No, Sandra Fluke Does NOT Have a Valid Defamation Claim Against Rush Limbaugh

A Note from the Staff of the CMLP: This post contains a candid discussion of First Amendment issues, including the use of terms that some readers might find offensive. We do not censor such terms in a blog contributor's post when relevant to the topic discussed, because we believe that an analysis of the constitutional right to use certain language requires the freedom to discuss that language plainly and openly. This same principle generally applies to reader comments in response to a post (although comments remain subject to our Website Terms of Use, and we reserve the right to remove or edit comments at our sole discretion). Please read at your own risk. 

Why we have a First Amendment; show your love for It

When I hear Rush Limbaugh's voice, I want to vomit. I despise just about everything that pill-addled, hate-spewing, disgusting piece of human tripe has ever said. The thought of him being thrown off the air and silenced forever makes me swoon with joy. A man can dream, after all.

But, as a First Amendment lawyer, nay First Amendment fetishist, I realize that when I feel this way about a speaker, it is time for me to make sure that I am acutely protective of that speaker's right to peddle his wares in the marketplace of ideas. Whether it is the Ku Klux Klan, Mike (the Situation" Sorrentino, the American Nazi Party, Glenn Beck, Gail Dines, the Westboro Baptist Church, The Jonas Brothers, Ann Bartow, Creed, Jack Thompson, or anyone else whose stall in the marketplace of ideas smells as if a hungover bull who had eaten too many spoiled Jamaican beef patties took a crap in it, I take a deep breath and for a small and twisted moment, I savor the aroma. The speech that tests our commitment to free speech – that's the really good stuff. That's the stuff that we need to affix shields, sharpen swords, and stand next to our brothers and sisters in arms to protect.

I must defend Rush Limbaugh

It is for the above reason that I must stand up to defend Rush Limbaugh. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer came out and said that Sandra Fluke should sue Limbaugh for defamation for famously calling her a "slut." A Pennsylvania attorney, Max Kennerly, told his local newspaper that he thinks Fluke has a case.

She has no such thing, and shame on those who say that she does. It isn't that Rush Limbaugh needs to be shielded from these barbs. It isn't that Sandra Fluke actually might be emboldened to sue. The problem with these uneducated and erroneous statements about the viability of such a suit is that they act like a blizzard wind blowing through the marketplace of ideas. They spread misinformation among the proletariat, who didn't have the benefit of an education in constitutional law, and consequently believe Fluke might have a claim based on Rush's impolitic statements. And the next time some moronic prole gets butthurt about something someone says, they'll be right on the phone to the closest bottom-feeding lawyer they can find.

Spreading ignorance about defamation law makes the marketplace of ideas just that much more chilly, just that much more dangerous, and just that much more likely to be hit with a bomb by some opportunistic ambulance-chaser teamed up with a thin-skinned professional victim so that he or she can get paid for his or her mere "butthurt." Butthurt is not defamation. Butthurt is butthurt, and you don't get paid for that in the United States of America. Not on my watch.

Sandra Fluke is a public figure

When you purposely inject yourself into public debate, you lose your status as a "just minding my own business" private citizen.

When a plaintiff alleging defamation is a public figure, he or she must show that the allegedly false statements were made with actual malice – that is, knowing falsity, or a reckless disregard for the truth. N.Y. Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 279-80 (1964); Town of Massena v. Healthcare Underwriters Mut. Ins. Co., 779 N.E.2d 167, 171 (N.Y. 2002). Such public figures can include limited-purpose public figures who “have thrust themselves into the forefront of particular public controversies in order to influence the resolution of the issues involved.” Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U.S. 323, 345 (1974). It is not even necessary for someone to seek the limelight to be held to this standard – it is possible to become a public figure by mere circumstance, rather than concerted effort. See Gertz, 418 U.S. at 345 (“it may be possible for someone to become a public figure through no purposeful action of his own”). See also Daniel Goldreyer, Ltd. v. Dow Jones & Co., Inc., 687 N.Y.S.2d 64, 65 (N.Y. App. Div. 1 Dept. 1999) (holding that controversial art restorer, "well-known in the profession, but not outside of it," was involuntary limited-purpose public figure in connection article regarding his use of certain questionable techniques in the restoration of a valuable painting).

