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Posted on Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 6:52 a.m.

Column on Rush Limbaugh's boorish behavior draws vitriolic reaction

By Tom Watkins

As a former state superintendent of public instruction for the State of Michigan, I am constantly on the lookout for teachable moments.

The vitriolic reaction to a column I wrote, (Rush Limbaugh's attacks on Sandra Fluke were reprehensible and wrong), calling Rush Limbaugh out for his boorish behavior on his incendiary radio show, drew out quite a few angry Limbaugh supporters.

Limbaugh personally attacked Sandra Fluke, a third-year Georgetown law student, calling her a "slut" and a "prostitute" for her stand on birth control.


Tom Watkins is a former state superintendent of public instruction for the State of Michigan.

File photo | MLive Media group

Disagreeing with Ms. Fluke's political and policy views and those of President Obama is within bounds and healthy for our country and democracy. Personally attacking her in vile and despicable terms is inappropriate and unhealthy for the country we ALL love.

I received several supportive emails from both the left and right, agreeing that Rush's comments were over the top and had no business in the public square or airwaves.

Yet, many of the caustic responses directed at me from Rush supporters were personal. A few called me a "liberal media whore" and worse, for daring to call out their "hero." I am not "the media." I am a citizen with a point of view that I attempt to express in a clear and forceful fashion on these and other pages.

Having different perspectives and points of view and sharing them in the public square is healthy for a strong and prosperous free society. As my first boss once told me, " If both of us agreed on everything, one of us is not necessary."

Shockingly, several attacked me, my family, and my record as a public servant in mean and hateful ways. Why? Because I too, had the audacity to hold a point of view different from theirs.

Personal attacks as a way to thwart public debate is unhealthy to the very foundation of our democracy.

Shortly after the Rush defenders were through calling me everything other than the nice middle-aged man that I am, they launched, on cue, into a diatribe about how those "lefty" talk show hosts say bad and vicious things too.

As every mother and kindergarten teacher has ingrained into their children, "two wrongs do not make a right."

Let me be very clear: Disgusting, vile, mean, hateful, personal attacks have no place in the public square and ought to stop from the left and the right.

Yet, it seemed odd and a bit frightening that the email responses to my original column appeared so identical as if they were simply cut and pasted from some right leaning, talking points manual. How else can you conclude the numerous responses were robot like in its monotone exactness?

When I pointed this out, my new email pen pals often returned to calling me names.

The entire episode and my week long verbal sparring with angry Rush-loving readers has left me rather depressed about the future of our county.

If we cannot agree that calling a women a "slut" for having the audacity to express her opinion, regardless of whether or not you agree with her political leanings or policy analysis, is quite simply wrong -- we are in serious trouble as a nation.

As an optimist, however, I do see some hope that perhaps this can be a teachable moment when we come together as a country as say, "Enough is enough."

We are better than the hate talk that substitutes for substantive policy and political debates.

A few emails, while chastising me for not including the "left" in my spanking of Rush, agreed his comments were as inappropriate as wrong. They then moved on respectfully, in a thoughtful manner to examine how we can improve the public debate. This is a healthy response. I truly enjoyed both these email exchanges and the few phone conversation I had with Rush supporters that were civil, constructive and informative as we each respectfully attempted to be both heard and understood.

Perhaps the best outcome of this whole ugly mess would be a better civil discourse would result on both sides of the political aisle. As a country we should be able to disagree on policy and politics without lowering ourselves to ugly personal attacks.

There is a need to change the civic voice and the public tone in America. Politics of personal destruction is ripping our country apart.

In his tour of America in 1831 - from the East Coast to the then "frontier West" — a journey that inspired his classic, “Democracy in America,” Alexis de Tocqueville captured the essence of America when he said, "The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but the ability to repair her faults.”

As the ugly Limbaugh episode illustrates: "To form a more perfect union," we have repair work to do America.

The repair work should begin with each of us.

Tom Watkins has served in Gov. James Blanchard’s administration as deputy chief of staff to the governor, deputy director and director of the former state mental health department, 1982-90, and in the Engler and Granholm administrations, as state superintendent of schools, 2001-05. He was in the inaugural class of the Michigan Political Leadership Program ( ). You may contact him at



Sun, Apr 8, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

For those unfamiliar with Rush Limbaugh's published "apology" to Sandra Fluke, I reproduce it below so that you can assess its sincerity for yourself. I attribute the source as well: ""For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke. I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit? In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone's bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level. My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.""


Sun, Apr 8, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

This whole discussion in the comments section is depressing.


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 10:45 p.m.

Can we please just ban the use of the word "audacity" now? Really.


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 10:37 p.m.

Ms Fluke is a troll in the internet sense of the word. She's pleading poverty when she is connected to billionaire wealth. Pah. Some teachable moment that is.


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.



Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 1:22 p.m.

I think Rush is a moronic blunderbuss much given to hyperbole. But it seems quite an alarmist reaction to suggest that American (or any other) democracy is jeopardized by political rhetoric that devolves into personal attack. The history of American political discourse is awash in diatribe, innuendo and outright defamation. I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't strive to do better, but to suggest that the stupid comments (e.g. "slut" and "prostitute") of a buffoon (i.e. Rush Limbaugh) are somehow a shift from a perceived high-mindedness of past political discourse is erroneous. Our founding fathers have been romanticized beyond recognition that we forget how acrimonious was their discourse and how personal were their attacks. If I had to choose, I think I'd rather be called a "slut" today by a dunderhead like Rush than a "Tory" in the 1780's by a "reputable" patriot like Jefferson. Mr. Watkins is, I think, both unnecessarily and too frequently mounting a moral high horse. Rush is truly not worthy of much attention, certainly not this much.


Sun, Apr 8, 2012 : 1:21 a.m.

Well said!


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 12:04 p.m.

I love the comments on It's like revisiting the teething remonstrations of Morton Downey Jr.

JJ Middleclass

Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 7:07 a.m.

Thank you Rush Limbaugh for alerting minorities, women and men across the country to what is really going on here. His racial and misogynist rants of the past month have awaken a sleeping giant. We are learning that individually we can use our pocketbooks and purchasing power to counter influences like Limbaugh. Support he Boycott Limbaugh efforts. Let's make an example out of the man whose been making examples out of women and minorities for too many years!

everybody only

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 11:05 p.m.

Funny how many people assumed I was a man because I broke out the capital structure of Clear Channel/Bain/Lee/CCO and because I mentioned I ran a bond trading desk that I am a man. I happen to be a middle age female! Shows you how dangerous generalizations can be. I also was an Art History major and never took a business class in my life. Happened to do well enough to retire at 32, and I happen to be a 1%er, purely self made. But guess what, I'll be voting for the current administration in the fall, with my head, not my pocketbook. If you want to make another generalization, add this to your head, we liberals put our money where our mouth is!!!!

Paul Taylor

Sun, Apr 8, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

@everybodyonly: I love you! ;)


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 11:31 p.m.

Sloooooooow golf clap........


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

Spike: You do realize that Congress is responsible for spending, not the President, right?


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 6:46 a.m.

Perhaps you've got to be a '1-percenter' to afford the economic catastrophe that the Obama administration is driving us to.


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 3:06 a.m.

So you are one of the 1% that your buddies in the OWS crowd warned us about. I guess it is time for you to pony up. Walk to the nearest OWS camp and hand your money away. Your fellow dems will be so proud of you.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 11:16 p.m.

Proves without a doubt what the theory says: You can send them to school but you can't make them learn.

Jay Thomas

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 10:09 p.m.

Liberals always think they are exclusive purveyors of "teachable moments". :P

Susie Q

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

I also found Mr Limbaugh's comments on Sandra Fluke to be immature name-calling, but it is about what I have come to expect from him. I do not listen to him or any of the right or left political commentators who are on the TV or radio. I have heard that Bill Maher has a show on HBO, which he uses to lambaste folks on the right in equally ugly language. I don't condone that either. However, there is a significant difference between the two, I believe. To listen or watch Mr Maher, I think you have to pay extra money to have access to HBO (I do not have that access). In the case of Mr Limbaugh, I have read that his show is on 600 "free" radio stations. So, I expect that Mr Limbaugh's disgusting language and slanderous talk is heard by millions more ears than the ugly rants of Mr Maher. I, like Mr Watkins, am very discouraged by all this angry rhetoric. We have big problems in this country and they will not be solved by calling each other names.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 9:23 p.m.

