Why Conservatives Can’t Win the Non-Male Vote, “I’m Fishing Speechless” Edition

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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236 Responses

  1. Miss Mary says:

    But… That doesn’t even make sense. Can they hear the words that are coming out when they open their mouths?Report

    • North in reply to Miss Mary says:

      Clearly they need some women to compliment them. On the set by telling them to shut the fish up and in their marriages by throwing lamps at them and making them sleep in the garage.Report

    • Kimsie in reply to Miss Mary says:

      Yes. Ya know the sad part? Some portion of America eats this shit up for breakfast!!!

      … this is why the current Republican Coalition is dead dead dead.

      I’m gonna write the non-PC version here. (and folks that know me will take it for what it is: unvarnished truth): “Everyone except the South dislikes this kind of bullshit. It plays well there, but no place else.”Report

  2. greginak says:

    Relating to the discussions of a reform movement on the Repub side; we’ll know there is a real reform movement when R pols are falling over themselves to call out these morons for the morons they are. When they say i’m not going on Dobb’s show or on Fox until something changes there.Report

  3. greginak says:

    Shouldn’t the 40% of families with women bringing home the bacon and frying it up be called something like Arugula winners since they are all liberal and everything.Report

  4. Mike Schilling says:

    You need to add in the missing assumption that’s so obvious to them that no one bothers to state it: men are worth more than women are. One of them said something about the recession hurting men worse than women, and I honestly think they’re picturing that the wife makes more because she can find some low-paid woman’s work job while the husband can’t find a real job.

    Of course, the real problem is the Department of Education trying to make our kids illiterate so they’ll never learn the truth about Benghazi.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      ” honestly think they’re picturing that the wife makes more because she can find some low-paid woman’s work job while the husband can’t find a real job.”

      Actually, I think something like this does contribute to the stats. Male dominated sectors like construction had their employment fall of a cliff in the last few years (and are just now recovering), while female-dominated sectors like health care have seen as much less steep decline, and in some sub-sectors, modest growth. (we’re likely at an inflection point again now, as construction and manufacturing employment are recovering, and government employment continues to be at risk, so I expect that 23% to decline a bit in the short term)Report

      • Matty in reply to Kolohe says:

        Well if we are talking about cases where the wife has low paid work while the husband is unemployed then that is a problem for family incomes the same as the reverse. You don’t solve it though by pushing women out of the workplace so two people (and possibly children) have to live solely on benefits while commentators get to crow about male superiority.Report

        • Kolohe in reply to Matty says:

          “You don’t solve it though by pushing women out of the workplace”

          No shit.

          Though the rise of woman worforce participation from 30 some odd percent to 60 some odd percent during the second half of the twentieth century does make it difficult for the majority of the population to support themselves on a single income stream nowadays.Report

          • RTod in reply to Kolohe says:

            This is a good point, and one that I never see talked about.Report

            • zic in reply to RTod says:

              I’m constantly aghast at the way ‘household income’ is used to suggest inflation-adjusted income has gone up; because if you also look at ‘hours worked,’ you see that while ‘household income’ has gone up some, hours worked has nearly doubled.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to RTod says:

              This is something I wonder about…

              It seems that in the past, when most families had a single earner and mortgage interest rates were in the teens and twenties, everyone still made out okay.

              What’s different now? Was only a certain segment of the population doing well but that is all attention was paid to? Did the switch from pension-based retirement packages to 401Ks and the like (which require direction contributions from employees and less take home pay) cause the shift?

              Why are more families earning more money but the narrative seems to be that all but a few are struggling?Report

              • zic in reply to Kazzy says:

                Kazzy, when I was a kid, once you were considered ‘old enough’ to be home without a after-school care by the time you were 8 or 9 years old, ‘latchkey’ kids became a social problem in the late 1970’s. I was the after-school baby sitter for my younger siblings by the time I was 10.

                I clearly remember gas costing 30¢ a gallon; and most families only had one car.

                In my young-adult years, health insurance paid for all your health care and was not expensive, maybe $150/month at most. When we looked to buy our first home, we were aghast at asking prices of $69,000; we didn’t purchase then, and when we did, just a few years later, those same prices had already doubled.

                Your necessary expenses did not include internet access, cell phone, cable TV.

                So second cars, after-school care, home costs, insurance costs, new utilities, all those things increase what are ‘basic’ for a family. And I’m sure I’ve left a lot out.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to zic says:

                Thanks, Zic. Great points.

                Do you think there is a way we can make a cultural shift back to not thinking everyone under the age of 25 needs constant supervision? I was a latchkey kid officially starting at 10 and even before that, it wasn’t uncommon for the lot of us to get dropped off after school under the watchful eye of my older sister, 4 years my senior (though admittedly very mature for her age).Report

              • Kimsie in reply to Kazzy says:

                I’d be okay with sending a 7 year old out alone to play at my local park (provided he was near enough to other kids and adults).

                I think part of the problem with latchkey kids is the inability for the kids to go outside (for fear of being shot at). I mean, nobody complains when Johnny comes home with possum for supper, do we? (real stories from Jersey — but before my time).Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kimsie says:

                (I feel like we’re switching roles here…)

                Parents have gotten visits from the police for letting 7-year-olds (or older children!) out to play alone. Check out Lenore Skenazy’s work.Report

              • Kimsie in reply to Kimsie says:

                hmm… yeah, we kinda have to go fix something like that more culturally (aka not just saying “this ought to be allowed”).

                Bear in mind: playing in the park in a group with trusted adults is kinda different from playing alone out back where the kid might get hurt and have no one to rescue him.Report

              • zic in reply to Kazzy says:

                I’m a big believer in the pooh-poohed view Hilary Clinton advocated in It Takes A Village. I have serious concerns about the whole stranger-danger hype; certainly teaching caution matters (don’t, for instance, get in a stranger’s car.) I don’t think it wise to teach kids to fear everyone they don’t know, and they’re mostly likely to be harmed/assaulted/abused by people they do know.

                I also think we don’t give children room and privacy for socializing; sand lot baseball is now little league. Their lives are chronicled and shared with the world on facebook.

                So I don’t know. I think it’s good for kids to have responsibility for themselves outside of their parents watchful eyes; but I also think it’s good for kids to live in a neighborhood where they know there are many adults they can turn to if they need help; and for them to have a sense that if they get too egregious, someone will tell their parents, too.Report

              • Patrick in reply to Kazzy says:

                Do you think there is a way we can make a cultural shift back to not thinking everyone under the age of 25 needs constant supervision?


                Because the minute an unattended child gets hurt, everyone* in the country will lose their goddamn mind.

                * for significant values of “everyone”, anyway.Report

              • Kimsie in reply to Patrick says:

                Even attended kids are lawsuits waiting to happen.
                See zoo “letting” kid fall into the puppy pit (subsequently mauled to death)Report

              • Kimsie in reply to Kazzy says:

                Families aren’t earning more money. People have lost tons of wealth, and aren’t building it back.Report

          • Kimsie in reply to Kolohe says:

            Not really. People being stupid with money tends to be the prime cause of not being able to support themselves on a single income stream.Report

      • Kimsie in reply to Kolohe says:

        yes, but you’re missing the picture for the trees.
        Half of current republicans are basically “foremen-type” assholes (ya know, overseers?).
        They think they ought to get the pick of the women, and be able to bully people around.

        It’s not in the cards in the modern world.

        So they’re irate. Most folks are decent and nice, and aren’t quite so entitled.Report

    • Will H. in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      I believe the “obvious assumption” is something added by the observer.
      What I got from it is a concern for “the family” beyond any of its participants.
      (but I only watched about half the video)Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Will H. says:

        I’m really tired of being corrected by people who then go on to say “but of course I didn’t look at the evidence.”Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          I dunno. He touches on something important. “The Family” is an abstract. A statistical abstract. It’s not your family or my family or Bob’s family or Obama’s family or Tina Fey’s family.

          It’s “the family” — a nebulous, undefined thing. Echoed a hundred million times. Not something that can be defined, discussed, analyzed — no, “the family” is a platonic ideal.

          It’s not real. It’s just something to project upon. All they’re saying is “This is the way it should be, and I’m unhappy that people aren’t living that way”. Supported by nothing but sheer cultural and ideological intertia. That’s the way it should be because that’s the way it should be because I believe that’s the way it should be and we all agree here, so let’s complain about it seems to be the entirety.

          “The Family” is buzzword for “I’m about to tell you how to live, based on nothing other than my personal belief that I know better than you”.Report

          • Patrick in reply to Morat20 says:

            Super space awesome.Report

          • Will H. in reply to Morat20 says:

            So these Census numbers don’t really matter, and we can do away with that?
            I can look at the wikipedia page for the town where I live, and see that the average family size is 2.96.
            So, how is this measurable by data if this is a “Platonic ideal?”

        • Will H. in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          You yourself said: no one bothered to state it.
          Do you suppose there’s a reason for that?Report

  5. Kazzy says:

    That was befuddling, but here is what confused me:

    Does the 40% number apply to single-mother households? Or households where the woman earns more than the men? Because the poll indicates the former but their conversation indicates the latter.

    Fwiw, Zazzy makes more than I. I guess Mayonnaise is doomed. Might as well start pimping him out now.Report

    • Just Me in reply to Kazzy says:

      If you click on the Pew study link, which takes you to another article it says the 40% includes singles and couples. More than 25% are women who make more than the man in their household. I wondered the same thing.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Just Me says:

        I’m still confused. Sorry… I’m dense today.

        What percentage of families are single-mother households?
        What percentage of families have women as the higher income earner?

        I recognize that the former is a subset of the latter by definition, but the circumstances of those who fit the latter but not the former are likely markedly different than those in the former.Report

        • J.L. Wall in reply to Kazzy says:

          I’m going from a summary I saw yesterday, which might have been wrong or I might remember it incorrectly. There were, more or less, two kinds of family units with women as primary breadwinners: whites with two-parent households (where the wife is making an average, I think of $70k/yr) and poor, single-mother households* averaging $20k/yr. The forty-percent total was of “households” or “families” — not necessarily marriages.

          *I think it indicated primarily in African-American communities, but the more I think about it, the more uncertain I get. I COULD always go and check again, but that would require more work… Anyone, please, correct any of this comment if I’m wrong.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to J.L. Wall says:

            So that 40% number includes both those kinds of family units?

            Okay, cool. Thanks.

            Now, which of those kinds do the gentlemen above think are evidence of the downfall of our society? Or do they not see a difference between the two? Any situation that risks empowering women is inherently a bad one?Report

            • Kazzy in reply to BlaiseP says:

              Thanks, Blaise. From the link:
              “A record 40% of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The share was just 11% in 1960.

              These “breadwinner moms” are made up of two very different groups: 5.1 million (37%) are married mothers who have a higher income than their husbands, and 8.6 million (63%) are single mothers.”

              It seems as far as the gentlemen above are concerned, any household where a woman is the “primary breadwinner” is indicative of something wrong.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

                From a historical view, they have a right to believe such a thing.
                1) At all prior points in history, pervasive single-parent households were indicative of some huge social problem (i.e. war, famine, plague);
                2) at all prior points in history, the female being the primary breadwinner in a married household was indicative of serious issues within that household.

                So, really, at issue is:
                And how much have things really changed from then until now?

                For my part, I really don’t know.
                Have we changed?
                Have things changed?
                And to what extent?

