At the same time that Republican governors and state lawmakers are pushing controversial legislation that would mandate state-enforced ultrasounds tests for women seeking abortions, Rush Limbaugh, the top Republican Party boss and message-meister, opened a new front in the GOP’s war on women by labeling anyone who uses contraceptives that are covered by health insurance as prostitutes.
- Republican boss Rush Limbaugh
As of Thursday night, none of the 2012 Republican presidential candidates and no elected party officials had dared to object to Limbaugh’s new assault on women, despite the fact that further alienating women voters, who make up more than half of the electorate, will likely produce disastrous results for them in this year’s election.
Limbaugh launched his new anti-women campaign on his top-rated radio show this week, by effectively encouraging his followers, who are predominantly elderly, white male Republicans whom he derides as mindless “Dittoheads,” to ramp up their smearing and objectifying of women:
LIMBAUGH: 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.
Of course, nearly everything in this statement is wrong. The woman’s name is Sandra Fluke, not Susan. House Republicans barred her from testifying before a congressional committee — Democrats later invited to speak to an ad hoc panel during a congressional recess. Her testimony had nothing whatsoever to do with her own insurance coverage of contraceptives. It focused instead on how the inability to pay for contraceptives can lead to serious health issues, including ovarian cancer. And, of course, besides being flatly wrong, the idea that only men pay insurance premiums is laughably retrograde.
The next day, continued his screed:
LIMBAUGH: If we [men] are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex. We want something for it. We want you post the videos online so we can all watch.
As Keith Olbermann suggested on “Countdown” last night, it would be interesting to know whether Limbaugh’s mother and four wives have received insurance coverage for their contraceptives and so would fall under his definition of whores.
In reality, Rush Limbaugh has no standing to make moral pronouncements against anyone. His career is riddled with episodes in which he made racist remarks that have led to the firing of other talk show hosts. In the early 2000s, he faced charges of doctor shopping related to his addiction to Oxycontin. In 2006, however, he was nabbed by Customs in 2006 with a cache of Viagra tablets that were prescribed to someone else on his return from a Caribbean vacation with four other men.