The prize for nuttiest response to Democrats changing the Senate rules goes to Rush Limbaugh.
Shocking, we know. Responding to the news that Democrats tweaked Senate rules to disallow filibusters of judicial and executive branch nominations, Limbaugh reached for a rape analogy to explain the alleged catastrophe to his listeners. On Friday, Limbaugh described the majority rule like this:
Forget the Senate for a minute. Let’s say, let’s take 10 people, in a room in a group. And the room is made up of six men and four women, okay? 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 ten to change the rule.
Every 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, they always found two guys, well the guy that kept proposing that women be raped kinda got tired of it he was in the majority [unintelligible] says, you know what? We’re going to change the rule. Now all we need is five. You can’t do that. Yes, we’re the majority, we’re changing the rule. Then they vote. Can the women be raped? Well all it would take then, is half the room–you could change the rule to say three. You could change the rule to say three people want it, it’s going to happen. There’s no rule. When the majority can change the rules, there aren’t any.
Limbaugh’s remarks were flagged by Media Matters. The right-wing radio host often uses metaphors for sexual assault when discussing political issues, including phrases like “bend over” or “grab the ankles.”
Rape analogies trivialize rape and disrespect those who have experienced sexual assault. And in any case, Limbaugh didn’t think the filibuster was an abuse of power In 2004, when George W. Bush was in office. Getting rid of the filibuster was a good idea, he argued, saying “the Constitution says nothing about this. The Constitution says simple majority, 51 votes.” He added:
If the Senate, which has the constitutional right to make its own rules, decides that it wants to require a super-majority vote to pass certain bills such as tax bills – and they can do that. They can write those rules all day long – such a rule would not infringe on presidential power. But to do so when it affects a presidential power, which takes us into a separation of powers issue, like the appointment of judges, that is unconstitutional, in my layman’s view.
In other words, Limbaugh says that majority rule is fine when Republican presidents are nominating judges. But when Democratic presidents are nominating judges, majority rule is something very different.