                I really have no answers.
                It’s just that I don’t see it as a fantastical proposition.Report

              • Jim Heffman in reply to Will H. says:

                True, but at almost all prior points in history, being forty meant you were pretty old, and being sixty-four meant that you were almost dead.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Jim Heffman says:

                I’m not so sure average lifespan is relevant.
                For one thing, even these days, farming accidents tend to be more deadly/ leave lasting injury. It stands to reason that, in a primarily agrarian milieu, accidental deaths would weight the averages to the low end. Also, childbirth deaths would tend to do so to some degree.

                I think the average lifespan of the signers of the Constitution might be more of a valid yardstick for such measurements.Report

              • Matty in reply to Will H. says:

                The question is which average? Mean lifespan will be dragged down by high infant mortality but if you want to work out what you were most likely to experience don’t you want the modal value?

                Someone must have actually looked at this stuff surelyReport

              • ThatPirateGuy in reply to Will H. says:

                We’ve started educating women. That is a pretty big deal. We have stopped locking women out of jobs like Doctor and CEO.

                That is a huge change. Once it is possible for a woman to attain a high status and high pay job the fact that she is primary income maker stops meaning the family unit is going to be poor.Report

              • Will H. in reply to ThatPirateGuy says:

                In a farm family, everyone tends to work on the farm. Farming is a lot of work.

                I have to wonder if this isn’t just a different way of stating that, for all the noise to the contrary, the manner of work that women do or have done within the household, or on the estate, is pretty much worthless.

                Is this really true that women have been practically worthless for centuries, right up until right now?
                That’s the part I have trouble buying in to.Report

              • LWA in reply to Will H. says:

                Through most of history, there was no “breadwinner”.

                Families were either farming, where everyone contributed work, or they were in the trades, where the husband and wife worked together to build the family home.

                Conservatives are correct in saying that history always had the male in charge; then again, history always had a king in charge too.

                But the image of the man earning an income and the wife passively sitting at home is a complete fiction. That model wasn’t the norm until the first half of the 20th century, and even then, only in Western Europe and North America.

                Both conservatives and liberals overlook the power and agency of women in history.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to LWA says:

                A stay-at-home wife was a status symbol and had been since the Roman culture first set up the model. Lower-class women always worked. Other cultures observe this model pretty closely, with varying degrees of autonomy.

                Thing is, a stay-at-home wife almost always had servants, too. This business about the wife raising the kids, that’s fairly new in the larger scheme of things. The Victorians delegated child care to governesses. The governess occupied a unique role in the household: she was also an educator. Slightly above the other servants in the house, she had enough mandate to punish the children on an as-needed basis.

                The Conservative Nuclear Family is a myth, a fabrication — and a particularly weak myth at that. It was a fictitious rehash of the Victorian home, with the unpleasant realities of all those servants stripped out. Mothers would run the home, Daddies would come home to find all things prepared for his arrival — it was a polite sham, all of it. The reality was Mrs. Beeton’sReport

  6. Damon says:

    I am not touching this. I’m just gonna tab away.Report

  7. zic says:

    Pew. And I don’t mean the name of the study.

    Something stinks.Report

  8. Kyle Cupp says:

    Women entering the workforce = most evil event in the history of mankind. Now you know, Tod.Report

  9. BlaiseP says:

    Carrying coal to Newcastle. The Fox Gasbags should be harnessed to a dynamo, the better to convert bullshit to useful watts.

    Where are the Real Conservatives? It’s such an awful question to ask, really it is. It’s a tautological problem, some definitional weirdity. Maybe philosophy has a term for this, I’m not the qualified philosopher around here. WVO Quine made some often-disputed statements about Underdetermination and Indeterminate Translation: I’m not sure I can accept them all.

    But this much seems clear enough: the Fox Gasbags are making some awfully big claims against slim evidence. The Pew study could point to any number of conclusions: it’s older, college-educated white women who are out-earning their husbands.

    What the hell is this about Destroyin’ the Family? Let’s see — older, white women, college-educated. I know these folks. These are the old DINK yuppies of yore. The wife got a promotion, the husband decided to follow his dream and do something interesting, if somewhat less-remunerative. She thinks it’s a great idea, they’re happy.

    Now cometh that rotten Pillsbury Doughboy Erick Erickson before the court of public opinion, noted bigot and homophobe, once again spouting misogyny — and his flabby phiz graces our front page. We must give credit where it’s due: Erick Erickson doles out piss in equal measures to gay people (whose loving relationships he equates with incest) and women, whose entirely justified salary rises only reflect simple justice and equality, thanks in part to those Awful Libruls passing the Lily Ledbetter Act.

    What’s his problem? What mythical family construct does Erickson advocate? One where women, within living memory, couldn’t open a checking account without a man’s signature? One where Justice Ginsburg, graduate of Harvard Law, couldn’t get hired as an attorney? Where she was turned down for work because she was a woman and had to work for free, her desk crammed in with her boss’ secretary?

    Is that where we want to return? Fuck these people and the horses they rode in on. Conservatives, no matter how awful they are, no matter what stupid shit they say, no matter how horribly they’ve treated others, will look at you with a straight face and tell you they deserve to be taken seriously.Report

  10. zic says:

    Andrew Gelman at Monkey Cage has a good response in which he also manages to work in Bicep size and menstrual cycles, and a quote from Echidne noticing that most in most in-the-wild mammal species, single motherhood is the norm.

    Contrary to stereotype, in this case it’s the man who is babbling and the feminist who has the common sense.Report

  11. NewDealer says:

    Except this isn’t completely true Tod.

    I agree with you that the whole thing is another very revealing episode for the Republican Party/Conservatives and not in a very good way. It is in fact, absolutely horrible.

    This does not change the fact that there are still a lot of conservative and Republican women and many of them (for whatever reason) do campaign for traditional gender roles and relationships. There might be a bit of irony because they seem to otherwise lead very feminist and modern lives. I am thinking of Phyllis Schlafly (who probably did more to damn the Equal Rights Amendment than anyone else), Kay S. Hymowitz (“Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Turned Men into Boys”), Christine Sommers (Slate article: “Guys who do Housework Get Less Sex”, though she also wrote the more equal and potentially feminist response that this is not the End of Men but women are joining men as partners, not replacing them), etc.

    There are also many Republican women politicians who talk about how their homes follow more traditional gender roles IIRC.

    What do you make of these women Tod? What I offered in articles was merely a sample? Do you think they are insincere cynics who found a way to make a buck via contrarianism?Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to NewDealer says:

      My sister is one of those women. Here’s her argument: in the Traditional Family, Mom rules inside the home and Dad basically brings in the money. Dad also gets to be the Priest and the Policemen, leaving Mom to be the Good Cop and do other interesting things with her life. The children are viewed as a career of sorts. Every week, there’s a little quiz, when everyone goes to church. Lots of little small talk, as intricate and subtle as anything you’ve ever heard out on a golf course, when guys are establishing business relationships.

      And often it is business related. My brother in law has made a career as an investment advisor, largely on the strength of his church network.

      These women don’t feel themselves subservient. The men in their lives do exactly what they’re told. They make a big deal out of being subordinate, that’s what the Bible tells them, but it’s horribly amusing to watch it play out in practice. My mother out-earned my father by a four-to-one ration, often more, all her life. It was rather like watching some grizzled old Command Sergeant Major saluting some Butter Bar Second Lieutenant. Technically, officers are superior to enlisted but neither soldier is under any illusions about who ought to respect whom in that relationship.

      And thus it is with these Republican Women. They feel threatened by feminism, not because they think women are inferior. Quite the opposite. They feel threatened because it changes the rules of the game, where, despite their supposed subservient status, they’re no longer on a pedestal.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to NewDealer says:

      Speaking of Schlafly, here she is explaining how Hispanics will never, ever be like white people.

      I don’t see any evidence that Hispanics resonate with Republican values. They have no experience or knowledge of the whole idea of limited government and keeping government out of our private lives. They come from a country where the government has to decide everything. I don’t know where you get the idea that the Mexicans coming in resonate with Republican values. They’re running an illegitimacy rate that is extremely high. I think it’s the highest of any ethnic group. We welcome people who want to be Americans. And then you hear many of them talk about wanting Mexico to reclaim several of our Southwestern states, because they think Mexico should really own some of those states. Well, that’s unacceptable. We don’t want people like that.Report

  12. KatherineMW says:

    In 1960 5% of mothers were single; that number is now 41%.


    Wow. That is staggering, and definitely indicative of major societal problems.

    Also, wow, Erikson could not be more wrong about science. There are a vast variety of lifestyles in the animal kingdom – mother raises young, father raises young, both parents raise young, both parents abandon young, siblings kill each other so the strongest survive. A lot of them are ones we obviously don’t want humans to emulate. The existence or non-existence of something in the rest of the animal kingdom says little – no, NOTHING – about its morality for humans. Heck, chimpanzees perform cannibalism (thanks, BCC Planet Earth, I could really have done without knowing that).

    The education/school choice thing is an absolute tangent that’s not even connected to the subject under discussion…it’s like they just decided that was what they wanted to promote that day regardless of where the conversation had started.

    Aside from the obvious opposition to women as the main income-earner in a family, the main thing I noted from the video was the idea that “women have become the breadwinners in this country” on the basis that 40% – i.e., less than half – are the primary breadwinners in their families (that’s the stat as they stated it, which doesn’t line up entirely with what’s said in the post, so I’ll read the Pew study more carefully later. I expect the post is correct, since the guys in the video are idiots.). It really fits with a point TNC often makes, that privileged and prejudiced groups interpret equality – or even movement towards equality – as subordination to the disadvantaged groups.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to KatherineMW says:

      Erikson could not be more wrong about science.


    • Will H. in reply to KatherineMW says:

      Yeah, I caught that early on that the moderator couldn’t stay on topic. His distraction into other topics was distracting to me, and made it difficult to watch. The main takeaway was that he was exasperated by a number of things.

      What I find odd about this is that the numbers really tell a story of children and families living in poverty.

      Meanwhile, the Left touts a tell of fantastic liberation, and the Right bemoans loss of economic opportunities.
      Personally, I tend to see the trends as more informative than the snapshots in such data heaps.

      The main point this underscores for me, personally, is never give your full trust over to the leadership of either side. They’re not likely to see straight when looking askew.Report

  13. NewDealer says:

    Though the liberal classes have their own problems with the Mommy and Parenting and income wars.

    Ours seem to happen whenever the NY Times (usually the NY Times) runs an article about highly-educated women deciding to drop out of the workforce and becoming housewives. The women usually featured in the article live in the tonier cities of the US (San Francisco, the new Brooklyn) and tend to have husbands with rather solid-incomes.

    Whenever this happens I always see a ton of chattering class commentary about whether being a housewife and stay at home mom is okay or wondering whether these women who drop out of the workforce are damaging the cause of feminism. The damage comes because their drop-out action gives “evidence” to conservatives as discussed above. Also they really borish CEO guy this week who said that women become “useless” once they get baby-crazy.Report

    • Will H. in reply to NewDealer says:

      I remember reading something similar about the de-industrialization following WWII, when all the Rosie the Riveters went home to have kids, etc.
      And the reason they did was because they could.
      Whereas more female welders would be seen as somehow beneficial to society these days, merely on the grounds of the gender of the person operating the machine.

      It’s sort of strange really; that liberation has become equated with wage slavery.

      I sense some sort of disconnect.Report

      • zic in reply to Will H. says:

        There was a very strong social expectation that those women would go home, and let the soldiers have their jobs back.

        I’ve heard dozens and dozens of women, now dead or in their late ’80’s, say they expected more thanks, more respect, more opportunity because of how capable they were. Going home to have kids after the war was also an act of healing after severe trauma.

        From the stories I’ve heard, I’m confident that the women who worked for the war effort felt a lot of resentment, and those resentments simmered into what became the women’s movement two decades later.

        It wasn’t just teenagers burning their bras.

        /but that’s just me speaking based on women I’ve actually known; not actual social science.Report

      • ThatPirateGuy in reply to Will H. says:

        While work can suck being dependent on someone financially really sucks. It really messes with the power dynamic and makes it so much worse if something goes wrong or they become abusive.Report

        • KatherineMW in reply to ThatPirateGuy says:

          If you’re in a good relationship, there is no financial “dependence”. One person works outside the home, the other person works inside it caring for the kids, but you’re both equal and contributing and the money belongs to both of you. My parents did it that way and have no issues around finances.

          What you’re saying only holds true if you assume people are going to get divorced, but stable relationships do exist.Report

          • Will H. in reply to KatherineMW says:

            That’s what I don’t like about this whole Dominant/Lesser paradigm.
            It’s functional only as a snapshot.
            Real relationships are based on give-and-take.

            If you look at the ocean, for every wave you see, there is a trough between the waves.
            There is no equality in the moment.
            It’s only a matter of having a sense of time that we can begin to truly look at things from that angle.

            It’s a simple fact:
            People are dependent on each other.
            Families are more dependent on other family members than other persons.
            Not likely to change soon.Report

        • Will H. in reply to ThatPirateGuy says:

          That’s just it.
          It no less a financial dependence.
          Even the structure of it really hasn’t changed.
          It’s just played by different rules.

          If I wrap a turd in aluminum foil, it’s still a turd.
          If I wrap a turd with gift wrap and put bows on it, it’s still a turd.
          Same old sh!t.Report

  14. Henshaw says:

    Basically there are three ways to tackle the subject of gender pay gap. There’s the logical way, the traditional way, and then there’s the political way.

    The logical way is to point out that generally genders make different choices. The wage gap nearly evaporates when you control for occupation and experience among the most common jobs, especially among less experienced workers.

    The traditional (whatever that is) argument is what some conservatives seem to make and it’s political suicide.

    The political argument is to pretend that there’s a problem and that the government can do something about it. It’s a persuasive argument and easily trumps the traditional argument.

    It easy to laugh at conservatives who make traditional argument, but the political argument is just as loathsome. It’s also why both parties will eventually move to a “what can the government do” philosophy.

    Eventually we’ll be subsidizing parents who decide to stay at home.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Henshaw says:

      Looking at “common jobs” and “less experienced workers” only tells part of the story.Report

    • Matty in reply to Henshaw says:

      Eventually we’ll be subsidizing parents who decide to stay at home.

      And this is bad because?

      Seriously is this just a general objection to government spending or is there an argument specifically against subsidizing stay at home parents while being fine with subsidizing (to pick an example at random) health insurance.Report

    • Dan Miller in reply to Henshaw says:

      Why do you assume that the choices made by people of different genders occur in a vacuum, and aren’t evidence of a problem? After all, if women get judged more harshly than men for prioritizing career over family, then women will tend to slide to part-time work or drop out of the labor force, lowering their income; but that doesn’t prove that this kind of disparate treatment is fair, logical, or desirable in any way.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Henshaw says:

      Of course, what we’re discussing is conservative horror that there isn’t a wage gap. Nice try at changing the subject, though,Report

    • Creon Critic in reply to Henshaw says:

      Pretend that there’s a problem? It might be overly obvious to say in these circumstances but “the personal is political”. Firsthand accounts from actual women who’ve experienced actual gender discrimination is one place to start. I don’t see how one goes about just dismissing their accounts and pretending there isn’t a live problem. Lilly Ledbetter isn’t just someone I conjured to make a political point.

      Beyond that, there are studies to try and tease out gender discrimination and the sources of the wage gap. I’d direct your attention to this for instance. A study where the person doing the hiring gets identical resumes except the names on some resumes are male and the names on other resumes are female. Lo and behold the female applicants are offered $4700 less, are less likely to be mentored, are rated less competent, and rated less hireable. Again, identical resumes except for the gender of the applicant. (This is not unlike other resume studies that’ve found hiring discrimination against African-Americans or the Muslim community in France.)Report

  15. Jaybird says:

    When you say “mixed bag”, I suspect that you’re right, but it seems to me that we’re talking about a very particular type of mixed bag:

    White Privileged People are having things turn up their way. Women are better educated than they used to be, they’re getting degrees for real rather than degrees as “something to do while looking for a husband” and thus ending up with marketable skills, and thus they’re able to contribute as much to household income as men used to be (and that means, all other things being equal) that they’re as likely to be the powerhouse as the guy. This is awesome for White Privileged People. Go team!

    There are also some other people, though. Whatever.

    The problem is that the some other people, though, whatever is that the trends indicate *BAD* things for them. I mean, we’re not talking about alloyed goods. We’re talking about what society has turned into for people for whom the so-called “traditional family structure” doesn’t really exist (and hasn’t really existed) for a long, long time. In this case, the stuff that would be seen as “progress” among WPPs, is actually an indicator of regress.

    The problem is that it’s really, really easy to mistake criticism of the regress in the latter case as criticism of the progress in the former case.

    “This is bad…”
    “What? Are you saying that you want to go back to a place where my grandmother was trapped in a loveless marriage because cultural expectations were that she drop out of her Master’s Program once she found a breadwinning husband to donate sperm???”

    On top of that, there are folks out there who are not in favor of the progress being made for the WPPs on this topic.

    At the end of the day, though, there is something bad going on here, even if its manifestation in some parts of the culture are good and indicate progress. We may have ourselves a legit instance of “23% of American wives now earn more than their husbands. Poor, Minorities hardest hit.”Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

      So shouldn’t that mean our response to this trend and its impact amongst WPP and a similar trend and its impact amongst other folks be necessarily different? The guys in that video were painting with incredibly broad strokes… “This is bad!”

      Why is it bad? For some families, it is probably great that the women are the primary breadwinners. For others, not so much. To pretend that the answer is universal is silly.Report

      • zic in reply to Kazzy says:

        They’re not ‘pretending this is universally bad.’

        They’re reacting to the way they see men becoming unneeded except as sperm donors. No longer the provider, protector, or head of the family. They’ve become unmoored, drifting on a sea of being not needed, and eventually, not in power.Report

        • KatherineMW in reply to zic says:

          If the only reason a wife needs her husband, or children need their father, is as a source of income, there’s something wrong with the family. The old-fashioned idea is that the woman raised the kids and gave the husband emotional support, and the husband provided money. But women need emotional support too. Children need a father. Not being the primary income-earner in no way means being extraneous.

          Most people in society (the folks in the video aside) are okay with women being in the workforce. In my view the big change in perspective that we need is respect for men being stay-at-home fathers. I believe it’s optimal for children to have a parent at home; I’d like to see a more equal distribution of which parent it is that stays home, which requires not only equal wages for women, but equal respect for men as parents.Report

          • zic in reply to KatherineMW says:

            KatherineMW, you’re singing with my choir.

            Feminism’s great failure was opening up things considered ‘feminine’ to men.Report

            • Fnord in reply to zic says:

              Feminism’s great failure was opening up things considered ‘feminine’ to men.

              This is a little unclear. On reflection and in context, I think you mean “Feminism’s great failure was it’s failure to make sufficient progress in the domain of opening up things considered ‘feminine’ to men”. But my initial read was “Feminism’s greatest failure was that it opened up things considered ‘feminine’ to men”.Report

              • zic in reply to Fnord says:

                Hmm, sorry if this is a repeat, first response seemed to vanish.

                I that, I sad, “Yes, Thank you Fnord.”

                And I don’t mind repeating that again.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to KatherineMW says:

            Great piont, KMW. I’m not sure that I agree that it is optimal for a child to have a parent at home; I don’t necessarily disagree… I’m just not so sure it is simple.

            My wife had her father at home for a majority of her childhood. But he was not particularly well suited for parenting… at least not the type of parenting required by a stay-at-home-parent. There is a good possibility she would have had a better upbringing had he been working and that additional income had gone to meeting some of the family’s needs.

            Now, ideal among all the options might have been her mother staying home, which would support your theory. But I think when we get down to specifics, there are some families and children for whom the optimal scenario does not involve a stay-at-home parent.

            All that said, you emphasis on balancing greater respect for women in the work place with greater respect for men in the home is a crucial one. I’ll be a part-time SAHD over the summer (and likely for many summers going forward). I very much look forward to it, not only because of the time I’ll get to spend with the lil’un but also because of how doing so will support my wife and our family in bigger ways. What I do not look forward to is the inevitable awkwardness that arises from folks who don’t respect me in that role.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        So shouldn’t that mean our response to this trend and its impact amongst WPP and a similar trend and its impact amongst other folks be necessarily different?

        Maybe we can fine-tune our response after the election.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

          Why wait? Let’s do it now. Let’s identify what is happening, why, what the outcomes are, what (if anything) ought to be done, and what (if anything) can be done?Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

            That involves talking about culture and coming out and saying things that sound unfair because, after all, WPPs don’t have to do the things that we’ll be suggesting for the other people, whatever.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

              I’m going to ask this question as clearly as possible and hope you can answer as clearly as possible:

              Do you actually believe that we shouldn’t have this conversation because it might involve saying things that seem unfair?
              Or are you stereotyping an anticipated liberal response to the conversation?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                I am saying that I hesitate to have this conversation because I am pretty sure that it would result in at least one person asking me a variant of the question “HOW DARE YOU?” and, dude, it’s almost the weekend.

                Although I did, seriously, consider giving the reigns to Evil Jaybird where he could explain how we needed to focus on the progress being made at the expense of the regress in other parts of the society and have occasional parentheticals devoted to FYIGM/NIMBYism that turn into “I mean, look at the progress that we’ve made!” paragraphs… but, as I said, dude. It’s almost the weekend.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:


                However, it does come across as a bit of a dodge, whether you meant it to or not.

                “You are all focusing on this in the wrong way!”
                “What’s the right way?”
                “Man, it’s almost the weekend… let’s not get too deep into the weeds.”

                Maybe I’m just less bothered by the “HOW DARE YOU?” crowd. Or maybe I don’t even know what weekends are anymore with the baby on board.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                It’s more that I see a, for lack of a better term, religious argument bubbling under everything.

                I’d love to have a vaguely dispassionate argument about culture. I don’t have the strength to have the religious argument.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Jaybird says:

                You have spoken my own heart.
                The whole thread.
                Well done.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Jaybird says:

                As you point out, the problems of WPPs and The Great Unwashed don’t overlap. We might ask why — the answers seem pretty obvious. American society is diverging into Eloi and Morlock, for reasons both good and bad.

                The sad part about stereotypes is how often they’re true. The ugly part is that they’re becoming truer than ever. Capitalism does create wealth and it flows up. That’s neither good nor bad. It’s true. We might ask how things got this way but we know the answers. As you say, it turns into a How Dare You discussion.