You need to have a face to face with your elected representatives and explain this to them. Hopefully they listen.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

Rush limbaugh is the media town bully so those of similar ilk feel validated in their hatefilled thoughts. The best solution is exactly what is happening... Those of us who find him objectionable can boycott his sponsors. Hooray for the sponsors who have dropped him. I will go out of my way to support them.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 9:11 p.m.

@ Acitizen... Typical liberal response .....If I don't get my way I am going to quit and go home....childish at best.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 8:53 p.m.

Ahhh....if you agree with him you are hatefilled so typical.I also agreed with him when he apologized


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

Tom, I have a homework assignment for you. Since you're obviously an expert on what people should and should not say, why not write an opinion piece about our President and how he's the great orator - never saying the wrong thing, never speaking when he shouldn't, always telling the truth, etc. I'd like to see how fair you are and as long as you keep ignoring the sheer stupidity of some of the vocal liberals in this country, you do yourself and whatever reputation you think you have, a huge disservice. C'mon Tom, two opinion pieces on Rush, balance it out by writing one on the President. I dare ya.


Sun, Apr 8, 2012 : 3:39 p.m.

Oh, really? Obama has diatribes like Rush, you say? Please provide an example. Do not label as stupid "vocal liberal" statements that you do not understand, just ask a more knowledgeable individual to explain them to you.


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 12:01 a.m.

Telling other people what they should write opinion pieces on? Nice... If you have an opinion that you would care to share then please feel free to send it to, sign your real name to it and then you can enjoy the commentary that follows. I double dog dare ya...


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.

Be careful. Obama is a private citizen.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

I'm just gonna take a step back.Paul said Fluke was called to testify before congress.By who ?


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 11:37 p.m.

Not sure myself on the "testifying" vs. "speaking". Since the venue was not run through a congressional committee, I'd lean towards the latter.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 8:49 p.m.

Ok now it makes more sense.I was just trying to avoid more saber rattling. Also I'm pretty sure there is a big difference between " testifying " and " speaking " I could be wrong on that one though


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

She "testified" at an extraordinary panel (dems only) called by Pelosi. This was in response to her not being allowed to make a statement at a "real" hearing chaired by a republican. She was denied because the real hearing was on the constitutionality of health care, not her advocacy for a church sponsored school having to pay for contraception. Originally described by the press as a 23 year old student, turns out she is closer to 30 and purposely attended Georgetown to fight the policy. She also formed a "Woman's Reproductive Rights" group at Georgetown and at her undergrad college. Bottom line: she is an activist and a public figure.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 6:29 p.m.

I like how Watkins calls for civil discourse between both sides of the aisle. Put the two groups together and within two minutes, the people on the left are screaming, name calling, and pointing fingers.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 6:25 p.m.

Funny how Watkins only mentions Limbaugh and not the nightly boorish comments made by Stewart, Maher, Letterman, Olbermann, Madcow, etc.


Sun, Apr 8, 2012 : 4:07 p.m.

Yes, let us start documenting these "boorish" comments by liberal and progressive TV hosts. From my observations these "radical left wingers" spend most of their time debunking revisionist history, correcting errant reporting of news events and neutralizing ideological proselytizing from the right wing.

everybody only

Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 12:06 a.m.

For the record: slander is "spoken defamation of character", libel is "written defamation of character", she probably could (and she has 2 years) press civil charges of both as printed transcripts of his episodes are published.

everybody only

Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 12:03 a.m.

Because, she is a smart enough cookie to play her cards close to the vest. RL tee'd the ball up for her, if I was her attorney, (the statute of limitations on slander/libel is 2 years), I would probably advise her to bring charges later this summer. Since so many people have already dubbed her a left wing conspirator, and thrown her under the bus, the smartest thing to do would be to play along with the script they have written. Resurrecting this in August, right before elections, would reheat this issue, although it doesn't seem to be cooling off any time soon. Polls are already indicating a huge shift in swing states mainly due to women under 50.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 11:53 p.m.

With all of the ambulance chasing attornies in the USA, how come she has not filed a lawsuit then? Because, just maybe, the attornies she has spoken to have told her she has no case for libel?

everybody only

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 11:14 p.m.

