Contra Mitt Romney, David Frum Says Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke Verbal Acid “Not a Case of Bad ‘Word Choice'”

At CNN’s website, conservative David Frum writes what Mitt Romney should have said. Concerning the verbal acid Rush Limbaugh threw Sandra Fluke’s way, here’s David Frum:

Even by the rough standards of cable/talk radio/digital talk, Limbaugh’s verbal abuse of Sandra Fluke set a new kind of low. I can’t recall anything as brutal, ugly and deliberate ever being said by such a prominent person and so emphatically repeated. This was not a case of a bad “word choice.” It was a brutally sexualized accusation, against a specific person, prolonged over three days. […]

[T]his latest Limbaugh outburst is . . . “piggish,” to borrow a word from Peggy Noonan, . . .

Why isn’t David Frum running for president? In a world where the American conservative movement was healthy, he would be.

David Frum for Romney’s VP?

Rush Limbaugh, by the way, has purged his website of Sandra Fluke references. It’s more than his being Orwellian, scrubbing the record. It suggests he anticipates a lawsuit coming.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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8 Responses to Contra Mitt Romney, David Frum Says Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke Verbal Acid “Not a Case of Bad ‘Word Choice'”

  1. David Yates says:

    A while back now, I heard Mark Steyn relating a story where he and several acquaintances were sitting around over a couple pints. This was about the time that David Mamet “came out” as a conservative, so one of them queried, “Which (well-known) liberal will be the next one to convert to the conservative cause?” They discussed it. Then was asked, “Which well-known conservative will convert to liberalism?” They all quickly agreed: David Frum. Sure enough, it was shortly after that that Frum publicly spoke out in favour of Obama for president and began to go on and on about the need for “big tent” conservatism. (Why such a need? Twice the number of Americans identify themselves as ‘conservatives’ than as ‘liberals’. And since Mr. Frum is Canadian — as is both Mark Steyn and myself, btw — Canadians just last year elected the Conservative Party to form our government for the third time in a row, this last time with a sizeable majority. So why don’t we also hear a liberal equivalent talking about the need for “big tent liberalism”?) But back to Rush and Fluke…

    What do we have here? We have a 30-yr old, 3rd-yr law student who deliberately chose an identifiably Catholic school in which to study law. It’s not exactly like the Roman Catholic stance on birth control is either obscure or a closely guarded secret. Yet, out of thousands of schools across the U.S. that Miss Fluke could have chosen, she picked the Jesuit-run Georgetown University. (Gee. Maybe she didn’t know the Jesuits were an order of the Roman Catholic church?) So, despite that, she went before a fake “congressional hearing” staged by Pelosi and other Democrats (Rep. Darrell Issa’s [R-CA] was the actual congressional hearing, and it was about religious freedom, not reproductive rights, so he rightly refused Fluke’s testifying at it when she was presented to do so at the last minute) and Fluke falsely testified that female students at Georgetown were being denied prescriptions for contraceptives for certain medical conditions — like ovarian cysts — and so were left to “writhe in agony like gunshot victims” (I’m quoting her, she actually said that). The truth is, according to Laura Hardman-Crosby, the Director of Student Insurance at Georgetown, the university does in fact cover birth control prescriptions for such medical conditions, and that an assessment for such a prescription is determined by the student’s doctor, not the school administration.
    So, all that said, what else would you call a 30-yr old woman who publicly demands that others who don’t agree with the use of contraceptives pay for her sex life? “Slut” and/or “prostitute” may have been a tad harsh and maybe even inapplicable, but given the situation, somehow “outrageously brazen” just doesn’t seem to carry the proper punch.

    • Santi Tafarella says:


      The very fact that “conservatives” don’t see David Frum as a real conservative (which he, in fact, is), is indication of just how decadent the conservative movement has become.

      And Sandra Fluke is fighting for the right of women to have no one interfering with doctor visits. If a woman is in the employ of an employer or is a student, and she has insurance, medications prescribed to women should be a woman’s business—something she takes up with her doctor, not her employer or college. These are things she (or her parents; or her student loans) pay for, not her employer or the taxpayer.

      And since when is following Jesus anything other than a matter of conscience? Shall Christian colleges now set up other conditions to assure that their students don’t make non-Jesus choices (such as require females to wear chastity belts as condition of attendance), or culling their libraries of books not written by Christians, or forbidding their students, if they are from wealthy families, from wearing expensive clothes or driving to school in a Mercedes?

      Seriously. Talk about nanny-supervisionism.


      • David Yates says:

        I didn’t say that David Frum is not a true conservative. He just appears to be sliding more and more toward the centre, to the point where he occasionally dips his toes in the pools of the left.
        But that said, as I’ve already noted, this is not a fight Sandra Fluke needed to engage in. Again, according to “Laura Hardman-Crosby, the Director of Student Insurance at Georgetown, the university does in fact cover birth control prescriptions for such medical conditions (as ovarian cysts), and that an assessment for such a prescription is determined by the student’s doctor, not the school administration.” And these are things that will be paid for IN PART by either a student, or his or her parents. That is until (unless I’m greatly mistaken) Obamacare fully kicks in, when it will be something for which all taxpaying Americans will have to pony up.
        And finally, of course following Jesus is a matter of conscience. But it’s going rather more than a little beyond the Pale to expect Christian schools to actually subsidize a student’s “non-Jesus choices.”

