If you're wondering what your right-wing uncle is going to say on Thanksgiving about Roy Moore and other headline-grabbing sex predators, let me try to prepare you.
He's probably going to tell you that sexual misconduct is exclusively a liberal problem. He's likely to paraphrase what Rush Limbaugh said on the radio today:
... here’s the thing about this, folks, go through names here again. Charlie Rose, Al Franken, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Clinton, Louis C.K., John Conyers, Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, Jeffrey Tambor, not a conservative among them.
Okay, we’ll put Roy Moore on the list, but I’m telling you Roy Moore can’t compete with these people. Roy Moore has got no business being on the same page or in the same league with these people, particularly Clinton, Louis C.K., Spacey, Weinstein, and Charlie Rose.
As long as the media continue to play this story straight -- going after predators across the political spectrum -- and as long as rank-and-file Democrats and liberals agree that the predators on our side really are predators, some of "our" guys are going to be highlighted, and even if Republicans are as well, the GOP noise machine will downplay or memory-hole all the Republicans and portray this as a purely Democratic/liberal problem. Bill O'Reilly? Roger Ailes? Donald Trump? James Woods, who creeped on Amber Tamblyn and her friends when they were 16 and he was in his fifties? Ralph Shortey, the Oklahoma Trump campaign chair who just pleaded guilty to child sex trafficking? To Limbaugh and his listeners, they don't even exist.
Your uncle will tell you, as Limbaugh does, that the media protects liberals, even as he's listing all the people identified as liberals who were exposed by the media:
How come it took Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood to break the dam? Why did it take what’s going on in Hollywood in this area to break the dam?
Why didn’t the dam break with Anthony Weiner, with Carlos Danger? Multiples times this guy is engaging in absolutely reprobate behavior. And the Democrats and the media circle the wagons to make sure that nobody else gets linked to it, and they do what they do to Carlos Danger, making him fall on a bunch of swords — he-he-he — his own — and try to limit it to that.
And I think the reason is that the Drive-By Media is more protective of the Democrats, especially the Clintons, than they are of Hollywood people. Even Hollywood people that are major donors, even Hollywood people that are major bundlers and fundraisers, at all costs it was protect the Democrats.
So the proof that the media protects Democrats is that Anthony Weiner was exposed, and Bill Clinton's sex life was exposed, and I guess Limbaugh forgot Eliot Spitzer. And Weinstein is categorized as a big, important Democrat when Limbaugh wants to say that all Democrats are evil, but not as an important Democrat when Limbaugh's point is that Democrats are protected by the press.
And then, incoherently, we're told that elected and non-elected liberals are protected by the media, because these liberals are the privileged elite:
And I’ll tell you, Charlie Rose is quintessential establishment, he is quintessentially protected.... They’re elites, by their own definition, by their own proclamation. They live in their beautiful bubbles here segregated from the reality of life for everybody else, full of beautiful people who think they are wonderful....
It’s a combination circle the wagons and self-protection. They have beautiful, multiple homes that get featured in things like Architectural Digest. The fan magazines, the gossip rags are constantly fawning all over them. They never get pad press. They never get investigative press. They never get judgmental press. The gossip media, the straight news and Drive-By Media idolize these people and want to consider themselves in the same circle of elitehood. But they are not normal.
And this is why Donald Trump, another one of the many reasons Trump was elected and remains on track to be reelected. These are not normal people, and they know they’re not normal, and they revel in being not normal. They’re not normal in the sense that they’re better, they’re smarter, they’re prettier, they’re richer. And they all hang together. They all hire each other and they protect each other. Which is fine, don’t misunderstand. But all of this is going on while they attempt to portray the way they think and the way they live and their own behavior as normal, as reflective of the hip culture of America. And it isn’t, and they are not.
Your uncle listened to this today and just nodded along: Charlie Rose is in a rarefied stratum of the economic elite -- and that's why America elected Donald Trump. In this Bizarro World version of America, Trump doesn't just treat women appropriately, he's not even part of the elite.
And forget Trump -- this is Rush Limbaugh, who a few years ago sold an overdecorated penthouse apartment in Manhattan with Central Park views for nearly $13 million....
... and who now lives in a Palm Beach oceanfront estate consisting of five houses, the largest of which, at 24,000 square feet, is his personal residence. We learn this from Limbaugh biographer Zev Chafets:
The "vast salon" is an homage to Versailles. The main guest suite is "an exact replica of the Presidential Suite of the Hotel George V in Paris." A "massive chandelier" in his dining room mimics one that hung in New York's Plaza Hotel. Knick-knacks include a full suit of armor and a "life-size oil portrait" of Limbaugh himself.
When at home, Limbaugh spends most of his time in his "inner sanctum" — a two-story library which is a "scaled-down version" of the library at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina. "Cherubs dance on the ceiling, leatherbound collections line the bookshelves, and the wood-paneled walls were once, he told me happily, 'an acre of mahogany,'" writes Chafets.
Limbaugh drives himself around in a black Maybach 57 S (cost: $450,000), and keeps a "garage full of them" for his guests....
Chafets spots a brochure on Limbaugh's "onyx and marble" table for a Gulfstream G550, a $56 million private jet that the talk show host had recently bought. The biographer notes the "tastefully luxe" interiors and specs which include "armaments: CLASSIFIED."
But it's Charlie Rose who thinks he's above it all.
At the end of the day, though, it's not clear that Limbaugh think Rose and other sexual predators actually did anything particularly terrible. Limbaugh says:
Did you hear the usual apologies? I mean, Charlie talked to the Washington Post (paraphrasing), “You know, it’s essential these women understand that it’s not who I am, I’m sorry, and I really thought in a lot of these circumstances that it was mutual and that feelings were returned. I realize now that they weren’t, but I at the time, I really thought –” what bogus. And the sanctimony. The guy is still preaching even in his apology.
Just say, “Yeah, I did it, I’m sorry. You know what? I got caught. I like women. So nail me somewhere. I like women. I’m sorry. Put me in jail. I like women! I’m sorry. I know it’s a crime in America today, so do with me what you will. I like women. I thought they liked me, then I saw myself in the mirror and realized it couldn’t be true.” Something like that.
... Charlie should just, “Hey, I like women. I went too far with ’em. I like women, though. I know in New York, that’s not cool, but I do!”
Over and over again Limbaugh says, in Rose's voice, "I like women." He really believes that what Rose did is, well, just what you do when you like women. Oh, sure, he acknowledges that Rose "went too far with ’em" -- but while he's going to nail Rose for this, he doesn't really believe it's a terrible thing.
Maybe your right-wing uncle will take that tack, which is similar to what Breitbart editor Alex Marlow said on the radio today:
Breitbart editor-in-chief Alex Marlow says the way rape is defined has changed.
“Rape used to have a narrow definition. Rape used to have a definition where it was — it was brutality, it was forced sexual attack and penetration,” Marlow said on SiriusXM Patriot's Breitbart News Daily, according to Media Matters.
“Now it’s become, really, any sex that the woman ends up regretting that she had.”
Marlow said that "leaves us without a lot of clarity."
"Because when words lose their meaning, then they can be manipulated," he said. "Rape used to mean something. We used to all know what it meant. And now we don't know what it means. And then we don't know what's credible and what's not."
Elitist liberals (who are the only sex criminals) are regularly getting caught doing terrible things to women ... which aren't really that bad, are they?
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog