Humphrey Bogart, reprising the role of detective Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon, battled evil in the Sidney Greenstreet character of Kaspar Gutman, aka “the fat man”. Though bested by Bogart’s character, “the fat man” slipped away to Istanbul, no doubt to prepare for a sequel.
What about real life? Can college coed Sandra Fluke bring down the fat man of conservative radio: the bombastic, foul-mouthed, mean-spirited Rush Limbaugh? Have his comments degenerated beyond chronic bad taste into the legal realm of slander?
Sandra Fluke is the law student from Georgetown University who was prepared to offer testimony before the Issa Committee on contraception, but she was excluded and only five conservative men were allowed to speak. Later, she was invited back and offered testimony to a House Democratic committee. She testified in favor of health insurance coverage that included contraceptives without a co-pay.
It was her testimony before that committee that caused Limbaugh to become ballistic.
What does it say about the college coed Susan [sic] Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.
In my former law practice, I never handled a slander case, but I know they are generally very difficult to pursue, especially against public figures. But I hope she does it. I hope she sues the blathering idiot.
We could echo journalist Edward R. Murrow’s ringing challenge to a fat man bully of an earlier time, Joseph McCarthy–Have you no decency?— but in the case of Rush Limbaugh, the answer is only too clear.