September 4, 2008, - 5:28 am
With Nomination of Mr. Mom as Second Lady, GOP Throws Traditional Family, Values, Masculinity Out the Window
By Debbie Schlussel
**** SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATES ****
Last night, John McCain’s VP choice Sarah Palin hit it out of the ballpark with her speech at the Republican National Convention. She was tough, charming, and effective. It was a great speech.
But that’s not the point.
When Palin was initially announced, last Friday, as the McCain choice, I cheered her on. What I didn’t realize is that she had five kids, some of them very young. What I also didn’t realize was that, for all the talk by the GOP about this “hockey mom,” the real hockey mom in this picture–for the last two years, at least–has been Mr. Mom, Todd Palin.
And for the last several days, my jaw dropped to note the partisan pandering on both sides of the aisle, first as prominent liberal feminist women suddenly discover that a woman actually should stay home and raise a family, but second–and far more disappointing to me–as conservatives and Republicans suddenly endorse the fictional notions that 1) a woman can do it all and working women are good at raising a family–nix on both; and 2) it’s not a problem that a man quit his job and subvert his life to raise the family in submission to the ambitions of his wife.
It’s odd–and, frankly, jarring–to hear formerly traditional family values conservatives throw it all former principle out the window to adopt the lingua franca of what was once the exclusive domain of the Gloria Steinems and Betty Friedans of the world, to call “sexist,” those who raise the issue of Sarah Palin’s ability to mother her family and be a full-time working woman at the same time.
What is, since Friday, now “sexist” to these many conservatives-cum-lemmings, was yesterday “traditional family values.”
Ditto for the issue of unwed teen mothers. While many conservatives cheer on and have adopted serial-adulterer and sexual-harasser Bill Cosby as their voice to the Black community to denounce “kids having kids”, a future Vice Presidential kid having a kid is no longer objectionable to them.
I’m pro-life and glad this kid isn’t having an abortion, but come on. You can’t spend decades–as many conservatives, including myself, have–denouncing the ever younger age at which kids are having sex and babies, and then sweep it under the rug on a Vice Presidential nomination dime. Period. There wasn’t a single word to the girls of the country–who are looking at Bristol Palin–that maybe they should wait to have sex, that maybe they’re too young to conceive babies. Why not?
I criticized Nickelodeon for cheering on Jamie Lynn Spears’ unwed teen pregnancy and had similar comments for another undue darling of conservatives and lefties, the movie “Juno“. And the GOP and conservative movement deserve the same jeers for cheering on Bristol Palin. Cheer on the decision not to have an abortion–that’s great. But remain silent on her trashy, irresponsible behavior–hell no.
If Bristol Palin had a full-time mother at home, would she be in this situation now? We’ll never know.
Back to Todd Palin. The man has youthful, sexy, masculine looks, engages in masculine sports, and had physical, masculine, working-class jobs, until he gave them up to become Mr. Mom.
After the Palin pick was announced on Friday, I’d planned to compare his masculinity and manliness as Alaska’s “First Dude” to the femininity of Michigan First Lady Daniel Granholm Mulhern, the girly husband of Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, who has an effeminate voice, adopted her surname, was planning to join the priesthood, and was an AIDS fundraiser.
When Granholm was first elected, I used to mock her husband, er . . . male wife on my Detroit-based radio show. Most hilarious was a much publicized Inauguration weekend ceremony Mr. Granholm Mulhern hosted, featuring ten other men who were proud to stay home and play mommy, while their wives had careers. One man bragged how proud he was to change diapers and see the kids off to school–while his wife worked in politics (they’re now divorced). Mr. Granholm also proudly attended a tea for gubernatorial first ladies, where he and the chicks were given a seminar in picking out new china, linens, and curtains for their husbands’ gubernatorial mansions.
Like I said, I planned to contrast the real-man quality of Todd Palin to this woman in a man’s body, who–we don’t know for sure–shares the Michigan Governor’s bed and the wife role in the marriage.
But that was before I learned that Todd Palin, too, assumed the position–the wife and mother role that social conservatives have long decried as an unnatural subversion and denial of the male hunter-gatherer wiring and a disastrous, feminist-imposed blurring of gender roles, which they’ve adopted in all the most socialist European countries with horrible results and the further degradation of the family unit.
All reports say that Todd Palin took many months leave from his job to cook, change diapers, and ferry the kids around.
An oil-field production operator on Alaska’s North Slope, Mr. Palin has taken months off work to help manage a household of five children. . . .
When a Wall Street Journal reporter spent two days following Gov. Palin in June, Mr. Palin kept a low profile, mostly tending to his youngest son, Trig, as the governor attended events in the Anchorage area. Often, female bystanders asked him to pose for photos.
Is that really the new GOP archetype for a man–loyal wife, mom, and supermodel? Last night, Rudy Giuliani–never a social conservative–asked why they never ask if a man will have enough time to raise his family and be Vice President.
Well, we never asked that before in the GOP because many of us are conservatives who believe (at least, pre-Palin) that it’s a mom’s job–the wife’s job–to do that. We didn’t buy into the Michael Keaton-Teri Garr comedy template.
It’s funny to hear airheaded pseudo-conservative peroxide-heads, like “The View” moron Elisabeth Hasselbeck and FOX News’ Megyn Kelly attack as “sexist” anyone who challenges the idea that Sarah Palin can’t raise her kids and be VP at the same time. She can’t. Period.
