This is a cross-post with The Left Call
I’m sure you’ve heard about Rush Limbaugh’s hateful comments towards Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student who was unable to testify before congress at a hearing on contraception coverage. Republicans blocked her testimony in favor of an all male panel, you know, the people best qualified to talk about women’s reproductive health. Rush Limbaugh has been relentless on this issue, going as far as to call Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute.” This is representative of the ugly side of humans, for which Limbaugh has the market cornered.
I don’t usually write about Rush because I feel that by writing about him, I’m helping to fulfill his goal to get as many people talking about “Rush Limbaugh” as possible, left and right. I decided to write about Rush so that I could explain why I think he will never apologize to Sandra Fluke.
Has Rush Limbaugh ever apologized for anything? I’ll admit I’ve done no research on the history of Limbaugh apologies, but I’m guessing it’s a short history. So why is it that Limbaugh never apologizes for his insensitive and inflammatory statements? I think there are two reasons.
- Apologizing would go against the persona and the empire that he has built. His audience does not expect him to apologize and in fact, most of his core audience would likely be disappointed if he did.
- It fits the strict authority model of conservatism. An authority figure must always show strength. An apology, especially to “the enemy” would be perceived within the conservative bubble, as weakness.
You can’t really argue with #1. Rush Limbaugh has been highly successful at what he does, so why change it? Why back down and apologize? As for #2, I do believe this dynamic is at play, but I think conservatives are wrong when it comes to what they perceive as weak. It is not weak to admit you are wrong. Think about it for a second. All of us have admitted we were wrong about something in our lives and it is uncomfortable at best, but in all cases difficult. It’s a sign of good character and great strength to back down from a failed argument or inaccurate statement and admit you are wrong. Weakness is to double down on nonsense and hate speech to cater to an audience that behaves no better.
Should Limbaugh apologize to Sandra Fluke? Any decent person would say yes. Will he turn over a new leaf and prove me wrong? I would have no problem with being proven wrong, but I think my premise is safe, Limbaugh lacks the strength of character.