                Capitalism works, rather better than we might like at turns. I would hope more people would be winners and fewer losers, but as a Liberal in America, I don’t hear very many people begrudging the wealthy their wealth. They’re complaining about how they got that wealth and how they’re avoiding taxation and other such concerns.

                Fact is, WPPs are doing pretty well, some of them anyway. Not sure we can attribute that to their Whiteness though.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP says:

                I probably should have said PWPs. The first ‘P’ is the important one. The ‘W’ is incidental, even as it’s one of the first words to come to mind when looking at the group as a whole.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Jaybird says:

                Incidental, perhaps. Plenty of other ethnic groups are doing just fine. Maybe, long ago, there was some truth to the notion of White Privilege but whiteness isn’t the advantage it once was. Every culture in America has its Eloi elites — Morlocks also.

                If we’re to talk about culture, let’s sort things out in congruence with the facts. American culture has merrily re-segregated itself after all that work to de-segregate it. Nobody seems to have much of a problem with it — and why should we? The discriminant these days is economic, not so much racial.Report

              • NoPublic in reply to Jaybird says:

                The elite finishing schools are, by and large, still very white. Not as white as they once were, and in many cases more diverse than the surrounding populace, but still very white. The isolation of the elite pipeline from the educational and community opportunities of the non-elites is vastly more complete these days, however.

                There are entire portions of our economy which are cut off from 90+% of our populace. This is not a good thing.Report

              • John Howard Griffin in reply to Jaybird says:

                Dude, HOW DARE YOU talk about the weekend!!!!11!!1!

                Happy Friday, all.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

                Yea… some people work on the weekend… privileged asshole. :-pReport

            • Sam in reply to Jaybird says:

              Culture? Doesn’t this have more to do with economics?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

                As I get older, I find the line between “culture” and “economics” to be a lot more blurry than I used to. Maybe I need glasses.

                But I would say that “this” (assuming we agree on what “this” is) is two different things for two different classes. And it’s indicative of progress in the one class and indicative of survival mechanisms kicking in for the other. And the fact that it’s good on the nice side of the tracks doesn’t mean that it’s not a signal of bad things on the crappy side of the tracks… and vice versa.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

                What there is is a statistic that aggregates several things that are unlike each other [1]. That doesn’t make a “this”.

                Dual-income families where the woman makes more than the man.
                Dual-income families where both earners are women.
                Single-income families where the father isn’t present by his choice.
                Single-income families where the father isn’t present by the mother’s choice.
                Single-income families where the father isn’t present by mutual choice.
                Single-income families where the father is deceased.
                Single-income families where the father stays home with the kids.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Some of those things are indicators of progress. Some of those things are indicators of bad things. Some of those things just are.

                I’ll just pick one of those to write about the difference between how it plays out on the crappy vs. awesome side of the tracks but it’s pretty much possible to see different dynamics for each depending on which side one is on:

                Dual-income families where both earners are women.

                (Assuming that it’s not the result of SSM, which changes things, of course)

                NPR ran a recent report about older women joining households together and setting up something like “The Golden Girls”. They talked about all of the stuff you’d imagine NPR would talk about. They made it sound fun.

                I imagine a dual income family where both earners are women in the “not as likely to listen to NPR” part of town is less fun. I imagine that it’s likely to be beneficial to most everybody involved in one, of course (why do it otherwise?) but it seems more of a “out of economic need” decision than one that has snappy dialog.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

                Some of those things are indicators of progress. Some of those things are indicators of bad things. Some of those things just are.

                Like any other random collection of things. I don’t, in general, think we need to have a dialog about a random collection of things.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:


                How much of that is perception?

                Might “The Golden Girls” people who do it also do it out of necessity but because they look like “The Golden Girls”, we see it as quaint? Meanwhile, those on the other side of town might be doing very much the same thing for very much the same reason but we look at them as being sad?

                If that is the case, it still comes from an ugly place, but I think it says more about the observer than the observed.

                To give a real life example in schools, when white folks (wealthy or otherwise) send their kids in with lunches packed with junk food, we comment on their child-centered parenting… “They must have let little Johnny pack his own lunch. He didn’t do a good job, but good on them for encouraging his independence.”
                When brown folks (wealthy or otherwise) send their kids in with lunches packed with junk food, we comment on their negligent care or lack of nutritional awareness… “Don’t they know they’re killing little Johnny?”
                Same behavior… possibly the same reason (at this point, we don’t know)… but perceived differently and the assumption of the reason is different, therefore dictating different responses, etc, etc, etc.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                I don’t, in general, think we need to have a dialog about a random collection of things.

                Not even about the deltas within this random collection of things?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                How much of that is perception?

                I don’t know what “that” is.

                Here is the article.

                For my part, I find myself grow woozy from SWPL fumes when reading it.

                It strikes me as far more “voluntary” than, to use a different sitcom, a Kate and Allie setup on the crappy side of the tracks.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

                If you want to choose a related set of them, say the ones that arise from the general lack of jobs that pay a decent amount, sure. But I don’t know why “Some women make a lot of money now”, “Lesbian two-earner couples are becoming more common”, and “Single moms with badly-paying jobs have real problems” go in the same discussion.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

                “I don’t, in general, think we need to have a dialog about a random collection of things.”

                Aaron Sorkin and Larry David are never going to give you a job on their writing staffs with that kind of attitude.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                “I don’t know what “that” is.”

                Are the people on the right side of the tracks ACTUALLY having more fun in their dual-income, both female homes? Or do we just perceive that they are because we tend to look at some people and think, “Awwwwww” with our lips turned up and others and think, “Awwwww” with our lips turned down.

                There is an interesting activity I’ve seen done with teachers. They’re shown a picture of some African-American girls, probably middle-school aged, jumping rope in a relatively urban area (think Brownstone Brooklyn… where the Cosbys lived), on the sidewalk.

                People are then asked for their reaction.

                Teachers of color, those who grew up in more urban environments, and others who are better able to identify with the girls use more positive adjectives… play, fun, summer, free…

                White teachers, those who grew up in more rural environments, and others who are less able to identify with the girls use more negative adjectives… unsafe, poor, sad, dangerous…

                Same picture. And who knows which group is right! We never learn anything about the girls. But it is fascinating how often our responses are more about us than they are about that which we are responding to.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Oh, I have no idea if privileged people are actually happier than their unprivileged counterparts.

                You’d think so, though. I mean, if privilege is good for anything, you’d think it’d be good for that (all other things being equal).Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                But what if those people aren’t quite as privileged as they appear?

                What if the supposed privileged people moved in together because they reached the same level of despair as the wrong-side-of-the-tracks people?Report

              • Kimsie in reply to Kazzy says:

                ha, you wish. people have natural setpoints, that aren’t affected by such trivialities as other people, or fortune in general.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                But what if those people aren’t quite as privileged as they appear?

                I suppose we get to ask what is meant by “privilege”.

                “Lower difficulty setting” is as good a loosey-goosey definition as I’ve found and if you want to point out that they have it harder than most people think, I’d be fine with that.

                But if we want to get all “the NPR set has it tougher than everybody thinks and how the wrong side of the tracks doesn’t have it as bad as everybody thinks”, I suddenly find myself wondering if I’ve slipped into a mirror universe.Report

              • John Howard Griffin in reply to Kazzy says:

                But if we want to get all “the NPR set has it tougher than everybody thinks and how the wrong side of the tracks doesn’t have it as bad as everybody thinks”, I suddenly find myself wondering if I’ve slipped into a mirror universe.

                No, that’s the universe we live in, Jaybird. A Bad Thing happening to someone else is not nearly as critical and important as that Bad Thing happening to me.

                The NPR set has it worse than everyone. Just read the NYT, they talk about how tough it is for a regular family, both parents working, getting by on only $700k per year. I mean, you can’t afford the right kind of schools on THAT income.

                (ok, now that I’ve got that snark out of my system)

                I’ve had a few of these constructive conversations with you. And with some other people on this blog. Alas, this particular post is not the place for it.

                Unfortunately, I’m not sure that another post would be the correct place either. It’s why I never submitted the post that you worked on with me. We talked directly about some of this, but that discussion would not have been the same with hundreds of voices – some of them as ignorant as Erick bin Erick.

                I like “lower difficulty setting”.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                (Of course, “lower difficulty setting” isn’t mine. It’s John Scalzi’s.)

                It feels like a conversation that should be had, though. If only for people to point and say “Do you see how Jaybird was doing in his conversation with JHG? Don’t do that. Don’t be a Jaybird.”Report

              • John Howard Griffin in reply to Kazzy says:

                Hmmm. I’m not sure I’m following you.

                Which argument would you be making that would be a useful learning experience for others? And, which argument would I be making?

                From our past conversations, I think we’ve been in agreement on a lot of discussions about right/wrong side of tracks, but disagree on what to do about it.

                Regardless of the way I may have behaved in the past, I’ve never (rarely?) thought “Don’t be a Jaybird”. Though, there are plenty of examples of “Don’t be a JHG”. Cracker. 😉Report

              • John Howard Griffin in reply to Kazzy says:

                And, yes, it IS a conversation that should be had.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Which argument would you be making that would be a useful learning experience for others? And, which argument would I be making?

                I was just thinking about the conversations we’ve already had.Report

              • John Howard Griffin in reply to Kazzy says:

                Well, let’s have this conversation, then. Or, more like those we’ve had. But, not in this thread.

                Here’s a note for your blogging list (in earnest):

                – when you’re wondering what to write, write a post to start a discussion on privilege and right/wrong side of tracks, particularly single family households, et alia.
                – invite JHG (and others)
                – profit!Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Oh, crap. Homework.

                Alright. I’ll get a draft going in my head.Report

              • John Howard Griffin in reply to Kazzy says:

                No, no. A thousand times NO! No, homework.

                Just something for you to write on a post it and put on your monitor/keyboard for the next time you need to write a post and don’t know what to write.

                Here’s some advice I spread around freely. It’s most likely $h1t, but I figure if you spread it around it will help the plants grow.

                You can’t eat the whole elephant. Not all at once. So don’t try. The way to do it is to cut it into bite-sized pieces. Then, eventually, you’ll be able to eat the whole elephant.

                (Translation of my obtuse advice: just write about one tiny piece of this. Pick one specific thing that you really want to say something about. Then, later, you can do another specific thing.)Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                But I have daydreams of people saying “I can’t believe that I’m agreeing with a Libertarian on this! As such, I’ve bought a gun, some weed, and a collection of Harlan Ellison short stories.”

                If the post isn’t *THAT* good, I’ll feel like I should have spent more time on it.Report

              • zic in reply to Kazzy says:

                JB, two out of three ain’t bad.Report

              • John Howard Griffin in reply to Kazzy says:

                Well, consider yourself a success in a single instance (sort of).

                I’ve already got the weed, and have read plenty of Harlan Ellison. I even worked at the company that did the pc game “I have no mouth and I must scream”.

                No guns. Kids.


                Sorry for being loud. I’m like that, sometimes.

                Thanks for your attention.

                Just wanted to let you know that I’m about the left-ist person on this site (look back at James H’s chart). And, many times I can’t believe I agree with Jaybird, WHO IS A FLAMING LIBERTARIAN!

                (And, you’re more liberal/lefty than you want to admit to yourself, too, JB)

                There you go. You’re welcome. 🙂Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                That’s all Maribou, dude. Insofar as she and I have become the same person, the pinko stuff is her.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                I mean, thank you.

                (You’re also the reason that I’d want to write a really, really, really good post. I’d be ashamed to write one for you that wasn’t.)Report

              • Mark Thompson in reply to Kazzy says:

                @JHG and Jaybird – it occurs to me that there’s no reason you couldn’t just put a post up with closed comments.Report

              • John Howard Griffin in reply to Kazzy says:

                You should listen to Maribou more, Jaybird. Our partners in (this crime called) life make us better human beings. We should all listen to them more. Me most of all.

                And, I would also want to have a good post on this, full of honesty and blindly searching through the difficult solutions, because I would want to honor you in the same way.

                Not sure about the “no comments” joint, Mr. Thompson. It would feel too antiseptic. I think in this case the need is for discussion, in hunting for the common ground, if only to have a firm footing for the next leap. But, maybe a discussion in smaller bites of the Whole Big Issue will suffice to limit any collateral damage.

                But, hey, I ain’t no blogger. WaddaIno?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Very well said, JB.Report

              • Sam in reply to Jaybird says:

                The crappy side of the tracks has been fundamentally hurt by our changing economic realities; it is no longer possible for those from the crappy side of the tracks to earn a decent living, the sort which might allow one parent or the other to stay at home with the offspring. There is absolutely zero change that the blowhards on Fox News have any interest in dealing with those changes though, because that might mean not serving their corporate overlords, and so we’re stuck with a hyperventilating commentariat that simultaneously bemoans an economy which forces both parents into the workforce while simultaneously cheerleading policies which create the economy that force both parents into the workforce.Report

              • Sam in reply to Sam says:

                Damned typos.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

                which might allow one parent or the other

                This touches on one of the cultural differences between the two sides of the tracks.Report

              • Sam in reply to Jaybird says:

                Oh, excuse me:

                “which might allow the woman, because that’s the only job she’s capable of doing competently, what with that reproductive weirdness of hers…”


              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                And I’m back to thinking about the weekend.Report

              • Sam in reply to Jaybird says:

                That’s the implication of this “other side of the tracks” that you keep talking about – it’s that women belong at home, right?Report

              • zic in reply to Jaybird says:


                That’s the implication of this “other side of the tracks” that you keep talking about – it’s that women belong at home, right?

                No; historically, I think, there was a certain amount of slut-shaming women, particularly poor women, in the work force. They were making themselves more sexually available to men other then their husbands.

                As as a Kid, I experienced this big-time, when my parents divorced; it was uncommon at the time, though not unheard of. But my mom had become available, and I knew this because of how the children in my class spoke about my family, and how they’d spoken of us before the divorce.

                This is all part and parcel of the importance attached to a woman’s sexual purity, aka her reputation.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

                “No; historically, I think, there was a certain amount of slut-shaming women, particularly poor women, in the work force. They were making themselves more sexually available to men other then their husbands.”

                This is true, and I think it’s interesting that we’ve come around full circle. (partially inspired by watching part of ‘Makers’ on PBS earlier this evening)

                Lower socioeconomic status women have always and everywhere worked outside their own families. Those just off the bottom rung were able to just work for their own families (in societies that were 90+% rural). And of course, status meant not having to work, and not having to work meant status, because, until the mid-industrial revolution, work, i.e. labor, was always hard and debilitating.

                Then the industrial revolution happened, and hordes of just off of the lowest socioeconomic rung women (and children) entered the workforce. And both Conservatives (the paleo-ist of the paleos) and some Liberals (who would later become Progressives) thought this was Wrong, both because it was Unnatural and because of the (real) depredations of the managerial class in that environment. Meanwhile, middle class status was basically defined by not having to work in industrial conditions, man or woman. So, middle-class and up women stayed at home.

                Then some industrial reforms took hold, taking all children and most women out of the industrial labor pool. But then the Wars happened, throwing some women back in it. In the meantime, of course suffrage happened.

                Eventually the Wars ended, and women were back in the home, and at the height of late stage industrial might, the just off the bottom rung had never been closer to the middle class. (and by most definitions, were solidly in it). Then women became unsatisfied with being in the home (and could now vote), and simultaneously, (but unrelatedly) the economy shifted to post industrial.

                So, now we are approaching to where we have been before, where feasibility for a parent to stay at home is an upper middle class marker.Report

    • KatherineMW in reply to Jaybird says:

      I think you’re right about what the actual issues are.

      I do not think that the guys in the above video clip are talking or thinking about things in those terms. They’re not doing a complex, thoughtful analysis. What they said – what they all agreed on – is that it’s bad, and always sub-optimal for a family, if a woman rather than a man is the primary income-earner. That more women becoming major income-earners is proof of societal decay and the collapse of the family. That’s just very plain, obvious, unvarnished sexism. It’s what you note in your second-last paragraph.

      And that this is the view held by prominent people in one of the US’s major parties, and that it’s something they have no problem coming out with and saying on the air, is weird to me. There may well be people in the Conservative Party of Canada who share the belief…but that’s why Harper rules his caucus with an iron hand. Here, unless I’m deluding myself, those kinds of comments fit neatly in the “political suicide” column.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to KatherineMW says:

        Well, as Blaise points out, that’s the difference between “Conservatives” and “These Guys”.

        These Guys are actively preventing Conservatives from being able to talk about this stuff.Report

        • KatherineMW in reply to Jaybird says:

          Problem is, I don’t see a lot of prominent conservatives talking about this kind of stuff in an intelligent manner. The prominent ones – Republican senators, congresspeople, media figures, GOP higher-ups – have far more of a tendency to sound like these guys.

          The conservatives I’ve seen talk about these things intelligently are a small number of people on small blogs that, while interesting and engaging and intelligent, have minimal influence or exposure. They’re far less representative of Conservatism as an organized political force than the guys in the video are.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to KatherineMW says:

            KMW: At some point, we have to quit wishing for the Conservatives we want and live with the Conservatives we’re given. It’s a little Jedi Mind Trick we’re always playing with ourselves: “these fatheads are not the conservative droids we’re looking for.” We’re not fakin’ out some Imperial Storm Troopers. We’re deluding ourselves in thinking the conservatives are talking intelligently, anywhere.

            Let us, for a moment, suppose such noble souls existed. Why haven’t they put in an appearance? It’s like Little Green Men in their UFOs: we have some second-hand stories and plenty of bug-eyed conspiracy theorists swearing they exist — but where are these noble souls? And if their ideas were any good, why haven’t they trumped the Red State Doughboy in the Spiritual War for the Conservative Soul?

            Conclusion: Conservatism these days is nothing of the sort. It’s just a collection of ragtag reactionaries, some of whom are politer than others and all of whom are as lost in their delusions as the Marxists of old. These people don’t live in the real world, where a handful of financial barons are reducing the world to a New Corporate Feudalism, only without any loyalty from the seigneur to the serf. These fanbois worship our new overlords. Most of them are serfs themselves. We can’t get sucked into arguments with these maniacs.Report

            • Kimsie in reply to BlaiseP says:

              The old school Republicans… the guildsmen and artisans from way back when… up and joined the Democrats. Drives the old Democrats apeshit — but hey, they’re winning!Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kimsie says:

                The Republican Party has done pretty well, appealing to grievance among those erstwhile guildsmen and artisans. You’d be surprised, well, maybe you wouldn’t — by the number of people who neigh like the horses in Young Frankenstein any time someone says the words “trade union”, people who have no conception of how things were before the trade union.

                Grievance is a mighty force for evil in the world. The Chinese say “when anger pounds on the front door, reason flees out the back door.” As long as these folks can be convinced to vote against their own best interests, deny the facts, retain their suspicions of science and education, they’ll remain in the GOP camp, though the world fall down in shit and ruin around their ears. And the worse things get, the angrier they’ll get, and the cycle is complete. Like domestic violence, it’s a cycle.Report

              • Kimsie in reply to BlaiseP says:

                most of the creative class (your guildsmen and artisans) aren’t antiscience, fwiw.
                mayhaps we’re talking about different people.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kimsie says:

                We’re talking about College-Educated Married White Men, who currently run R+6 or R+7, at least R+4 in Pew’s 2012 numbersReport

          • DavidTC in reply to KatherineMW says:

            Problem is, I don’t see a lot of prominent conservatives talking about this kind of stuff in an intelligent manner.

            …as opposed to all the other stuff that prominent conservatives talk about in an intelligent matter? 😉Report

          • Jim Heffman in reply to KatherineMW says:

            “Problem is, I don’t see a lot of prominent conservatives talking about this kind of stuff…”

            Welp. Whenever they *do* talk about it we hear about how they’re pandering for votes, or doing it for the wrong reasons, or obviously lying, or too-little-too-late, or…

            “…in an intelligent manner”

            …which is a code phrase for “still doesn’t agree with me and therefore wrong”.Report

            • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Jim Heffman says:

              Poor, poor conservatives. They want to recognize that women are human beings, but nobody will let them.Report

            • Mike Schilling in reply to Jim Heffman says:

              When they do talk about it, it comes out as “Rape is a gift from God”.Report

              • Kimsie in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                … I’m sure some of them actually believe that.
                Judging by their actions, at least.Report

              • zic in reply to Kimsie says:

                Kimsie, I really wish you’d a found away to work the word ‘forcible’ in there. How, of course, would be left up to your own brand of creative genius.Report

              • Kimsie in reply to zic says:

                yeah. exactly.
                Not that I normally pay much attention to what the National Enquirer (but they broke the story, so I will say that they were actually investigating) has to say, but a choice bit of gossip about Bristol Palin’s “baby daddy” came to light — she wasn’t the only girl he had gotten pregnant that year, apparently (he had done this to several other girls). It fits with the video they (meaning the churchfolks) had on what happened to Bristol, at any rate.Report

          • Will H. in reply to KatherineMW says:

            I really think that’s a phenomenon associated with the sound-bite structure of the grab-’em-quick media; little in the way of dynamics, everything’s a peak.
            The odd thing is that, though such clips may be taken unconsciously, or for some non-dreadful purpose, it still comes out as fairly dreadful in the end, just the same as if it were planned that way.Report

    • Boegiboe in reply to Jaybird says:

      Absolutely, spot-on correct. These guys aren’t crazy, they’re just talking in a shorthand that uses the ideas of “the welfare state is destroying minority families” and “veering from the model of the traditional family will wreck society by leaving children worse off” as axioms. And there are definitely lots of families in this country for whom those two ideas are sadly true.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Boegiboe says:

        My disdain, if you want to call it that, is that stuff like this is going to prevent a non-zero number of conversations that would be fruitful. There is some serious stuff going on and these guys touch on it (tangentially, but they do touch on it) but it’s done in such an ugly and stupid way… Only the truest of the true believers are willing to sign on, the guys politically opposed to Erickson and his ilk are laughing as they sharpen their knives, and the people on the fence stand slackjawed because even if they feel like there is something wrong here, they sure as hell don’t want to be aligned with this particular hurricane of ugly/stupid.

        I keep hoping for the Republicans to collapse and for us to all realign in the aftermath.

        It keeps not happening.Report

        • Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:


          A very, very big +1.Report

        • zic in reply to Jaybird says:

          That knife sharpening has been going on for a long time without actual knifing.

          Perhaps the blades have been honed to nothing.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

          I keep hoping for the Republicans to collapse and for us to all realign in the aftermath.

