Limbaugh and Huckabee Say Obama Women Should Be Groped

The Transportation Security Administration’s reputation has been plummeting rapidly into an abyss these last few weeks. In addition to ongoing and widespread resistance to new “enhanced” security measures imposed by the TSA, police in Atlanta began an investigation today into allegations that a TSA official kidnapped and sexually assaulted a woman passing through Hartsfield-Jackson airport.

And among all of this TSA wreckage, Rush Limbaugh thought it appropriate to suggest President Obama take one of his young daughters to an airport to “have a TSA grope her.”

According to Limbaugh, this would “show it’s safe for everybody, just like he did in the Gulf with the oil spill.”

And then there’s Mike Huckabee, who proposed that Obama take his wife, daughters and mother-in-law to Washington Reagan National Airport to undergo body scans and public pat-downs. Huckabee said:

If it’s OK for your wife, your daughters and your mother-in-law, then maybe the rest of us won’t feel so bad when our wives, our daughters and our mothers are being put through this humiliating and degrading, totally unconstitutional, intrusion of their privacy.

If this was supposed to be some kind of sincere, concerned-citizen approach to political criticism, it failed.

Why target only the women and girls in President Obama’s family for hypothetical public humiliation and traumatization? Why not senior members of the Obama administration, or President Obama himself? Because it wouldn’t be as shameful. The Fox News comments are informed by the assumption that women’s bodies belong to the men in their lives (husbands or fathers), and any public exposure of those bodies (when not sanctioned by men) is dishonorable and shameful for their male “owners.” The same logic, that public exposure of women’s sexuality is shameful, drove the recent rejection of ads on network TV for a product designed to increase women’s sexual arousal. Men can dance in the streets to promote Viagra in TV commercials–but a product to aid women’s sexual activity? Shameful.

Add racism to the mix: Huckabee’s remarks are an eerie echo of slavery-era tropes in which sexual humiliation, assault and rape of Black women were used as tools of domination and emasculation of Black men by white slave owners–not to mention the horrific effects of sexual violence on Black women themselves. White men’s sexual ownership of Black women’s bodies was used to assert power and control over Black men, to challenge their supposed “sexual prowess” (another racist stereotype). By “owning” Black women’s bodies, white men put Black men “in their place,” shaming and subordinating them via women’s sexuality.

So I wonder, is putting President Obama “in his place” the goal of Limbaugh and Huckabee’s strong-arm, bludgeoning approach? Because any legitimate argument Huckabee and Limbaugh might be making against the TSA procedures is invalidated by insidious racism and sexism.

Image via WikiMedia Commons.


  1. Truly, truly disgusting, though not in the least surprising.

  2. I think the idea of those comments is not necessarily about the sexual assault of women that Obama owns. I think it's about the atrocity of sanctioned sexual assault on women that Obama cares about. Let's face it, the sexual assault of women is far higher than that of men, we get at least remarks every day, if not worse, so to be honest I'm more upset by the idea of having to undergo these new tsa methods myself, or to have my nana go throught them, than I am about my boyfriend having to, or my dad. I would feel incredibly ashamed to be groped
    In such a way but to have no recourse because, essentially, I had agreed to it by agreeing to fly here.

    • But shame about being groped when you don't want to be isn't just a female issue. Men can feel humiliated by that as well. Because it's impersonal, uncomfortable and infringes on your personal space.

      But either way – yeah, stay classy, there, Rush – you pompous gasbag douche.

  3. While I laud Ms. Hallett's contextualization of women's bodies, and black women's bodies in particular, as patriarchy-owned objects, I have to agree with the haters this time around. No doubt Limbaugh and Huckabee are coming from a paternalistic place here, but their anger is well-founded. This IS humiliating and degrading treatment. And, since women suffer a disproportionate amount of sexual abuse, appealing to that concern seems fair. Huckabee and Limbaugh obviously have a huge male fan-base. Appealing to men's concerns and sympathy for women they love is a fair and reasonable tactic. Declaring that this sympathy is merely a function of male ideas of ownership is reductive and unfair to feminist men.

    • It’s interesting that Rush and Mike didn’t say a word when their guy, George W said he has the right to arrest and imprison(and turture) and detain forever without charge and in secret, any US citizen whom he thinks is a suspected terrorist. (W did it to Jose Padilla.) Compare that loss of rights to this. The full body scan on 2% of fliers is the most effective technology so far to stopping a bomb. (And the person looking at the scan is in a different room) This whole outrage thing is political by the anti-Obama right wing GOP to fire up their ignorant anti-governmnet base. It’s distgusting. I can imagine if someone with a bomb gets on a plane and does damage. We will never hear the end of it from Rush about how Obama didn’t protect us! Gimme a break!

    • Huckabee and Limbaugh will use anything that comes down the pipe to further their own agenda and divert attention away from the real issue with the TSA policy. Someone is making A LOT of money selling x-ray machines when they could use other, much less expensive methods to detect explosives. Huckabee and Limbaugh couldn't care less is women or men are being groped at the airport.

  4. mrjaniewatkins says:

    I wish that Limbaugh or Huckabee would try groping my wife, she's an amateur kick boxer, they would wind up on there ass.

  5. Barbara Hustson says:

    I think that if the current president of the United States were white, Rush would not have challenged the president to take his wife and daughters for body searches at the airport.
    What he did say is intolerable.

  6. @TalesofthePack….paternalistic? …are you serious? Let's compare apples to apples…and not to pears.
    If these two insensitive jerks had dared to say that George Bush should have taken his Mom Barbara and his Wife (or his two daughters) to New Orleans to the stadium during Katrina, so they could experience how the people at the stadium at Katrina felt….You probably would have had a fit. HAVE SOME RESPECT FOR THE OFFICE…if not for the person sitting in it. Both of these disrespectful idiots need to be retired.


  7. William says:

    Rush and Huckabee should get a room together and……….each other off!!

  8. Perhaps Rush and Huck should both go to the airport to have a full orifice checking out … and see how they like That! Oh, maybe not. They’d probably enjoy it.

    As you were.

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