Sunday, March 4, 2012

What Next? Breitbart, Rush, and Sandra Fluke

You might have noticed that I didn't write about the two shocking events that roiled the conservative movement last week, namely the shocking death of Andrew Breitbart, and the shocking apology Rush Limbaugh issued to that Georgetown Law student whom he dubbed a slut. But the intersection of those three people - Breitbart, Limbaugh, and Ms. Not Slut - deserves a passing mention. 

I think all of us agree on one thing. The presentation by Ms. Fluke (great name!) was a classic liberal maneuver where an activist masquerades as a "concerned citizen" to tell some emotionally compelling story that will put some piece of social engineering - in this case, the forcing of religious institutions to provide free contraception - over the top. It was ridiculous, not least because her presentation was little more than a couple sob stories about unnamed Georgetown students who somehow couldn't obtain contraceptives in DC. 

Rush dealt with her in the manner in which he deals with these things: with ridicule. But, in ridiculing Fluke, Rush called her a slut, something that works for the Ed Schultz's of the world, but which was a little beneath Rush's dignity. He has since apologized for the insult, but repeated his basic point that the government should not be so involved in peoples' lives that it is purchasing everyone's condoms. 

And, that's fine. 

But, in this case, I think we needed more than Rush's ridicule. We need someone to deal with the Sandra Flukes of the world at their own level. That was Breitbart's specialty. You just know that, were he alive, Sandra Fluke's life story would have been splashed across the internet before the week was out, and deservedly so. Lucky her that she chose her 15 minutes in the same week that Breitbart died. 

Does that mean, as so many have said, that the right has lost an irreplaceable warrior in the culture war. Well, yes and no. Yes, Breitbart had a lot of energy and pizzazz. But, what was doing wasn't that hard. I don't think you need to be Andrew Breitbart to know what to do with the Sandra Fluke story. Just as an example, here's a little brainstorm from RS McCain:

While everyone is focused on Limbaugh’s alleged “misogyny,” however, it seems that we are ignoring much more important questions: 
  • How and when did Fluke conduct her survey of Georgetown Law students’ alleged struggles with contraceptive costs? How many students participated in this survey? What kind of questions were asked? Was the survey conducted with a statistically valid sample? Can Fluke describe her survey’s methodology and provide us with the original questionnaires?
  • How did Fluke arrive at her $3,000 estimate of the cost of contraception? What types of contraceptives — condoms, diaphragms, pills, spermicidal foam — were included in these calculations?
  • Was Fluke aware that a monthly supply of birth-control pills could be obtained for as little as $9 a month? Are Fluke’s math skills sufficient to multiply 9 x 12 x 3 and realize that a three-year supply of pills would therefore cost $324, which is 89.2% less than her $3,000 estimate?
  • Is Fluke aware that annual full-time tuition at Georgetown Law School is $46,865, compared to which an annual cost of $108 for birth-control pills is what statisticians might call “a drop in the bucket”?
Let me be clear: I don’t think Sandra Fluke could provide credible answers to these questions, because I think Sandra Fluke lied through her teeth at that congressional hearing, and I think it’s high time people stop worrying about the alleged misogyny involved in calling someone a “slut” and start asking some hard questions about the alleged lying of Sandra Fluke. 
Ace of Spades is giving Jake Tapper hell because Tapper got an interview with Sandra Fluke and didn’t bother to ask her any hard questions about her wildly exaggerated estimate of contraceptive costs. But instead of expecting journalists to do actual journalism, here’s a wild idea: 
Aren’t Republicans a majority in the House of Representatives? Doesn’t that give them subpoena power? Couldn’t some GOP committee chairman subpoena Sandra Fluke, put her under oath, and force her to answer some hard questions under penalty of perjury
I’d sure as hell like to see that hearing, wouldn’t you? And if the House Republicans don’t give us that hearing, I’m prepared to denounce John Boehner as a gutless sissy-boy.

See, that sh*t's not hard. Sadly, there are many on the right make it look hard because many of them simply can't/won't do these sorts of things . McCain can't be the only person to think that, maybe, the way to deal with Fluke politically is to treat her as the political figure that she is and aspires to be, but I'll bet the only people to whom that hasn't occurred are the sort of people who could actually make that happen. 

Fluke is no innocent, and her testimony was no, ahem, fluke. She is an activist put forth in support of the proposition that employers and educators should pay for the contraceptives of their charges. She's had a good week testifying in front of Nancy Pelosi's rump committee, taking a call from the president, and instigating a rare apology from Moloch himself. Is the Catholic Church now to pay for contraception because Rush Limbaugh dubbed as a slut an adult woman who testified publicly about her sex life? If that's the case, I'd like to see her back up some of the assertions she made.  There's absolutely no reason, except for a failure of will, that this should not happen, and you do not need to be a genius like Breitbart to make it happen. 

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