          It keeps not happening.

          The thing is, the Republican party is driven by the base, and the base is driven by idiotic media blowhards. The Republican party can’t right itself until it realizes that _media personalities do not have the best interest of the Party at heart_. In fact, they do better the _worse_ the party does.

          All too often, when idiotic behaviors present themselves, people forget to ask themselves ‘Who has an advantage because of this behavior?’. The answer, here, is clearly ‘right wing media’ and it’s pretty easy to trace their control of the GOP. The GOP willingly gave over control of their party in 1996 or so to the media, in an attempt to remove the president, and have been unable to take it back from them, while it is _deliberately_ being driven into a ditch by uninformed bigoted gibberish by a media that profits from that.

          There’s really no way for the GOP to fix this without telling Fox News to FOAD. Which it needed to do a decade ago, or at the least when the right-wing media created the fucking Tea Party, which was just blatantly ‘treasonous’ behavior towards the GOP and rather demonstrated whose interests they served. Seriously, at that point the GOP should have said ‘If you want your own political party, feel free to have that one, we’re taking our toys and going home’…yeah, they would have done worse in 2010, but might have actually had a chance in 2012 without the bone-stupid ‘base’ weighing them down.

          What is going to happen next is, even with the redistricting the Republicans did, at some point they are going to managed to reduce themselves to a minority in all branches, and at that point they become a rump party made up entirely of loons. At some point, the right wing media will have functionally converted a portion of the population to Alex Jones listeners and made their own audience, which will then continue to exist as long as the right-wing media makes a profit from it.

          I say all this as a progressive, but one that would actually like a honorable opposition party instead of whatever the hell the GOP is.Report

          • Kimsie in reply to DavidTC says:

            The Kochs (and associated wealthy folks) created the TeaParty. I agree they need to go, but they’re a lot harder to dislodge than the relatively moneyless.Report

            • DavidTC in reply to Kimsie says:

              No, the Tea Party was created by Fox News. Apparently because the Republicans weren’t being proactive enough about yelling at ‘Obama bank bailout’, probably because, duh, it was bipartisan and the Republicans in 2008 were not yet astronomically stupid.

              Fox wanted people screaming in the streets about the administration and taxes and the deficit (Which was now Obama’s fault) and abortions for some and tiny American flags for others. Fox wanted street theater to report on, so they made some up.

              The Tea Party was then _immediately_ hijacked by the Kochs.

              Or it’s possible this went the other way around, and various corporate interests (There’s some interesting fact out there about links to the cigarette lobby and the Tea Party) planned to do this, and Fox leapt on top it of it. I.e., a fake grassroots movement accidentally got populated by grassloons.

              But pretty much none of the players have the best interests of the Republican party as a goal.

              Of course the Kochs, at least, need to _have Republicans elected_ to get their agenda done, which puts them a step above Fox News and their trained loons. Fox is actually happier when Republicans _aren’t_ in office. (Which means it’s pretty fucking stupid for the GOP to team up with them)

              But while the Kochs have the _short-term_ interests of the Republican party at heart, in the long-term, they are pretty destructive to the GOP. (Although, at least, are _paying_ the GOP to self-destruct. The loons aren’t offering _anything_.)

              This is sorta why the Tea Parties ended up in a weird battle with themselves, fighting between stupid short-term goals (The loons, controlled by Fox) and stupid long-term goals (The so-called ‘establishment’, controlled by Koch.).Report

              • Pinky in reply to DavidTC says:

                If this were true, then nobody would have been in the streets, and nobody would be watching Fox News. That you don’t even have a timetable in your explanation suggests that this comment is more parroted than the result of personal research.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Pinky says:

                If this were true, then nobody would have been in the streets, and nobody would be watching Fox News.

                Uh, what are you talking about? Why would nobody be in the streets _because_ Fox News urged people to take the streets?

                And why would Fox News covering people in the streets protesting Obama result in people _not_ watching Fox News?

                That you don’t even have a timetable in your explanation suggests that this comment is more parroted than the result of personal research.

                While I did not lay things out as a ‘timetable’, if you can’t figure out _when_ I’m talking about you need reading comprehension skills, and perhaps the ability to use Wikipedia.

                I first said ‘the Republicans in 2008 were not yet astronomically stupid’, which rather implies I’m talking about 2008.

                Then I talk about the creation of the Tea Party, which I didn’t mention a time, but happened right at the start of 2009. I am unsure as to why I should required to provide the specific time. We’re currently talking about the creation of the Tea Party, so perhaps you should spend ten seconds on Wikipedia and read up on that.

                Then I said, right after Fox made their street theatre, that it was _immediately_ hijacked by the Kochs. Admittedly, ‘immediately’ is rather vague, and I mean ‘Over the next year or so’, but, again, I don’t understand why this wasn’t fairly obvious from the text and the _slightest_ bit of knowledge about the Tea Party.

                Hell, the real people in Tea Party _itself_ complain about the Tea Party Express. And it’s fairly clear that FreedomWorks is also running the Tea Party Patriots, although feel free to dispute that if you want. But complaining that I didn’t provide a ‘timeline’ for when well-documented events happened is utterly inane.

                Of course, the ‘original’ Tea Party that Fox created still exists in some sense, mostly in those asshats over at Tea Party Nation.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Pinky says:

                I’m inclined to think the Tea Parties started from all the moron meet-ups, about four months after a handy moron map system was devised.Report

          • Kimsie in reply to DavidTC says:

            also: dude, if you want an honorable opposition party, you have to make it yourself. That means joining the republicans if you can, and finding people who aren’t nuts to run for things. [yup. literally nuts. not that I have a problem with the mentally ill running, so long as they’re stabley treated (even if that’s without drugs!)].Report

          • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC says:

            I kinda like the Tea Parties. I think that if there is going to be a major re-alignment, it’s going to have to start with something like Tea Parties/Occupy.

            They’re going to have to not talk about culture war stuff, though. Which probably kicks the can down the road a ways (at the price of making the inevitable realignment into a bigger and bigger event when it does happen).Report

            • Kimsie in reply to Jaybird says:

              Nah… mark my word, it’ll start with lolcats.
              (what? you didn’t realize lolcats were psyops?
              so’s 4chan, ya know?)Report

            • Sam in reply to Jaybird says:

              The Tea Party is all about the culture war. It would not exist without it.Report

            • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

              They’re going to have to not talk about culture war stuff, though.

              The Tea Party: Ruined ten seconds in.

              More seriously: More people would have had respect for the Tea Party if it hadn’t magically appeared one month after Obama was elected, complaining about stuff that Bush did but somehow were Democrats fault. Oh, and if it hadn’t completely failed to notice that deficits have been reduced at the faster rate ever. And if it hadn’t branched out into all sort of social stuff. And if it wasn’t plagued with racism. And if a good 80% of ‘Tea Party’ groups the media covers weren’t just fronts for Americans for Prosperity.

              I’d have a lot more respect for the Tea Party, in fact, if they were entirely different people, with different views and different goals, and actually were just complaining about the bank bailouts. And protested the actual wrongdoers, the _banks_ that demand that they continue to be allowed to be ‘too big to fail’, not a government that probably did the best it could.

              Although they should put some focus on how the government fails to do anything about the economy. And they should deliberate steered away from both social issues _and_ allowing a political party _or_ rich donors to hijack them.

              Someone should start a group like that. Since it’s more about jobs than taxes, and since ‘job party’ sounds like cross between a key party and a circle jerk, we could call it the Occupational Party or Occu-Party or something.Report

              • zic in reply to DavidTC says:

                /I’ve long held a secret suspicion that most of the Tea Party activists are old squares who wished they’d gone to Woodstock, but couldn’t bear the thought of a little weed and public nakedness. Their chance to party.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to zic says:

                I live with a Tea Party Girl. I love her. The Tea Partiers are not Old Squares. They’re salt of the earth people who are deeply angry with the current political elites.

                The Chinese have a proverb about anarchy: “Heaven is high, the Emperor is far away.” The Tea Parties were extraordinarily adept at capturing the sentiment of anomie and rejection in the Ordinary Joes and Janes out there. If their message was simplistic, their villains so many cardboard targets, the Tea Partiers are a manifestation of an abiding sadness within America, the clenched-fist weeping of a lover betrayed. Do not expect such people to be reasonable.Report

              • Kimsie in reply to BlaiseP says:

                The teaparty is only the first attempt to harness the overseer class.
                Sadness is not the word. Outrage might be better.
                A deep and abiding dissatisfaction at modernity.
                There, that’s humane at least.

                But don’t expect me to see Blackshirts and not to call ’em out as such.

              • DavidTC in reply to Kimsie says:

                The teaparty is only the first attempt to harness the overseer class.

                Not really. There have been plenty of attempts at that. The most obvious being unions. A question presents itself: How do the people in the Tea Party feel about unions?

                It’s sorta sad we already know the answer to that question without any research, and that it’s not good.

                The Tea Party actual problem is that the people _in_ the Tea Party are mostly the Republican base, a group that has been lied to for so long they have literally no idea of the actual truth in a dozen different contexts. I mean, the entire _premise_ of the Tea Party is that people were being ‘tax more than they can stand’ at the trail end of the _Bush_ years! (Although they only started protesting under Obama, for some completely mysterious reason.) The entire founding is just a blatant lie about various tax rates.

                It’s almost certain that any organization you create from those those people, and those lies, is going to be functionally insane, without any rational goals. I mean, the _stated_ goal is ‘deficit reduction’, but I’ve yet to hear _any_ Tea Party group praise Obama for the massive deficit reduction he’s pulled off.

                And if you do, by chance, happen to get a Tea Party group that isn’t insane(1)…it almost certainly will realize that ‘Tea Party’ is a damn stupid association and rename itself.

                1) Please note I am not calling the people in the group insane. They are not. I am saying the groups behaves in a completely random manner, without any discernible goals or any idea of what they are doing. (Also, I’m talking about the ‘grassroots’ Tea Parties, not the pretend Tea Parties operated by the Kochs.)Report

              • John Howard Griffin in reply to BlaiseP says:

                There is a word missing from your description of Tea Partiers. I’m not sure what it is, but I think it starts with Wh and ends with ite.

                I think that’s an important element of the description.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

                I don’t buy that White Angle. Herman Cain is not a White Man. Charles Lollar is not a White Man. William Owens is not a White Man.

                Don’t know these people’s names? Not surprised. Not many Liberals paid any attention to the Tea Parties. There were black people in those rallies. There were black people on the stages of those rallies. Damning the Tea Parties as racists, that’s simple ignorance. Those people might not be making a lot of sense to Liberals but that rage was not confined to White People.Report

              • John Howard Griffin in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

                You know what, Mr. BlaiseP? You are unnecessarily condescending. More often than you need to be. And, when someone else is condescending to you, you get offended faster than most others here.

                Yes, I know all those names. That doesn’t make the Tea Partiers any less White. Don’t like that? Tough.

                For someone so smart, you can be surprisingly ignorant a lot of the time. I say that as someone who respects some of your writing some of the time.

                You want to have a dialog? I’m right here.

                You want to have a flame war? I’m still right here. But, honestly, you’re not worth my time if that’s all you’re looking for.

