Rich Galen

I wasn't quick enough on my feet to ask Paul, "So, you're saying if Limbaugh had called Rep. Nancy Pelosi a 'slut' and a 'prostitute' you would have shrugged it off as a fair fight?"

But, I didn't, so a potential moment of great TV theater was lost.

What I did say was that both Bill Maher and Rush Limbaugh make their healthy livings by continually pushing the verbal envelope. Maher is, at base, a stand-up comedian. Dropping the "F-bomb" on his HBO program happens every couple of minutes (at least it did the night I was on).

I wasn't offended, I'm a big boy. It's cable, so the FCC has nothing to say about it. But the audience giggled and chortled at every occurrence because it still sounded naughty, if not forbidden fruit (not the "F-bomb" I'm talking about), on a TV show.

Rush's audience is well-defined and well-served by him. They know why they listen, and so does Limbaugh. He feeds them three hours a day of red meat and it is not surprising to me that once in a great while he serves some meat that has gone off.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau there are about 311.6 million people living in America of whom 85% are over 18 years old. That means almost a quarter of a billion people living here are adults.

We are not a nation of Holden Caulfields upset that our sisters will see dirty words scrawled on the sides of buildings. In fact, if we didn't react to "C" words and "F" bombs they would lose their power over us.

I'm not suggesting we completely throw up our intellectual hands over the descent of language and discourse in America. Holding it to higher standards is a worthy endeavor.

But, it's, like, hard. Ya' know?

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at