Fox News' Chris Wallace Takes Heat Over "Sarah Palin Lap" Comment

| by Reason Foundation

Trawling the lefty blogs today, I see that everyone—TPM, Think Progress writer Amanda Terkel, Oliver Willis, Media Matters, Huffington Post—is outraged that Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace worked blue on the Don Imus radio show. Imus asks if Sarah Palin will "sit on his lap" during her first appearance on Wallace's Sunday chatfest (yeah, this is as funny as it gets). Wallace replies: "One can only hope." Badabing! You can listen to the clip at any of the links above.

Horrifying, eh?

Andrew Sullivan is outraged too, though this time at radio host Rush Limbaugh, who apparently made a dirty joke that our 40th president never would have made. (And Amanda Terkel is on the case too, ferreting out the sexism of America's czar of "hate radio"). In an interview with CNN's Gretchen Carlson, Limbaugh swatted away suggestions that he was a knuckle-dragging misogynist with a joke about asses: 

CARLSON: So for those who were critics of you in judging this pageant, and saying that you haven’t been a supporter of women in the past —

LIMBAUGH: Oh, I’m a huge supporter of women. What I’m not a supporter of is liberalism. Feminism is what I oppose, and feminism has led women astray. I love women. I don’t know where all this got started. I love the women’s movement — especially when walking behind it. This idea that I don’t like women is absurd. This is Miss America. And if there’s a Mr. America out there, it’s me.

Sullivan sighs: "Imagine Reagan saying something like that. You can't, can you?" The comment might be boorish (I am not a good judge of such things), but seriously—it's a joke...from a radio host. And actually, I can imagine Reagan making such a horribly insensitive crack about ladies' asses, just not in public. He was, after all, the president. As Reagan biographer Richard Reeves wrote, "Reagan and [Vice President George H.W.] Bush had had lunch most weeks, eating Mexican food, telling dirty jokes, and talking sports most of the time." In his anti-Reagan book Sleepwalking Through History, former Washington Post columnist Haynes Johnson writes that among "his vast repertoire of stories were innumerable raunchy ones that he told with pleasure and at great length." In Dutch, Edward Morris relates that Reagan used to tell rude jokes—"gross stuff"—in front of women.

In other words, he was history's greatest monster.

But regardless, if there is anything more tedious than over-the-top Reagan hagiography, it's the "Reagan never would have done that" nonsense of those supposedly defending conservative principles.