Limbaugh's apology shifts the burden to his critics, including Ms. Fluke. If they keep attacking Limbaugh, they risk damaging their own character for refusing to forgive. In fact, Ms. Fluke went on ABC's "The View" Monday morning to say that Limbaugh's apology changed nothing.
As noted in many other places, there is often a double standard when it comes to speech. Horrible things have been said about conservatives and especially conservative women, but have a conservative said anything close to those things about a liberal woman and you have the Sandra Fluke controversy. Rush is right, though. Such things ought to be beneath conservatives.
That civil discourse may be on life support is not news to anyone paying attention to political rhetoric. Part of this has to do with fundraising, which mostly relies on negatives, not positives, because as a fundraiser once told me, you can't raise money on a positive. Part of it is also ratings. In an uncertain world, people like to tune into programs -- liberal and conservative -- that reinforce views they already hold.
Limbaugh might resist this next suggestion, but I speak from experience, having had to apologize for a recent misstatement of my own. Limbaugh should invite Sandra Fluke to lunch and get to know her as a person, not a label. At the very least, he would send an important message that civility and strong political speech do not have to be contradictory.
Who knows, he might even persuade her to become a conservative. From his perspective, and mine, that would be a win-win for everybody, except liberals.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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