Saturday, March 03, 2012

Romney on Rush: it's the thought that counts?

Asked to comment on Rush Limbaugh's slut-slur of law student Sandra Fluke after she testified about her classmates' need for contraceptive coverage, Mitt Romney took a prudish swat:
“I'll just say this which is it’s not the language I would have used," Romney said. "I’m focusing on the issues I think are significant in the country today and that’s why I’m here talking about jobs and Ohio.”

My immediate reaction on reading this was to wonder: is there some underlying idea in Limbaugh's bilge that Romney approves of? That women who want their health care coverage to pay for birth control are prostitutes, perhaps?

Kevin Drum has cleared up the point for me:

Rush knows his audience well, and for most of them insurance coverage of contraceptives has always been a sideshow. That's clear enough already if you're plugged into the email chains and church newsletters that form the backbone of social conservatism, and all Rush has done is drag it out from this netherworld and shine a national spotlight on their real concern: that unmarried women are having sex at all, and that easy access to contraceptives expresses a tacit approval for it. They really do disapprove of the pill and the free-love generation it ushered in, and they disapprove of the fact that modern society forces them all to pretend that this is OK. Because they don't think it's OK. They're afraid of it. They think it's bad for public morals, they think it leads to a breakdown of order, and they think it should be condemned.
This is not to say that Romney opposes contraception, or insurance coverage for contraception per se (which Romneycare mandates). He has said recently  that he's not opposed to contraception -- and in any case, with Romney one never knows what he truly believes. He is probably wary, though, of offending, even tonally, those who hold to the belief-cluster that Kevin outlines above.  Hence the implicit suggestion that while Limbaugh was intemperate, he may have been making a valid substantive point.

1 comment:

  1. "...and in any case, with Romney one never knows what he truly believes".

    You said all there is to say.