The ruckus over the Rush Limbaugh "phony soldiers" statement is dying down. It ought not to. There is a huge story here.
What did Rush say? In a Sept. 26 conversation with a caller to his program who claimed the media never interview "real soldiers," but just people out of the blue, Rush added for emphasis, "the phony soldiers."
The left saw its opportunity and pounced with a vengeance. Led by the George Soros-funded and Hillary Clinton-inspired Media Matters outfit, it unleashed a scorched-earth attack on Limbaugh for insulting the military, stating that any servicemen or women who might oppose the war in Iraq had been defamed by the talk show host as "phony soldiers."
The television networks, newspapers and leftist blog sites were ablaze with stories about Democratic outrage. There were calls for his show to be yanked from the Armed Forces Radio Network. There were demands that Clear Channel make Rush apologize and that advertisers pull their sponsorship.
Presidential candidates denounced him. Congressional leaders -- the usual crowd of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Tom Harkin, John Kerry, etc. -- denounced him. A formal congressional resolution condemning Limbaugh was drawn up by Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., and reportedly had over 100 Democrat (and one Republican) signers. The message was clear: Limbaugh's anti-military insult could not, and would not, be tolerated.
How disingenuous was this leftist attack on Limbaugh? Let us count the ways.
Except he was never awarded a Purple Heart. He was never in Iraq. In fact, he was never in the military, period. He was tossed out of boot camp after four months. Macbeth is now in prison serving a five-month term for falsifying Army records and applying falsely for veterans' benefits. Limbaugh was right.
So the left returned with another charge: Limbaugh had used the plural, "phony soldiers," therefore Limbaugh's sole example -- Macbeth -- was inadequate. So are there any other "phony soldiers" out there? Jeffrey Sullivan, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington, thinks so. Besides prosecuting Macbeth, he's prosecuted another five "phony soldiers." Jim O'Neill, the assistant inspector general for investigations at the Veterans Administration, confirms that the federal government is presently conducting another 60 such "stolen valor" cases. Rush was right, in spades.
Rush has beaten them all back now. In fact, as with the Petraeus/"Betray Us" attacks by MoveOn, this newest round of attempted character assassination backfired and did nothing but re-energize conservatives.
But this won't stop the left. Tomorrow it will be Sean Hannity, or Mark Levin, or maybe Laura Ingraham. This group plays for keeps.
And what of all those media outlets giving aid and comfort to the leftists who attacked Rush? Now that we know there are several dozen cases of "phony soldier" scandals, just as Rush suggested, how many stories have they devoted to them, thus vindicating Rush? Check for a Jesse Macbeth story in a Nexis database search on CBS, NBC and NPR. Search Time and Newsweek. Look up The Washington Post, The New York Times and USA Today.
You won't find a one.