If indeed, as some media reports have indicated, Republicans are now "on the defensive" in the contraception controversy, they have one Rush Limbaugh to thank for putting them there.
Limbaugh is still taking the heat for calling third-year Georgetown University Law School student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute."
That was after Fluke weighed in on the controversy surrounding President Obama's decree that even religiously affiliated institutions must provide coverage for contraception as part of their health insurance plans.
Though Obama amended the policy, the controversy still rages. Fluke was prevented from speaking to a congressional committee headed by California Rep. Darrell Issa. Later, she spoke to an informal committee at the behest of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Fluke told the Pelosi panel that because Georgetown University's health insurance plan doesn't cover contraceptives, female students had to pay $1,000 a year out of pocket.
A friend of hers needed birth control pills to prevent ovarian cysts, Fluke told Pelosi's ad hoc committee, but lost an ovary because she couldn't get birth control pills.
Back when Republicans and conservatives had the moral, philosophical and intellectual high ground in this debate -- which is to say, before Limbaugh opened his mouth -- we would have welcomed Fluke's testimony, because it proved our point.
Why does it follow that, if female students at Georgetown University have difficulty paying for contraceptives, then the government must compel the university to cover them?
And how does it follow that a president of the United States can issue a directive ordering institutions like Georgetown to provide such coverage?
Where, in the Constitution's clear language enumerating the specific duties of the president, does it give him or her authority to compel private businesses to do anything?
Limbaugh could have asked those questions and perhaps invited Fluke on his show to answer them. But Limbaugh had a much better idea, something more creative, something much more original.
He decided he'd call Fluke a "slut." And a "prostitute." Down the drain went the moral, philosophical and intellectual high ground of Republicans and conservatives on this one.
The left has now redefined the debate. They're talking about a Republican "war on women," and how mean old Republicans are attacking women's reproductive rights, as if arm-twisting Georgetown University and similar institutions into providing contraceptive coverage is some kind of "right."
Our feminist-in-chief, President Obama -- no doubt trying to divert attention from his attempt to hijack the Constitution -- has tried to reframe the debate as a "women's rights" issue, and even called Fluke, as if to drive that point home.
Way to go, Rush. Your calling Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" won not a single argument; it provided no rebuttal to Fluke's bizarre notion that female students at Georgetown University must have their contraceptives covered by the school, or not have them covered at all.
Back in the real world, not the one Fluke inhabits where everyone is subjected to getting their arms twisted to support women's "reproductive rights," female students at Georgetown could simply enroll in one of the many health insurance plans that DO cover contraceptives.
Surely Fluke, who was part of a women's "reproductive rights" group, knows the concept I'm driving at here. It's called "choice."
In the most recent news about this pathetic debacle, Limbaugh issued an apology to Fluke for calling her a "slut" and "prostitute."
That was after three sponsors pulled their ads from his show, and David Friend, the CEO of Carbonite, another sponsor, said "the outcry over Limbaugh is the worst we've ever seen."
In his statement, Limbaugh said, "my choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir."
Oh really? What's funny about calling a woman a "slut"?
Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.