Eagle Forum backs Limbaugh, says Sandra Fluke “should be absolutely ashamed”

You really don’t want to look under some rocks, but then sometimes the rocks are picked up by others and you have no choice. That happened to me this morning on Scott Braddock’s Houston talk-radio program (News 92 FM) .  I was on with Cathie Adams, a board member and international issues chairman of the national Eagle Forum. She’s also president of the Texas Eagle Forum and a former chairman of the Texas Republican Party. The topic was Rush Limbaugh, Sandra Fluke, and the (gasp) contraception controversy. Here are Adams’s words from under the rock:

“This young girl [Fluke] should be absolutely ashamed of herself. When she goes before a Congressional committee and then be off the record. C-span is going to show it.  The whole world should know it. So what did the girl call herself, other than irresponsible?”

And:

“As I matter of fact, I, as a woman, am very offended not by anything that Rush Limbaugh had to say, but that we have a coed at a Catholic University who goes before the United States Congress and testifies, and now her testimony is supposed to be taken off record. We’re not supposed to hold her to account for what she had to say. But she is demanding that you and I as taxpayers pay for her birth control.  That is absolutely something that that woman ought to be taking care of herself.”

I think she means that because she testified Rush Limbaugh should get to call her whatever names he wants to. Now, I suppose it’s not surprising that the paragonettes of moral virtue at the Eagle Forum see non-Eagle Forum members as sluts and prostitutes. They’ve more or less argued that for decades, ever since Phyllis Schlafly entered the national circus tent. But I have to admit that when Adams decided that calling Fluke a slut and a prostitute was okay and that Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers shouldn’t mind (much less the rest of the civilized world), I was shocked, I tell you, shocked.

Adams went on to repeat other right-wing lies about President Obama’s contraception policy,  making the contradictory claims that the policy forced people to purchase coverage they were morally opposed to and then saying the policy forced taxpayers to pay for the coverage for others. Oh, Adams also claims the policy will force taxpayers to pay for others’ sex change operations. Huh? Well, at least we won’t have to pay for their birth control, I guess.

Here are links to the audio of my little talk with Adams:

Part I

Part II

Why Use Language of Hate and Violence?

I did a brief radio debate today on Scott Braddock’s show with the Eagle Forum’s Cathie Adams. She, like others on the Right, are carefully reframing the criticism of violent and hateful rhetoric. They claim we are making a direct causation argument, as if we believed Sarah Palin called up Jared Loughner and told him to shoot up Tucson. I’m making no such argument. But their talking point allows the Right to avoid the central issue:  their use of violent, hateful language. We need to press that question.

We want our words to have consequences in politics. That’s why we talk. That’s why we debate. We want to persuade, we want to win elections or have our policies adopted. So, here are the questions for the Right:

What consequences do you want from your use of hateful, violent language? You claim there can’t be violent consequences, that there is no connection among violent words and violent deeds. But what consequences do you want? Do you believe there are no consequences? Is it just idle chatter? Then you believe such language is not effective, and if it’s not effective, why don’t you stop it?

The Right is very skilled at reframing debates such as this. We can’t let them get away with it. They are hiding behind the obvious madness of Loughner and avoiding and responsibility for the climate of fear and hatred. We are not trying to make them criminal accomplices to the awful shootings in Tucson. We are trying to hold them accountable for immoral and dangerous language that has no place in democracy.

Over and over we should ask them to justify their use of the language of hate and violence. Put to them directly, there is no place for them to hide.