Rush Limbaugh: Sexist or adorable fuzzball?

Last night Barbara Walters interviewed Rush Limbaugh as part of her "10 Most Fascinating People" special, and she could barely contain her animosity towards Rush for that unfortunate Hillary aging comment he infamously made earlier this year, blurting out, "What's with you Rush?" This erm, hard-hitting moment in television journalism was followed closely by, "Who is the real Rush?" to which he responded: "I am a harmless, lovable little fuzzball...I am the most unthreatening, tolerant, lovable guy you could ever meet." Uh huh.

Now, I'll admit it, Rush Limbaugh is not winning any points from me with enthusiastic claims like, "I love Sarah Palin!"--he defended his admiration by saying that she only seemed "uninformed in one interview," and I would LOVE to know which one, out of the many interviews where she proved herself to have less civic knowledge than your average grade schooler, he was referring to-- and alluding to this terribly polarizing, mythical idea that there is a "battle between the elites" and those who are not in this country, uttered from a man who makes more money than millions of Americans. But what has always, and continues to infuriate me about Rush is his blatant disregard for women, despite the fact that he drools over Governor Palin, whom he consistently refers to as a "babe."

There are numerous well-documented examples of Rush's backwards views on women, (and don't even get me started on the various racist remarks he has also made). Remember that time Mr. Limbaugh said that women who protest sexual harassment "actually wish" to be sexually harassed? Cute. Or when he said "women still live longer than men because their lives are easier," and the moment where he stated that New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd comes across as "miserable" and said, "Must be a guy. Isn't it always a guy when a woman's unhappy?" Of course, there's his repeated use of the term "femi-Nazis" on his show, and the fact that he calls the National Organization for Women (NOW) the "National Association of Gals" (his acronym: "NAG") instead. And oh yes, as Barbara mentioned, regarding Hillary Clinton's presidential nomination prospects, he had the audacity to claim to his audience of millions, "Will Americans want to watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?"

It may be noted here that he has also repeatedly used the phrase "testicle lock box" in association with the senator, ahem.

To be fair, if you look at the context in which Rush was speaking, as he indeed defended himself to Babs when confronted on the issue, he wasn't being as overtly misogynistic as was portrayed:

"I want you to understand that I'm talking about the evolution of American culture here, and not so much Mrs Clinton," Limbaugh had told his audience that fateful day. "It could be anybody, and it's really not very complicated. Americans are addicted to physical perfection, thanks to Hollywood and thanks to television."

That's shamefully true. But given Rush Limbaugh's record of blatant sexism, I find it hard to sympathize. I was, however, taken aback by his claim that he's just a sweet and lovable guy, and a bit tickled at Barbara Walters' subsequent closing with "Rush, you darling fuzzball, say something nice about the next President of the United States." And let me be clear: Personally, I have no problem with conservative commentary. However, I do take issue with prominent radio hosts launching repeated attacks against women. For that, perhaps I'm just another "femi-Nazi."

You weigh in: How do you feel about conservative America's highly successful shock jock? Is he a sweetheart as he claims, or an enemy to the female sex?

See also:

Barbara Walters' 10 most fascinating people

Sex(ism) and Politics: McCain's choice of Sarah Palin

How did you feel about Hillary's concession speech?