Radio personality and strong conservative Rush Limbaugh has become the target of House Democrats for introducing a new resolution urging the House to condemn Limbaugh’s implication that members of the military who question the war in Iraq are “phony soldiers.”
The push by Democrats comes after House and Senate Republicans directed some members of the Democratic Party to vote to denounce an advertisement by MoveOn.org in The New York Times last month that referred to General David H. Petraeus as “General Betray Us.” Limbaugh isn’t just getting flack from Congressional Democrats.
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards also criticized Limbaugh’s comments. According to The Associated Press, Edwards called on Republicans to point the finger at Limbaugh in the same way they came down on Democrats after the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org ran the advertisement criticizing General David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq.
Edwards and the campaign of fellow Democrat Chris Dodd took issue with the radio talk show host’s characterization of Iraq war veterans who have spoken out against the war. Limbaugh was responding to a caller who argued that anti-war groups “never talk to real soldiers.”
According to The AP, Edwards stated that “All these Republicans went running to the mic and the TV cameras when MoveOn.org ran their ad about General Petraeus. Now let’s see if they really mean it. Let’s see if they’ll speak out against Rush Limbaugh. Let’s see if they’ll challenge him about men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States.”
Limbaugh has since said that the phone call conversation where the term “phony soldiers” was used occurred between himself and a current United States soldier and that he was referring only to one soldier: disgraced, convicted former Army soldier-turned antiwar-activist Jesse Macbeth.
Macbeth falsely claimed to have participated in war crimes in Iraq and received a Purple Heart, but in reality, he was discharged after only 44 days of service, never stepping foot in Iraq.
Macbeth was sentenced to five months in prison for fraudulently collecting more than $10,000 in benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to The AP.
United States conservatives have dominated talk radio and its ardent political debate, but Democrats have begun to fight back against popular radio hosts like Limbaugh who may play a role in the 2008 presidential election. Democrats are attacking the conservative radio host and believe that he has crossed the line with recent comments about anti-war soldiers and African Americans.
More than 40 congressional Democrats signed a letter sent to the liberal media watchdog organization, Media Matters, asking that Mr. Limbaugh’s remarks be renounced. Democrats also took to the Senate floor to demand an apology from Limbaugh for his remarks.
Krista Herald, a senior communications major at John Carroll University said, “The Senate should spent it’s time worrying about legislative business instead of criticizing a private citizen.”
According to The AP, Mark P. Mays, president of Clear Channel, the parent company of Limbaugh’s broadcast, responded to the letter where Democrats called on the network “to publicly repudiate” comments made by Limbaugh “that call into question the service and sacrifice of troops who oppose the war in Iraq.”
Mays also came to Limbaugh’s aid by telling Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that while he isn’t certain who Limbaugh was referring to when he used the term “phony soldiers,” the radio talk show host does have a long history of supporting U.S. troops.