Rush Limbaugh, a trumpeter of Scott Walker’s virtues as a Republican presidential candidate in 2016, stirred the political pot Feb. 12, 2015 with a puzzling reference to the Wisconsin governor.
In a week when Walker’s 1990 departure from Marquette University -- and the fuzzy reasons for it -- gained national attention, Limbaugh suggested that Walker simply say he dropped out in order to avoid being "accused of rape" someday.
"It seems like any man that goes to college could randomly be accused of committing rape, and whether the story's true or not doesn't matter," the conservative commentator said on his nationally syndicated radio show.
It didn’t appear that Limbaugh literally meant Walker should make such a statement.
But his juxtaposition of Walker’s lack of a degree with present concerns about rape on college campus triggered coverage from Salon, Talking Points Memo and other national media.
In addition, the liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now called on Walker to "denounce Limbaugh for his words and the flippant attitude toward violence against women that they demonstrate. Allowing Limbaugh to go unchallenged amounts to Gov. Walker ceding any moral authority to talk about violence towards women."
As of this posting, Walker had not responded to Limbaugh’s remarks and his staff hadn't replied to our request for comment. We would note that Walker’s 2015-’17 state budget recommends $2 million to increase treatment for victims of child sex trafficking, and during the 2014 campaign Walker touted efforts to reduce domestic violence.
Given the reaction to Limbaugh’s comments -- first reported by Media Matters, a liberal group that researches claims made by conservative media -- we offer our occasional feature, In Context, to look at what Limbaugh said.
Here are his comments, based on a transcript from his website:
"Meanwhile, over here we got Scott Walker, who all of a sudden is disqualified for the presidency 'cause he didn't go to college; well, he didn't finish. He abandoned college in his senior year, I think. So now he didn't go to college so he's not qualified, which is absurd. Most of the people who've gotten this country in deep trouble have come out of college. They have been taught how to mess things up in college. They have been instructed in bureaucracy and sustaining bureaucracy and never solving problems and getting credit for solving problems. They never solve anything. They came out of college.
"Back in 2012, it was contraception that led to the ‘war on women,’ the question to Mitt Romney. Now all of a sudden they're asking Scott Walker what he thinks about evolution. You know, it's about time the Republicans started turning the tables whenever they have a chance to talk to Democrats. A guy on Twitter put together a list, and it's a very helpful list, some of the crazy things Democrats say that they are never asked to either defend or explain, that they ought to be. And I, ladies and gentlemen, have that list. And I, of course, have added to it. That's coming up later on the program."
Limbaugh then talked about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremist group before turning to a topic that would lead to the rape comment.
"Speaking of that, you know, I wish women would make up their mind. I wish the feminazis would make up their minds. OK, so the feminist movement kicks off in the late sixties, and it's all about unleashing the women inside that have been held back, whatever, and that they are free now to go do anything they want to do. And so here comes our evolution, we got ’Fifty Shades of Grey' and there's bondage and stuff in it, and women are all upset about their portrayal in 'Fifty Shades of Grey,' which I thought was all about freedom and being who they were and what they wanted to do.
"It's tough, folks, it's tough to keep up with these people on the left. And you know why? You know why it's tough to keep up with liberals? Because they lie. They have to lie in order to advance their agenda. The problem is most people -- I mean, you and I, know that they lie. Most people, they're not gonna make just a dead-certain conclusion like that, so they accept what these people say, they mull it over, they consider it, they believe it, they pay no attention. But they don't zero in on the fact that pretty much all of what the left says, by and out of necessity, is a lie.
"You know, if I were Scott Walker, you know what I would say about college? I mean, he won't do this, 'cause he's a real candidate, but I would.
"Mr. Limbaugh, it's been learned here you seek the presidency and you think you're eminently qualified, but we're looking at your past, and we see here that you quit the University of Southeast Missouri in your second semester of your freshman year after refusing to take ballroom dance taught by a lesbian drill sergeant in the WACs.
"That happens to be true.
"What in the world are you thinking, Mr. Limbaugh? Why would you ignore and quit college if you had grandiose designs to become the president?
"My answer would be, I left college because I didn't want to be accused of rape someday.
"Now, he (Walker) can't say that, of course, but I mean that would just ram it right down their throats. Trying to create this rape culture on the campus.
"Well, I quit because I didn't want to be accused of rape down the road. It seems like any man that goes to college could randomly be accused of committing rape, and whether the story's true or not doesn't matter. The people who write the story say, 'Well, I may not have gotten it right here, but we know it happened.' ‘So I wanted to remove myself from this culture that might have turned me into a very mean guy.’ And just see what they say. Cram what they believe, what they claim right down their throats."
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RushLimbaugh.com, partial transcript of Limbaugh radio show, Feb. 12, 2015
One Wisconsin Now, news release, Feb. 12, 2015