Searching for an escape hatch now that the contraception wars are spinning out of their control, Republicans and conservatives are working to turn the Sandra Fluke saga into one big liberal conspiracy.
As Fluke vows that slurs won’t silence women, here’s a handy guide to the theories floating around on the right about the Georgetown law student who was smeared by Rush Limbaugh and has since created headaches for the GOP.
Conspiracy No. 1: The White House Planted Her!
Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly believes he’s found the smoking gun in the liberal plot: The public relations firm that represents Fluke, SKDKnickerbocker, counts White House alum Anita Dunn among its partners. “A-ha!” O’Reilly declared triumphantly. “So this whole deal comes back to the White House.”
SKDKnickerbocker says its dialogue with Fluke began only after she became a household name, but even if that weren’t the case, here’s what O’Reilly’s theory boils down to: The White House secretly enlisted Dunn to convince a woman to testify at a House Republican hearing about contraception, in the hope that she’d be rejected, receive lots of attention for it, later testify at a Dem hearing, get called a “slut” and “prostitute” by Limbaugh and thus embarrass senior Republicans who would be hard-pressed to unequivocally rebuke him.
Conspiracy No. 2: House Democrats Trapped Republicans!
An anonymous “Republican committee source” told The Washington Examiner‘s Byron York that House Dems “played games” with the GOP in the run-up to the hearing that lit up the brouhaha. The aide said Dems first proposed Fluke as one of two witness options and, after the GOP chose the other one, insisted they only wanted Fluke and told the other not to show up.
The trouble with that is Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) said at the hearing that it was his own staff who decreed Fluke not “appropriate” or “qualified” to testify. Regardless of whether Dems tried to pull a fast one, the rejection of Fluke from that panel had a lot to do with making her a national story, and that was the GOP’s own doing.
Conspiracy No. 3: Pollster Celinda Lake Orchestrated It!
The conspiracy-laden website WorldNetDaily has discovered that Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), who is believed to have pushed for Fluke to testify, has worked with progressive pollster Celinda Lake. WND connects the dots and finds that Lake “is no bystander on the contraception debate,” arguing that her organization Lake Research Partners has been “one of the driving forces behind the progressive strategy to use contraception as an election issue.”
And although Lake denies any such conspiracy, WND’s crack team of investigative reporters finds that Lake has worked with a group called the Communications Consortium Media Center, which is funded by a subsidiary of Public Interest Projects, whose president formerly worked at the Sanctuary for Families, where Fluke was once an employee. BOOM!
Conspiracy No. 4: Obama’s Georgetown Connections Masterminded It!
That same WND report unearths that two law professors at Georgetown University, where Fluke studies, have ties to Obama: John Podesta, the former president of the Center for American Progress who ran Obama’s transition team late 2008, and Rosa Brooks, the administration’s former undersecretary of defense for policy.
The implication seems to be that one, or perhaps both, maybe in tandem with the White House, masterminded the operation. But not even WND’s investigative team was able to determine how it went down. Perhaps they’re all over it.