Fluke was testifying before Congress, on national TV, in a debate that she willingly ran toward. She purposely dove into the spotlight, and if the spotlight burned her, that's her problem – not my beloved Constitution's problem.

As a public figure, in order to prevail in a defamation case, Fluke must prove “actual malice” on Limbaugh's part. While Fluke probably thinks that the statements were “malicious” (and they certainly were), “actual malice” has a precise legal meaning, i.e., known falsity or a reckless disregard for the truth. Mere hostility or viciousness is not enough. See Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964):

[There is] a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks …

The purpose of the First Amendment is to ensure the unfettered exchange of ideas among the American people. See Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476, 484 (1957). The First Amendment does not demand politeness, fairness, nor that debate should be measured and soft. In fact, the First Amendment provides ample breathing room for political discourse to get nasty, unfair, and brutish. See Sullivan, 376 U.S. at 270. Furthermore, the First Amendment does not require that every statement be 100% objectively true, nor does it allow defamation suits to continue every time a statement is false, or implies a nasty falsehood.

Further, there is a reason why public figures need to meet a higher standard than ordinary people. When you jump into a boxing ring, you can't whine when the other guy punches you in the face. And, when you step onto the gladiatorial sands of public political debate, you're going to just need to accept that people who disagree with you are going to say nasty things about you. If you can't stand the heat, don't go running into the kitchen.

Wah! But Rush Limbaugh called her a "prostitute."

No. No, he didn't.

Yes, literally, Rush Limbaugh said that Sandra Fluke was a "prostitute." However, it should not take too high of a degree of sophistication to understand the difference between actually accusing someone of being a harlot of the night, who takes money for sex, and calling someone a prostitute in the exercise of rhetorical hyperbole.

Even his "factually sounding" statements must be taken in context.

"She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex."

"If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it, and I'll tell you what it is: We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch."

Even these are hyperbolic and not "false statements of fact."

When it comes to defamation, it is not a simple matter of (False Statement) + (Angry Plaintiff) = Defamation. Context is everything. See Greenbelt Coop. Pub. Ass’n. v. Bresler, 398 U.S. 6 (1970) (when it is apparent, in the context of a statement, that its meaning is figurative and hyperbolic, the falsity of the literal meaning does not equal a knowing falsehood or reckless disregard for the truth, thus a public figure can not prove actual malice as a matter of law).

In Dworkin v. L.F.P, Inc., 839 P.2d 903 (Wyo. 1992), Hustler Magazine called Andrea Dworkin, inter alia, a “shit-squeezing sphincter” and “a cry-baby who can dish out criticism but clearly can’t take it,” Id. at 915. The Wyoming Supreme Court rejected Dworkin's defamation claim, writing:

Under prevailing constitutional First Amendment safeguards, that language cannot, as a matter of law, form the basis for a defamation claim…We agree with that said by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals: “Ludicrous statements are much less insidious and debilitating than falsities that bear the ring of truth. We have little doubt that the outrageous and the outlandish will be recognized for what they are.” Dworkin v. Hustler, 867 F.2d at 1194. Vulgar speech reflects more on the character of the user of such language than on the object of such language. Curtis Publishing Co. v. Birdsong, 360 F.2d 344, 348 (5th Cir. 1966). 

Id. at 915-916. The law is clear that defamation law is not there to protect anyone from annoying speech, embarrassing speech, vigorous epithets, or mere vitriolic spewings of a fat pill-addled blowhard bastard.

Posner wrote that rhetorical hyperbole “is a well recognized category of, as it were, privileged defamation.” Dilworth v. Dudley, 75 F.3d 307, 309 (7th Cir. 1996); See also Lifton v. Bd. of Educ. of the City of Chicago, 416 F.3d 571, 579 (7th Cir. 2005) (Illinois law requires that an allegedly defamatory statement must contain an objectively verifiable factual assertion); Pease v. Int’l Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, et al., 208 Ill.App.3d 863, 153 Ill.Dec. 656, 567 N.E.2d 614, 619 (1991) (“Words that are mere name calling or found to be rhetorical hyperbole or employed only in a loose, figurative sense have been deemed nonactionable.”).

