Every other week or so for years, I’d encounter
this astonishingly creepy guy at the convenience
store near my Arlington, Va., apartment in the
With a grease-fed gut in full bloom, matted
hair and funeral-home-pale skin, this middle-aged
man would haul himself to the convenience store
and buy the same three things — every time:
two 12-packs of beer, a bag of Cheetos and a
king’s ransom of porn magazines like Juggs and
The trifecta of purchases conjured up disturbing
images of the way Cheeto Creep clearly intended
to spend the evening. And I doubt he washed
the coagulated synthetic cheese from his paws
before he ripped into Juggs. I wouldn’t have
shaken his hand on a bet — or in a HazMat suit.
You get the picture. Sorry.
Fortunately, having been back in Iowa since
1996, I haven’t thought of Cheeto Creep for
nearly two decades — although I still duck when
offered a Cheeto.
But this changed last week, thanks to Rush Limbaugh.
Ignoring Richard Nixon’s wise rule that public
figures should never attack those with lesser
standing and power than themselves for risk
of appearing the bully, Limbaugh assailed Sandra
Fluke, a Georgetown University Law School student,
for testifying about contraception before a
“What does it say about the college co-ed 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? Makes her a prostitute. She wants
to be paid to have sex,” Limbaugh said last
Wednesday on his radio show.
Lost in the furor over Limbaugh’s slut-shaming
is the most revealing comment of the ugly episode.
Call it Rush Limbaugh’s Cheetos moment.
“If we are going to pay for your contraceptives,
thus pay for you to have sex, we want something
for it, and I’ll tell you what it is: We want
you to post the videos online so we can all
watch,” Limbaugh said Thursday.
The question no one is asking is this: Just
how does Rush Limbaugh plan to use the videos
he wants Fluke and other women on contraception
to provide for his pleasure? Does he want the
video submissions to stop with women, or is
he interested in rolling tape of Georgetown
fraternity guys who may have wrapped up with
Ramses or Trojans?
The slut comment is outrageous. But soliciting
sex videos of women who want access to contraception
reveals Limbaugh for what he is: a man who has
transactional relationships with women.
As Fluke pointed out in her House panel testimony,
not all women are on birth control, for, well,
“In the worst cases, women who need these medications
for other medical conditions suffer very dire
consequences,” Fluke testified. “A friend of
mine, for example, has polycystic ovarian syndrome,
and she has to take prescription birth control
to stop cysts from growing on her ovaries.”
Fluke added, “Without her taking the birth control,
a massive cyst the size of a tennis ball had
grown on her ovary. She had to have surgery
to remove her entire ovary as a result.”
Does Limbaugh want video of this, too?
Republicans have a major Limbaugh problem. He
has been far more than an “entertainer,” as
Rick Santorum and other party leaders now conveniently
categorize their bellicose ally.
So much for Republican strategist and Mitt Romney
pal Mike Murphy’s dash-off claim on “Meet The
Press” Sunday that Limbaugh can’t even deliver
a pizza on election day.
He may have delivered single women in droves
for President Obama in November. You can’t walk
back the term “slut,” as there is never an acceptable
occasion for its usage in the public arena.
For the better part of a week, we’ve heard Limbaugh
whale around in the role of the victim.
It’s funny, though, there’s no blood on his
hands. Just a bright-orange, manufactured, caked-on
cheesy residue. CV
Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa
newspaperman who writes for The Carroll Daily
Times Herald and offers columns for Cityview.