                I expect better than this from you.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

                If anything, I’m not half mean enough, Griffin. Anyone who dares to tell me the Tea Party is racist and white, every last bit of evidence to the contrary, is so far out of line I feel positively obliged to kick his ass as a matter of public service.Report

              • John Howard Griffin in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

                I mean this in the worst possible way, Mr. BlaiseP. You are a sophisticated troll who thinks he’s smarter and better and purer than he really is, and you get off on doing stuff like this because it makes you feel powerful. Don’t think everyone doesn’t see what you do round here.

                I’m disinterested. You want a fight. I want a dialog. No communication possible here. Your dogma forbids it.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

                You may say what you wish about me, Griffin. Those who say stupid things shall be told as much. I have been out here forever, long before there even was an Internet. I have seen them come and I have seen them go. And I’m long past caring what anyone has to say about me.

                Because when it becomes about me, I know I’ve won. That’s when the dialogue stops and the whining begins.

                Next time you think to say something clever, repeating second hand bullshit about who’s a racist and who isn’t, making it an Important Part of the Description, I shall be Extra Mean to you. I promise.Report

              • John Howard Griffin in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

                I thank you, BlaiseP, for the reminder that the world out there, that is not here, is much, much more important.Report

              • John Howard Griffin in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

                I’ll just leave all this second had bullstuff here.

                …Tea Party supporters tend more likely than Americans overall to be white, male, married, older than 45, regularly attending religious services, conservative, and to be more wealthy and have more education.


                When surveying supporters or participants of the Tea Party movement, polls have shown that they are to a very great extent more likely to be registered Republican, have a favorable opinion of the Republican Party and an unfavorable opinion of the Democratic Party.


                Using a pre-Tea Party poll in 2006 and going back to the same respondents in 2011, they found the supporters to be not “nonpartisan political neophytes” as often described, but largely “overwhelmingly partisan Republicans” who were politically active prior to the Tea Party.


                Additionally, the respondents were more concerned about “putting God in government” than with trying to shrink government.


                Polls found that just 7% of Tea Party supporters approve of how Obama is doing his job compared to 50% (as of April 2010) of the general public,[123] and that roughly 77% of supporters had voted for Obama’s Republican opponent, John McCain in 2008.[116][117]


                The University of Washington poll of registered voters in Washington State found that 74% of Tea Party supporters agreed with the statement “[w]hile equal opportunity for blacks and minorities to succeed is important, it’s not really the government’s job to guarantee it”, while a CBS/New York Times poll found that 25% think that the administration favors blacks over whites, compared with just 11% of the general public, and that they are more likely to believe Obama was born outside the United States.[123][136][137] A seven state study conducted from the University of Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality found that Tea Party movement supporters studied were “more likely to be racially resentful” than the population as a whole, even when controlling for partisanship and ideology.[246][247] Of white poll respondents who strongly approve of the Tea Party, only 35% believe that blacks are hard-working, compared to 55% of those strongly opposed to the Tea Party, and 40% of all respondents.[248][249]

                A University of Washington poll of Washington State residents reported that 46% of Tea Party supporters agree with the observation that “If blacks would only try harder, they would be just as well off as whites


              • Kazzy in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

                Cut the shit. It is getting tired. Stop trying to chase people away for having the temerity to share a life experience that challenges your truth.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to DavidTC says:

            During the Cold War, the political differences between the parties had been attenuated. The prospect of nuclear annihilation had sufficiently puckered the anuses of America’s politicians to the Planck Length. Sure, there was the struggle over Civil Rights, pretty awful stuff, but lots of people supported the Vietnam War: the country was far more united that today’s cliché-d gloss on those times. Even at its worst, during the McCarthy HUAC hearings, the reality of the conflict slapped down fearmongering opportunists. “Have you no shame?”

            With the fall of the USSR and the opening of relations with China, the parties got weirder. For most of our history, the political parties had been hugely belligerent, going right back to the era of Thomas Jefferson. The appalling level of discourse reached a nadir with the election of Andrew Jackson. Lots of cheap talk, fearmongering, utterly shameless penis-wagging.

            If things seemed better back in the day, if no lie is too extravagant for today’s swinish conservatives, no scurrilous rumour too vile — ’twas always so. The Democrats need to take off the gloves and beat these punks at their own game, re-pucker a few anuses. If these GOP-ers are serious, there’s plenty to be afraid of: we have their track record.

            Trouble is, the Left Wing Media is a collection of whiners. Too genteel, too prone to wax maudlin and preach to the choir over at MSNBC. And nobody’s watching. They need to get out there on the street corners and thump the pulpits and loudly declaim the Soon Arrival of the Four My Little Ponies of the Apocalypse. Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. Facts have never mattered in American politics. Quit acting as if they do.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP says:

              I miss Mencken.

              I’d love to see what he’d be able to do with some Mass Media.Report

            • DavidTC in reply to BlaiseP says:

              If these GOP-ers are serious, there’s plenty to be afraid of: we have their track record.

              There is actually a very important way politics now differs from politics, pre-cold war: The internet. And video phones. And the ability to present cold, hard facts.

              So I’m not entirely sure the Democrats need to start ‘lying’ at all. You are right, the actual _record_ of Republicans exists.

              Here’s a fun idea for a 527: An organization that presents GOP lies. That all it does. When someone in the GOP lies, it runs ads in their district showing their lie and explaining why it is a lie. And by ‘lie’ I mean to include ‘misleading statements’, and by ‘someone in the GOP’, I mean _anyone_. Even in entirely GOP states.

              It does not attempt to tell people how to vote, it does not attempt make this Democratic vs. Republican. It just said ‘This person who represented you just lied to you and everyone else.’.

              I’m not saying it should be non-partisan, I’m saying it shouldn’t be overtly partisan. And t should be overtly un-opinionated. It should even avoid calling people out on what they _claim_ to want. (OTOH, calling them out on what they say others want it is fine.)

              While the major purpose of this would be TV, they’d also have a little section dedicated to commenting on graphics passed around on Facebook. With some sort of magic Facebook search (I’m pretty certain that it’s possible to give access to that information) or browser addon that, the _second_ such a graphic pops up in your feed, you can click somewhere that explains _exactly_ why that graph is incorrect. So you can cut the goddamn things off at their knees with an immediate post about how it is crap.

              What said, I’d be fine with any actual pushback at all. How about promoting a damn conspiracy about how the _right_ is pretending to investigate Benghazi because _they_ left security unfunded for the consulate. And _absolutely no one_ is saying they did that on purpose, or were colluding with the attackers in attempt to sway the 2012 election by damaging Obama with a terrorist attack. No one is saying that _at all_. We just want to get to the bottom of what _really_ happened.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to DavidTC says:

                We’ve tried that. It’s like old LBJ, back in the day, running for Congress in 1948 — against a pig farmer. LBJ told his campaign manager to spread the rumour that the pig farmer had been enjoying carnal relations with his swine. Aghast, the campaign manager protested, “Lyndon, you can’t say that sort of thing. It’s just not true!”

                To which LBJ replied. “Of course it’s not. I just want to see the bastard deny it.”

                That’s where we’re at with these fucks. They can accuse Obama and the Democrats of any damned thing they please, no matter how outrageous. And here we are, all flustered, protesting “Obama isn’t a socialist. Obama isn’t a Kenyan. ACA is not nationalised health care.” On and on the list goes, just one goddamn lie after another. The bigger the lie, the louder we scream, like an old pansy who found a cat turd in the sock drawer. Every single time.

                We need to invent some whoppers. I’d accuse half the GOP of being in the Klan and the other half of being in the employ of the Chinese, selling American jobs and technology to the highest bidder. Immediately, right out of the gate. Not a moment’s hesitation. The bigger the lie, the better. Those lies might not be big enough. Give me a few hours, I can think up some bigger ones, but those will do for now.

                Let them deny it all.Report

              • Kimsie in reply to BlaiseP says:

                … what’s funny is that you think you’re lying. (oh, it’s not the Chinese, for sure, try Saudi arabia).Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kimsie says:

                Every good lie, like a mean kid’s snowball, contains within a little rock of truth.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to BlaiseP says:

                The best place to start is the current ‘scandals’.

                Like I said, there is absolutely no evidence that the Republicans cut security to embassies because they wanted an terrorist attack before the election. No evidence at all.

                There’s also no evidence that the reason the Justice Department was tapping AP reporter’s phones is that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee leaked information to them, or that the reason the Republicans have stayed mostly silent on this one is that some of them are cooperating with Justice to bring others down. And Michelle Bachmann’s resignation had _nothing_ to do with this.

                And there’s very little evidence that tiny real grassroot Tea Party groups were investigated at the request of anyone, and there’s no evidence that, if they were, it was at the request of FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity in an attempt to destroy the competition.

                I believe all of these rumors are entirely fabricated, and both me and people on the right should want to see those people fully cleared of all wrongdoing.Report

        • kenB in reply to Jaybird says:

          I don’t know that this really prevents those useful conversations — there are a few people on the right and left who are ready to have them or who are already doing so, but most folks on both sides are happy enough to avoid thinking that hard.Report

    • RTod in reply to Jaybird says:

      “The problem is that it’s really, really easy to mistake criticism of the regress in the latter case as criticism of the progress in the former case.”


      “I also noted that the left, which tells us all the time we’re just another animal in the animal kingdom, is rather anti-science when it comes to this. In many, many animal species, the male and female of the species play complementary roles, with the male dominant in strength and protection and the female dominant in nurture. It’s the female who tames the male beast. One notable exception is the lion, where the male lion looks flashy but behaves mostly like a lazy beta-male MSNBC producer…

      People who seem to think it does not matter should answer one question: who is less valuable — mom or dad? The American people instinctively understand complementary relationships between men and women. The left should too.” – Erickson, clarifying the remarks in the above video.


      I’m mistaking the latter for the former how, exactly?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to RTod says:

        Tod, I apologize for writing a paragraph that looked like it was accusing you of making a mistake in your interpretation of Erickson.

        I wrote what I did intending to talk about some of the issues that Erickson was talking about, rather than the issue of what Erickson had said. When I wrote that line, I wasn’t thinking about Erickson at all, I assure you.

        I’m sorry.Report

  16. Chris says:

    Normally this is where I make the comment that conservatives need to be careful about saying stuff like this because it could hurt them with the female vote in the next election.

    I know what you mean by this, but I can’t help but thinking that just not saying stuff like this is not going to help them. A substantial portion of the conservative population in this country thinks this way. Not all of them, of course (we have to say this, right?), but a substantial portion. If conservatives want to win over women and members of certain racial and ethnic groups, the key is not to just avoid saying shit that a lot of them think, but talking the people who think those sorts of things, or at least their children or grandchildren, into not thinking them. In a sense, the only way for conservatives to get that point is by not avoiding saying that shit, because part of the problem is there’s no conversation going on. There are the conservatives who think this way, and who generally try to avoid saying so unless they’re among other conservatives who think that way, and the conservatives who don’t think that way, who avoid bringing these things up lest they offend fellow conservatives or actually cause those conservatives to say embarrassing shit that they actually believe while in polite company (or on national television). In essence, I think, the conservatives who don’t think this way are hoping that if they just cover their ears long enough, the conservatives who do think that way will disappear. And it ain’t happening.Report

  17. Sam says:

    I was going to write about Erickson’s brilliant attempt to defend himself on his own website – in which he basically accuses his detractors of being either women or gay (or maybe both?) – but then I realized that these scholars did a much better job of summarizing the arguments that Erickson and his ilk are making.Report

  18. Kimsie says:

    WHY do we assume that the poor woman isn’t making a sensible and rational decision not to stay with her lover? I’m sorry, but the ability of a woman to form a single parent household is a triumph of freedom! (to the crowd:) If you, as a conservative, think that women are making poor decisions… Educate Them.