What did RL do that broke the law? Slander, read the definition and report back to me on what part does not apply. And you could stretch it to libel as he keeps written transcripts of his shows. 2 year statute in Florida, and don't think she isn't going to pick a perfect time to file the suit. See your problem in stating that MS. Fluke was part of a left wing conspiracy only works if you agree RL was in on it, no one coerced him to make those is he a double agent? And for the record, to your point, I don't find any person who uses misogynistic language acceptable, right, left or center.

Stephen Landes

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 5:37 p.m.

Rush has repeatedly and publicly apologized for his inappropriate comments about Ms. Fluke. That is as it should be -- his comments were wrong and hurtful. He has acknowledged that. I haven't heard any apologies from the Left for comments made about several Republican women candidates and, in one case, their children. I can respect people who make a mistake and apologize.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

@Paul Taylor...definition of Liberal and Conservative... A Conservative will tell you how you should live... A Liberal will tell you what you should think.... Legal distinction? Really? Sounds way to intelligent for me to understand...


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

I don't think Fluke got way in over her head-----this was well-orchaestrated and Limbaugh took the bait.

Paul Taylor

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

No, genetracy. It is the legal distinction that defines when a person can be considered to have been slandered or libeled. Being called to testify before congress doesn't equate to campaigning for public office. And, it applies to both liberal and conservative citizens doing their patriotic duty. Of course, what I find informative here is that, while I never identified as liberal or conservative, the people replying to my posts have, by psychic powers, identified me as one--not to clarify any partisan position, but to label me and then go after me, as if being liberal were sinful. Prove these powers, and tell me what I am wearing now, ye all-knowing ones!


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 6:43 p.m.

By the way, Pete, what law did Limbaugh break by criticizing Fluke?


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 6:35 p.m.

Any "private citizen" who puts their face on national television, espousing their personal or political views, better be prepared for nationwide criticism, good or bad. Fluke got in way over her head with ther statements, but she is an adult. She was welcomed to the real world.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 6:28 p.m.

That is the standard that the law follows, genetracy. Do you have a better suggestion?


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 6:23 p.m.

So Paul, is that going to be the new standard set by the left to prohibit anyone from critizing them? That they are "private citizens"?


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 6:20 p.m.

See what I mean ? ^ . It's different.If a person gets themselves on T.V talking to Congress ( or whatever ) they aren't really putting themselves in the public eye.

Paul Taylor

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 6:09 p.m.

The difference being that Limbaugh attacked someone who really couldn't be considered to be in "public life." He attacked a private citizen. There is a distinction.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

Stephen...Again my point is the lefts attitude of " It's fine when we do it, but if YOU do it you are mean,nasty, hateful and divisive " . Actually I can think of two attacks on their children.Palin's daughter and Bush's daughters but again that's different


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 4:40 p.m.

Some sheep just never learn, they are so busy singing the praises of their leader that they walk right into the trap. This is happening over and over and some have learned nothing from the past.

everybody only

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 11:34 p.m.

so genetracy, I'm a woman, and ran a trading desk filled with men for 12 years. That's right fellas 27 people reported to me, 18 men. Great guys by the way, not threatened by a strong intelligent woman with something to bring to the table except snarky remarks that belie you insecurities. I could see and raise you alllllll day long.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

So mr everybody, are you saying Clear Channel is going the way of Air America?


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 7:13 p.m.

Hey everybody only, the left is just as adept in the bigotry, racism, and sexism department.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 7:12 p.m.

@everybody only...Fluke sue anyone over a "prostitute" remark? Really that is golden...cuz every one knows that there are some things a prostitute won't do for money, unlike a lawyer or politician

everybody only

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 5:40 p.m.

Couldn't have said it better myself, and I think Bain and Clear Channel would agree with you. Clear Channel has $20 Billion of debt outstanding, with a market cap of about $2.8 Billion. Stock (CCO) touched new 52 week low last week. They have $16 Billion due in 3 1/2 years, a $38 million dollar albatross around their neck, and declining revenues. Bonds are trading at about 20% in the open market at time when interest rates at historically low. CCC+ rating by S&P with a negative credit watch, "high likelihood of default" Fitch analyst WSJ 4weeks ago. Google Mario Gabelli and see how happy he is with the company. Great Forbes article Feb 2012. As an female ex- junk bond trader, I can assure you that the restructuring attorneys are already sitting at the table. He is a dying rat on a sinking ship. Bob Pittman felt the need to come out and comment that "it's all good" last week..Can you say crisis management? The company is 10x leveraged, and they are about to hit the wall. Enron, WorldCom and Lehman Bros....plenty of people had contracts with those firms but you can't get water from a rock. As to those people who will comment that RL will go somewhere else, Cumulus wants Huckabee, Sirius already has Howard Stern, and not enough free cash flow to pick up another shock jock. If Ms. Fluke sues him, he could see his net worth go right down the drain. At the end of the day this is going to come down to dollars and "sense". The upside is that the people who find bigotry, racism and sexism a form of entertainment are an aging, rapidly declining part of society. They are clearing space in the Smithsonian fossil department for RL's chair.

