As few as possible. Wow. Where to begin? Maybe, more to the point, what can I say that hasn't been more than adequately said elsewhere?
Ultimately, all I can do is be amazed.
Amazed that a man who has abused pain-killers and used Viagra can have the gall to criticize the health insurance needs of anyone, and pretend that taxpayers are inconvenienced by a President who has asked for insurance companies to bear the cost of contraception (something that many of them do in the first place).
Amazed that he can insist that he has some kind of right to watch Sandra Fluke to have sex in return for guaranteed access to contraception. Perhaps we have a right to see the effect of Viagra on Rush? Or to get some sort of confirmation regarding his own sexual preferences (a subject I've raised before).
Amazed that George Will, no paragon of consistency himself, has perhaps the best political take on all of this (take a look).
But amazed, in the first and foremost instance, that someone whose popularity has never been reliably verified is as feared and heeded to the extent that Rush Limbaugh has been for the past two decades or more. He's been spewing this level of venom about women in general and specific women in particular for years. Why has it taken this long for the unchecked rise of his power to end?
Perhaps its because the Rush Limbaughs of the conservative movement have moved from the rumble seat of the Republican Party to the driver's seat. They now have more power, so they can't be dismissed as harmless "entertainers" who are nevertheless useful when the base needs to be fired up.
But it isn't just those on the right who have tolerated him for too long. We on the left have done so, too. We imagined, as we so often mistakenly do, that someone so obviously repulsive would burn himself out quickly, thanks to the collective wisdom of the American people. The trouble, however, is that the people simply aren't that wise. For the most part, politically, they are intellectually lazy, easily bored and impressed only by bluster.
This is why we need to be ready, at all times, to push back. Hard. Without regard to consequence. Before a law student named Sandra Fluke becomes subjected to unconscionable abuse simply for exercising her right to be heard. And before the Rush Limbaughs of the world destroy the potential for civil discourse that democracy needs to live--or die.
Although, on occasion, God is good. Rest in peace, Mr. Breitbart. Not all of your victims will be able to share that peace.