WASHINGTON – In a prelude to likely efforts to legislate the Fairness Doctrine in 2009, Democratic Party leaders in the Senate, including the party's likely presidential nominee next year, Sen. Hillary Clinton, are turning up the heat on Rush Limbaugh's network, attempting to force him to apologize for maligning antiwar soldiers as phonies – something he didn't say.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent a letter, signed by 41 Democrats, to Clear Channel Chief Executive Officer Mark P. Mays demanding he repudiate Limbaugh's comments and extract an apology from him. Mays responded the same day in a letter to Reid defending Limbaugh's right to express his opinions openly on the airwaves.
But Reid is not dropping the matter.
In an e-mail to Democrats today, he urges the public to inundate Mays with similar demands.
"I normally ignore Rush Limbaugh, but his comments last Wednesday went too far for me to remain silent," Reid wrote. "It's one thing to call me 'Dingy Harry' – it's another to insult our men and women in uniform, calling those who oppose the war 'phony soldiers,' as Rush did during his Sept. 26 broadcast."
None of the calls for repudiation or apology, however, contain a transcript of Limbaugh's remarks. That's because other than the two words "phony soldiers," it wouldn't be possible to make the case that Limbaugh was maligning antiwar soldiers generally. He was, in the context of Wednesday's commentaries, specifically addressing the case of Jesse MacBeth, an antiwar activist who claimed to have witnessed atrocities as a Purple Heart recipient in the Army Rangers.
MacBeth, however, never served in Iraq. He was expelled from the military after 44 days in uniform.
"He became a hero to the anti-war left," explained Limbaugh. "They love phony soldiers, and they prop 'em up. When it is demonstrated that they have been lying about things, then they just forget about it. There's no retraction; there's no apology."
Hey Democrats, get your heads out of your asses! That is all.