Hasselbeck cites her job on the vapid anti-male yenta-fest as a hint that you can do it all. Sorry, but she’s an airhead who spends an hour in make-up and wardrobe and another hour making a fool of herself on national TV pretending to be a conservative and exuding idiocy, and maybe another hour at the gym. Three hours of easy work a monkey could do. That’s not being VP or even any sort of real career woman, which is far more demanding. Like I said, these blonde airheads are channeling the ghost of Friedan and the soon-to-be-ghost of Steinem, not conservatism.
When Dan Quayle–speaking for most social conservatives–dissed TV’s “Murphy Brown” for having a kid as a single mom and raising it without a dad, that wasn’t the only issue. The issue was also that she was a full-time TV reporter and anchor on the show, and the kid was going to be raised by a nanny. A kid needs not just a father in its life, but a mother. And they need a father who wears the pants and mother who figuratively wears the skirt.
That’s what traditional conservatives believed . . . until Friday. It’s what the left and the feminists did not . . . until Friday.
While I’m glad that the Sally Quinns and Joy Behars and Baba Wawas of the world are suddenly on our side, when did we decide we needed to start scoring in their endzone, once they start to conveniently come around to our position in this one instance?
And I ask you, do you think that even Mr. Giuliani–one of the more liberal Republicans (a man whose counterterror positions earned my support in the GOP primaries)–would give up his career to stay home and raise kids, while wife Judy Nathan earned and brought home the bacon? Not a chance. So his comments last night, eschewing those who criticize that unconventional lifestyle, are bunk. Phony.
When Dan Granholm Mulhern became Michigan’s First Lady, I asked my mostly-male radio listeners if they’d give it all up to stay home and have their wife provide for the family. A few jokers called in and said they’d love to be kept men. But people who are kept don’t change diapers or drive carpool. The vast majority of my listeners wouldn’t hear of it. It’s not natural. It’s for wimps and men who, at their peril, ignore their natural instinct to be men, which in their DNA means to be the breadwinner.
At that time, in early 2003, Newsweek ran a story about men who stayed home while their wives worked. It wasn’t a choice–many were laid off. Most found it degrading. And moreover, they knew they didn’t have control. Their wives had suddenly become the men in their households.
And pretty soon, that reverse in gender roles may be in the Vice Presidential mansion.
Social conservatives (until Friday) lamented working women who have latchkey kids home alone, warehouse their kids in daycare, or assign motherly duties to a nanny. What exactly do they think will happen in the Palin family if she becomes Vice President and he becomes Second Lady?
I like Sarah Palin, and I will be voting for her, more than John McCain.
But is her Mr. Mom marital employment and child-rearing dynamic a good example for the boys of America? Is it a good example for the girls of America?
Only if you want your men–no matter how studly and masculine–to be women, and your women–no matter how good-looking and feminine, as Mrs. Palin is–to be men.
For conservatives to sweep these issues under the rug now that “one of ours” is doing it, is to say that for all these years, our movement was a fraud.
**** UPDATE: Reader Barbara shares my perspective on this and the whole McCain “package”:
Just finished reading your article about Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol and her husband Todd and honestly, Debbie, this is why I read your column on a regular basis.
You are one of the greatest conservative voices in this country (right up there with Rush in my opinion). I too have a hard time accepting that all of a sudden being a Mr. Mom is o.k. and having children out of wedlock and at 17 is o.k.
I am having a hard time looking the other way, but I’m having an even harder time listening to hypocrite Republicans who now believe it’s o.k. to accept this when we have the possibility of getting votes because of it. I intend to vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin because I don’t want an “Obamanation” among other reasons, however, one of the main reasons I stopped donating as frequently to the RNC was because I believed they were too busy trying to coddle to the Democrats. They believed that would help and all it got us was, among other things, a bloated farm bill, an expensive and useless education bill (coordinated with Ted Kennedy of all people), no resolution to illegal immigration , no oil drilling in the US, etc.
Keep up the great work, Debbie, you are truly a voice in the wilderness for us.
P.S. Driving home the other night during the Democrat Convention I was waiting for the traffic report on the radio station that carries Sean Hannity and that was when I found out that Elizabeth Hasselbeck (?!) was reporting for Fox from the convention??? That vapid airhead??? What the hell does she know about politics or about anything for that matter-what an insult! Now she’s at the Republican convention reporting? Just FYI, she doesn’t come close to representing me or any of my Republican friends/family.
Well, she knows about eating enough bugs to come in fourth on a bad “reality” show. That’s about it.
*** Reader, er, “ex-reader” Bruce is so upset by this column, he claims he won’t read me anymore:
You recent comments regarding Todd Palin are why I won’t read or pay attention to your opinions anymore. You are obviously a very smart, intelligent woman, but it’s obvious you are not married and certainly do not have kids. As one who does, and owns a business with my wife, and raised a few kids, your comments are way over the top. I’ll bet I am not the only one who will “take a pass” on your blog from now on.
Actually, my readership is growing every day (except in the Mr. Mom demo), but it looks like I hit a raw nerve with Bruce, from whom I’ve never heard before (so I can’t tell if he’s actually a reader or a seminar e-mailer). He sounds very defensive, and I think we know why. I also think we know who wears the pants in his family. I doubt he’s a conservative.
Hmmm . . . this classy “reader” Bruce just e-mailed again:
Tell me when you have your sex change.
**** Reader Scott, who makes clear that he is not loyal to either major political party and has not yet made his decision:
Just read your most recent column ‘With Nomination of Mr. Mom as Second Lady….’ and I commend you for staying true to your conservative beliefs while the majority of Republicans at this time are suckling at the teat of Sarah. I read your opinions because I find it necessary to hear what people are saying, not Republicans, or Democrats, but people with regard to the state of our world.