Category Archive 'Sandra Fluke'

08 Sep 2012

Sandra Fluke and the Democrat Convention

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Mark Steyn puts Sandra Fluke’s speech to the DNC into perspective, identifying exactly which plimsoll mark Fluke represents as civilization sinks beneath the liberal waves. He also rather amusingly compares her to Lola Montez.

Sandra Fluke… completed her education a few weeks ago – at the age of 31, or Grade 25. Before going to Georgetown, she warmed up with a little light BS in Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies from Cornell. She then studied law at one of the most prestigious institutions in the nation, where tuition costs 50 grand a year. The average starting salary for a Georgetown Law graduate is $160,000 per annum – first job, first paycheck.

So this is America’s best and brightest – or, at any rate, most expensively credentialed. Sandra Fluke has been blessed with a quarter-million dollars of elite education, and, on the evidence of Wednesday night, is entirely incapable of making a coherent argument. She has enjoyed the leisurely decade-long varsity once reserved for the minor sons of Mitteleuropean grand dukes, and she has concluded that the most urgent need facing the Brokest Nation in History is for someone else to pay for the contraception of 30-year-old children. She says the choice facing America is whether to be “a country where we mean it when we talk about personal freedom, or one where that freedom doesn’t apply to our bodies and our voices” – and, even as the words fall leaden from her lips, she doesn’t seem to comprehend that Catholic institutions think their “voices” ought to have freedom, too, or that Obamacare seizes jurisdiction over “our bodies” and has 16,000 new IRS agents ready to fine us for not making arrangements for “our” pancreases and “our” bladders that meet the approval of the commissars. Sexual liberty, even as every other liberty withers, is all that matters: A middle-school girl is free to get an abortion without parental consent, but if she puts a lemonade stand on her lawn she’ll be fined. …

Any space aliens prowling through the rubble of our civilization and stumbling upon a recording of the convention compatible with Planet Zongo DVD players will surely marvel at the valuable peak airtime allotted to Sandra Fluke. It was weird to see her up there among the governors and senators – as weird as Bavarians thought it was when King Ludwig decided to make his principal adviser Lola Montez, the Irish-born “Spanish dancer” and legendary grande horizontale. I hasten to add I’m not saying Miss Fluke is King Barack’s courtesan. For one thing, it’s a striking feature of the Age of Perfected Liberalism that modern liberals talk about sex 24/7 while simultaneously giving off the persistent whiff that the whole thing’s a bit of a chore. Hence, the need for government subsidy. And, in fairness to Miss Montez, she used sex to argue for liberalized government, whereas Miss Fluke uses liberalism to argue for sexualized government.

But those distinctions aside, like Miss Fluke, Miss Montez briefly wielded an influence entirely disproportionate to her talents. Like Miss Fluke, she was a passionate liberal activist who sought to diminish what she regarded as the malign influence of the Catholic Church. Taking up with Lola cost King Ludwig his throne in the revolutions of 1848. We’ll see in a couple of months whether taking up with Sandra works out for King Barack.

16 Mar 2012

Free Contraception as Appeal to Group Identity Politics

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When Sandra Fluke Becomes President.

Donald Sensing observes that the great paid-for-contraceptives brouhaha is intended by democrats to persuade silly women to vote on the basis of group politics.

In the Democrat mind, sex without sex’s consequences are the only thing that women should think about when they approach a voting booth. Finney and Thompson, et. al., actually think that unless the government makes sure that women’s sex lives are unencumbered, then a woman simply cannot manage her job, housing or children. Sex rules all else.

The Democrat party truly cannot comprehend a woman going to vote who is more concerned about the dent in her paycheck caused by $5-per-gallon gasoline than finding free condoms, or who worries about the future impoverishment of her children and grandchildren because of Obama’s borrow and spend binges more than she worries about buying the Pill, or whose most pressing concern is not sexual liberty, but a college-graduate son or daughter who has moved back to live with mom because s/he can’t find a job and therefore can’t make student loan payments and rent at the same time.

