Yet again, Rush Limbaugh proves he is the worst person in America. In this case, it’s his reaction to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to end the supermajority requirement on judicial nominees—an extra constitutional innovation of Senate Republicans—and lower the threshold to a simple majority of 51 votes.
In short order, Limbaugh goes from complaining about the rule change to comparing it to rape. Specifically, he offers an analogy. “Let’s say, let’s take ten people in a room and they’re a group. And the room is made up of six men and four women. Right? The group has a rule that the men cannot rape the women. The group also has a rule that says any rule that will be changed must require six votes of the 10 to change the rule."
Already, you can tell this will not end well. Says Limbaugh, “[E]very now and then some lunatic in the group proposes to change the rule to allow women to be raped. But they never were able to get six votes for it. There were always the four women voting against it and there was, you know, two guys.”
I think you can see where this is going. “Well, the guy that kept proposing that women be raped finally got tired of it,” Limbaugh said. “He was in the majority and he said, you know what, we’re going to change the rule. Now all we need is five. And the women said, ‘you can’t do that.’ ‘Yes we are, we’re the majority, we’re changing the rule.’”
There’s so much wrong with this analogy that it’s hard to know where to begin. To start, freedom from rape isn’t just a rule that you can implement and change at will; it’s a human right. The filibuster, by contrast, is an accident of legislative history that can—and has—been changed to fit the circumstances.
What’s more, there was nothing illegitimate about the Democratic rule change. The “nuclear option” was a drastic step—though, arguably, it returns the Senate to its pre–2009 status quo—but it was fair game.
And again, beyond all of that, changing the filibuster is nothing like rape, and your consent isn’t violated when you lose a majority vote. Limbaugh obviously thinks differently, but Republicans don’t have the right to impose a supermajority requirement on the business of the Senate or blockade presidential nominations. By contrast, people have a right not to be raped.
Of course, Limbaugh doesn’t actually care about any of this, he’s just looking for a way to offend people and fan the sputtering rage of his loyal followers. And it worked. This “analogy” was followed by a stream of harsh criticism from a whole host of journalists and Democratic officials.
The question isn’t whether Limbaugh will ever stop—he won’t—but whether Republicans will ever have the guts to cut themselves off from his garbage. And given the GOP’s continued enthusiasm for this talk radio troll, I don’t think I’ll hold my breath.