It is implausible for Limbaugh's statements about Fluke, even if appearing to be factual upon facile review, to be interpreted as actual facts. When a reader – or in the case, listener – would not interpret a statement as factual, it constitutes rhetorical hyperbole, which is not actionable as defamation. Letter Carriers v. Austin, 418 U.S. 264, 283 (1974); Greenbelt, 893 U.S. at 14 (characterizing conduct as “blackmail” was, in context, non-actionable rhetorical hyperbole). “Statements that can be interpreted as nothing more than rhetorical political invective, opinion, or hyperbole are protected speech.” Burns v. Davis, 196 Ariz. 155, 165, 993 P.2d 1119, 1129 (Ariz. App. 1999). Even where defamation defendants have made statements that could be interpreted as factual – a claim of rape, Gold v. Harrison, 962 P.2d 353 (Haw. 1998), cert denied, 526 U.S. 1018 (1999), or a statement that someone behaved "unethically," Wait v. Beck’s North America, Inc., 241 F. Supp. 2d 172, 183 (N.D.N.Y. 2003) – courts have protected this expression as not stating literal fact.

The fact that these statements were made by Rush Limbaugh, the man who coined the term "feminazi" and constantly bemoans the mere continued existence of liberal feminists to a conservative, politically aware radio audience, denudes his description of Fluke as a "prostitute" of any capacity for defamation. No reasonable person would interpret Limbaugh's statement to be factual, and it fits safely under the umbrella of rhetorical hyperbole.

Ok, Rush called her a "slut" – that's defamation per se!

Wrong again, Skippy.

For most of our history, stating or implying that a woman was unchaste would give rise to a claim for defamation per se. In fact, in recent history, a number of courts have specifically held that describing a woman as a "slut" is defamatory per se. See, e.g., Bryson v. News Am. Publs., 672 N.E.2d 1207, 1221 (Ill. 1996); Howard v. Town of Jonesville, 935 F.Supp 855, 861 (W. D. La. 1996) (stating that a woman is “sleeping with everyone” at her place of employment and is incapable of performing her job duties “would appear to be defamatory on its face”) (punctuation and footnote omitted); Smith v. Atkins, 622 So.2d 795, 800 (La. Ct. App. 1993) (calling a woman a “slut” is defamatory per se).

However, I believe that this theory is a throwback to the days when women were essentially the sexual property of their controlling male. A daughter who was unchaste became less valuable to her father, and a wife that was unchaste was less valuable to her husband. But the times they are a changin'....

And it also would be awfully ironic to hear someone supposedly championing women's rights arguing that defamation law should stop its march forward and that a sexist standard should be applied to her suit.

Absent such a bold maneuver, this element would probably wither under scrutiny as a statement of protected opinion.

What is the standard for someone to accurately and factually be described as a slut? Clerks suggests that if a woman performs oral sex on 37 men, that this might be the line. I really don't know. I think that most women would say that the line is well below 37. Then again, I wouldn't really call any woman a slut (unless it was a term of endearment – some women giggle when you call them that). I just don't make value judgments about someone's sexuality. If a woman or a man is promiscuous and they are happy, they can be a slut if they want (or not).

In other words, "slut" is properly regarded as little more than a statement of opinion. But see Bryson, 672 N.E.2d at 1221; Howard, 935 F.Supp at 861; Smith, 622 So.2d at 800.

"Under the First Amendment there is no such thing as a false idea. However pernicious an opinion may seem, we depend for its correction not on the conscience of judges and juries, but on the competition of other ideas. But there is no constitutional value in false statements of fact.” Gertz, 418 U.S. at 339-40. An alleged defamatory statement “must be provable as false before there can be liability under state defamation law.” Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co., 497 U.S. 1, 19 (1990).