Not in the Dems’ world view is a woman who pays her mortgage every month but who know that her home’s market value is less than the mortgage principal remaining, and stupidly thinks that this is more important to her future (and thus her voting) than getting morning-after pills. There is no room in Democrat gender-identity politics for a woman who has been married to one man for 35 years and so never thinks about getting free contraceptives or an abortion (that is, what Dems say is “basic health care”) but who is intensely concerned with her elderly parents’ net worth falling as inflation rises.

No, these women simply do not authentically exist in the Democrat universe. Such women simply have not heard the full message that there should be nothing more important to a woman than sex, sex, sex.

To the Democrat party, women are simply sex objects, though with political and statist rather than fleshly purposes. But objects is all they are. That’s the real message that countless women get very well and strongly reject.

13 Mar 2012

Man Bites Dog Story: Liberal Novelist Defends Limbaugh

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Novelist Paul Theroux is a typical member of the community of fashion elite. He is no conservative, and decidedly no fan of Rush Limbaugh’s, but even he finds the left’s attacks on Limbaugh resulting from his criticism of Sandra Fluke hypocritical.

The defense of Sandra Fluke is so shrill that it is almost as though many of her defenders actually believe there is a vicious taint of self-indulgence, if not sluttiness, in a female student’s clamoring for a federal mandate of subsidized contraceptives. How else to interpret such a welter of special pleading? They believe she actually needs defending.

It occurred to me that in this fairly illiterate, irony-challenged country we have no notion of what satire actually is. Satire is merciless, unsparing, savage. It is not the genial teasing comedy of The Daily Show, or the fooling of Saturday Night Live. It is destructive and cruel. It is Jonathan Swift in “A Modest Proposal” writing of cooking and eating babies. It is Daniel Defoe in “The Shortest Way With Dissenters” speaking of killing members of a religious sect. It is Thomas Nast drawing pictures of hideous cannibalistic Catholic priests, or Horace making rhymes about buggery. It is John Collier mocking suffragettes by writing a whole novel about a man who marries an actual ape from the Congo in “His Monkey Wife,” and nearer to the present, it is Hunter Thompson’s “He was a Crook”—“ If the right people had been in charge of Nixon’s funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles …” …

This whole Limbaugh business epitomizes our confusion and our hypocrisy. The folks who depicted George Bush as a chimp, and Sarah Palin as a skank, are indignant when these same words are used against their people in the virtue industry, and that includes the troopers in the Reproductive Rights Activist Service Corps. The trouble with Limbaugh is that he is not a satirist—hasn’t the brains or the humor for it—and his earnestness, and his vanity, always gets in the way. He seems to believe that he is an opinion leader, but even as a gas bag on the sidelines he has a role to play, because not many other people are playing that role. If only he knew more about the power of satire, how it can do more than mere mockery. But, as a mocker—the Fluke affair is proof—he has an effect, and I think it uncovered one of our greatest weaknesses and our weirdest tendencies.

You have to give Limbaugh a pass, otherwise you lose the right to go on calling Gingrich and Eric Cantor pimps for Israel, and Rick Santorum a mental midget, and if you foreswear colorful, if not robust or wicked language altogether you might as well shut up.

12 Mar 2012

Contraception and the Agenda of the Left

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Thomas Couture, Romains de la décadence [Romans during the Decadence], 1847, Musée d’Orsay

Bruce Thornton explains why forcing Catholic institutions to pay for contraceptives, in the same way the Ancient Romans would have forced Christians to offer sacrifice to Aphrodite, matters so much to the left. Sexual indulgence freed from responsibility is pretty much the only area of life in which the left offers more personal freedom.

[A]s Fluke puts it, “This is about women’s health.” In other words, unplanned pregnancy is a disease, something that like breast cancer just sort of happens to a woman, and for which she bears no responsibility. That’s how House minority leader Nancy Pelosi sees it. Speaking of the failed Senate amendment to allow religious organizations not to fund contraception, Pelosi said that the measure was “part of the Republican agenda of disrespecting women’s health issues [by] allowing employers to cut … basic health services for women, like contraception, mammograms, prenatal and cervical-cancer screenings.”