      • Santi Tafarella says:


        Now, let’s see. Your employer trusts you to function as an adult at work, and your college trusts you to function as an adult at school. But neither trusts you away from work or school to make an adult decision about legal medication usage in consultation with your doctor.

        Is that the world you, as an adult, want to live in—one where the nanny state is replaced by the nanny employer or nanny school? If you’re a conservative, you ought to be for adult liberty and conscience in all areas of life, not just in relation to the state.

        A woman’s fertility choices are matters of private conscience (as are male choices to use condoms or viagra or abstain completely).

        Very, very few human beings reach the age of thirty never having had sex. And those that have reached that age, retaining their virginity, have done so as a matter of adult choice.

        And those who don’t make that choice, and have insurance, should have access to contraceptives, which are legal medications.

        What is your desire for women not to have that access? Do you want to punish them for having sex by their ending up with unplanned or unwanted pregnancies? Do you want to make the cost of having sex so high and risky that they’ll stay virgins and abstain against their desires to do otherwise?

        Is this any way to respect adult conscience and life choices? Freedom is the freedom to make choices that others might regard as wrong, as well as making choices that others might regard as right.

        The Christian gospel, if you think it is true, spreads by verbal appeals to the ear and heart alone, not via the sword or other compulsions. Many historical debacles—think, for example, of the Inquisition—ought to have taught Christians the dangers of using force to advance the kingdom of God. Jesus CALLED people; he never forced anybody. Others forced him (to the cross).

        You stop forcing women into boxes. There are a lot of women and men who don’t want your sensibilities regulating them. Respect that. And expect them to respect you as well. Keep preaching virginity, but don’t force others to conform, by force of restriction, if they don’t want what you’re selling.

        Many are called, but few are among the chosen. Those are Jesus’ words, not mine. He never expected his path through the world to be chosen by the majority. He knew that conscience and verbally reasoning with others was the way to the kingdom of God, not force. If he wanted to use force, he would have brought angels down from heaven to defend himself and his followers. He said that too.

        The most powerful thing you have as a Christian is your voice speaking to the heart. That’s really it. Think of the parable of the sower. When you seek to substitute that with laws and force and regulations, you exchange your birthright for a mess of pottage and make people think that Jesus was some sort of this-worldly politicized fascist. He wasn’t. He was crucified by such people.

        You stop being one of the crucifiers. If Jesus were here, I’m convinced he’d be on the side of women to make free choices—including choices contrary to his own. Jesus was not a legalist. He didn’t say, for example, “You mustn’t work on the Sabbath.” Maybe he thought it was good for people not to work on the Sabbath—to take a day off each week—but he didn’t make it compulsory for those whose hearts said no. Imagination, conscience, and choice are the sources of power in the human soul. All else is the vanity fair.


      • Santi, you’re a wonderful writer, and for a professing agnostic, you’ve explicated the Christian message and its appeal with superlative elegance.
        However, if there is any force being applied here, it isn’t on the part of the religious trying to force chastity belts onto all females in order to protect their burgeoning maidenhood. Rather it’s the Obama government forcing private insurers and religious institutions into including contraceptives in their insurance plans against their conscience.
        Who here (re: this topic, at least) is demanding that people not have sex? No one that I know of. Who here are making any demands at all? Kathleen Sebelius demands that all insurers, without exception, must include contraceptives as part of their health plans. Sandra Fluke is demanding that Georgetown University, a Jesuit-run Catholic school, include contraceptives as part of their students’ health plan (which they already do!). And by extension, the Obama government is demanding that others pay for birth control medications, the primary purpose of which they morally object to. These are the people that are taking away ‘choice’.

      • Santi Tafarella says:


        I agree with you that the state shouldn’t be forcing the conscience of Catholic institutions (or any other conscientious objectors). The respect has to go both ways—secularists mustn’t force the religious and the religious mustn’t force secularists. The moment conscience is callously violated by the state against a group of people, a country is moving in a totalitarian direction.

        My appeal in the immediate thread post above is to the ear alone, not to legal force. If you don’t want the state acting nanny, think about making church institutions less nanny as well. But that’s a collective decision Christians have to make. Nobody can make it for them.

        Fluke is wrong to make a Catholic institution pay for her birth control. But the debate has now gotten away from Fluke, and the issue really has broadened into a philosophical debate about the role of the state in regulating secular feminists in their access to health care, and regulating secular behavior generally. Fluke is now the “poster woman” stand-in for feminists, homosexuals, pornographers, abortion doctors, atheists, pot smokers, psychedelic mushroom experimenters—all the people cultural warriors on the right hate and want to use law to reign in. Santorum is clear, for example, in supporting “state’s rights” over individual rights with regard to contraception, gay equality, pornography, prayer in schools, sustaining the drug war, etc.

        So Fluke, in an election year, is the locus of a broader stand-off.

        This is where I find libertarianism appealing. Whatever else it is, it is a respecter of conscience. Let a thousand flowers freely associate and bloom without anyone forcing the conscience of the others.

        I trust that the truth will (slowly but surely) out in fair competition. Do you?


  2. Denise Michaels says:

    David Frum isn’t running for President because he’s originally from Canada. Not born in the US.

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