Rush Limbaugh, right wing radio troll, compared the Democrats' landmark change to the filibuster rules to legalizing rape. PHOTO: Reuters
Rush Limbaugh has a reputation to uphold, so he can’t just be upset that the Democrats voted to change the Senate rules to bypass the filibuster on judicial and cabinet appointments (which sounds boring, but is HUGE news). Limbaugh has to find some way to say something completely outrageous, so you won’t be tempted to turn to some other loud-mouthed radio pundit. How does Limbaugh explain the Democrats decision to rewrite the filibuster rules? By comparing it to legalizing rape.
“Forget the Senate for a minute,” Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show. “Let’s say, let’s take ten people in a room and they’re a group. And the room is made up of six men and four women. Right? The group has a rule that the men cannot rape the women. The group also has a rule that says any rule that will be changed must require six votes of the 10 to change the rule.”
Limbaugh explains that there is one guy in the group who keeps putting the rape question up for a vote, but keeps getting voted down by 4 women and 2 men.
“Well, the guy that kept proposing that women be raped finally got tired of it,” Limbaugh told his listeners. “He was in the majority and he said, you know what, we’re going to change the rule. Now all we need is five. And the women said, ‘you can’t do that.’ ‘Yes we are, we’re the majority, we’re changing the rule.’ And then they vote. Can the women be raped?”
There’s a whole lot that’s wrong with this comparison. What the Democrats did is pro-democracy, not anti-democracy (and you can read my filibuster reform primer if you’d like to know why).
Let me offer a different comparison. I’ll admit it’s less exciting that Rush Limbaugh’s whole rape thing. Before basketball had the 24 second shot clock, they had the assumption that when a team had the ball, they would try to score. There was no rule that explicitly said that they had to, but that’s kind of the point of the game, so no rule was necessary. Until, that is, teams figured out that they could hold the ball for the entire game and take one shot as time expired. This was a great equalizer for weaker teams, but it nullified anything resembling the game of basketball that people know and love. So, the rules were changed to facilitate play by instituting the 24 second shot clock.
How is that like filibuster reform? The Republican Party is in the minority in the U.S. Senate, and so they can’t get what they want in the “game” of governance. Instead, they hold the ball whenever they can. After repeatedly blocking Obama’s judicial nominees (who they have no problem with other than the fact that Obama nominated them), they are trying to run out the clock until a Republican is president.
Not as thrilling a comparison as rape, I know, but hey, if thrills with no factual basis are what you’re in the market for, Rush Limbaugh is your guy.