Earlier this week, a petition appeared on the taxpayer-funded White House web site, demanding that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta pull Rush Limbaugh’s show off the Armed Forces Radio Network because he insulted Saint Sandra of the Infinitely Subsidized Happiness. This initially caused a great deal of consternation, because it appeared the President was actively seeking to suppress the free speech of a private citizen.
However, it turned out that anyone can create a petition on the White House web site. Conservative humorist Iowahawk was delighted to learn this, and promptly created a one-word petition directed at President Obama: “Resign.” The White House web administrators can and do remove user-created petitions on occasion, but as of this writing, both the anti-Limbaugh and Iowahawk petitions remain active. It appears that the Limbaugh petition did not originate with the President, but his people also have not taken any action to remove it.
It didn’t take long before a Democrat politician with considerable influence did weigh in, however. That would be Senator Carl Levin, who is the chairman of the Armed Services Committee. He told CNN that he’s all in favor of purging dissent… but at least for the moment, he doesn’t “think” he’d legislate against it.
Levin, a generally liberal Democrat from Michigan whose top spot on Armed Services makes him very influential inside the Pentagon, said he would “love” to see the program dropped, but he doesn’t think it should be up to Congress to pass a law to make it happen.
“I think that is probably an issue that should be left to the folks that run that network,” he said. “In other words, I’d love to see them drop it but I don’t think I’d legislate it.”
The liberal leaning advocacy group Vote Vets and other progressive voices in the blogosphere have called for the AFN to drop Limbaugh’s program.
Levin said he was “delighted” so many advertisers had pulled their commercials from the program.
(Emphasis mine.) Well, it’s a relief to know that a powerful Senate committee chairman still “thinks” the First Amendment protects people who disagree with him. He’s willing to entertain the notion that it should be left up to the people that actually run the Armed Forces Radio Network, instead of writing laws that specifically target one individual.
Now that we’ve cleared up a bit of time in your legislative schedule, Senator Levin, do you think you could huddle with the rest of your party and maybe… oh, I don’t know, write a budget for the federal government? You know, the duty your party has disgracefully failed to perform for going on three years?
But Levin doesn’t mind saying he’s “delighted” that Limbaugh has supposedly lost advertisers. Don’t ruin Levin’s day by replaying Limbaugh’s on-air update of the “boycott” from earlier this week, when he explained that most of these advertisers were local accounts that have no great impact on his national show, he’s still signing new national advertisers, and he’s doing just fine.
I dropped by the Armed Forces Radio Network web site, and discovered the following message posted at the top of their on-air page:
Limbaugh’s name in this message is a hyperlink to a “Boycott Rush” web site.
AFN-Europe also has a web page, which includes their radio schedule. They run one hour of his program weekdays at 20:00.
Right before Ed Schultz at 21:00.
You remember Ed Schultz, right? He’s the foaming-at-the-mouth liberal who called Laura Ingraham a slut. He didn’t use the word in a satirical rant. He called her a slut, directly and unambiguously. This burst of misogyny was so disturbing to liberals that Barbara Walters literally laughed it off. Does Carl Levin think Schultz belongs on Armed Forces Radio?