One of the most difficult tasks in debate is defining the issue. America no longer seems able to define an issue. We quickly lose focus and scatter our energy into meaningless hyperbole. The result is confusion, emotionalism, and failure to effectively grapple with societal problems.
We've got a perfect example before us with the Limbaugh/Fluke dust-up.
This isn't accidental. Framing the debate on the terms that benefit your side of the argument isn't a bad tactic. The Left is masterful. The Right is bumbling. The military cliche that the best defense is a good offense is apparent. The Left has grabbed the offensive.
Today we are focused on Limbaugh, the blustering entertainer of the Right Wing Radio genre that progressives love to hate. They've got him on his heels. He's been forced to apologize profusely. He's hemorrhaging sponsors. It's now about him.
But it isn't about him at all. Remember where this started?
Georgetown University, a Jesuit institution, seeks to tailor their healthcare coverage for students to avoid violation of their core religious principles. That means they specify that their insurance contract will not provide contraception and abortifacient drugs.
The administration demands that birth control be incorporated in the plans. The position is that "women's health" is a greater concern than the First Amendment religious freedoms.
Notice that medically indicated hormone therapy for conditions such as acne or ovarian cyst therapy is covered. The exemption the Jesuits seek is regarding provision of birth control drugs.
Shaping the debate has meant that the Left has pushed the publicity well into the realm of poor, down-trodden, females desperate for help in dealing with gender specific problems that men, particularly Republican men, cannot possibly understand. They trot a singular witness into a Democrats-only kangaroo "hearing" where she wails that it costs her $1000 per year to keep her fecundity in check. She is surrounded by squalor, desperation, depression, and oppression on a campus where hundreds of blank-stare women weep and wail about their lack of birth-control. Only Obamacare can lift her out of this medieval torture.
First Amendment? Not on the table. Women's health and the entitlement is what we are talking about.
The issue which we have over-looked, the one that is core here, the item that we aren't talking about, but which is the crux of the matter is FREE MARKET CHOICE.
This whole tempest is really about the fact that we are leaping into a brave new world in which we no longer will have choices in a marketplace. We are embracing a society in which government is going to prescribe what we MUST have and what we CAN NEVER have.
In a free market we wouldn't have a mandate for private institutions to provide healthcare. We wouldn't have universities required to provide healthcare for students. We wouldn't have businesses required to provide healthcare with workers. If a business sought to attract employees they could make a choice to offer benefits which competitors did not offer.
Insurance companies could offer cafeteria plans. Do you want these services? That will cost this premium. Do you want more? Company A offers more. Can you do with less? Company B offers a plan that is economical but doesn't cover some services.
Choosing where to go to school? This school offers this quality of education, these facilities, these opportunities and these student services. Don't want to go there? Then look to that institution over there.
Does your religion oppose birth control? Don't fund it for your employees. There are companies in the market-place that offers assistance plans but the religious institution doesn't have to compromise their moral position.
It's not about Rush Limbaugh. It's not about oppressing women. It's not even about the First Amendment. It's about a free market and the sundry advantages of letting competitive companies offer alternatives.
Can we just focus?