June 13 2014
Carrie L. Lukas
Eli Clifton at The Nation seems to think that he got a scoop that Rush Limbaugh donated money to the Independent Women’s Forum in support of our 2007 Women of Valor dinner, honoring Nancy Brinker for her leadership in fighting breast cancer. That was hardly a secret: He was acknowledged as a top sponsor in the program at the dinner, and has always been listed in our publicly available tax records. For the record, Rush hasn’t donated to IWF since 2007 — though we would certainly welcome his support again.
Clifton seems to think that there is some conspiracy because Rush financially supported one of our programs and IWF writers such as myself have at times written in his defense. He notes a handful of instances over the past seven years when we have written or spoken publicly about controversies involving Rush, and the fact that we have continued to critique Sandra Fluke, to imply that we were long ago bought off.
I don’t know how familiar Clifton is with IWF’s work, but we have a blog that is updated daily, usually several times a day. IWF spokeswomen usually go on radio a couple times a day, and on TV several times a week. That means that we comment on a lot of controversies, particularly ones that involve politics, policy, and women. It should hardly be surprising that the topic of Rush Limbaugh has come up over the years and that, given our shared support for limited government and free markets, that we’ve often been on the same side.
When it comes to Sandra Fluke, this is a woman that the left has presented as an authority on health policy issues, and she has been given provident roles at the Democratic National Convention and even introduced the president at a campaign event. We have consistently considered her arguments and exposed what we see as flaws in her logic. Clifton acknowledges that Charlotte Hays wrote critically of Rush Limbaugh’s insults of Fluke, and partially quotes my piece on this topic, but leaves out some key elements, like the second two paragraphs:
Full disclosure: I’m a regular listener to Rush Limbaugh. I enjoy his political perspective and humor, and am generally impressed with his treatment of his callers, which non-listeners might not know is overwhelmingly respectful and cordial, even when he disagrees with them on the issues.
And I know that this means that I have a certain bias. I’m familiar with Rush’s arguments, and it’s easy for me to place comments that he makes into the context of what I know to be his world view.
That’s not to excuse his calling Sandra Fluke offensive and inappropriate terms. Beyond being rude, it distracted from the central discussion of what’s at stake with this HHS mandate.
From listening to Rush, I know what point he wanted to make. He wanted to highlight the absurdity of women, under the banner of feminism, who want to be seen as independent as they try to force other people to pay for their choices and lifestyle. Painting yourself as a victim for having to figure out how to buy your own contraception, especially when you are enrolled at one of the nation’s most prestigious law schools, is pretty difficult to mesh with the idea of true independence. Grossly exaggerating the costs of contraception invites jokes — childish to be sure — about how exactly one could run up such a tab.
Does Clifton really think that the reason why I tried to put his remarks in context was because Rush had donated money to IWF five years earlier? Could it possibly be that I too believe that government mandates forcing companies to provide a product free to users is an inappropriate use of government power and will have harmful effects on the health care system and market?
Certainly Rush makes some statements and characterizations that I don’t agree with and has been harsh in criticizing his opponents. Yet he is hardly alone in such missteps, and though outlets like The Nation undoubtedly choose to ignore it, some of the most grotesque attacks on women come from leading figures and entertainers on the left and are targeted at conservatives.
With this article, The Nation joins the proud tradition on the Left of trying to slander opponents by focusing on who funds them — have you heard? We used to (years ago now) receive money from Koch Foundations too! Harry Reid brought it up on the Senate floor – what a scandal! — rather than take on our arguments. I’m sure that The Nation and Clifton aren’t so curious about who funds groups on the left, though I bet they could find far more cozy and compromising relationships among leading liberal organizations than Rush’s almost decade-old, publicly-acknowledged contribution to IWF.
Carrie Lukas is the managing director at the Independent Women’s Forum and co-author of Liberty is Now War on Women.