The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Since We Can’t Call Sandra Fluke a ‘Slut,’ Would ‘Lying Liberal Bitch’ Be OK?

Posted on | March 4, 2012 | 124 Comments

Sandra “Not a Slut” Fluke testifies, Monday, Feb. 27, 2012

Far be it from me to stoop to name-calling as a substitute for argument, but this question is not merely rhetorical. It seems that Sandra Fluke — who is receiving media Martyr of the Month beatification as the Matthew Shepard of ”reproductive rights” — stands accused of makin’ stuff up.

This story isn’t on my beat: Until Wednesday, I’d been covering the GOP presidential campaign, then I had a family emergency that required me to drive home from Michigan, then Andrew Breitbart died on Thursday, and so I’ve been kind of busy with other stuff. I hadn’t too much followed the details of this controversy, except to note that everybody was slamming Rush Limbaugh for calling Sandra Fluke a “slut.” Fortunately, John McCormack of the Weekly Standard was all over this story:

Nancy Pelosi held a congressional hearing on Monday with a single witness, Georgetown student Sandra Fluke, to testify about the need for Obamacare to mandate that religious institutions provide free contraception and abortifacients under their health insurance plans.

(We make note of the key facts: One witness, testifying before Congress, about mandating free contraception coverage.)

“Forty percent of the female students at Georgetown Law reported to us that they struggled financially as a result of this policy,” Fluke testified regarding the Catholic university’s policy of not covering birth control. “Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school.”

(Again noting the key facts: Fluke claims to have conducted a survey, discovering that 40% of her felllow students “struggled financially” because of contraceptive costs averaging $1,000 a year during the three years required to complete law school. Fluke made these claims, it must be repeated, during a congressional hearing at which she was the only witness.)

Birth control pills can be purchased for as low as $9 per month at a pharmacy near Georgetown’s campus. According to an employee at the pharmacy in Washington, D.C.’s Target store, the pharmacy sells birth control pills — the generic versions of Ortho Tri-Cyclen and Ortho-Cyclen — for $9 per month. “That’s the price without insurance,” the Target employee said. Nine dollars is less than the price of two beers at a Georgetown bar.

WHOA! John McCormack has done something here that evidently no one else — not the New York Times, not the Washington Post, not Nancy Pelosi’s staffers in the House of Representatives — is capable of doing: Calling up a drugstore and asking them how much birth-control pills cost.

Give that man a Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism.

Now let’s back up a minute and consider the key facts again: Nancy Pelosi holds a hearing of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee seeking to justify a federal policy that would mandate insurance coverage of contraceptives — with no deductible and no co-payment — even for religious institutions where artificial contraception is forbidden as a matter of church doctrine.

In justification of this policy, Pelosi produces exactly one witness, Sandra Fluke, who then asserts that she has conducted a survey of her fellow students, determined that four out of every ten of them have “struggled financially” to pay for their contraception which, she has further determined, “can cost a woman over $3,000″ during the three years required to complete law school.

Craig Bannister’s CNS article about Fluke’s testimony mocked these assertions, and when Rush Limbaugh told his radio listeners about the story, he used the words “slut” and “prostitute” to describe Fluke, thus making Limbaugh the target of one of those online lynch mobs that Media Matters specializes in orchestrating.

While everyone is focused on Limbaugh’s alleged “misogyny,” however, it seems that we are ignoring much more important questions:

  • How and when did Fluke conduct her survey of Georgetown Law students’ alleged struggles with contraceptive costs? How many students participated in this survey? What kind of questions were asked? Was the survey conducted with a statistically valid sample? Can Fluke describe her survey’s methodology and provide us with the original questionnaires?
  • How did Fluke arrive at her $3,000 estimate of the cost of contraception? What types of contraceptives — condoms, diaphragms, pills, spermicidal foam — were included in these calculations?
  • Was Fluke aware that a monthly supply of birth-control pills could be obtained for as little as $9 a month? Are Fluke’s math skills sufficient to multiply 9 x 12 x 3 and realize that a three-year supply of pills would therefore cost $324, which is 89.2% less than her $3,000 estimate?
  • Is Fluke aware that annual full-time tuition at Georgetown Law School is $46,865, compared to which an annual cost of $108 for birth-control pills is what statisticians might call “a drop in the bucket”?

Let me be clear: I don’t think Sandra Fluke could provide credible answers to these questions, because I think Sandra Fluke lied through her teeth at that congressional hearing, and I think it’s high time people stop worrying about the alleged misogyny involved in calling someone a “slut” and start asking some hard questions about the alleged lying of Sandra Fluke.

Ace of Spades is giving Jake Tapper hell because Tapper got an interview with Sandra Fluke and didn’t bother to ask her any hard questions about her wildly exaggerated estimate of contraceptive costs. But instead of expecting journalists to do actual journalism, here’s a wild idea:

Aren’t Republicans a majority in the House of Representatives? Doesn’t that give them subpoena power? Couldn’t some GOP committee chairman subpoena Sandra Fluke, put her under oath, and force her to answer some hard questions under penalty of perjury?

I’d sure as hell like to see that hearing, wouldn’t you? And if the House Republicans don’t give us that hearing, I’m prepared to denounce John Boehner as a gutless sissy-boy.

Now, I’ll wait for liberals to accuse me of ”homophobia,” so we can spend another week engaged in pointless distractions.

UPDATE: At one point in this “controversy,” Ace tried to find the proper comic tone for riffing on Sandra Fluke:

She’s not a hero. She’s just a Chubster looking for some camera time.

Not good. I thought about going there. The line where I have Fluke “lying through her teeth”? That was going to be “lying her chubby ass off,” but I wasn’t sure that readers would understand that I actually like chubby asses, and I didn’t want to risk offending women who’ve got that kind of more-cushion-for-the-pushin’ biscuits-and-gravy action that me and Sir Mix-a-Lot dig, IYKWIMAITYD.

So I decided against that joke, with a bit of a guilty conscience for even having considered it.

I also felt a slight twinge of guilt when I remembered having made fun of Maureen Dowd’s musty old vajayjay a few years ago. But then I thought about all the vicious things MoDo wrote about Sarah Palin, and my conscience felt a whole lot better all of a sudden.

UPDATE II: Linked by Bob Agard, Monoblog and Rio Norte Linethanks! — and I want to take this opportunity to apologize to readers for some of our commenters who have made derogatory remarks about Sandra Fluke’s appearance. This is terribly unfortunate, and probably sexist, too.

Besides, it is inaccurate to imply that Sandra Fluke is unattractive.

A recent survey I’ve conducted indicates that 27% of men are attracted to women with the “varsity softball scholarship” look. In fact, seven out of 10 Eritrean immigrant cab drivers in the D.C. metropolitan area say that they would be attracted to Sandra Fluke, especially if her family were willing to provide a dowry that included a small herd of goats, or if they could score a Permanent Residency Visa out of the deal.

Also, if given a choice between Maureen Dowd and Sandra Fluke, the Eritrean cab drivers would unanimously choose Fluke.

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