Full disclosure: I'm a regular listener to Rush Limbaugh. I enjoy his political perspective and humor, and am generally impressed with his treatment of his callers, which non-listeners might not know is overwhelmingly respectful and cordial, even when he disagrees with them on the issues.
And I know that this means that I have a certain bias. I'm familiar with Rush's arguments, and it's easy for me to place comments that he makes into the context of what I know to be his world view.
That's not to excuse his calling Sandra Fluke offensive and inappropriate terms. Beyond being rude, it distracted from the central discussion of what's at stake with this HHS mandate.
From listening to Rush, I know what point he wanted to make. He wanted to highlight the absurdity of women, under the banner of feminism, who want to be seen as independent as they try to force other people to pay for their choices and lifestyle. Painting yourself as a victim for having to figure out how to buy your own contraception, especially when you are enrolled at one of the nation's most prestigious law schools, is pretty difficult to mesh with the idea of true independence. Grossly exaggerating the costs of contraception invites jokes—childish to be sure—about how exactly one could run up such a tab.
But Rush shouldn't have resorted to name calling. He has much better ammo than that. He knows this, and he has apologized to Sandra Fluke, and to the public more broadly, and I believe those apologies are sincere.
Is this the end of the story?
It really should be, but as Charlotte described perfectly in her oped on Townhall yesterday, the Left doesn't want to move beyond the Sandra Fluke controversy, because they want to continue to pump up the idea that the Right is hostile to women and wants to deny women their rightful sexual freedom. They know they lose if they actually have to defend the idea of a government that can decree that religious employers have to provide employees the morning-after-pill, but they win if they can paint debates about government's role in our health care system as some undefined “war on women.”
Kristin Powers did the world a service yesterday in pulling together some of the hideous, misogynistic statements made by liberal icons, which the mainstream media yawns at and feminist groups ignore, because apparently its okay for their guys to call women (particularly conservative women) nasty names, since they also pay lip-service to the feminists big government agenda.
At times, it seems pointless to highlight the complete double standards of the feminist movement and the mainstream media on such matters. It's a fact of life, and it will always be that liberals can get away with things that conservatives just can't.
Yet Powers article helps at least to expose just how bogus this whole “war on women” mantra is. Liberals and their media allies see it as a political gold mine. If the real issue really were the public treatment of women and name calling, outrage would have begun long ago and Limbaugh wouldn't be the primary target.
I wish we could move beyond name calling about name calling and back to the profoundly important question of government's proper role in dictating what we must and must not buy and do. But so long as we are debating the public slurring of women, we should recognize who the guiltiest parties are.