Sally brought to our attention the story of Ms. Sandra Fluke, late of Georgetown Law and undoubtedly soon to be practicing law alongside Gloria Alred. There has been much made of this story over the past few days, and I've been trying to digest it in order to comment coherently. This is my attempt to do so.
First and foremost, Rush Limbaugh's comments were despicable, reprehensible, ungentlemanly, immoderate, and not worthy of the Conservative movement, this blog, or anyone who considers themselves to be engaging in thoughtful political debate. Period. Full stop.
Second, while Mr. Limbaugh's attacks on the character of this woman rise were out of bounds, there is plenty of grist for political and ideological debate arising from her testimony. Had Mr. Limbaugh simply confined his remarks to that--he could potentially have advanced the debate. Instead, an excellent opportunity to expose the vapidity of her views was lost in his ad hominem attack.
Third, President Obama's phone call to Ms. Fluke was simultaneously an almost required act of chivalry and a grasping act of political opportunism. It was pure genius, it was smarmy, and it resonated.
Fourth, Republicans are going to get their clocks cleaned on this issue--if they haven't already done so--if they fail to frame this issue as derived of 1) freedom of conscience and 2) government over-reach. The minute it becomes one of 1) women's health or worse, 2) sexual freedom--Republicans have lost.
I have written before here of the increasing dependency relationship between the government and the middle class in this country. Whereas the middle class could thirty years ago point to the "welfare queen" as the symbol of government largess, it must now point firmly at itself, what with subsidized student loans, child care tax credits, tax credits for having children, tuition tax credits and now--with as advanced by Ms. Fluke--the obligation to provide birth control without cost. Putting aside the enormous constitutional issues raised in the Catholic Church's view that forcing it to offer insurance plans that cover birth control, sterilization and abortafacients is contrary to their practice of religious freedom--the notion that a woman deserves birth control from her insurance plan WITHOUT ANY CO-PAYMENT strikes me as yet again, another instance of the entitlement society run amok. If--as the left would have us believe--this is a women's health issue--than why are they not rejecting co-payments for ALL medication? That's the issue here, folks. The federal government has dictated that all insurance plans must provide FREE (as in, no co-pay) birth control. To me--while the constitutional issue with the Catholic Church is an important one, there's another issue at stake here, the one that questions at its face, the power of the federal government to dictate ANYTHING like what it is doing with birth control. And let us put what seems to be the left's favorite rejoinder aside immediately; since I do not believe that the government has MANDATED co-payless Viagra for males anywhere.
We are sinking into a pit of entitlement. Ms. Fluke is just the latest troubadour.
UPDATE: Apparently, some of our readers are unfamiliar with the Obama Administration's requirement that health insurance plans provide birth control without co-pay. Read up, folks.