Sometimes we hear of things said by public figures on the airwaves that must be challenged. Even if these statements are said by someone of our own side of the political aisle. Or, maybe that is when it is even more important to speak up. You decide.
What caught my attention, as it did the national media and politicians in Washington, D.C. was a particular monologue spoken by conservative radio talk show Rush Limbaugh. To say this could have all been avoided is an understatement. It does beg the question, though, as to what Limbaugh will not do to garner more publicity than usual.
No stranger to controversy, Limbaugh jumped into the popular and timely subject of religious freedom and women's health care mandates. The Obama administration has decided to ram Obamacare mandates into the health insurance coverage business and one that has been particularly controversial is the new mandate that all institutions and colleges, religious or not, must provide a benefit of contraception for women employees. While liberals see this as a women's rights issue, conservatives see it as one of a huge trampling on the right of religious freedom.
Naturally, liberals being the side that feels entitled to every want and at the expense of the American taxpayer, one young woman, a law student at Georgetown Law School, testified that the cost of birth control was prohibitive to college students. Her idea was that she should be provided birth control for free in her health insurance benefits, even though she is a student at a Catholic university and on a "public interest scholarship", as she described it.
Sandra Fluke is an articulate young future lawyer. She testified before a panel of Democratic members of the House of Representatives who were putting on a dog and pony show committee hearing. They were led by Nancy Pelosi who is pushing the meme that only men were allowed to testify about the new mandates in a previous House hearing. It is a lie but that never stopped Pelosi as she pursues her own political ideology.
Fluke stated that the cost of birth control per year without insurance coverage would end up depleting almost a summer's worth of salary. Having been a broke college student myself in a previous life, I can symphatize with her situation. I cannot, however, agree that tax money should pay for birth control mandates through religious institutions or colleges. I also doubt the cost of birth control - $3,000 for the three years of law school. I think that is way too high and she can obtain birth control lots of places quite cheap. But, we'll leave that point for another time.
As a fiscal conservative, I would instead encourage her to use such organizations available to help low income women, such as Planned Parenthood, or any of the providers under Title X. Even if it was not completely free, it would be only a few dollars per month. They are there to service women like Ms. Fluke. And, as an activist Republican woman, I would take the opportunity to speak of conservative political thought and how the two parties have different visions of personal responsibility and taxpayer responsibility.
Instead of taking the opportunity to persuade Ms. Fluke to a more conservative line of thinking, Rush Limbaugh went off the deep end and decided to lob personal insults to the young woman. Instead of educating her on the meritless philosophy of the gimme gimme culture, he decided to call her a slut. He referred to her as a prostitute, since she wanted others to pay for her sexual behavior. He then demanded that she make videos available of her sex life as payment for "free" birth control.
Limbaugh didn't help conservatives in this battle at all. He threw gasoline on the fire, as he often does to reap higher ratings and more publicity. He is a talk show host who can do much good by providing a source of civil discourse as he educates on conservative philosophy. Instead he looks like a misogynist and a bully. He does no one any favors with this behavior. Republicans are trying to shine the light on a true violation of our freedoms. Democrats are trying to deflect it and pursue the agenda of universal health care which is not free at all. The taxpayer foots the bills.
Limbaugh's tirade brought President Obama into the fray and presented him with a talking point in his campaign speeches. Ms. Fluke, who would not be a story at all otherwise, is now pursued by liberal media outlets and is reaping her fifteen minutes of fame. She is being portrayed as a hero for women and their health care coverage.
The elections of 2012 are crucial to the economic health of our nation. This is no time to provide fuel to the opposition. And, most importantly, Republicans have to demand the same that we demand of Democrats - civil dialogue and not personal attacks.