speaker John Boehner has called Limbaugh’s comments inappropriate.)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee asks, Will I stand with them “against these vile attacks?”

There are some losers, however, in these symbiotic battles, in which the most aggrieved wins the five-minute cycle: civil society, of course. Including individual endangered moderates like Olympia Snowe, who can’t take it any more.

And, in this case, Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, who should not need me to tell them that this one is a “Sister Souljah” no-brainer — the perfect chance to make clear that they do not share or condone such disrespect.

(Santorum, not quite there yet: “He’s being absurd, but that’s you know, an entertainer can be absurd. He’s in a very different business than I am.”)

Somewhere, Sandra Fluke is in a green room, waiting to take their calls. Unless they’re afraid of what’s-his-name, I mean.

Melinda Henneberger is a Post political writer and anchors the paper’s ‘She the People’ blog. Follow her on Twitter at @MelindaDC.

Melinda Henneberger has been writing about politics and culture for the Washington Post since 2011.

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