Talk-show giant Rush Limbaugh sharply escalated his war of words with Democrats in the Senate Tuesday, calling for the resignation of Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.
He also characterized as "boneheaded" Reid's effort to enlist senators to pressure Limbaugh's syndicator, Clear Channel Communications, to censor him.
"And the thing that we ought to demand here," Limbaugh told his listeners, "is that Harry Reid step down and resign as the leader of the Democrats in the Senate, for his constant, uncontrollable contempt of our armed forces; his repeated use of our troops for political purposes. Harry Reid has failed in his mission to lead the Democrats in the Senate, to get what they want . . . He is the one who is dishonoring the troops; he is the one who is making a mockery of their service."
Reid has charged that Limbaugh called America's service personnel in Iraq "phony soldiers."
Limbaugh's remarks appeared to actually refer to a specific soldier, Jesse Macbeth, who appeared in a YouTube video stating that he and other American soldiers had killed Iraqi civilians. Macbeth was later sentenced to five months in prison for falsifying his service record.
Joining Reid's broadside against Limbaugh on the floor of the Senate was Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who suggested that perhaps Limbaugh was "high on his drugs again" when he made the "phony soldiers" statement. Limbaugh called Harkin's remarks "pathetic."
Limbaugh responded: "[It was] such a demeaning thing that [Harkin] did and so below the decorum and the stature one would associated with the United States Senate. But that's what these people have become."
Limbaugh called him "Tom 'Phony-War-Hero' Harkin."
"What do I mean by that? He lied about being in Vietnam in combat," Limbaugh said.
Limbaugh told his listeners that the attack on him was actually intended to distract the activist base from the inability of Democratic leaders to stop the war in Iraq, and the historically low ratings of the Democratic-controlled Congress.
"The left, ladies and gentlemen, is imploding," Limbaugh said. "They are fixated in taking down anyone and anything in the process — me, General Petraeus, anyone they think stands in the way of their ascension to the White House, and their further consolidation of power. They are Stalinist-like.
"Anyone who says something they don't want to hear, that they don't like, must be officially condemned by the state, publicly. Even private citizens who get in their way, in the free market, must be condemned, must be smeared, must be lied about."
Limbaugh also said Reid and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and other Middle East leaders, are employing a common tactic: distracting supporters from their own failures.
"Ahmadinejad in Iran, no different," Limbaugh said. "He needs the Great Satan to hang onto control there. Harry Reid needs to do the same thing. Both men, Ahmadinejad and Harry Reid, have been disappointments, miserable failures to the people they claim to lead. Both of them are in trouble, and their publicity stunts prove it."
Limbaugh said Reid has a "long, sorry record of abandoning troops on the battlefield. What do you think 55 resolutions to bring the troops home since they took office in January of this year is about? It's about defeat, it was about destroying this presidency, it was about using the U.S. military to advance his own party's political fortunes."
Limbaugh repeated his invitation for Reid to appear on his show. "Come on the program, say those things to my face, and let's discuss this," Limbaugh urged.
"Harry Reid challenged my patriotism yesterday," he added. "He did so openly and blatantly on the floor of the United States Senate."
He added, "Everyone of us who loves this country should be outraged at the things these Democrats have said, the things that they have tried to do. And it's laughable to watch them now try to redeem themselves as supporters of the United States military, after months and months and months of proclaiming the surge a failure, after calling General Petraeus essentially a liar before he had said a word before them when he came to issue the report they required on the effects of the surge."
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