September 4, 2008, - 2:52 pm

GOP Palin Mr. Mom Derangement Syndrome

By Debbie Schlussel
Although there are many readers who’ve written to agree with me, regarding my column earlier today–about the GOP’s and many conservatives’ strange new embrace of the Mr. Mom lifestyle and discarding of traditional gender roles of moms raising kids out the window–I note that I’ve really struck a very sensitive, raw nerve among the tiny (but still far too big) Mr. Mom constituency in the GOP.
Here are the three angry Mr. Mom demographic members’ intolerant e-mails. I just have to repeat that these people are just a little too touchy for a reason. They doth protest too much because–contrary to what they’re saying–they seem a little embarrassed by their situations. I’ve removed the surnames and e-mail addresses so as not to shame them:


Mr. Hockey Mom, Todd Palin

Sadly you see no joy for how good Americans are meeting the challenges of today. It is not the 1900’s. Our own handsome, intelligent, well-kept son is a Mr. Mom and our grandchildren thrive and we are soooo proud of him and the deep love, patience and commitment he shows his family daily. Life isn’t a cookie-cutter. You are so sadly bitter and short sighted.
Walt and Yvonne
Raleigh, NC

Of course, the parents of Mr. Mom protest. They’re embarrassed. He’s not the man in the relationship. His wife is. But they have the “kept” part right.

From: Ann
Date: Thu, Sep 4, 2008 at 1:49 PM
Subject: I won’t read your lousy crap on Palin again.

Well, no explanation from Ann. But I’m guessing she brings home the bacon, and someone in a jockstrap is the hockey mom bulldog in lipstick.

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, not. Very high traffic to this site, today.
Bruce adds a “PS”:

Tell me when you have your sex change

Yup, new mental disorder: Mr. Mom Effeminate Derangement Syndrome (MMEDS, as in, take yours).
Oh, and just to provide a little balance, here are two more of the many e-mails I received from those who agree with me (some were posted after the column, earlier today):

Kudos on your post Palin nomination. I’ve been voicing the same concerns of abandonment of duties to my friends who think this a good thing.
Just long ago many of the concerns on social ideas behind the feminist movement and independence are voiced in Melanie Phillips’ book on the women’s voting movement at the turn of the century. I intend to read this book.


Dear Debbie:
I couldn’t think of another conservative to point this out to, because everyone is on the Sarah bandwagon right now. I agree with you about the family and the responsibilities of caring for the kids, the weird names, etc., etc. . . .
Thanks for all you are pointing out about the “holes” in this VP pick. Like you, I will vote for Sarah and John, but I will be “holding my nose” as they say.

17 Responses

I do have to say though, that I view the Republican ticket more favorably based on her behavior the last few days. She stood up yesterday and handed it right back to the elite snobs. That is unusual these days, and the fight between her and the elite has become a separate, and probably, a defining issue in the campaign. Unanticipated, but no less important, just as the fight against Al Queda in Iraq was unanticipated, but no less important.
At the same time, you are right to focus on concerns about her. I do think their child care arrangements are pragmatic, rather than philosophical. She was riding the crest of a populist revolt in Alaska, and there are so few effective populist successes today that I think a less than ideal childcare arrangement is a small price to pay.
At the same time, she does have unknown political positions, and less than ideal positions on issues like, most likely, affirmative action and government giveaways. But, since her fight against the elite has become a distinct issue now, I will support her, if only for that reason.

c f on September 4, 2008 at 3:43 pm

To be fair, her husband did have a masculine blue collar job. But decided the kids were more important. That’s not to say the Mr. Mom lifestyle should be the normative arrangement. It is not. What works for the Pallins should have no bearing on conservatives’ views regarding family relationships. After all, the Left thinks the family needs to be deconstructed!