The term “slut” has different meanings to different people. Cf. McCabe v. Rattiner, 814 F.2d 839, 842 (1st Cir. 1987) (finding that the term “scam” “means different things to different people . . . and there is not a single usage in common phraseology. While some connotations of the word may encompass criminal behavior, others do not. The lack of precision makes the assertion ‘X is a scam’ incapable of being proven true or false.”); Lauderback v. Am. Broad. Cos., Inc., 741 F.2d 193, 196 (8th Cir. 1984) (insurance agent referred to as a “crook”). “Clearly, if the statement was not capable of being verified as false, there could be no liability for defamation.” Woodward v. Weiss, 932 F. Supp. 723, 726 (D.S.C. 1996). As such, a term with such diffuse and subjective meaning, colored and even defined by the reader's life experiences, is incapable of precise definition. Like "short," "ugly" or "fat," slut is a word that is given its meaning by those who use it – a fact that the participants of SlutWalks around the world in 2011 would be quick to cite. Absent something really bizarre happening in Court, I can't see a court, in this day and age, allowing a defamation claim based on the term "slut."

Conclusion

This incident is unfortunate for those on the Left who have, at least since 2000, considered their side of the aisle to be the place where free speech can feel safe and secure. It has exposed the liberal and academic Left to be as hypocritical and as bad as the dirty Right wing when it comes to free speech. Sandra Fluke's statements were worthy of some criticism, and I lobbed some of my own. Rush Limbaugh could have done a much better job of criticizing Ms. Fluke. But, the fact is that those on the left, defamation lawyers trolling for clients, and Rush Limbaugh haters alike have set aside their desire to understand or support free expression in a hysterical pile-on of the prick from Palm Beach.

They are all wrong. They are not only wrong on the law, but they are also morally wrong because someone, somewhere out there is listening to them – and will believe that when someone gets butthurt, that they are a victim, and that someone has to pay for their thin-skinned indignation in court.

And then we all lose.

Marc Randazza is a Massachusetts, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Florida attorney and 'First Amendment bad ass.' He also writes for his own law blog, The Legal Satyricon.

(Image courtesy of Flickr user spanginator licensed under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.)

Last updated on April 7th, 2012

Thanks for the excellent article and another point

Thanks for the excellent article! Just the kind of legal education on First Amendment issues that the lay public (like myself) needs.

Aside from several other people who have pointed out that both left and right commentators have called women all kinds of slurs, below is my main point on the hypocrisy issue.

"Rush calls a 21-year-old woman on his show a slut, and a prostitute."

In watching this political dog and pony show, I asked myself if the liberals who are railing against Rush are against pornography or if they railed against porn producers and consumers as they are railing against Rush. The answer is obviously no.

Millions of people call women sluts and prostitutes through porn every day, and, as you know, a lot worse. On top of it, they all think that sexually degrading people (not only women) through pornography is great.

I don't see anyone with a liberal mindset complaining about it. I don't see all the liberal flookies who are speaking as if they were respectful prudes about sexuality complaining about pornography.

Why is it that when liberals call women sluts, the b-word, the c-word, and spend millions of hours fantasizing how they are going to degrade, whip, and rape them in pornography, it is all OK according to liberals? But when Rush calls a sorry, Gen Yer self-entitlement twit, a politically planted Democrat shill a slut, it is, all of a sudden, not OK?

If you call all black people niggers it's OK, but if you call one specific individual a nigger it's not OK?

Only liberal refuse to face how deformed their minds about about sexuality. I don't think it is possible for people who endorse and/or stay silent about the sexually deformed discourse in pornography to be more hypocritical when they criticize Rush.

After all, he only did in public what they do in private a million times a day.

Who is the greatest affront to decency?

Great read. I too was very

Great read. I too was very disappointed with the intellectual dishonesty of some on the left who are really reaching to find a defamation claim here just because of their discontent for Rush. I was asked recently whether I thought Fluke could win a case against Rush. When the person asking me was disappointed to find that my answer was an adamant no, I responded by saying that allowing a legal remedy for Fluke against Rush isn't her only option to gain something, or Rush's only chance to lose something, from this whole ordeal.