Since pregnancy is a disease, then, someone else should pay the premium for insuring against the consequences of a woman’s risky, careless behavior. She shouldn’t even be responsible for grabbing some free condoms at the clinic and taking care of the risk herself.

Look even closer, and we see the real progressive agenda at work: increasing the power and reach of the federal government and its bureaucratic minions by discrediting and marginalizing any other source of authority over our behavior, especially institutions of moral authority such as churches. That way the government can aggrandize its power by relieving people of the responsibility for their choices through palliating their damaging consequences while making others pay for them. Tocqueville noticed 150 years ago this tendency of centralized power to expand by infantilizing the citizenry. Centralized governments, Tocqueville remarked, act as “if they thought themselves responsible for the actions and private conditions of their subjects, as if they had undertaken to guide and to instruct each of them in the various incidents of life and to secure their happiness quite independently of their own consent.” Moreover, this insidious paternalism corrupts the people, who “invoke its assistance in all their necessities,” and who “fix their eyes upon the administration as their mentor and their guide.” But all for a price: the diminishment of our freedom and autonomy, both of which require accepting the burdensome and sometimes painful responsibility for the consequences of our actions.

Our modern progressives, however, have added a new twist to this process. Removing sexual behavior from the strictures of traditional authority, and then taking responsibility for the consequences of careless sex like pregnancy, make state-subsidized sexual pleasure a seemingly cost-free distraction from the erosion of freedom and autonomy, as Aldous Huxley foresaw in Brave New World. Sexual freedom now trumps political freedom, and sexual pleasure is the honey that sweetens the bitter poison of diminished freedom. Hence the progressive’s elevation of contraception and abortion into “rights,” which puts the necessary discussion of the obvious destructive consequences of sexual promiscuity out of bounds. But these “rights” have nothing to do with “women’s health” and everything to do with the progressive government’s aim of consolidating and increasing its power at the expense of other authorities, like churches, that might have something to say about the personally and socially destructive price of those “rights.” That’s the real significance of the uproar Rush Limbaugh caused: not his crudity or insensitivity, but calling attention to the centrality of sexual libertinism to the progressive agenda of increasing government power at the expense of individual freedom.

Hat tip to the News Junkie.

06 Mar 2012

The Phoney Georgetown Contraception Controversy

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Cathy Ruse, Georgetown Law ’89, identifies what Sandra Fluke’s congressional testimony and the Georgetown contraception national brouhaha are really all about.

Last week Sandra Fluke, a student at Georgetown University Law Center, went to Congress looking for a handout. She wants free birth-control pills, and she wants the federal government to make her Catholic school give them to her.

I’m a graduate of Georgetown Law and former chief counsel of the House Subcommittee on the Constitution. Based on her testimony, I wonder how much Ms. Fluke really knows about the university or the Constitution.

As a law student 20 years ago, I wasn’t confronted by crucifixes in the classroom or, in truth, by any religious imagery anywhere. In that respect the law school has a different “feel” than the university. The law school chapel was an unadorned, multipurpose room in the basement used for Mass when it wasn’t used for Gilbert and Sullivan Society rehearsals and club meetings. Among the clubs while I was there, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance was particularly vigorous.

I was not Catholic when I attended Georgetown Law, but I certainly knew the university was. So did Ms. Fluke. She told the Washington Post that she chose Georgetown knowing specifically that the school did not cover drugs that run contrary to Catholic teaching in its student health plans. During her law school years she was a president of “Students for Reproductive Justice” and made it her mission to get the school to give up one of the last remnants of its Catholicism. Ms. Fluke is not the “everywoman” portrayed in the media. …

When congressional committee counsels plan hearings, they look for two kinds of witnesses: “experts” and “victims.” The experts are typically lawyers or law professors who can explain the constitutional authority for the new law and its legal impact, and the victims illustrate why the law is needed.

At the hearing of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee chaired by Nancy Pelosi, Sandra Fluke testified as a victim. Having to buy your own contraception is a burden, she said. She testified that all around her at Georgetown she could see the faces of students who were suffering because of Georgetown’s refusal to abandon its Catholic principles.

