Bad Day for the Bully

You never know with these things, but there are signs aborning that Rush Limbaugh’s two-day tirade against Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke may have been a very serious mistake. When the President of the United States goes to the trouble of personally calling the victim of a media bully to comfort her, the bully is getting into the kind of danger zone usually reserved for nasty tinpot dictators and perpetrators of heinous crimes. And when the Speaker of the House representing the party you have lorded it over for many years finds it necessary to denounce your behavior, you might want to consider a vacation of a trip to rehab.

Limbaugh has already lost one major sponsor (Sleep Train), and there’s quite a campaign underway to gather petitions to all his sponsors suggesting that might find a better use of their advertising dollars. So far all Rush has been able to muster is some spluttering at Obama for his Super-PACs accepting a big contribution from Bill Maher, and a half-hearted effort to play the victim himself, a role for which he is singularly ill-equipped.

Probably the worst sign for Rush is that the right-wing blogosphere is not (so far) exactly springing to his defense. There’s a lot more stuff up on conservative sites continuing the mourning period for Andrew Breitbart than there is about Limbaugh, which gives you a sense of how far Rush has strayed over the line. Worse yet for him, the incident will give the whole wide world a fresh opportunity to reacquaint themselves with his overall corpus of work.

So at least until such time as he’s driven to his knees in abject humiliation, it’s a moment to savor. There’s nothing much more appealing to Americans’ old-fashioned sense of rough justice than watching a bully get pummeled.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.