NormanF on September 4, 2008 at 3:47 pm

Where do you get the impression that the GOP, many conservatives, or ANYBODY is ’embracing’ a Mr. Mom lifestyle? Ditto the ‘Mr. Mom Constituency’…?
You make it sound as though Republican conservatives throughout the country are now saying: “You know….maybe we’ve been too harsh on unwed pregnant teens…..they’re actually pretty cool!….”
And your overall implication seems to be:
That only single women should seek out a political career.
Men should only marry women who’ll stay home, and cook & clean.
Unless a man is not the sole breadwinner/earning more $$$$ than his wife, he may as well be a eunuch.
We’ve got a woman who carved out a successful political career on her own (…and not by marrying a slick career politician…), and she’s been selected to be the VP.
She’s much more qualified to be VP than Obama is to be POTUS.
Her husband of 20 years appears to be comfortable with taking care of his children and supporting his wife.
Last night she stood before the planet and gave a great speech. She didn’t stumble…..she spoke clearly and with confidence. She did a great job.
And the best you can comeback with is:
“……her husband is Mr. Mom……EEEEeewwwww!!”
Again…love the site…..but I’m sitting here shaking my head as I read your comments…

guitarguy on September 4, 2008 at 4:00 pm

That line should read:
Unless a man IS the sole breadwinner/earning more $$$$ than his wife, he may as well be a eunuch.

guitarguy on September 4, 2008 at 4:02 pm

Careerwoman Sarah Palin, househusband Todd Palin and their 17 year old pregnant daughter Bristol “I did it for love” Palin are definitely not role models – just another reason NOT to vote for McCain.

ramjordan on September 4, 2008 at 4:34 pm

As a fan of your commentary I am dissapointed in this post.
Yes, there is a lot of hypocrisy on both sides regarding Palin, but, are you really suggesting that only mothers with grown kids should work?
FYI, my mother raised 5 kids, one is a doctor, another a CPA (me), 2 are in the medical field, and 1 in sales with business degree (dad had a spotty work history and was an alcoholic ex-WWII Navy pilot).
Oh, she also taught high school and graded papers late into the night after helping us with our homework.
I don’t know whether working Moms are a threat to civiliation as we know it, or that a male spouse who chooses to take care of the kids somehow surrenders his gender to the “other side”, but I’m sure not going to criticize any woman who wants to work (asuming, and I don’t think Palin is, neglecting her kids – there is no proof that her working caused or contributed to her oldests being pregnant at 17).
I think you’re a little over the top here.

robscottw on September 4, 2008 at 5:22 pm

If the kids have strange names, if Mr. Palin is a stay-at-home mom — still, so what?
The lib/commies on the other side sue the ends justify the means philosophy, so there’s nothing wrong with the Republicans bending the rules a little to keep that Islamo Marxist out of office.

Underzog on September 4, 2008 at 6:23 pm

Michelle Malkin’s brilliant lawyer husband is a “Mr. Mom”, too, I believe. Actually, this is becoming almost a trend among conservative traditional families. Certainly, it’s not for everyone. I could not personally do it–I want to be with my kids when I have them. But I love that it is something that is up for discussion in traditional families, where before it was considered “liberal and progressive” and women did it becuase they didn’t WANT to be “yolked” to the home and their husbands were sissies anyway. Now it’s strong men staying home becuase they want to and not because their feminazi wives brainwashed them into it, and the traditional moms are breast-feeding from the office. It’s really cool.

Madame Vengier on September 4, 2008 at 8:22 pm

I want to clarify–I meant to add this to the above post–that I don’t think the Mr. Mom trend is the optimum choice for families. I do not believe it is for everyone–I don’t even believe it’s for half of everyone. I believe it should be done in rare cases when it really, truly is best for the family and when it works. I can’t be the judge of what those cases are–none of us can. Only those families can. But I am glad it is something that is up for discussion among conservative families. I think it’s becoming a trend in the sense that conservative families feel comfortable making this decision and are not sort of humiliated by it. I don’t hope that it becomes a trend in the sense that it becomes the norm. I think that’s a dangerous line to cross, if there is a mass exodus of mothers out of the home and into the workplace–even if the fathers are caring for the kids.

