– Bud Norman
– Bud Norman
Even with professional football beckoning on another television channel, it’s hard to turn one’s attention away from the Democrats’ national convention. For bruising hits, strange behavior, and bizarre spectacle, even the National Football League can’t compete with the Democrats.
The highlight, thus far, was when a significant number of the assembled delegates booed God. This unprecedented moment in American politics occurred because earlier in the convention party officials had deleted a reference to “God-given rights” from the platform, leaving the document without any mention of the deity. Party poobahs were clearly rattled by the negative reaction from the more pious portions of the population, with Sen. Dick Durbin reacting to an interviewer’s seemingly innocent question about the matter as if the Spanish Inquisition were interrogating him, and they quickly asked the convention delegates to approve an amendment restoring God’s place in the party platform. After three tries God was ruled to have won a voice vote, although the “nays” certainly sounded louder each time and there was much booing, hissing and jeering throughout.
The Democrats can now insist that they officially have nothing against God, although if pressed they’d have to say that He is no Barack Obama, and a couple of subsequent speakers even made a point of mentioning God in what they probably considered a favorable light. Black Congressional Caucus leader Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver delivered a rousing sermon on the goodness, mercy, and bountiful blessings of big government, exhorting the president to “continue to hope,” then adding very specifically that “As long as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sits on the throne of grace, hope on!” A short time earlier the delegates had also contentiously approved a platform amendment restoring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and we assume that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would have approved. Elizabeth Warren, the fake Indian affirmative action scammer and Massachusetts Senate candidate whose self-righteous anger stands out even at a Democratic convention, mentioned her past service as a Sunday school teacher and even recited some New Testament verses proving God is a socialist who hates Republicans, corporations, and religious people as much as she does.
The delegates were also treated to a speech by Sandra Fluke, the 30-year-old Georgetown law school student who demanded that her Catholic university provide her with birth control and became famous when a prominent radio host called her a “slut,” and so far as we can tell there was no mention of God. Fluke’s speech was part of the convention’s emphasis on issues of importance to women. Judging by the Democratic convention one might conclude that women are mostly interested in abortion, birth control, and sexual freedom, but in our unfortunate experience they seem far more interested in their jobs.
In keeping with the theme of how much Democrats love women, the convention followed up its tribute to Ted Kennedy with a much ballyhooed speech by serial sexual harasser and alleged rapist Bill Clinton. The man who gave America the subprime mortgage was called on because of the public’s lingering memories of the good times before the crash, and he spoke about how tough Obama’s had it and how hard he’s tried, but mostly it sounded very much like those trombone sounds that the adults used to make on the “Peanuts” television specials, and by that point the game was getting good.
– Bud Norman
In case you haven’t heard, the Catholic church is taking the Obama administration to court. That’s something you should have heard, given its rather extraordinary noteworthiness, but if you rely on the network news organization it might very well have escaped your attention.
When more than a dozen Catholic archbishops, the University of Notre Dame, Catholic University of America, Catholic Charities, and 40 other Catholic institutions filed a suit last week against the Department of Health and Human Services over a ruling that their insurance providers must cover contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients, the three major over-the-air newscasters all but ignored the story. The eagle-eyed observers at the venerable Media Research Center found that ABC’s “World News” and NBC’s “Nightly News” made no mention of the story whatsoever, while CBS’ “Evening News” devoted all of 19 seconds to the matter. Although CBS deserves some credit for at least a brief mention of the lawsuit it report could hardly have done the story justice, as it takes much of 19 seconds just to say contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients.
News judgments are vexingly subjective, and always dependent on what else happened on a given day, but it’s hard to find any of the usual journalistic explanations for this omission. A legal conflict between one of the world’s major religions — that would be the Catholics, not the Obama administration — and a president is clearly of importance, and not just to the significant number of Americans who are Catholic. All people of faith, including the Rabbinical Council of America, have a stake in the case, and anyone who holds opinions contrary to those of the Obama administration does as well.
