Sometimes, journalists and pundits resort to extended metaphor in order to explain otherwise dry but consequential moments in politics. Sometimes, that pundit is Rush Limbaugh, and he decides to compare Harry Reid's filibuster rule change vote in the Senate yesterday to rape. Limbaugh brought out the analogy on Friday on his radio show, in order to explain why allowing some of President Obama's judicial nominees to pass the Senate with a simple majority is exactly like passing a rule allowing women in an imaginary room to be raped.
Because comparing the filibuster vote to nuclear annihilation wasn't exciting enough, Limbaugh creates a hypothetical room of four women and six men. That room has a rule: "that the men cannot rape the women," Limbaugh says, adding, "the group also has a rule that says any rule that will be changed must require six votes of the ten to change the rule." Apparently, at least one of the men in the room really wants to rape the women, so Limbaugh's comparison continues thusly:
Well the guy that kept proposing that women be raped finally got tired of it, he was in the majority, and he said "You know what? we're gonna change the rule. Now all we need is five." And the women said, "you can't do that," — "Yes we are, we're the majority, we're changing the rule." And they vote. Can the women be raped? Well, all it would take then is half the room.
The analogy is disturbing for a number of reasons, not the least of which is Limbaugh's seeming assumption that five men out of six would happily vote to legalize raping women if they could. And there's the minor quibble of the purpose and impact of Reid's rule-change vote: the change only affects the votes for certain nominees. It does not affect whether men will be able to rape women at will.