In fact, the open marketplace of ideas has spoken quite loudly. Over twenty advertisers have pulled their ads from his radio show. Several prominent Republican politicians have made a clear effort to distance themselves from Rush, which must be humiliating for him. He's been blasted and ridiculed all over the place. Not only all of that - a lot more people know who Sandra Fluke is because of Rush.

This is a great outcome, in my opinion. Rush haters can have their cake and eat it too. The man has been ridiculed, rejected, and humiliated for his comments, all without what would have amounted to an intolerable infringement of free speech.

Randazza's rant

Dear Mr. "First Amendment bad ass:"

In a nasty, arrogant, I-am-the-truth, Rush-like screech you opine that it is clear the law of defamation is not here to protect us against "the vitriolic spewings of a fat, pill addled blowhard bastard." I assume you are referencing Limbaugh and not yourself, but what is your take on a false light claim?

Regards,
A First Amendment good ass lawyer hoping to someday become a bad ass like you.

Reply: Re a False Light Claim

What would be the "false light?"  What's he done that could fit that claim?  

Really, the analysis wouldn't be much different.  Has he actually created the false impression that Ms. Fluke is a prostitute?  A slut?  Do you know anyone who could reasonably hear Limbaugh's statements and then come to the conclusion that Fluke is either a) taking money for sexual gratification (thus a prostitute) or b) that she is a loose, unchaste, harlot?  

 A reasonable person would need to come to one of those conclusions in order for a false light claim to stick.  I'm no fan of Fluke or Rush.  But, I can't see anyone really having such an opinion of Fluke after hearing Limbaugh's comments.  Limbaugh's comments, if anything, made Fluke look better.  

 Rush's position is (presumably) that a woman who has sex out of wedlock, who needs birth control, is a "slut."  And, that if you feel entitled to someone funding your sexual activities, you're a "prostitute."  Aside from both of his definitions being stupid and inaccurate, I can't see anyone actually getting that impression from him.   

"Limbaugh's comments, if

"Limbaugh's comments, if anything, made Fluke look better." WHAT!!!! Have you read all of his comments? More about that later.

The fact of the matter is that Fluke expressed her views in a congressional hearing on the need for birth control for both reproductive and broader medical reasons. Regardless of one's position, no reasonable person could deny the legitimacy of these topics, particularly in light of the controversy sparked by the Obama administration's proposed rule. Nonetheless, Limbaugh denies any legitimate motive for Fluke's appearance or for her views and, instead, ascribes to her purely self-interested motives based on the fact she is a promiscuous, round-heeled, casual-sex-promoting, nymphomaniac who is going broke buying contraceptives because she can't control her sexual urges. Not exactly a portrayal, if false, that future law firms will be looking for in a new associate attorney.

Gloria Allred's call for Limbaugh to be prosecuted under Florida's criminal defamation statute is feckless political grandstanding as the statute is likely unconstitutional. I agree with you that libel is not an available cause of action to address Limbaugh's outrageous, personal attack. But, he seems to go out of his way to personally attack Ms. Fluke and does so repeatedly. If not a false light claim, then perhaps a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress as his conduct is outrageous, intentional and seemingly designed to personally harm her. Whether she has suffereed actual injury, an element of the claim in most states, is unknown.

Below are just a few examples beyond the "slut" and "prostitute" references that could support a false light or IIED claim:

....Limbaugh titles one of his shows "Sex-Crazed Coeds Going Broke Buying Birth Control" and then charges that Ms Fluke is having so many "random hookups" with "deadbeat boyfriends" that she, by his calculation, must be having sex an average of three times a day throughout her law school year and it is a wonder she can even walk.

....He asks her rhetorically who bought her condoms in Jr. High school?

...he claims Ms. Fluke portrays herself as an immoral, baseless, no-purpose-to-her life woman.

This is more than simply being hyperbolic and calling someone a slut or a prostitute. This is a shameless and calculated sacrifice of a human being on the altar of sensational TV for ratings and political purposes.

