Friday, March 9, 2012

Left vs Right: Maher And Limbaugh Edition

KAT2VAHE7494 (Ignore this code...)

It's always amusing to watch politicians and political figures go after each other. Without failure, extreme hypocrisy is demonstrated... and what's more humorous than pointing out hypocrisy?

I'm sure that, by now, everyone has heard about the whole Rush Limbaugh issue. Actually... I probably need to be more specific. After Georgetown student Sarah Fluke testified to Congress (or part of Congress...) about contraception, Mr. Limbaugh referred to her as a "slut", among other things. His logic being that her support for insurance provided contraception is tantamount to wanting to be paid to have sex.

Many on the right are crying "double standard", citing Bill Maher's treatment of such conservative women as Sarah Palin; see, for example, this video, and others like it:

To be clear, I don't think such language has any place in politics, whether it comes from the left or the right. However, this doesn't excuse what Rush did. Rush has apologized, which I suppose must be taken for what it is. But as much as some from the left continue to pursue Rush over this issue, just as many from the right won't let it die. They are using Rush's gaffe to go after Maher and Democrats, claiming that this is just a way for liberals to try to silence Limbaugh.

I'm sure some will see this as bias, but I will say that I do find a difference between the two incidents. Maher's comments, while not really acceptable (though one could argue that, as a comedian doing a comedic act, he can say whatever he wants), aren't really on the same level as what Rush did. There is a difference between name calling and mudslinging, and complete character assassination and embarrassment for no reason. It's the difference between me calling some guy a "jerk", or spending days trying to convince anyone who will listen that he cheats on his wife given absolutely no evidence of such. If Rush had just said he doesn't like Ms. Fluke or he doesn't agree with her, or even called her a one-off derogatory name or two, I think that would have been on Maher's level. I think three days (see, for example, this article on The Daily Beast) of referring to someone as a prostitute is another step up (or down, as the case may be).

Next, I want to mention the calls for President Obama to return Maher's million dollar donation to his super PAC. The logic being, I suppose, that someone who has ever used foul language should not be allowed to donate to a political campaign. I think that Obama should return the money as soon as the right agrees to take Limbaugh off the air permanently. The right certainly is entitled to make as big of an issue as they want about Maher's donation, but I don't think using rude language should disqualify anyone from making donations. If it's okay for Rush to say the things he does in an effort to influence politics, then it's okay for Maher to influence politics through donations.

To close, I have a personal observation about this whole mess. It's astonishing how both sides can defend their own while condemning the other side for doing more or less the same exact thing. This is nothing new, and certainly isn't limited to Limbaugh and Maher. That doesn't stop it from still being amusing, though.

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