Exactly what does the face of a law student who must buy her own birth-control pills look like? Did I see them all around me and just not know it? Do male law students who must buy their own condoms have the same look? Perhaps Ms. Fluke should have brought photos to Congress to illustrate her point.

In her testimony, Ms. Fluke claimed that, “Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school.” That’s $1,000 per year. But an employee at a Target pharmacy near the university told the Weekly Standard last week that one month’s worth of generic oral contraceptives is $9 per month. “That’s the price without insurance,” the employee said. (It’s also $9 per month at Wal-Mart.)

Ms. Fluke’s crusade for reproductive justice is simply a demand that a Catholic institution pay for drugs that make it possible for her to have sex without getting pregnant. It’s nothing grander or nobler than that. Georgetown’s refusal to do so does not mean she has to have less sex, only that she has to take financial responsibility for it herself.

Should Ms. Fluke give up a cup or two of coffee at Starbucks each month to pay for her birth control, or should Georgetown give up its religion? Even a first-year law student should know where the Constitution comes down on that.

05 Mar 2012

The Left Wins by Framing the Narrative

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Dan Greenfield explains how the left turns a political vulnerability into an electoral asset: they frame the narrative.

A debate on the availability of contraception, no matter how well handled, only served the narrative of one side. No matter how well the debate was conducted, it meant that the right was now fighting on the battlefield that had been chosen by the left. All it took was a few sexual insults lobbed Fluke’s way for the diversion to be complete. The right was now either retreating from sexism charges or engaging in it. The social issue was framed in exactly the terms that fit the left’s narrative.

Limbaugh’s apology was nearly as bad of an idea as his original statement. The only time you advance into an enemy’s choice of terrain is when you are confident of being able to fight there and win. You do not give up the high ground just to take a few potshots at the enemy. After a temporary satisfaction, you end up losing the battlefield and being drawn into a battle that you never meant to fight. When that happens, you circle around and take back the high ground, you do not surrender because then there is nothing left to fight for.

The left’s coalitions depend on portraying the other side as engaging in a war on their protected groups. Without that war, their whole feudal lordships suddenly become unnecessary. That means it is in their vital interest to define each policy conflict as a Republican war on a protected class. While it’s advantageous at times to confront them on this when their position is weakest and ridicule it, it wasn’t worth surrendering the coalition of religious freedom to take a few potshots at the absurdity of Fluke’s testimony. Fluke, like every organizer from a protected class, is there to represent an entire group. Attacking her quickly becomes a diversion into the left’s narrative of a war on women.

Religious institutions imposed the terms of the battle by rebelling against the mandate. That forced Obama and his cronies to try and dismiss the battle, refusing to fight on that terrain. But Republicans and even some Democrats insisted on rallying on the field anyway, calling for a battle. So Team Obama diverted the battle to the terrain of their choice. They set new terms of battle, an effort which initially failed, until Limbaugh gave them the talking point they needed.

It is now an uphill battle to return to the original battlefield. It’s possible, but the initial skirmish has gone to the left which was successfully able to dictate the terms of the engagement. Their narrative has no life though, until the right breathes life into it. The larger lesson though is about the terms of battle. It is about the strategy of political warfare.

To win in 2012, the left needs to mobilize its coalition. To do that it doesn’t necessarily need to win battles, it needs to successfully position them on its choice of terrain. It needs to be seen as the feudal lords protecting the rainbow peasantry from the hordes of the right. The purpose of the whole thing is to convince the peasants to support King Hussein, despite the disastrous economy and the general malaise, the abuses of power and all the other problems with his rule.

Both sides exploit a sense of vulnerability in the population during troubled times. The left excels at cross-sectioning the population into specific groups, dividing them up, and making them feel vulnerable as a class, as a group, as a gender, as a race. Organizers emphasize that victimization and offer them a sense of empowerment through the coalition. Or as Obama puts it, “Better Together.”

The path to victory lies in either gathering the largest coalition or in fragmenting the coalition of the other side. The left is not very good at the former, its own habits and tactics limit its scope, but it is quite good at the second. It gains power through disruption, through terror and intimidation, it plays on fears, pits groups against each other and then steps in as the mediator.