everybody only

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 4:18 p.m.

I have been following this "episode" closely, and post on Huffington Post and a few other sites that have written on this exact subject. Remember the "March" that Jon Stewart and Colbert jointly hosted, it was a call to "civility". In the final speech, given by Stewart, he gave the analogy of the Holland Tunnel traffic every night (a tunnel that leads from NYC to NJ). The basic premise was that every evening 6 lanes of traffic, filled with people of every age, race, creed, background,belief, had to merge into 3 in order to keep traffic moving, and the idea was, irrespective of who the guy in the car next to you was or thought, without some accord NONE of us are going anywhere. I have honestly been shocked to read some of the comments posted by "fellow" Americans. I witnessed 9/11, a day that taught me the danger and potential consequences of hatred left unchecked. I don't attach that day to any religion, only to a small group of people that fueled themselves on divisive and hateful rhetoric. Even reading the comments here, "yawn", etc. People WANT this to go away, but it has reinvigorated a strong group of women and voters, and has opened my eyes to what is going on in the nation. I worked for 15 years as a bond trader on Wall Street, and I have read more sexist, bigoted and divisive comments in 2 weeks than I every heard working in such a locker room environment. To all of you who think this is old news, think again, and you can start writing thank you note to RL for Obama's reelection this fall.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.



Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 2:57 p.m.

It seems to me that a big part of this problem is education. We are very focused on having our kids learn calculus and trigonometry. Useful to some, but not most. What we really need -- particularly in a democracy -- is intensive training in forensics. It seems that many people can't properly parse an arguement for reasonableness.

David Briegel

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 9:20 p.m.

So maybe cutting education even more will help! The resulting savings can then be given in tax cuts to the wealthy and it will all trickle down when they buy car elevators for their beach homes!


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 3:52 p.m.



Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

Rush is the most prominent voice of the conservative culture war. He is the embodiment of the backlash against the changes brought about by the progressive social movements of the 1960s. Many white male conservatives have not reacted well to having to deal with women and minorities taking steps towards equality. So it's no surprise that his listeners are filled with hatred, in this case directed at a young, intelligent, independent woman.

everybody only

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 4:19 p.m.

northside, my bad, I meant to hit the thumbs up key, sorry!!!


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 3:03 p.m.

Pickford.....nope not kidding.Remember these are the same people who attack the Koch brothers but worship Soros and that other guy.Again hatred is only acceptable to them when it comes from the left.They slam FOX news but worship MSNBC Just for the record,I'm just lumping everyone together like northside


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 2:37 p.m.

What a joke.....are you kidding?

The Black Stallion3

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

Pickforddick said "I realize that it is very hard to face the truth but when looking at your leaders now it would be advisable to open ones eyes when listening to their rhetoric versus their accomplishments." You are so right about this, seems like the current administration counts on their flock to keep their eyes closed to what is going on in this country, what a shame.


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 11:42 a.m.

Right on, Father Coughlin.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

See, saying sheep and flock does not make for an argument. Which radio entertainer said that this morning? It's such a terrible thing to create health exchanges and require people to participate in a market for a good that they will eventually use, anyway. It's such a terrible idea that the Republicans and Heritage Foundation advocated this years ago.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 1:07 p.m.

Hmm, it's almost as if the vain attempt to be balanced in coverage promotes hatred and vitriol from a reactionary right wing that wouldn't be tolerated if the focus was on quality of discourse instead of volume... Hmm...


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 7:24 p.m.

Condemned by who ? other than the people on the right. My position was predicted in the article.Ok so what's your point ? From the very get go I've predicted the lefts position.Before you ask who condemned Rush I'll just start with a bunch of his advertisers


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 7:06 p.m.

