On Day 1, Rush Limbaugh called Georgetown student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute." "She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception," he said.
On Day 2, Limbaugh doubled down and demanded that women post sex videos on line if they use insurance-covered birth control. "So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you Feminazis, here's the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex. We want something for it. We want you post the videos online so we can all watch," Limbaugh said.
On Day 3, sensing that "this is gonna be bigger than the phony soldiers," and "ten times bigger than the Michael J. Fox thing," Limbaugh accused the Left of pretending to have no sense of humor and said: "Yesterday in the riff about it, 'Okay, okay, fine. If we're gonna pay for this, at least let us have something for it. How about some sex videos?' If anybody doesn't realize that we are illustrating absurdity here by being absurd and that that is the trademark of this program," and told us to "Lighten up."
It seems that politicians are now taking a page from Rush Limbaugh by claiming they are fighting absurdity with absurdity.
While not as drastic as Jonathan Swift's suggestion in "A Modest Proposal" that "impoverished Irish citizens should sell their children as food for the rich," Andrew Rosenthal provides several examples of how many social-issue debates are handled "with a Swiftian spirit."
Rosenthal mentions New Hampshire state Representative Seth Cohn's plans to "offer an amendment making it illegal for one left-handed person to marry another left-handed person, of any gender or sexual orientation."Rosenthal adds:
He's responding, as you probably guessed, to his colleagues' plot to repeal New Hampshire's marriage equality law. "Traditional" marriage advocates sometimes maintain that marriage-equality is a slippery slope: First gay marriage, next polygamy. Mr. Cohn seems to be saying that this argument can run two ways: First only straight couples, next, only right-handed ones.
Also, that "female Democratic lawmakers in at least six states, infuriated by Republican efforts to restrict the availability of abortions and birth control, have proposed legislation to regulate men's access to reproductive health services."
And how about a House bill in Georgia that "would prohibit men from getting vasectomies because 'thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulations over vasectomies.'"
Or Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner's proposal that "men seeking prescriptions for erectile-dysfunction will be required to undergo sexual counseling," and Virginia Sen. Janet Howell's proposal to "link Viagra prescriptions to digital rectal exams."
For reasons of decorum, I won't even describe an amendment proposed in the Oklahoma Senate that would...
But you can read it all here.
In my opinion there is, however, one huge difference between Limbaugh's attempts to "illustrate absurdity by being absurd" and the lawmakers' attempts to "fight absurdity with absurdity."
Limbaugh consistently -- and at times effectively -- uses that mantra to disguise demeaning and mean-spirited attacks on others and to give himself a measure of immunity. On the other hand, some of these absurd politicians can't help it but to use absurd ideas as part of their political absurdness -- except, of course, when Democrats attempt to fight real Republican absurdity with absurdity.