Having said all of the above, if I were representing Ms. Fluke, my advice would be to not sue, but to get on with her law career. The marketplace and the court of public opinion can take care of Rush and she ought not to give him another soap box from which he can spew his particularly vicious brand of hate.

The hypocrisy show on the left

medialawguy: "He asks her rhetorically who bought her condoms in Jr. High school?"

I thought that was a great question! It goes at the heart of the damage that liberals do to teenagers, by promoting sex at an early age. It goes to the heart of Fluke's hypocrisy about contraceptives. Liberals aren't just promoting contraceptives to people in college, it starts much younger.

Liberals insist that teenagers having sex outside marriage and outside relationships is just fine. They bombard them with sitcoms, celebrities, films, music clips, etc., where sex outside a committed relationship (especially marriage) is the name of the game. They teach kids that porn is just fine. This piece of Gaga garbage is promoting what exactly regarding sex and sexuality?

Liberals insist that teens use birth control, including condoms, from an early age as well, after they have encouraged them time and time again to be sexually active before they can even handle a relationship.

Then they don't want anyone, first, to admit this is what is being done, and, second, to criticize it.

"Regardless of one's position," you said.

Regardless nothing. This has everything to do with one's position. The more unconscionable you are to how destructive liberal ideology is regarding sex and sexuality, the less you can correctly understand what Limbaugh was driving at.

"He asks her rhetorically who bought her condoms in Jr. High school"

Beautiful question! It takes intelligence to ask this Fluke hypocrite about liberal ideology on sex.

What he is doing is not personally asking Fluke, this idiot, the question, but first and foremost, his audience, and through his deliberate insulting provocation, society at large. (BTW, I don't agree with using slurs like "slut" and "prostitute" to create a scandal, but a rhetorical question like this one to criticize your destructive sexuality ideology? All I hope for is that we will see more of these questions).

"he claims Ms. Fluke portrays herself as an immoral, baseless, no-purpose-to-her life woman."

Actually this was a joke made on the fact that Fluke said she(?) or campus women needed $1000/year on BC. If you calculate how many condoms you can buy with this, she "must be having sex an average of three times a day."

So if she is spending three condoms a day, and asking the Uni to pay for it, her boyfriends are certainly not paying for it. They want it all subsidized -- therefore the lovely jab with the "deadbeat boyfriends." Entitlement mentality and lack of responsibility regarding sex speared and roasted with one lovely little question.

And the many "random hookups" -- again a wonderful barb towards your constant promotion of hook-ups as an acceptable and normal lifestyle.

If you ask college students what they think about hook-ups, what people like you have taught them about hook-ups, what do they reply? If they are liberal, like this Fluke idiot, they will be in favor of them.

Ms. Fluke deliberately chose Georgetown so she could do political activism regarding contraceptive policies there. No fluke. She deserves to be asked everything she was asked by Limbaugh, taking out the slur words.

She is as much of a jerk as he is, they just chose their words differently.

Great American

Rush is a great American. He went too far and apologized. Obama has gone too far with his big government, statist agenda but he has not apologized. Sandra Fluke has gone too far with her war on the 1st amendment but she has not apologized. Mr. Randazza has gone too far with his insults aimed at Rush...but, of course, he will never apologize.

In all fairness to Sandra

In all fairness to Sandra Fluke, I'm not aware of anything that SHE has done that can be called a "war on the 1st Amendment."  

 

RUSH LIMBAUGH CALLING A WOMAN A SLUT

I understand from the comments here that this is a rather right wing leaning group.

The dialogue here is that it is all right for Rush to call any woman who happens to not agree with his position whatever he feels like, as she spoke up in Congress about an issue that she feels strongly about. So he said she was a slut, get over it all you lefty cock suckers, you all can shove it up your ass, ain't none of what we say about you sluts is actionable and we're the Right Wing here and HA! That fat cock sucker gets away with it again! Yeah Rush!

Hmm.. what a high level of discussion.

