Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke’s testimony before Congress earlier this week was so absurd that it and she deserved to be laughed out of Washington. She, a future powerful and wealthy lawyer supposing she plays her cards right, argued that she, a student at one of the most expensive schools in the country, could not afford birth control, so everyone else should pay for it. And she gave an outrageously high cost figure that invited scrutiny and ridicule.
Fluke is a grown woman in a century tilted heavily in her favor. Her argument that others should pay for her choices is childish. Absurd. Deserving of derision. And also, a deliberate provocation to move the debate onto ground more favorable to Democrats. They want to talk about sex and libertinism, not about what they’ve done and how they are failures. The HHS mandate is one of several efforts to empower the government over us and move our entire political discourse back into Clintonesque territory, and away from high gas prices, stubborn unemployment and an increasingly dangerous Iran. The Democrats don’t like the ground that the election ought to be fought on, so they’re using the mandate Fluke to change to a different patch of ground and provoke their enemies into making misguided attacks.
Rush Limbaugh has fallen for it. Instead of being content to tear Fluke’s childishness apart and stay off the personal stuff, Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut,” thereby making the argument about himself and about her, not about the Obama mandate and its grotesque mutilation of the Constitution.
It takes patience and some attention to detail to rip Fluke’s arguments apart. It takes discipline not to get personal, especially when the story invites personal attacks. It takes skill to imply rather than accuse. Rush probably did some or even all of that on his show, he usually does. But he’s smart enough to know that one word can undo a thousand less inflammatory but more useful words.
He went the inflammatory route, and may have cost us this battle.
My point here isn’t to denounce Rush. I remain a fan. Just, we need to think a bit more strategically about what’s going on and how the other side will use our words against us and divide us, to defeat us. We should avoid playing into their hands.
Update: Like I said, the 30-year-old law student, Sandra Fluke, served as a deliberate provocation. She attended Georgetown, a Catholic school, to deliberately provoke it. And she testified in her absurd way for the same reason. If pointing this out during my 10-year blogging career, a career undertaken in my own name at my own blog, Hot Air, the Laura Ingraham Show and here, makes me “timid” in the eyes of some anonymous commenter who lacks the gonads to put their name on their own words, so be it.
You see, pointing out that the giant Rush Limbaugh may have made a mistake, makes me timid. Right.