More than 75 Democratic lawmakers are calling on House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to repudiate Rush Limbaugh’s sexist ad hominem attacks against Sandra Fluke, the third-year Georgetown Law student who has criticized the GOP for opposing the Obama administration’s rule requiring employers to provide contraception coverage at no additional cost.
“We call upon the Republican leaders in the House to condemn these vicious attacks on Ms. Fluke, which are in response to her testimony to the Congress,” the letter says, referring to Limbaugh’s offer to buy [Sandra Fluke] all the aspirin she wants” to put between her knees in lieu of contraception. He has also called her a “slut” and a “prostitute” for publicly advocating greater access to contraception. “This kind of direct attack on a private citizen is unacceptable,” the Democrats go on to say. “Mr. Limbaugh is as free as any American to speak his mind about the political and social issues of our time, but using his radio show as a means for blatantly insulting a hard-working American with obscene and indecent language because he disagrees with her personal choices is an abuse of the public airwaves.”
Indeed, Republicans would be wise to distance themselves from Limbaugh’s remarks, not jut because of the deplorable nature of their content, but to also preserve their own credibility. The party has repeatedly accused media figures of sexism in the past and demanded apologies for slights or perceived slights against conservative women in their own party:
— BACHMANN DEMANDS APOLOGY FROM NBC: While running for President, Michele Bachmann demanded an apology from Jimmy Fallon and NBC after the lat night show’s band The Roots played a song called “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” as she came on stage. Bachmann criticized NBC for not apologizing or taking action against bandleader Questlove, saying, “This is clearly a form of bias on the part of the Hollywood entertainment elite,” Bachmann said. “But it’s also, I think, a sexism as well.” Fallon later apologized for the episode.
— PALIN GOES AFTER LETTERMAN: In 2009, David Letterman came under fire for making a sex joke about Sarah Palin’s 14-year-old daughter. The Palins accused Letterman of making “sexually perverted” and “inappropriate” comments that she doubted he would “ever dare make” about anyone else’s daughter. Letterman apologized for his comments.
— McCAIN ACCUSES OBAMA OF SEXISM: During the 2008 presidential campaign, Sen. John McCain’ (R-AZ) criticized Sen. Barack Obama’s reference to “lipstick on a pig” and demanded an apology for playing the “gender card” against then-Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The McCain’s campaign argued that Obama’s remarks were offensive and a slap at Palin. “Calling a very prominent female governor a pig is not what we want,” a top McCain surrogate said, describing Obama’s comments as “offensive.”
Last year, Republicans demanded an apology from President Obama after Teamsters President James Hoffa called on union members to go out and defeat Tea Party candidates at a fundraiser. Hoffa said: “President Obama, this is your army, we are ready to march. But everybody here’s got to vote. If we go back, and keep the eye on the prize, let’s take these sons-of-bitches out.” The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSN) sought to raise money off the remarks and blasted the President for not condemning Hoffa’s language.
“By failing to condemn them, President Obama once again demonstrated a failure of leadership. And President Obama knows this,” NRSC Executive Director Rich Jesmer said in an email to supporters. The RNC stablished an entire website dedicated to the controversy and urged party members to send Obama a message urging him “to publicly condemn Jimmy Hoffa’s hateful and over the top rhetoric. I ask you to ‘pause for a moment, and to make sure that we are talking to each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds'”: