Most of the time, I am a bemused observer of the nation’s politics. But sometimes the hypocrisy and outright lies offered up by the left leave me spitting with rage. The completely false argument over contraception now burbling along in Washington is one such case.
I addressed this issue a few weeks ago, before it went through the Democrats’ inversion. At the time, I pointed out that the core issue was the arrogance of the Obama administration in assuming for themselves the power to determine whether the public interest in paying for contraception and abortifacents merits violating Catholics’ religious principles.
Recall that the response of the White House to the unexpectedly widespread furor was a fig leaf: put money in your left pocket, then take money from your right pocket to pay for the Pills. Recall also that the nation’s religious leaders saw the phony accommodation for what it was and continue to speak out against it.
Here is where the Inversion began.
Republicans in Congress stepped in to support freedom of religion, offering the Blunt Amendment to a transportation bill, which essentially affirmed the current state of law: that the federal government may not force employers to violate their conscience in order to comply with its laws – in this case, Obamacare. You might have thought this is such Constitutional mom-and-apple-pie that it would occasion little dispute. You could not have been more wrong.
Senate Democrats painted the bill as an attack on contraception itself, and its supporters as women-hating Neanderthals. Charles Schumer of New York: “The Republican Party suddenly wants to turn back the clock and take away contraception from women.” “This amendment … would ban contraception coverage for any woman in America whose boss has a personal objection to it.” “Some 20 million American women could be cut off from health services by this proposal.” Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey: The GOP wants to go back to “the Dark Ages … when women were property that you could easily control, trade even, if you wanted to.”
Lies, all of it. Any woman suffering the woeful fate of toiling for, say, Georgetown University would have to – horrors! – pay for her own birth control pills, which continue to be offered at every drug store in the city, and plenty of other places besides. Exactly as women have done for the forty years since the Pill was invented. I’m sure women had no idea how much they had been persecuted all that time.
But it got worse. Democrats trotted out the latest incarnation of Cindy Sheehan – a left-wing activist masquerading as everywoman – in the person of Sandra Fluke, student at Georgetown Law. She informed the credulous Congressmen that birth control was a right that should be provided free of charge, and cited a preposterous $3,000 three-year cost (about ten times the price down the street at Target) were she to pay for it herself. Too bad the committee didn’t have any quick-witted female aides on hand who could have put her straight.
It’s a stretch to call this a health care issue, anyway. With the exception of those for whom birth control pills control pains or cramping and the like, their main purpose is to facilitate having sex. And again, there is no question of somehow banning birth control – that is a completely phony issue the Dems cooked up to scare people (do you remember the Mediscare ads where Paul Ryan pushes grandma and her wheelchair off a cliff?). The issue is who pays for it. Is fear-free sex something for which a Catholic institution must abandon principles the church has maintained for hundreds of years?
This is what Rush Limbaugh was digging at in his regrettable – and now regretted – remarks the other day. Sandra Fluke wants somebody else to foot the bill for her to have worry-free sex. His fixation on the issue was way over the top – three days of virtually non-stop vituperation. To some degree, it’s what his listeners expect. And despite the sponsor flight, it probably won’t harm his career in the long run.
But it was a blunder all the same, because it feeds into the liberals’ reframing the issue from religious freedom, a sure winner for the right, into one of Republicans-hate-women, as preposterous as that truly is. Apparently, when we are not busy being racists, we conservatives devise schemes to keep women barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen – if not outright chattel we can sell with the house.
Sure enough, like wasps disturbed from their nest, the critics swarmed, demanding denunciation of Limbaugh (to me, it was spookily similar to the way the Chinese Communists demanded that children denounce their parents during the Cultural Revolution). He was just lucky that Fluke was not black – remember how Al Sharpton publicly flayed Don Imus for a careless, off-the-cuff remark? Once you start apologizing to that lot, you’ve conceded all rights of self-defense and the only question is how large is the pound of flesh they’ll take.
The legions of Sandra Fluke’s defenders even included President Obama, who let it be known that he had favored her with a personal call so his little daughters knew it was OK to speak your mind. They also included three of the original feminists, Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, and Robin Morgan, who called upon the FCC to declare that Limbaugh had forfeited his First Amendment rights by being such a bad boy and to remove him from the airwaves. Fighting back against conservatives and their war on women.
I’d be more impressed if the outrage actually rose in defense of all women, instead of certain (progressive) women only. Lord knows, there has been plenty of the vilest slander thrown at conservative women. Michelle Malkin, a columnist of Filipino heritage, who has been on the receiving end of more than her share of racist calumny (“Manila whore” is evidently a common epithet) has been kind enough to gather details:
Gloria Steinem calling Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson “a female impersonator.” Apparently she did not turn herself in to the FCC.
Matt Taibi, writer for the Rolling Stone on Malkin: “I imagine her narrating her text, book-on-tape style, with a big, hairy set of (redacted) in her mouth.” No soothing call from the President, evidently.
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz on Laura Ingraham: a “talk slut.”
MSNBC’s Keith Olberman on columnist S. E. Cupp: “A perfect demonstration of the necessity of the work that Planned Parenthood does.”
Liberal Wisconsin talk show host John Sylvester on Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch: “performed fellatio on all the talk show hosts in Milwaukee.”
Sylvester on Condoleezza Rice: “Aunt Jemima.”
And then there’s Playboy, which gets a total pass for committing the original feminist sin of sexual objectification of women, and publishes a thoughtful piece on the top ten conservative women who deserve to be “hate-f***ed.”
Not to mention virtually anything said about Sarah Palin. You get the idea.
As Bob Dole rather plaintively said, “Where’s the outrage?” Apparently, it all depends on who is tossing about the near-obscenities. So let’s be honest. No one has more right to claim the mantle of misogynist than those who sit on the left of the aisle.
The shame of it is, this should really be a debate about government overreach and freedom of religion. You have to give the Democrats credit – they did a great job of changing the subject.