Nor can the networks convincingly argue that they had more important things to cover. On the day the lawsuit was filed NBC found time to cover a solar eclipse that was visible only in a few parts of the world, and would have no discernible effect on future events, and ABC devoted three minutes and 30 seconds to the sentencing of a Rutgers student who had spied on a homosexual roommate. If anything else of greater importance than the lawsuit had happened that day, we’ve already forgotten about it.
– Bud Norman
We rarely look to Raquel Welch for political insights, and more often to look to her for other reasons, but the famously voluptuous actress recently offered an observation that explains a great deal about some recent controversies. She told an interviewer that “I think we’ve gotten to the point in our culture where we’re all sex addicts, literally. We have equated happiness in life with as many orgasms as you can possibly pack in, regardless of where it is that you deposit your love interest.”
The interview appeared in Men’s Health, a publication not ordinarily on our reading list, but we happened upon it while checking the Drudge Report for the latest news about the Republican party’s war on women. Sure enough, there was a headline announcing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s charge that “Extremists ‘Want to Control Women,’” but the picture of Welch, still a 50 megaton sex bomb at the age of 72, caused us to temporarily interrupt our research and indulge in the interview. We simply couldn’t control ourselves.
When we returned to the more serious fare, we found Clinton boasting that she has “made women a cornerstone of American foreign policy,” and instructed her diplomats to “partner with women to find ways to engage and build on their unique strengths.” In the same speech to the “Women in the World Summit” in New York City, Clinton compared the plight of women in countries such as Tunisia, where “extremists will try to strip their rights, curb their participation, limit their ability to make choices for themselves … They want to control how we dress, they want to control how we act, they even want to control the decisions we make about our own health and bodies,” to the plight of women in America, adding that “Yes, it is hard to believe that even here at home, we have to stand up for women’s rights and reject efforts to marginalize any one of us, because America needs to set an example to the entire world.”
We have no idea what Clinton was talking about when she alleged a conspiracy to control how women dress and act, unless she’s talking about the fashion industry and Hollywood, which are not Republican strongholds, but we assume that the part about women’s health and bodies is a reference to the recent contraception coverage flap. The Democrats want every worker’s health insurance to pay for contraception, even if they work for a religious institution opposed to the practice, and the Republicans’ reluctance to go along with this plan is being called an act of war on women.
It is indeed hard to believe that American women who have to pay for their own contraception are quite so oppressed as the women of the Middle East, where forced marriages, genital mutilation, honor killings, and similar outrages are commonplace, but many people will no doubt believe it nonetheless. Not a single person we are aware of has advocated banning contraceptives, and we note that Clinton could not identify who “they” are, but no matter. Simply by declining to pay for another person’s contraception the Republicans have once again demonstrated what sexually repressed moralists they are, and it will be easy for the more fervent imaginations of the left to see it as the first step towards a nightmare dystopia of enforced pre-marital chastity and compulsory motherhood.
Why this constitutes a war on women is unclear, however, because it has been our observation that men are at least as avid about contraception and the sexual license it affords. The Democrats apparently regard it as good politics to be seen as the party of women’s rights rather than the party of do-it-in-the-road libertinism, but they might be missing a bet by not broadening their appeal. We suspect that a presidential candidate whose stump speech was Rodney Dangerfield’s famous closing lines in “Caddyshack,” promising the cheering crowd that “We’re all gonna get laid tonight,” would do quite well in modern America.
Much of liberalism’s current popularity, especially among the young, is based on its loving embrace of what no less a liberal than Ralph Nader once called “gonadal issues.” While the left is quite comfortable with the government telling people what kind of light bulbs to use, what health insurance to buy, what to pack in a child’s lunch bag, and any number of choices that were once left to individual men and women, they’ll always stand steadfast against any restrictions on sexual behavior. For many people, especially the young, sexual freedom is the most important kind. The economy sputters, gas prices rise, another trillion is added to the national debt, but at least the Democrats aren’t going to keep you from getting any action.
Neither are the Republicans, of course, but neither will they contribute to your expenses, and that’s likely to cost them a few votes. It might win them a few more, though, because there’s still a constituency for a more genteel sexual sensibility, or at least one that doesn’t become a burden on the taxpayers. Even Raquel Welch, who has done as much as anyone to promote interest in sex, declared in her recent interview that “I don’t care if I’m becoming one of those old fogies who says, ‘Back in my day we didn’t have to hear about sex all the time.’”
