Comedian Rush Limbaugh – who is, it seems these days, the virtual leader of the increasingly deranged Republican Party – did the Democrats a huge favour the other day with his offensive remarks directed at “college co-ed” (i.e., third-year law student) Susan Fluke.
Whether deliberate or not, Limbaugh’s deeply misogynistic tirade analogizing the issue as being akin to prostitution, calling Ms. Fluke a “slut” and then derisively suggesting that taxpayers be recompensed with pornographic videos of her sexual activities, effectively steered the surreal “debate” about state-mandated provision of contraceptive medications by private employers directly off a cliff.
It’s supposed the Republicans had initially wanted the discussion (if one can call it that) to be about “religious freedom” – an arguably legitimate issue of perpetual controversy near and dear to the heart of the party’s social conservative base – but then a number of truly bizarre proposals by various Republican-controlled state legislatures (demanding the insertion of invasive trans-vaginal ultrasound probes prior to abortion, for example), together with perplexing comments on the subject made by various sex-obsessed, theocratic right-wingnuts quickly revealed the true nature of their objection to the rulemaking healthcare proposals of the Obama administration…
Some liberal pundits and politicians have deemed the Republicans’ efforts in this regard as a “War on Women” – an expression that is certainly overstated, but perhaps not by much. If one looks at the legislative priorities of the Republicans since their resurgence in 2010, when not blindly demanding that taxes and regulations be cut as a magic elixir for economic growth, their primary focus appears to be almost madly fixated on controlling, limiting, and repealing the hard-fought reproductive rights of women. Why is that?
As an outside observer on the American political scene, it’s truly amazing that these kind of irrelevant (some might even say, completely bogus) distractions are the stuff and substance of current political debate given there are so many other imperative things that need to be addressed which are all vastly more meaningful and significant to the lives of ordinary people.