I wonder if the Republicans have just given up on the next presidential election? It seems like they have plenty of hurdles without going out of their way to alienate women. But the issues surrounding the campaign certainly have taken a turn in that direction, with Rush Limbaugh at the wheel and steering hard right.
Two weeks ago, Georgetown student Sandra Fluke was denied in her bid to testifyat the Senate contraception hearing. Today, Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” and a “prostitute.”
Fluke was supposed to testify at the hearing as a student at a Catholic university, in the debate over whether religious employers and institutions should be forced to cover contraception costs.
Here’s what Limbaugh said on the matter today:
What does it say about the college coed Susan Fluke [sic], who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.
She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps.
The johns, that’s right. We would be the johns — no! We’re not the johns. Well — yeah, that’s right. Pimp’s not the right word.
As Think Progress points out, Fluke was actually going to testify “about a friend who is a lesbian and needed birth control for non-sexual medical reasons, so he’s only wrong about three times over, and offensive many more times over than that.”
Well, let’s see what Sandra Fluke has to say about all of this:
On Thursday, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz conducted an exclusive interview with Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke, the woman whom Rush Limbaugh mocked on his radio show earlier that day. Limbaugh had called Fluke a “slut” and suggested that she — and her female classmates — post videos of themselves having sex while on birth control to make it worth people’s money.
Schultz asked Fluke for her reaction to Limbaugh’s comments:
I guess my reaction is the reaction a lot of women have when they’ve been called these names. Initially you’re stunned but then, very quickly, you’re outraged because this is, historically, the kind of language that is used to silence women, especially women who stand up and say that these are their reproductive health care needs and this is what they need. And what’s been amazing to me today is the outpouring of support. Everyone from members of Congress to Georgetown faculty to so many women who’ve contacted me, and I think it’s clear from what they’ve said that they’re not going to be silenced by this.
Note to Republicans: It’s the economy, stupid. Not to diminish the importance of debates about contraception or women’s reproductive rights, but these are losing issues for the GOP. When this story surfaced it was about government, religion, Obamacare and the First Amendment. Now it’s focused on contraception and that’s not where GOP candidates want to be. See Charles Krauthammer’s opinion article in WaPo this morning. (And interesting op-ed in today’s NYT, “The Unfinished Fight Over Contraception.”)
And given a chance to reflect on matters, here’s how Rush opined: “Rush Limbaugh: I’ll Buy Georgetown Women ‘As Much Aspirin To Put Between Their Knees As They Want“‘:
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh drew sharp criticism from Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and others on Wednesday when he called Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student, a “slut” and a “prostitute” for publicly advocating that employers cover contraception in their health plans. But instead of apologizing for his offensive comments on his show Thursday, he geared up for round two.
Channeling Foster Friess, a main financial backer of former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), Limbaugh said that he would “happily buy [Sandra Fluke] all the aspirin she wants” to put between her knees in lieu of contraception.
He then expanded his offer to the whole university:
“A Georgetown coed told Nancy Pelosi’s hearing that the women in her law school program are having so much sex they’re going broke, so you and I should have to pay for their birth control. So what would you call that? I called it what it is,” he said. “So, I’m offering a compromise today: I will buy all of the women at Georgetown University as much aspirin to put between their knees as they want.”
Limbaugh, of course, was referencing the controversial comment Friess made in February, when he referenced the “gals” in “his day” who put aspirin between their knees in lieu of using contraception.
Fluke’s testimony in the hearing was not, as Limbaugh claimed, about the fact that she’s “having so much sex she’s going broke buying contraceptives.” She told the story of her friend who had an ovary removed because the insurance company wouldn’t cover the prescription birth control she needed to stop the growth of ovarian cysts.
Limbaugh concluded his sexist rant by insisting that if women want their contraception covered, they should post pornographic videos of themselves online. “So Miss Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal,” he said. “If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”
With help like this, the Republican candidates for the presidential nod are in a race to the bottom, striving to become the skipper of the GOP Costa Concordia.
Update/noon/Friday, March 2:
Looks like Rush may have stepped in some doo-doo with his outrageous and uncivil comments: “Rush Limbaugh Advertiser Sleep Train Pulls Commercials In Wake Of Sandra Fluke ‘Slut’ Firestorm.”
One of Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers announced Friday that it was pulling all of its commercials from his radio show in the wake of Limbaugh’s incendiary comments about a female law student and contraception.
After being bombarded on Twitter, mattress store Sleep Train said that it would no longer advertise during Limbaugh’s top-rated show following days of outrage over Limbaugh’s statements about Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown student who was denied a chance to speak at a Congressional hearing about birth control.
“We are pulling our ads with Rush Limbaugh and appreciate the community’s feedback,” the company wrote in a tweet.