Our priority-challenged president, who spent a few blinks of the eye talking about a potentially catastrophic national debt in his State of the Union speech, decided recently to comfort a female law student for an insult proffered by a radio-talk-show host -- thereby achieving what? Leftist adoration, I guess. A renewed devotion for this would-be St. George, douser of fire-breathing dragons and rescuer of damsels in distress. And lots of votes from the easily duped people who think disingenuous political opportunism is a mark of statesmanship.
Such pawns do cast ballots, though that is their right and we can at least agree with them that Rush Limbaugh should never, ever have used the words "slut" and "prostitute" in his criticism of an unmarried woman law student.
It is true that hyperbolic outrageousness is part of his comedic style and that her position comes down to others suffering so the privileged can less expensively indulge their sexual pleasures. But Limbaugh's incivility was more nearly material for massive embarrassment than giggles. Pleading for forgiveness was in order.
The 30-year-old woman received something close to that. Limbaugh recognized he went astray. He apologized, irritating Democrats even more.
Their objective, after all, is to make hay while the sun shines, and it shines less brightly with the cloud of apology in the way. They despise this conservative critic because he often hits home and because his medium, radio, is the one least populated by chatterers of their own ideological ilk. Some have plotted openly to rejuvenate the Fairness Doctrine sufficiently to end fairness, otherwise known as free speech, for such upstarts.
The hope, in the meantime, is to tar disavowing Republicans with shame for what Limbaugh said, making you wonder if the Democrats see themselves to blame for the deranged utterances of left-wing media masters.
Chris Matthews of MSNBC, who wrote speeches for Jimmy Carter and was an aide of Democratic congressmen before taking to the airwaves, has waxed excessively nasty about Hillary Rodham Clinton and Michele Bachmann and even joked about a fitting end for Limbaugh, saying "at some point somebody's going to jam a C02 pellet into his head and he's going to explode like a giant blimp." I recently caught one of those exercises supposed to pass for political analysis on a TV network, and some of the participants just could not believe Mitt Romney had refused to kick Limbaugh while he was down. Meanwhile, one of them referred to the law student's position as a defense of "rights." Seriously. He did. I myself read her testimony before a House Democratic panel and am still puzzling over what exactly she said.
The issue is whether the White House should be forcing religious institutions to provide revamped health insurance that includes contraceptives and abortifacients with no co-pay. The student at Georgetown Law School, a Jesuit institution, said the cost of contraceptives over three years is $3,000. She spoke of extraordinary hardships of a couple of murkily described special cases as if they somehow represented the whole.
A writer for the conservative Weekly Standard magazine checked and found that generic birth-control pills could be bought at a nearby Target for $9 a month. The people who attend this law school are miles from down and out, many more miles away than some who will be footing the bill as Obamacare's costs kick in. One official estimate has it that health-insurance premiums for families in the nongroup market eventually will go up by $2,100 a year.
As if he hadn't already trivialized his job enough, President Barack Obama called the student to soothe her after her Limbaugh travails. How about some millions more phone calls comforting those his policies have assaulted, from the premium payers to the jobless to the grandchildren who will have to foot the astronomical, conceivably ruinous debt he has been running up? Strange times, these.
Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado. Reach him at SpeaktoJay@aol.com.