The facts are that what he said was rude. It doesn't matter at all to you that he called her a slut, does it? So he's rude. He's a fat, pill popping blow hard who thinks that whatever he says deserves to be greet with cheer and all of his followers will listen to him with reverence and nod their heads repectfully and agree with what he said, just because he is the Great Rush Limbaugh and none of those Left Wingers have the balls to stand up and call him on any of his shit.

I am being rude here, aren't I? I am using language that is not consider 'nice' in polite company. I do not know if Mr. Limbaugh actually is an active homo sexual that enjoy performing oral sex, I just called him that to make a point. It ticked off a lot of people that I would stoop so low as to denigrate that great public figure of our times, that man whose mind has formulated so much deep thinking in his listeners.

That was not fair.

The general drift of this is that all you have to do is to speak out in public and you can be slandered. (Only it's not slander, it's hyperbole, so it doesn't count.)

Let's see. The first lady is a public figure, so ... what is Mr. Limbaugh's opinion on her? Let's see, she's black, so he can use the N word, she has children so she has sex, so he can use the S word, and her husband is someone he doesn't like, so .. let's see, hmm. I guess the field is wide open on whatever he feels like calling her, isn't it?

Think about this, next time one of you Republican women decide to speak up in public. I can call you whatever I want. You come up to slap my face, I can punch your lights out as you have assaulted me and as far as 'aggravated assault' goes, well, you just argued here that as she has become a public figure, and all that Rush was doing was hyperbole, I can get away with calling you any word in the alphabet!

There was a woman who made up a lie and got caught at it during the Republican presidential campaign. She was interviewed and was proud that she had gotten so much publicity for her candidate. No 'sorry I said that' but just came right out and bragged about how her lie suckered all of those reporters into focusing on her contender.

The term 'Swift Boat' has entered the lexicon of modern terminology, because a guy who dodged the draft and had enough political pull to get his drunk driving arrest records hidden away used 'my opponent is a coward for going to Viet Nam and getting shot serving his country, while I took drugs and got wasted and wrecked cars and got away with it because ma daddy knows people!'

It seems that having manners and a regard for the truth have become handicaps. Sneering at people who have different points of view seems to have become the order of the day.

Does any of this matter any more? Is winning all that counts? It certainly seems to be that way, doesn't it?

The Republican Party said that they would shut down the government last year if they didn't get their way. A loss looks bad on their record, and it's much better to have a tie if you can't have a win.

Is it all about just being able to keep the lower classes paying for the plutocracy?

It rather seems to be that way these days, doesn't it?

Well, we know what Rush's basic outlook is on women, otherwise he would have used some other terminology about Sandra Fluke, but his bottom line behavior is that every bitch is a fucking cunt and you can just shove that shit up your first amendment ass!

Now, isn't that really a higher level of discourse than saying I think that guy was way out of line and just because someone disagrees with you in public, I don't thing that gives you the right to start casting aspersions on her. I don't blame her for not suing. Every person she ever slept with is going to be hauled up on the witness stand so that Rush's lawyer can 'prove' just exactly what a slut she is, right? This is going to drag out and her school work is going to suffer, she's got a lot of work going on in her life (or don't you remember law school?) and gee, just what she needs on top of the rest of the hassles in her life.

I don't care which side you are on, but this 'how to talk to a liberal if you must' attitude just shuts off dialogue. I have friends of mine who are Republicans, and I don't go around saying bad things about them. They have a right to believe in what they believe, just as I have a right to believe what I believe.

I believe this country is going to fall apart and this could very well be the last election for president ever held here.

Do you have any idea why I believe that?

Yours truly,

Thomas M Barron

Closing comment thread

All right, we've had to remove a couple of comments now that devolved into ad hominem attacks on other individual posters. As the note at the top of this post said, the CMLP reserves the right to delete comments that we, in our sole discretion, decide violate our Terms of Use, including the following terms from our Community and Commenting Guidelines:

"Unacceptable content includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Statements that are intended as a personal attack or are abusive, harassing, or threatening"

This discussion has apparently reached the end of its useful life, and as such we are ending it now.

   
 
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