John Cole is right, er, correct:
The craziest thing to me about this whole Rush flare-up and the lunatic fringe of the right doubling down on the slut issue is how politically incompetent it all is. I remember someone calling this political malpractice, and that is correct. I’m really not used to this kind of political incompetence from Republicans- usually they are horribly wrong on the issues, but win the political battles. This time, not so much.
However, once again we see a situation in which the GOP establishment is irrelevant. Elected leaders like John Boehner have said little about Rush-ageddon, other than bleat some faint-hearted suggestions that perhaps Rushbo’s words were “inappropriate.” The strongest criticism of Rush from the Right came from Carly Fiorina, whereupon some rightie bloggers began to attack Fiorina.
No, this is coming from rightie media mouthpieces and bloggers, and the raw, hysterical misogyny they are spewing out has rarely been seen in public since the early days of second-wave feminism. It’s like watching someone lance a particularly nasty and long-festering pustule.
And they didn’t have to go there. As John Cole said, after President Obama made the concession to the bishops — that they didn’t have to pay for the contraception coverage — the Right could have declared victory and gone on to something else. Indeed, you might remember that just after the announcement of the concession, “Obama caved” headlines were everywhere, including left-leaning blogs. Pushing that meme would have done the President some real political damage.
But they can’t help themselves. They saw an opening and charged through it, not noticing the opening was at the top of a cliff. And even now I don’t think they’ve noticed that the majority of Americans are not following them, but instead are recoiling in revulsion.
The few who are beginning to notice they are losing the PR battle are still trying to blame Sandra Fluke for wanting someone else to pay for her sex life. But Fluke never once said anything about her own sexuality. She could be celibate, for all we know.
It’s like 1967, when a woman who said she’d prefer a career to being a housewife routinely was slimed for being a “lesbo.” There’s nothing rational coming from the Right; it’s just the usual bullying and shaming to keep women in their “place.”
It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything about the Right’s masculinity issues, but the old stuff still applies. Show me a misogynist and I’ll show you someone terribly insecure about his (and sometimes her) sexuality. Real men don’t need to oppress women to be able to define themselves as men. Beneath all that spewing pus is a whole lot of fear.
And this all ties in to right-wing authoritarianism and the escalating irrationality of what passes for conservatism these days. The extremists who took over the Republican Party care little about the functions of government. What animates them is fear and loathing of “foreigners,” 21st century social and cultural norms and often their own sexuality.
See also Steve M.