The Real War on Women

We’ve been treated to a media blitz about the presumed Republican war on women. All it took to set it off was for Rush Limbaugh to use derogatory terms to describe a Georgetown law student who was pushing for government-provided contraception, supposedly because it was too expensive for her and her ideological soulmates who apparently believe they should be free to have taxpayer-sponsored sex anytime, anywhere. As noted in a previous post, Limbaugh apologized for using those terms, but it does him no good on the Left to have done so.

Meanwhile, we have countless examples of Leftists using far more insulting and obscene words to describe conservative women. One of the most blatant is Bill Maher, whose word choice I refuse to print in this blog, particularly the vitriol he has used to describe Sarah Palin. He, and others like him on that side of the spectrum, show no remorse whatsoever for their verbal abuse.

There’s a Scriptural axiom that comes to mind when contemplating this episode:

But as I’ve said countless times before—what can we expect? Those who disparage Christian beliefs have little or no conscience anyway, and surely have no desire to change their stripes. We have to get used to the double standard. What makes it particularly disreputable in this case is that Maher has donated $1,000,000 to the Obama SuperPac. Calls for the Pac to return the money go unheeded.

Lost in this dispute is the real war on women that is being waged in this country. A couple of cartoonists were able to pierce the verbal fog and point to the real outrage:

The slaughter of innocent lives trumps any sleight the Left may perceive. This is the real war on women.

Framing the Debate: Religious Liberty, Not Contraceptives

It all began with George Stephanopoulos—of Clinton White House infamy—asking a question at one of the Republican debates. He wanted to know if states had the authority to ban contraception. The question baffled the candidates, particularly since no one had ever brought up the issue. Perhaps it was intended to stem the rising candidacy of Rick Santorum, who was becoming more prominent at that time. Yet Santorum, despite his personal views on the subject, had never indicated any interest in banning contraception; in fact, he had stated the exact opposite.

Why did Stephanopoulos broach this non-issue? No one could quite figure it out, except as a way of stopping Santorum.

Then, not long after, the Obama administration came up with its mandate that religious organizations had to offer contraceptives and abortifacients in their hospitals and healthcare plans. Was Stephanopoulos’s question the preliminary to the mandate, getting the public used to it ahead of time? Was he in collusion with the White House? Those queries remain unanswered, but the timing was unusually fortuitous for the administration.

Those plans went awry when the religious community cried foul and cited First Amendment protections for religious liberty. That seemed to throw the Obama team off-balance for a while, but then they attempted a new tactic—change the issue from religious liberty to the right of women to have contraceptives. Convince the public that conservatives are anti-women and are bent on setting up a theocracy. In other words, scare the public by constructing a straw man, a technique used by progressives ad nauseum.

When Darrell Issa, the congressman who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, held hearings on the religious liberty issue and its violation in the HHS mandate, the Democrats were able to offer their own witnesses at the hearing. At the last minute, they wanted to change one of their witnesses so that Georgetown student Sandra Fluke could testify. Fluke, a feminist birth control advocate whose goal is to change the Catholic university’s policy on not providing contraceptives, was not an expert on the First Amendment or religious liberty, and was denied a spot at the hearing for that reason, as well as for the late notice.

So what did the Democrats do? They arranged their own “hearing,” which was not official but primarily a publicity stunt, so that Fluke could “testify” to the hardships students face by not having contraceptives provided for them via the taxpayers. She made it sound like contraceptives were somehow scarce and extremely expensive; they are neither. In effect, she wanted a subsidy for herself and other students.

We have become a society so seared in our consciences when it comes to sex that dissent over a policy that promotes promiscuity is liable to get one in trouble.

That’s where Rush Limbaugh came in. He saw how ludicrous the entire proceeding had been, and commented on the blatant hypocrisy of the progressives, turning a religious liberty concern into a “threat” to women’s “rights” for political purposes. As he ridiculed the idea that taxpayers should pay for a woman’s sexual activities, he used a couple of words to describe Fluke that got the media in an uproar. First of all, never mind that the Left says far worse things daily—one need only replay the constant derogatory and disgusting comments about the Palin family. Yet the progressive Left demanded that advertisers drop Limbaugh’s program.

Over the weekend, Limbaugh issued an apology for the use of words he regretted uttering. I listened to his explanation yesterday. He said his apology was heartfelt; he had lowered himself to the level of his accusers and had played into their hands. Some say he apologized only because he was losing sponsors, but I believe he meant what he said. The apology was appropriate; we should never mirror the traits of those who dishonor themselves by their despicable words and actions. By the way, I expect him to weather the storm; the attempt to shut him down won’t succeed.

But what has happened? The real issue—religious liberty—has been overwhelmed by a non-issue—contraception—and the Left has successfully framed the debate. This is what they always attempt to do. We have to stand against such tactics and respond in ways that show we have a different character.

The debate needs to be reframed in a proper way. There is much at stake as Obama tries to run roughshod over the Constitution and religious liberty. He must not be allowed to win this debate. We must walk in wisdom. May God grant us His mind and heart as we proceed.

Santorum’s Rapid Rise

It’s turning into a tidal wave, particularly in the Midwest. What am I talking about? The rapid rise of Rick Santorum in the polls. All you have to do is watch the faces and hear the incredulity in the voices of cable news hosts to know that something is happening that was more than a little unexpected.

A series of new polls coming out of Michigan show Santorum leading Romney anywhere from four points to fifteen. Not a single one favors Romney at this time. Then there is the shocker out of Ohio, a Rasmussen poll showing Santorum with a 42-24 advantage. Even Arizona, where the Santorum forces decided not to waste money because it is a winner-take-all primary like Florida’s, and polls showed Romney with a big lead, now sits at Romney 38%, Santorum 31%. It appears GOP voters continue to have a hard time coming to grips with a Romney candidacy.

Commentators have begun searching for weaknesses in Santorum. They think they’ve found them on social issues. They believe voters will eventually be turned off by his lack of support for contraception and his opposition to gay marriage. First, if we’ve come to the point where opposition to homosexuals demanding marriage is a losing proposition, we’re beyond the pale as a country anyway. I appreciate Santorum standing firm on that one. If that’s a losing position, it’s also a principled and honorable one. Second, Santorum has no plans to make Americans accept his views on contraception. Even those of us who don’t agree with his stance completely on that one know what his aim is—to reduce sexual immorality and enhance the status of marriage and family. As long as he frames these positions carefully and positively, he can win with them.

The biggest problem remaining for Santorum appears to be Newt Gingrich. He hasn’t yet come to the realization that his opportunity has passed him by. He’s even less desirable for Republican voters than Romney.

He used to lecture Santorum to drop out of the race so as not to split the conservative vote. It’s time for Newt to take his own advice.