It would not be nearly as effective at this if it did not also control the culture’s narrative through the media, popular culture and academia, giving it control of highbrow and lowbrow narratives at the same time. This makes it more difficult to counter its narrative or to choose the field of battle and makes it that much more dangerous to abandon a strategic position for a target of opportunity.

Read the whole thing.

Even a political commentator as shrewd as Rush Limbaugh can be out-maneuvered by the left.

Hat tip to Bird Dog.

04 Mar 2012

Entitled

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Hat tip to Theo.

03 Mar 2012

Left Attacking Limbaugh, Not a Fluke

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Sandra Fluke testifying to Congress that society needs to pay for her contraceptives

The organized left has mounted a petition drive to persuade Rush Limbaugh’s radio program’s sponsors to drop advertising on the most popular program on AM radio. Their pretext is the claim that El Rushbo crossed a line by using words like “slut” and “prostitute” in connection with a sweet young thing like Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, but what all this really amounts to is the left taking the most pejorative terms in Rush Limbaugh’s lengthy and profoundly sarcastic response to Ms. Fluke’s Congressional testimony and attempting to personalize them in order to feign outrage and indignation.

All the “What he said!” games are just another hypocritical liberal exercise in dramaturgy, playing for the sympathy of the independent and ill-informed.

The real outrage, as Bryan Preston observed earlier this week, is the attempt by leftists like Barack Obama and Sarah Fluke to attempt to promote a personal choice into a right and an entitlement capable of trumping the barrier between state and church. Obama and Fluke proposing turning the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom into a dead letter essentially over what people used to call a French letter.

    It costs a female student $3,000 to have protected sex over the course of her three-year stint in law school, according to her calculations.

    “Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school,” Fluke told the hearing.

Georgetown University Law School is not cheap. It costs more than $70,000 per year without scholarships or other financial aid. Miss Fluke would have us believe that someone who can afford to attend Georgetown can not afford to pay for his or her own lifestyle.

Fluke claims they can’t afford to pay to, as the president so eloquently phrased it, avoid being punished with a baby before they graduate into extremely lucrative careers, in Fluke’s case most likely in a future Democratic administration.

The math derived from Fluke’s $3,000 price tag suggests that Georgetown is one swingin’ Catholic campus.

    At a dollar a condom if she shops at CVS pharmacy’s website, that $3,000 would buy her 3,000 condoms – or, 1,000 a year. (By the way, why does CVS.com list the weight of its condom products in terms of pounds?)

    Assuming it’s not a leap year, that’s 1,000 divided by 365 – or having sex 2.74 times a day, every day, for three straight years. And, I thought Georgetown was a Catholic university where women might be prone to shun casual, unmarried sex. At least its health insurance doesn’t cover contraception (that which you subsidize, you get more of, you know).

    And, that’s not even considering that there are Planned Parenthood clinics in her neighborhood that give condoms away and sell them at a discount, which could help make her sexual zeal more economical.

With all due respect, Miss Fluke, your evidently very active amorous life is your business and should remain that way. It isn’t worth wrecking the Constitution.

Rush Limbaugh only, in his typical witty and eloquent fashion, proceeded to respond to Ms. Fluke’s testimony with highly effective mockery and analysis, contemplating aloud the various moral implications of society being required to fund the where-with-all ingredients of Ms. Fluke’s sex life. “If we’re paying for your sex life, Ms. Fluke and other subscribers to her point of view, what does that make you?” Rush wondered out loud.

We saw this week just how much delicacy, decorum, and decency the left subscribes to, when Andrew Breitbart suddenly passed away, and lefties loudly exchanged public self-congratulations and heaped abuse on the fallen rightist blogger.

The left wanted to shut Limbaugh up long before Sandra Fluke and the current contraception-as-entitlement religious freedom issue ever came along. All the noise you hear is just more left-wing opportunism.

Sandra Fluke, btw, is not some tender ingenue, now lying in tears upon a fainting couch after being spoken of so harshly by that beast of a Rush Limbaugh. She’s actually a hard-core 30-year-old reproductive rights professional activist.

Update, later the same day:

El Rushbo apologized (the wuss!).

You know what the Marine Corps says: “Never apologize; never explain.”


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