by F. Grey Parker
It was not about contraception, they insisted.
It was not an attack on two generations of cultural advancement by women, they said.
The President, they alleged, was attempting to infringe upon American's "religious rights."
At first, the Republicans, including the major Presidential candidates (examples HERE, HERE and HERE), did everything they could to jump on the bandwagon. In the insular, purist, political Hippodrome they have built, two things never occurred to them:
A. An Evangelical Dominionist attempt to impose theocratic restrictions on commercial markets in the United States might, even now, be rejected by our citizens.
B. They could do this and walk away unscathed.Just over two weeks ago, when Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) convened his now notorious Oversight Committee hearing on the matter, he was so confident of the political capital they were building that he declined to allow testimony from any women. When pressed by fellow committee member, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), to allow a female witness he had called named Sandra Fluke, Rep Issa's office responded as follows:
"As the hearing is not about reproductive rights and contraception but instead about the Administration’s actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience, he believes that Ms. Fluke is not an appropriate witness."Really?
Although it might have worked somewhat with the GOP's diminishing, rabid base, this radical Culture War scheme started to backfire.
It wasn't just a majority of the population that was against their machinations, it was also a plurality of the electorate.
No matter how many forms of pseudo-historical subterfuge the Republicans used, they were losing the argument.
Last week, Rep. Issa quietly addressed his abject failure without admitting any wrong:
"Right now there are attacks on the Constitution. Some of them are subtle, and some are less subtle. I’m just going to relate one thing to you. Last week there was a hearing that was spun, it was terrible spun. We all saw it. I won’t call it my greatest success to get a point across on behalf of the American people." EMPHASIS MINE
It was not "spun." It was reported. Americans reacted. Rep. Issa's fear of "oversight" by the people would be amusing and ironic were it not so depressing.
It's worth noting that this is the same man who responded to initial criticism by comparing himself to Martin Luther King Jr. He went from wild, zealous megalomania to "not my greatest success" in a week.
The GOP seemed to be out of air. Their fight was mostly gone. This mad, ugly little fracas in their ongoing war on women should have receded back to the slithery, dark, scary places its dedicated instigators inhabit.
But, there were rumblings among their propagandists. Since the theatrical dishonesty of their elected leaders had failed to produce results... the pundits and loudmouths began stripping the fight of its artifice and started saying what they really felt. Over the last several days, as everyone knows, the real leader of the GOP's propaganda wing decided to fire things back up.
Rush Limbaugh called Ms. Fluke a "slut," a "prostitute," and said she was "round-heeled."
As extreme as his statements were, they served as a rallying call to the rest of conservative media. After all, when Rush says jump, that's what they do:
The clip below would have been parody only a few years ago. Fox News managed not only to misrepresent Sandra Fluke's testimony but also pushed the "condoms are cheap" meme.
On Monday, Tina Korbe wrote that women who support fair coverage for contraception were actually harming other women because they, "make us sound like animals, slaves to our instincts and able to be used."
Click the link. I am not making this up.
Even worse, she bought into Craig Bannister's psychotic misogyny saying that he "did the math — and discovered that these co-eds, assuming they’re using the cheapest possible contraception, must be having sex about three times a day every day to incur that kind of expense."
The cheapest "contraception," of course, is a condom.
Again, this is a woman currying favor with her male-masters by selling the 'rubbers and fucking' meme.
Dana Loesch, still inexplicably contracted by CNN, declared on her radio program that these same women "act like they're nymphos. That's what they act like."
Not wanting to die, become infertile even while celibate, or be bedridden for a few days a month in agony is now the conservative exemplar of sexual-mania.
As decent people everywhere began to express their shock and disgust, Rush doubled down:
"D.C., Department of Health will send you free condoms and lube. So, Ms. Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here's the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it, and I'll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch."
On Friday, President Obama contacted Ms. Fluke to express his support for her grace under fire.
This was simply too much for Rush so he tripled down:
Finally, Friday evening, Bill O'Reilly jumped aboard the slut-shame train:
"Let me get this straight, Ms. Fluke, and I'm asking this with all due respect. You want me to give you my hard-earned money so you can have sex?"
No, Bill. That's not what she is saying. This is not a "new welfare" program as Rush stipulated. Your millions are safe.
The rational arguments don't work. These backward minions were revealing what was at the core of their agenda all along.
It was time for people to fight back and fight back they did. Petitions are still circulating HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE. I encourage you all to sign them if you haven't already.
By Friday evening, sponsors were dropping from Limbaugh's program. The count now stands at 7 major advertisers who have pulled their support.
The only thing that matters more to Rush than the joy he receives selling unbridled hate is the cash compensation that goes along with it. Anything that threatens his cash scares him. So it was that Rush did that rarest of things yesterday and issued what some call an "apology."
It's bullshit, of course. But it's not just longtime opponents of GOP smears and vitriol who find the "apology" to be too little too late. Long time Rush sponsor, Carbonite CEO David Friend, basically said 'not good enough:'
"No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady. Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show. We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse." EMPHASIS OURS
The pressure should be kept on until no one is left. What's more, every conservative drone who tried to a hitch a ride on this ugliness deserves the same.
Now, where were we a few weeks ago?
I seem to have forgotten in all the chatter.
In the last few days, I have heard the words "slut," and "prostitute." I have listened while conservative men and women argued that there are "free condoms and lube" everywhere. Some have even opined (the few that have acknowledged what was actually said at all) that Fluke's testimony was untruthful. There have been glib denials of the fact that 58% of "contraception" is actually pain managing or even life saving hormonal therapy and is completely unrelated to "sex."
However, I have not heard the words "religious freedom."
Of course, it was never really about that anyway. Was it?