Bill Maher and Howard Stern were correctly condemned? When was this? Oh wait I don't pay attention to misogynists no matter what their political affiliation...


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 6:36 p.m.

And, I might add, that your position is predicted and discussed as incorrect in the very article you are commenting on...


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 6:25 p.m.

No, it's not different. But Maher and Stern were both widely and correctly condemned for their words, and there isn't a rabid pile of 'dittoheads' threatening the families of the people who condemned them. That's the subject of this article and my comment, which I'm sure you were aware of but chose to ignore in order to make your false equivalence.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 5:21 p.m.

Peter do you have a reply ? Oh you don't unless it's " well,that's different "


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

Ok I say.... how about Bill Maher and Howard Stern calling Sarah Palin the " c " word ?.As opposed to using a " * " for a letter ? sorry a violation was not intended


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

"(there's no real mainstream left in this country) " OMG I hope I can stop laughing long enough to type this, you are hilarious.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

I assume of course that you have a similar situation that you're just dying to show us as evidence of this false dichotomy. Oh, you don't? Why that's because you've completely made up a fantastic reality where the center right (there's no real mainstream left in this country) engages in behavior that even comes close to approaching the standard rhetoric from the reactionary right.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

" hatred and vitriol from a reactionary right wing " really ? as opposed to the hatred and vitriol from a reactionary left wing ? Again typical Liberal thinking " Hey ! it's not the same thing when we do it " Of course. It should only tolerated when it comes from the left

Ron Granger

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

Civil discourse is passé to minds with the attention span of a tweet. In any well intentioned attempt to encourage civil discourse, some are likely to be confused. They think you are trying to play some kind of fancy word trick on them. That's because civil discourse sounds too much like civil service. And that's socialism! Are you some kind of socialist? I thought your tie looked funny before I ever read the article.

David Briegel

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.

Ah yes, the moral equivalency. The Atomic Bomb is equal to the pea shooter. Civilians are equal to the actual combatant professionals? And yes, those Nazi's are the same as Obama. That's almost funny. Don't bet your future on comedy! Poor Mr Limbaugh and his drug addled "logic". Drugs are illegal and evil. Just ask Rush.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 3:49 p.m.

Yes, Obama's supporting legislation to create free-market health exchanges and provide a minor subsidy to the poor to alieviate their lack of insurance is just like what happened in Nazi Germany. Don't schools still teach courses on argument and logic? Maybe not.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

I realize that it is very hard to face the truth but when looking at your leaders now it would be advisable to open ones eyes when listening to their rhetoric versus their accomplishments.

Jojo B

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

Agree with many other commenters... the learning moment is over. We get it already... to the point of nausea. Now let's all move on. Some people say offensive things to get attention. Some people go out of their way to get offended by offensive things to get attention. Some people get attention by commenting on how people say offensive things and go out of their way to get attention. Some people get attention by getting offended by the comments on how people say offensive things and go out of their way to get attention. I'm done.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

So so true!


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.

In my opinion supporters of the current administration in our nations capital have a very hard time when listening to the truth, because they are so engulfed in their leaders exaggerations. This reminds me of the 30's & 40's in Germany.


Sun, Apr 8, 2012 : 3:19 p.m.

Godwin discouraged comparisons with Nazi's in favor of more powerful arguments but did not state that all Nazi references were inappropriate.


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 11:50 a.m.

Very much like the 30's and 40's, Rush is the porcine version of Joseph Goebbels.


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 2:18 a.m.

No, tdw, it's just plain ol' Godwin's law as bhall noted. You defeat your own argument when you make hysterical analogies to Nazis.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 4:12 p.m. much would you like to bet if you compared Bush to the Nazi's or Hitler ( which was done on a regular basis ) you have 10 thumbs up ?


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

@Pickforddick, I'm calling Godwin's Law on you. You lose.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

No northside is more about sheep following the leader and putting their faith into a socialist leader who wants to change the very things that made this a great country.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

Dick if this is Nazi Germany in the 1930s shouldn't you be fearing for your life and leaving the country? After all, according to you political repression is reaching unbearable levels and a mass extermination is about to occur. Or maybe not, and your comment just proves the point Watkins made in his column.

Jojo B

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.

