Rush Limbaugh, Others Debate Hillary Clinton Photo's Impact
Limbaugh Reaction Angers Left, Others Views Mixed
One day after an AP photo featuring a tired- looking Hillary Clinton was splashed across the Internet, including the Drudge Report, reactions are pouring in from all corners. Interestingly, opinions are not as predictable as one might normally imagine.
Never one to skip the debate, Rush Limbaugh called it a possible "sympathy photo" meant to illustrate the difficulties of toiling on the campaign trail. And sure enough, the talk titan's liberal enemies aren't happy.
From Limbaugh's transcript:
RUSH: Now, this theory of mine based on this Drudge picture of Mrs. Clinton, with the headline: "The Toll of a Campaign." Now, it could well be that that's a sympathy photo, too, to make people feel sorry for how tough the campaign trail is. Now, I want to preface this by saying I know it's going to get out there. Media Matters is going to get hold of this and they're going to take it all out of context. We can expect that. It's a badge of honor when this happens, but for the rest of you, I want you to understand that I am talking about the evolution of American culture here, and not so much Mrs. Clinton.
It could be anybody, and it is really not very complicated. Americans are addicted to physical perfection, thanks to Hollywood and thanks to television. We know it because we see it. We see everybody and their uncle in gyms. We see people starving themselves. We see people taking every miracle fad drug there is to lose weight. We see guys trying to get six-pack abs. We have women starving themselves trying to get into size zero and size one clothes; makeovers, facials, plastic surgery, everybody in the world does Botox, and this affects men, too. As you know, the haughty John Kerry Botoxed his wrinkles out during the campaign.
There is this thing in this country that, as you age -- and this is particularly, you know, women are hardest hit on this, and particularly in Hollywood -- America loses interest in you, and we know this is true because we constantly hear from aging actresses, who lament that they can't get decent roles anymore, other than in supporting roles that will not lead to any direct impact, yay or nay, in the box office. While Hollywood box-office receipts may be stagnant, none of that changes the fact that this is a country obsessed with appearance. It's a country obsessed with looks.
The number of people in public life who appear on television or on the big screen, who are content to be who they are, you can probably count on one hand. Everybody's trying to make themselves look different -- and in that situation, in that case, they think they're making themselves look better. It's just the way our culture has evolved. It's the way the country is. It's like almost an addiction that some people have to what I call the perfection that Hollywood presents of successful, beautiful, fun-loving people.
So the question is this: Will this country want to actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?
Taken in its full context, the message is not particularly controversial, but when the last line is snipped away and used by itself, his words comes across as sexist.
Oddly enough, Media Matters has not yet addressed Limbaugh's comments. They are either behind or still busy trying to figure out how to twist his words. These guys are not known for restraint, that's for sure.
That hasn't stopped others, including the Huffington Post crowd, from jumping all over El Rushbo. With fresh tofu thrown out to the HuffPo readership, the bait was quickly taken:
The comment that Rush made about Sen. Clinton's looks made him appear oafish. It seems that he can't attack her on her political positions, so he must revert to sexist remarks. His mental prowess must indeed be exceptionally limited if that's what he needs to demean the only woman running for president.
His callous remarks are not just aimed at Sen. Clinton, but at all women past a certain age (for him it's probably 25). He is an enabler for all those men who feel that a woman's value decreases as she ages; that she is only as good as what is superficially seen. He is a petty, repulsive, little man who thrives on bigotry, turmoil and malicious slander.
Other nasty liberal reactions are found here, here and here.
On the right, the view of Hillary's image isn't so predictable, with Ann Althouse decrying what to her appears a double- standard, while the Volokh Conspiracy thinks the photo is a plus for Clinton, showing a more human side not previously evident.
At Newsbusters, Kyle Drennen notes how Limbaugh was attacked by CBS this morning:
MEG OLIVER: And now a story that's expected to reverberate throughout the day. The question of sexism in politics. It's of particular interest in Campaign 2008, where a woman has a good chance of becoming a major party nominee. Radio commentator Rush Limbaugh yesterday had some thoughts after seeing this picture of Hillary Clinton posted on the internet. Limbaugh believes Americans are addicted to physical perfection and wonders if this country is ready to watch a woman age in the Oval Office.
On today's show, Limbaugh noted how the story "even made the news in Australia". Rush says he knew the story would be huge when he saw his transcript linked by Drudge. "Oh boy!" said El Rushbo.
Later, he expressed surprise that the liberal co- hosts of The View addressed his comments "and got them right." Instead of bashing him, they found his points worthy of an extended discussion.
The bottom line: Rush has been through this routine so many times that he's now able to predict in advance how the left will react to his words. He also knows just how badly his comments will be twisted.
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