Why Rush Limbaugh Will Never Apologize To Sandra Fluke

Arse - photo by Paul Robertson

I’m sure you’ve heard about Rush Limbaugh’s hateful comments towards Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student who was unable to testify before congress at a hearing on contraception coverage. Republicans blocked her testimony in favor of an all male panel, you know, the people best qualified to talk about women’s reproductive health. Rush Limbaugh has been relentless on this issue, going as far as to call Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute”. This is representative of the ugly side of humans, for which Limbaugh has the market cornered.

I don’t usually write about Rush because I feel that by writing about him, I’m helping to fulfill his goal to get as many people talking about “Rush Limbaugh” as possible, left and right. I decided to write about Rush so that I could explain why I think he will never apologize to Sandra Fluke.

Has Rush Limbaugh ever apologized for anything? I’ll admit I’ve done no research on the history of Limbaugh apologies, but I’m guessing it’s a short history. So why is it that Limbaugh never apologizes for his insensitive and inflammatory statements? I think there are two reasons.

  1. Apologizing would go against the persona and the empire that he has built. His audience does not expect him to apologize and in fact, most of his core audience would likely be disappointed if he did.
  2. It fits the strict authority model of conservatism. An authority figure must always show strength. An apology, especially to “the enemy” would be perceived within the conservative bubble, as weakness.

You can’t really argue with #1. Rush Limbaugh has been highly successful at what he does, so why change it? Why back down and apologize? As for #2, I do believe this dynamic is at play, but I think conservatives are wrong when it comes to what they perceive as weak. It is not weak to admit you are wrong. Think about it for a second. All of us have admitted we were wrong about something in our lives and it is uncomfortable at best, but in all cases difficult. It’s a sign of good character and great strength to back down from a failed argument or inaccurate statement and admit you are wrong. Weakness is to double down on nonsense and hate speech to cater to an audience that behaves no better.

Should Limbaugh apologize to Sandra Fluke? Any decent person would say yes. Will he turn over a new leaf and prove me wrong? I would have no problem with being proven wrong, but I think my premise is safe, Limbaugh lacks the strength of character.


photo by Paul Robertson

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  • Rush Limbaugh issued an apology to Sandra Fluke on Saturday. 

    Limbaugh said, “I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.”

    I won’t question the sincerity, but I do question why he needed to get his talking points in during the apology.

    Before stating the above, Limbaugh said, “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?”

    He couldn’t simply issue an apology and leave it at that? But OK, I’ll accept that it was an apology and I was wrong that he would never apologize. I do believe the premise of my article is still valid (and has been proven time after time), but in this case Limbaugh (hopefully) realized he crossed a line and that realization overruled the two reasons why he normally would not apologize.

    I’ll leave cynicism for another day and another topic.

    • Steve Schuler

      But he didn’t apologize for what he said – only for how he said it!  What kind of apology is that??  He’s sorry for choosing the wrong words, but apparently if he could’ve come up with a less inflammatory version of “slut” or “prostitute” he would’ve gone with that, without apology.  No, what he should apologize for is the meaning and intent, not the word choices.   If I called you a “fucking awesome blogger,” I could later apologize for my choice of words, but that wouldn’t mean I take back my sentiment.  In my book your article still stands unchallenged – he hasn’t really apologized yet, and he never will.

      • After a couple days of reflection, as well as hearing Sandra Fluke’s response, I agree with most people, this wasn’t a real apology. Not that I thought it was a particularly good apology from the start (as I pointed out), but now I believe it was not an apology at all.

        It might technically qualify as an apology only in the sense that it used the word “apologize”, right after the word “sincerely”, but there was nothing sincere about it. Limbaugh might have realized he crossed a line but his apology is about his business, not his true feelings.