So Harry Reid is calling on all Senators to sign a letter condemning Rush Limbaugh for calling the soldiers in Iraq who share the sentiments of 70% of the country and have serious reservations about the war “phony soldiers.”
I really don’t know which is more exasperating — that our Senators think it is their job to tell people at large how they should exercise their right to free speech, or that they fire back at Limbaugh in such a weak and meaningless way. I suppose they have to do something or we will be treated to and endless parade of Cornyn bills where the Village Elders tell us all how displeased they are at our “uncivilized” rhetoric via fiat, and the failure of Republicans to sign on after voting to condemn MoveOn will serve up some campaign fodder. Would that their gesture was something more effective than watching them stomp their feet and shout “I know you are, but what am I?”
From Reid’s statement:
Freedom of speech is one of our country’s most cherished values. Nothing sets us further apart than the countries and regimes we oppose than our belief that everyone’s opinion matters, and everyone has the right to express it. That is why, when we hear things on the radio that are offensive, by and large, we tolerate them.
But last week, Rush Limbaugh went way over the line – and while we respect his right to say anything he likes, his unpatriotic comments cannot be ignored.
No, Harry, actually he didn’t. Rush may be drug gobbling bloviator with a giant 4-F pustule on his butt, but his comments were well in line with what is considered free speech in this country, and that actually isn’t any of the Senate’s business.
What is the Senate’s business, however, is that Rush Limbaugh is on Armed Forces Radio Network. His show is broadcast daily to nearly a million troops in 177 countries. In a poll conducted earlier this year, only 35% of service members said they approved of George Bush’s handling of the war while 42% disapprove, and 41% say the US is not very or not at all likely to succeed. A full 37% say the US should never have gone to war. It’s their network, too.
These young men and women do not deserve to have to listen to their commitment besmirched by Rush Limbaugh, who never served in the armed forces and never met a pill he didn’t like. He’s got no business on the radio launching attacks on military personnel like that, and his right to free speech does not guarantee him placement there at government expense. I’m sure the Republican would fight like hell to keep him on — look at all the effort they went to in order to keep Republicans on the reservation with Ari Fleisher’s ads and the Petraeus three ring circus — but that’s because removing him would actually be meaningful.
It’s past the time for empty gestures. Senate Democrats should never have let the Cornyn bill onto the floor. Now it’s done, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.
Take Rush off the air. Really, Senators, protecting the troops from this kind of abuse actually is your job.
Update: House Republicans put forward resolution to commend Limbaugh. Because they actually do know how the game is played.