– Bud Norman
One should never call a woman a slut, unless she’s into that, and it would have been better if Rush Limbaugh had not done so. Still, the indignation of his critics is hard to bear.
If you’ve limited your news reading to the important things, you might have missed the story. In the wake of the Obama administration’s decision that the Catholic church should provide contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization for the employees of its hospitals, schools and other large institutions, a Georgetown University law student with the intriguing name of Sandra Fluke spoke before an unofficial congressional hearing about the burdensome injustice of not being provided contraceptive coverage by the Catholic school. Radio commentator Limbaugh disapprovingly commented on her comments during his popular program, and in the course of his commentary he likened her to a prostitute and referred to her as a “slut.” Much tsk-tsking ensued from the rest of the commenting industry, several politicians expressed grave offense, outraged activist groups scared away some advertisers, and Limbaugh wound up apologizing at length on consecutive broadcasts.
Such broadcasting brouhahas pop up from time to time, heaping massive amounts of publicity on the offending speaker before fading from the public’s memory, and this is just another one of them. Limbaugh’s many enemies are hoping to make the most of it, however, and it should be noted that their protests are censorious, opportunistic, and hypocritical.
The president apparently called Fluke “to express his disappointment that she has been the subject of inappropriate personal attacks,” but he won’t be returning the million bucks that was raised for his campaign by foul-mouthed comedian Bill Maher, who has refused to apologize for calling former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin an ever harsher epithet that does not bear repeating here. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on Republicans to disavow “the vicious and appropriate attacks,” but had no public opinion when television wag David Letterman insinuated that Palin’s apolitical daughter was promiscuous. Rep. Steny Hoyer is apparently advising Fluke to sue, but offered no such advice to conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham after MSNBC’s Ed Schultz called her a “right-wing slut.”
Examples of such liberal vitriol abound, as any prominent conservative woman will attest, and are in keeping with the generally degraded nature of contemporary popular culture. Since the days of Lenny Bruce and The Berkeley Barb the cultural left has championed vulgarity, profanity, and the personal attack as authentic and liberating, and at this late date it’s galling to hear them complain that some of it has seeped in to Limbaugh’s shtick.
Still, it would have been better if Limbaugh hadn’t said that. It’s not only unseemly, so very like the sort of people he usually rails against, but it also distracted from a fair critique of a ridiculous young woman who chose to thrust herself into the national political discourse. Fluke’s notion that her rights are being violated if the government doesn’t pay for it will prove extremely expensive if put into practice, given that we’ve all got a right to guns and many other costly things, and she deserves ridicule. It’s bad enough when people think the world owes them a living, but Fluke seems to think it owes her some loving as well.
– Bud Norman
They’re a bossy, intolerant, holier-than-thou lot, these irreligious people. Not all of them, of course, and we hasten to add that some of our best friends are godless heathens, but too many of the unchurched are self-righteously determined to impose their non-beliefs on everyone.
The latest example is a ruling by the Department of Health and Human Services that the “Obamacare” law requires all large institutions to offer their employees insurance covering contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients, even if those institutions are affiliated with religions that object to such practices.
News reports about the ruling have stressed its effect on Catholic institutions, and thus far the Catholic church has been the most vociferous in its criticisms, but people of all religions will likely feel threatened by the new policy. While most Protestant denominations and other faiths take a more permissive view of contraception than their Catholic brethren, at least as far as married couples are concerned, many churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples are as steadfast as the Catholics in their opposition to sterilization and abortion. All people who still cling to a faith in a power higher than government knows that there’s something in their creed that will eventually bring them into conflict with an unrestrained secular state, and we expect that many of them will decide that this is as good a place as any to draw a line.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the policy “strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious beliefs and increasing access to important preventative services,” but it seems a strange equilibrium. The respect for religious belief is merely rhetorical, the increase in access to services is entirely tangible, and in the end people of faith will have to either pay for something they find sinful or stop providing needed services to the public.
– Bud Norman