The exaggerations are on both sides. Let's come to the middle again when we're sick of stereotyping each other's ridiculous positions.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

So saying the student was a "slut" and a "whore" was true? Look it up in your Funk & Wagnell's: It was a slanderous statement for which Rush is fully culpable.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 12:31 p.m.

Limbaugh has said some ignorant things, but a lot of entertainers do (such as Bill Maher, who I am a fan of). He can say whatever he wants as long as it isn't libelous or slanderous. If anything, Limbaugh deserves to be ridiculed for being a hypocrite (being an addict while being anti-drug use, etc.)


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 4:17 a.m.

Bill Maher HA

everybody only

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 5:04 p.m.

He did commit slander, (slander is defamation of character by speech, libel is defamation in writing). Perhaps she can sue him on both fronts since he keeps written transcripts of his oh so eloquent diatribes...


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

As a teacher, this is why I believe it is imperative to show and teach students how to logically and civilly discuss. I get nervous when students are unable to see through multiple perspectives and instead focus on "winning" the conversation without engaging in an actual dialogue. Real dialogue can be difficult. It requires patience, an open mind, and respect. In my experience the IB program strives to do just this - the more we can get students to see through multiple lenses, the closer we get to larger understanding and empathy.


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 4:16 a.m.

Sorry you lost me when you said "As a teacher"

Ricardo Queso

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 12:21 p.m.


Paul Taylor

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 11:51 a.m.

Limbaugh is hardly an entertainer. At least, I, for one, find him unentertaining. But, if one finds it entertaining to watch a pyromaniac pour kerosene on a smouldering fire, then perhaps he is entertaining. But I don't see it. Of course small minds are going to objecct to being told that their leader has lead them nose-first into a dung heap. And, they will be the first to claim that, man, it smells better than your silly, civilized roses.


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 4:15 a.m.

Rush has the number one talk show in the nation. You,Paul Taylor, are in the minority.

Paul Taylor

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 6:18 p.m.

@pickforddick: i don't see where you get that from my comment, at all.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

" Of course small minds are going to object to being told that their leader has lead them nose-first into a dung heap " Typical Liberal " I'm sooo much smarter than anyone who doesn't think the way I do " attitude


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

Thank you for explaining your support for The current administration and I agree about their small minds.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 11:30 a.m.

Dude, you just wrote a commentary commenting on the comments you got from another commentary. Don't you have anything better to do?

everybody only

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 4:28 p.m.

Well you read and commented, doesn't sound like you are over there inventing cold fusion.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 12:43 p.m.

Very, funny, Craig! Agree! Tom, I think we already *had* our teachable moment, back in February ... and March. I think you're beating a dead horse, and it's time to move on.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 12:29 p.m.

Craig.....I'm still chuckling as I write this

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 11:35 a.m.

and of course I just commented on a commentary commenting on the comments from another commentary. The cycle continues. Thank God for the Internet. If we were playing this game with quill, parchment and the Pony Express it would take 3 1/2 years to reach this point.

Hot Sam

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 11:10 a.m.

Entertainers of all stripes make inappropriate comments all the time... Indignation should be evenly applied...

Hot Sam

Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 1:12 a.m.

@djm12652 Some folks are stuck so deep in a partisan fog they can't see the light...


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 6:57 p.m.

I agree with you Sam, Bill Maher considers himself a Political Commentator/ Pundit and has had no remorse in calling women in the political arena, that he doesn't agree with, absolutely, can't be repeated in civilized conversations, vile and disgusting names. Fair is fair, if you're gonna be in the world of "media" apply the rules to everyone, equally. And by the way, I don't listen to Limbaugh, Maddow, Fox or any of these "entertainers" people that garner their political beliefs from these radio or tv personalities need to get a life and stop being the sheeple of BOTH sides.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 4:56 p.m.

It was Rush and other conservatives who started the "just an entertainer" thing. It came about because of the glaring contradiction between Rush constantly referring to the "liberal media" yet being one of the most influential political figures in media. "I'm just an entertainer" was Rush's way of trying to evade that contradiction.

Hot Sam

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

When you wish to dismiss him he is an "entertainer", and when you want to demonize him he is a "political commentator"... My point is not to endorse Rush, but to create a fair level of indignation...


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

Rush is a political commentator, not an entertainer.