Last week, The Ohio State University adopted tougher policies on sexual assault in order to end a four-year Department of Education inquiry into how Ohio State responds to sex crimes on campus. One of those policies was a requirement that students explicitly agree to sexual activity. Who could find anything wrong with that? Well, Rush Limbaugh found plenty. On Tuesday’s show, he claimed that such policies take the fun out of sex–especially for any guy who supposedly knows that when a woman says “no,” she actually means “yes.”
Limbaugh thinks that such policies are just another pointy-headed librul attempt to “take all the romance out of everything.” He managed to get his hands on a copy of Ohio State’s new policy, and read excerpts to his listeners. Under this policy, consent is defined as? “the act of knowingly, actively, and voluntarily agreeing explicitly to engage in sexual activity.” Not only must it be freely given, but it can be “withdrawn at any time,” and the participants have to be sober. Moreover, “the absence of ‘no’ does not mean ‘yes,'” and consent can’t be implied “even in the context of a relationship.” Limbaugh was particularly miffed at the provision that consent can’t be assumed. His full take has to be reproduced in full to be believed, via Media Matters.
“How many of you guys, in your own experience with women, have learned that ‘no’ means ‘yes’ if you know how to spot it? I’m probably … let me tell you something, in this modern w…that is simply, that’s not not tolerated. People aren’t even going to try to understand that one. But it used to be said it was a cliche. It used to be part of the advice young boys were given.”
According to a partial transcript, Limbaugh’s screed against Ohio State’s policy was part of a larger critique of ESPN’s Kate Fagan arguing that the only real way to get a handle on sexual assault and domestic violence was for society to consider “reprogramming how we raise men.” Limbaugh has long argued that the “chickification” of our culture has led to confusion about the roles men and women are to play in society. If Limbaugh seriously thinks that asking for consent to have sex is fighting against nature, he’s even more backwards than I thought.
The Democrats didn’t take long to pounce. In a statement, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Steve Israel called Limbaugh declared that Limbaugh’s comments were particularly outrageous “at a time where our country is having a long-overdue conversation about violence against women.” He demanded that Limbaugh be canceled immediately for “advocating the tolerance of sexual assault.” Israel was even less restrained in an email blasted out by the DCCC, saying that it “wasn’t just a women’s issue,” but something that should be condemned by everyone regardless of sex.The DCCC has also started a petition demanding that Limbaugh’s advertisers cut ties with him. Sign here.
The fact that Israel, the sixth-ranking Democrat (after Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Assistant Minority Leader Jim Clyburn, Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra, and Caucus Vice-Chairman Joe Crowley) has Limbaugh in his crosshairs is a pretty good sign that Democrats sense Limbaugh may be on the brink of collapse. And with good reason–August was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad month for Limbaugh. On August 1, a Limbaugh outlet in the Imperial Valley dropped all of its talk shows in favor of country music after activists from the StopRush movement pressured 90 percent (!) of its advertisers into pulling their ads. Less than a week later, Limbaugh’s outlet in Pittsburgh, WPGB–which is owned by Clear Channel, which owns Limbaugh’s distributor, Premiere Radio Networks–also flipped to country music, sending Limbaugh to a much weaker AM station in one of his largest markets. Then in the days after Limbaugh’s disgusting suggestion that liberals were responsible for Robin Williams’ death, he lost stations in Lincoln, Nebraska and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And in late August, a StopRush volunteer reported that on at least one station, there was a full minute of dead air–which is one of the worst things that can possibly happen in radio.
At first, I wondered how Limbaugh could still be on the air after calling Sandra Fluke a “slut.” But now it looks like Limbaugh is going down by a thousand cuts. This latest instance may not be the one that finishes him, but at the very least it’s causing him to take on a lot more water.
Darrell Lucus, also known as Christian Dem in NC on Daily Kos, is a radical-lefty Jesus-lover who has been blogging for change for a decade. Follow him on Twitter @DarrellLucus or connect with him on Facebook.