“Contrary to some recent rumors,” she told a crowd in this beat-down beach town, where she is endorsing Patrick Murphy, a local Democrat, for Congress, “I don’t actually support just any guy who comes up to me.”
This, she hopes, is how you excel as a culture warrior.
Fluke became an election-year celebrity seven months ago — a law student made famous by a snub in Congress and an insult on the radio. Since then, she has been a walking, talking symbol of the nation’s polarized politics, caricatured either as an oversexed whiner or as a noble casualty of the “war on women.”
The latest proof of that came Saturday night, in a debate between Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart and conservative Bill O’Reilly. In his opening statement, O’Reilly used Fluke as the face of a “slacker” culture sapping the country’s vitality: “The poster person for the entitlement society is Sandra Fluke,” he said, joking that he’d left a pack of birth-control pills at will-call for her. “Sandra! Buy. Your. Own.”
“A good portion of this country has created an alternate universe,” Stewart retorted. “In which the issues that we face revolve around a woman from Georgetown,” where Fluke attended law school.
Now, Fluke is campaigning hard for Democrats. But she’s also applying her perfectionist’s tendencies to one of the hardest tricks in politics: outlasting the political moment that created her political persona.
After nine months of talking about birth control, she says, “I want to talk about a lot of other things.”
Fluke, 31, graduated from Georgetown Law School in the spring and now lives in Los Angeles with her fiance, a comedy writer. She has had job offers from social-justice groups but has accepted none. Money comes from speaker’s fees, awards, op-eds.
“I’m racking up some debt right now,” Fluke said recently, in the front seat of a car zipping down the Florida coast from one Democratic event to the other. A Democratic staffer drove. A public relations adviser sat in back, working for Fluke pro bono.
This is what Fluke (whose name rhymes with “look”) does instead. She joined a bus tour for President Obama in the Midwest last week. Coming up: California, Upstate New York, Ohio.
There could be more, Fluke said, but she turned down some Democrats she doesn’t fully agree with. She won’t say whom.
“Oh, my God!” Fluke says, imitating campaign staffers. “You actually did research about the candidate?” This is a woman who out-crammed other first year students in law school by not sleeping or changing clothes for days. She’s surprised that they’re surprised.
Every campaign season creates a few accidental, usually disposable stars. The 2008 version was Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher — now an underdog Republican candidate for Congress in Ohio.