Madame Vengier on September 4, 2008 at 8:28 pm

Thanks for being honest about this issue as it must be hard to not go along with the lock steppers. Yeah I’ve been very disappointed at the free pass she has received other then the Michael Savage show. She is basically a poor man’s Mike Huckabee and I remember all those who were saying that Yes Huckabee is pro life and good on relgious issues but fiscally he was a liberal and he destroyed the republican party.
Yet with Palin they are like she is the Messiah.
I am especially disappointed the evengalist and (and others as well including Rabbi’s) who can say she is good on some relgious issues but not others (she belongs to a church that has female leaders. Some Rabbi’s claim she is pro Israel. Will she give to Rabbi’s and causes in Israel that promote certain feminist ideologies. ) With her views there is no question this will lead to more BIG GOV’T because to be honest this role reversal is thanks to Gov’t paying companies to hire less qualified women and women that have a much higher rate of turnover then men do which is pushing ALL ENTRY LEVEL WAGES down and pushing men’s wages down to women’s wages rather then raising women’s wages to men’s wages. Men make about 10,000 less adjusted for inflation then 35 years ago while women are only 200 more. Big whoop Typical what happens when you FORCE equality. And more money will have to be given to the EEOC. This also hurts the women that want to be more flexible because the EEOC doesn’t care if women WANT to work part time while rasing a family. If a company hires too many female Part Timers they may view that as DISCRIMINATION. This is socialism. Very disappointing McCain’s pick as VP.
Maybe you should try to get on Michael Savages show. I know he could be over the top at times and isn’t correct on every issue (I don’t think anyone is to be fair?) but it may help his point in what the issues with Palin are so we know beforehand what her problems are. A politician that is exposed in an area is sill better then one that isn’t IMO.

adam6275 on September 4, 2008 at 11:02 pm

Sorry, Debbie, but while I mostly agree with you, this time I will respectfully disagree. I was originally going to vote for McCain, but was planning on “retchin’ and pukin'” in the voting booth while doing so. Now, BECAUSE OF SARAH!, I’m a happy man. And “The Second Dude” is “a foine broth of a man”, as my sainted Irish Gramma used to say!!!

Codekeyguy on September 4, 2008 at 11:31 pm

What you’re saying is that no woman with kids can be a governor, because then the guy has to stay home with the kids. I don’t see anything wrong with it, if the woman is the one with the best job, and assuming there’s not some dysfunction with the guy.

John Harper on September 5, 2008 at 12:22 am

I agree completely. The Mr. Mom idea has never worked and we mere mortals aren’t hardwired for it.
There is a sign at a LDS Church History Museum exhibit for the Church’s welfare services. It reads in very simple language; white letters on red that reads “Men Must Work.”
Wisdom. Pure wisdom.

bhparkman on September 5, 2008 at 3:58 am

Here’s something that’s been bugging me for a while.
Now, everyone who read my rants knows that my family and I are not in this. We have no candidate that supports our views or will defend our liberty. One of those views is the virtue of women; all ages of women.
No one has even looked at this Palin woman with the question, “Is this a virtuous woman?” Nor has anyone looked at that sour creature Obama married and asked, “Is she a virtuous woman?” What about Cindy McCain? What about Nancy Pelosi? Has anyone ever looked Pelosi in the eyes and asked, “Do you esteem yourself as a woman of virtue?”
The scriptures mention virtue in nearly every book: Ruth had it, Mary had it, Rebekah, Sariah, Leah, Rachael, Abigail – the list is long with examples of women with virtue. Nowhere is it implied, “Lo, she spake unto her husband saying, “I am a woman who should have it all.””

bhparkman on September 5, 2008 at 4:40 am

You still have not addressed my point in the earlier post. Why should Sarah Palin go against God’s command that we all have to make the most of our talents? Please re-read the parable of the Ten Talents. You would have Sarah bury her talents – just like the bad servant! Jesus explicitly condemns this type of behavior and commands us to make full use of what talents God has given us. Are you Christian? Please stop urging people to go against God’s Word!

James Gatz on September 5, 2008 at 9:51 am

I read your blog daily, but generally choose not to comment because our political views differ so strongly and I do not spend my time bickering in blog comments sections. I read your blog to learn about the world views of people who have opinions different from my own. In this case, however, I want to applaud your consistency. I have always favored loose gender roles and allowing families the space to choose their own morality and destiny, but I am appalled by how many of my fellow progressives threw these things to the wind in order to attach Ms. Palin. I am content to disagree with her politics. Likewise, I am appalled at how many conservatives suddenly view teen pregnancy as a personal family challenge and overnight became staunch defenders of a woman’s right to a career. I really respect your internal consistency. It is a rare attribute in any political camp.

Jen on September 6, 2008 at 4:06 pm

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