    … oh that would require actually having decent arguments. nevermind.Report

  19. ThatPirateGuy says:

    Only a Fox News panel could be so dedicated to attacking women that they miss the opportunity to attack the president.

    Why on earth did they decide to talk about gender roles instead of trying to attack the president on the economy? It makes no damn sense.Report

  20. Angela says:

    I think this is part of a general Republican election strategy.
    One of the difficulties of having casual DvsR discussions is that the usual R ideas are discounted. (“Oh, they don’t really want to cut Medicare/SS/veterans support/etc. They’re just saying that, and voting for that when they know the law/budget won’t actually get passed. “) So you’re left with looking at actual D policies in all their messy implementations, and comparing that to some ideal. It’s important to keep having R figureheads be totally crazy so your local R pol can seem fantastically sane and reasonable in comparison.Report

  21. DavidTC says:

    The segment finally ends with Erickson noting – without even the slightest trace of irony – that conservatives need to be careful when they tell people this so they don’t come off as sounding anti-women.

    I love the idea of saying idiotically horrible things live on television, then going ‘But we’re going to have to be careful when we explain this to women’. Because women don’t watch Fox News, apparently. (I wonder how many advertisers know that.)

    It’s always hilarious when a politician explains what they _really_ think in a private meeting, and someone is recording it and makes it public. But this…they do understand the _concept_ of television, right?Report

  22. Pinky says:

    Your summary was the following:

    Women becoming breadwinners is a sign that society is dissolving around us, and is somehow connected to this President and his scandals. Children who see their mothers as breadwinners will be hurt, and no one’s thinking of the men. Also: abortions. Some wives make more then men and that’s anti-science because science says men should be the dominant one in a relationship, plus women shouldn’t be competing with men in the marketplace because science says it’s their job to “compliment” men instead, and there are too many single mothers, and hey – why do we still have public schools? Something something voucher system! You know, women are breadwinners because kids don’t know how to read or write anymore.

    This is a more accurate summary:

    Women becoming breadwinners is a sign that society is dissolving around us, and is something unconnected to and more important than this President and his scandals. Also: abortions. Some wives make more then men and that’s anti-science because in nature we usually see men being the dominant one in a relationship, plus women and men should “complement” each other in their family roles, and there are too many single mothers, and hey – let’s not get off-track by talking about vouchers! But our schools are in trouble and kids don’t know how to read or write anymore.Report

  23. trizzlor says:

    What’s really bizarre is that this is reasoning is completely inverted when Erickson and social-cons talk about sex. There, the argument is that unrestricted sex is crude and primal, and that our society should encourage abstinence as a path to elevating our sacred bodies above the base instincts of the animal world. Drawing this distinction is so important that even necessitates punishing those people who cannot “control” their instincts by restricting their access to birth-control and even the sex-education that birth-control exists. Erickson sees himself as a deeply religious man and preaches this kind of stuff all the time, so it’s especially galling to see him do a 180 and start taking tips from the animal kingdom as soon as it favors him.

    So, you want to be in control of your sex life and reproductive options? Well Erick thinks those are just your mindless animal urges and you need to learn to control them or deal with the consequences. So, you want equal pay and opportunity in the workplaces? Here’s Erick urging you to embrace the natural way and get back to “complementing” your man, preferably in the kitchen (or, in the bedroom if you’re Dennis Prager and have the creep power to make a mobious strip out of these two opposing arguments).

    As NewDealer pointed out, there does exist a deep conservative undercurrent in support of stay-at-home-mothers as a cultural optimum, and many in that movement seem genuinely passionate about what they’re saying. But the way we can tell Erickson is a true huckster is that his argument is not even internally consistent.Report

    • DavidTC in reply to trizzlor says:

      The real funny thing is that the sex drive actually _is_ ‘natural’. There are very little mammals that do not operate as if it is very important, and it’s so important to regulate that female animals actually produce hormones to influence it in various ways, including, and this is interesting, _periods of time in which they are not fertile_.

      Whereas the idea that males being in charge is ‘natural’ is sheer nonsense. There are plenty of animal species where females are in charge, and plenty of species were males are weaker.

      And that’s not even attempting to figure out in what male animals ‘having jobs’ and female animals ‘staying home and watch the kids’ is even _supposed to mean_. Animals do not have jobs.

      Even if you want to call ‘collecting food’ a job, firstly, plenty of female animals do that, and secondly, plenty of animals do not ‘go out and do that’. The food is right there, and everyone sorta wanders around and eats it. (Seriously, it’s like these people have never heard of cows and horses or any sort of herbivores.)

      Granted, making sure the children get fed is usually the mother’s job…but that’s not because the father is out eating, it’s because many animals don’t even bother with ‘fathers’ in the sense of raising children. The father is not out providing subsistence, the father is just over there doing his own thing because actually attempting to raise children is not that common for fathers in the animal kingdom.

      We’ve actually reached the point where conservatives are creating false stereotypes about _animals_. That is actually happening.

      (Hey, here’s a fun idea. The next time conservatives start yammering about ‘natural’ behaviors of men vs. women, point out that in the animal kingdom, no one knows who their father actually is, and usually don’t care. So why on earth do human children get their _father’s_ last name?)Report

  24. Sam says:

    This story, about a pro-life senator who admits to be entirely confused by women, goes a long way toward explaining much of the current conservative thinking about women. It’s a much more honest accounting of what’s really going on here, which is that there is no attempt being made to understand the opposite gender, but just a rote assumption that they’re confusing to the point of needing to be forcibly regulated by the state.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Sam says:

      I call confirmation bias, unless Jezebel does regular articles about the Nebraska state senate.Report

      • Sam in reply to Pinky says:

        Where’s the bias? The guy said what he said.Report

      • Kimsie in reply to Pinky says:

        Telling us that Palin needs to be protected and can’t be critiziced because “she’s a woman” …Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Pinky says:

        What is this? Are we sposta treat this guy like he’s just mildly brain-damaged and isn’t responsible for what he’s saying? Confirmation bias, my ass. It’s just bias. With confirmation.Report

        • Pinky in reply to BlaiseP says:

          I guess I could have stated this better. Jezebel and Sam refer to him as a senator – he’s a state senator, of which there are (I’d guess) thousands nationwide. Calling him a senator makes it sound as if he speaks for the party. Indeed, Sam implies as much by saying that this article explains “much of the current conservative thinking about women”. You could argue that as a low-level politician, he exemplifies the party more than the bigger names, I guess, but that hardly seems to be their angle, given that they call him a senator.

          And what did he say that was worth commenting upon? If saying that men are easier to understand than women is controversial, then everything I’ve ever heard from a standup comedian or a guy at a bowling alley must be startling to you. Local politicians talk folksily, and saying “I just don’t understand women” is folksy. The interesting thing about him isn’t that he’s pro-life, it’s that he recently got married at age 47. A lot of guys who’ve been married a lot longer don’t understand women.

          It just seems hacky to use this guy as an example in this conversation.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to Pinky says:

            What’s so hard about understanding women? Got a question? Men might be surprised at the responses they’d get — if they just asked. I mean, speaking strictly at an emotional level, women are not that hard to figure out, if you take those answers seriously.

            The trick, it seems to me, is to listen better. Two ears, one mouth. That’s about the proportion men ought to use those organs of perception. Charm is a lost art among men these days. Mostly it’s being able to act like a man and think like a woman. A man’s not much of a man and certainly not much of a lover if he can’t make the object of his desire feel like she’s the sole object of his attention. There isn’t a woman alive who doesn’t want to be admired and appreciated for who she is. And while I’m on this subject, most women are sick to death of self-centred, childish men.

            These GOP types are utterly charmless. That’s why so few women vote GOP. Ol’ James Carville once said deciding to vote for someone and falling in love weren’t much different from each other. This Nebraska jackass is not an outlier. He’s par for this course.

            As for the comedians, the reason we laugh at these jokes, most of which aren’t very funny, is because we recognise absurdity when we see it. To paraphrase Woody Allen “What a wonderful thing, to be conscious! I wonder what the people in Nebraska do?”Report

          • Jim Heffman in reply to Pinky says:

            “It just seems hacky to use this guy as an example in this conversation.”

            Although it seems more like the problem is that if we dredged through the news and found something dumb that a state-legislature Democrat had said, the first (and only, and repeated) response would be that it’s just some minor figure in a tiny state that nobody ever heard of and only a desperate moron would suggest that there was anything meaningful there.Report

            • BlaiseP in reply to Jim Heffman says:

              Who do you think you are? Jim Henson, with your hand up some puppet’s ass? When and if whoever this “we” might constitute ever finds a Democrat mooing like a cow full of jimsonweed, saying he doesn’t understand women and they don’t understand themselves, were you to ask us what we though if him — we’d laugh at him and call him Sigmund Freud II, a man who had some rum ideas about women.Report

              • Jim Heffman in reply to BlaiseP says:

                ” we’d laugh at him and call him Sigmund Freud II, a man who had some rum ideas about women.”

                So, like I said, then. Democrat says something dumb? He’s dumb. Republican says something dumb? THIS IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF HOW REPUBLICANS THINK.Report

              • Sam in reply to Jim Heffman says:


                You seem to be ignoring:

                -Republican history
                -Party platforms
                -Actual things Republicans are constantly doing
                -Repeated concerns of Republicans throughout the United States

                Are you really trying to imply that this guy is an outlier in the party? That this guy is somehow incredibly different than the vast majority of elected Republicans?Report

              • trumwill mobile in reply to Jim Heffman says:

                To the extent that you’re going to assign this man’s views to the party, find someone relevant airing these views and use that example rather than some state legislator in Nebraska. If his views are commonly held, his example shouldn’t be necessary.

                Erickson is at least relevant.Report

              • Sam in reply to trumwill mobile says:

                I’m baffled – look at the party’s policies. Do they appear to be the policies of a party which understands women in even the slightest? Is it a party that has ever gone to bat for the for the freedom of women to make their own, gender-specific, decisions?Report

              • trumwill mobile in reply to Sam says:

                Policies are also relevant in a way that the words of a single Nebraska legislator isn’t.Report

              • Sam in reply to Sam says:

                The policies aren’t found objects. They emerge from individuals.Report

              • trumwill mobile in reply to Sam says:

                I’m not saying people aren’t relevant (see my commwnt about Erickson), I am saying a legislator from Nebraska is. Find somebody relevant.Report

              • trumwill mobile in reply to Sam says:

                Isn’t, I mean.Report

  25. LWA says:

    Attacking Erick is a bit too easy and all the good snark is gone anywhay, so I will try it from a different angle.

    Conservatives talk about families, liberals talk about communities. But they both are circling the same basic point, that cooperative groups are better at wealth production than lone individuals.

    Sure, The Cleaver household is better at maintaining wealth and emotional stability than two separate households of Mr. Cleaver and Mrs. Cleaver-Billingsly.

    But what both are fond of forgetting is that the actual “traditional” household, defined loosely as the norm that is found throughout the world and across centures, is the Cleaver clan, of households consisting of parents, in-laws, grandparents, cousins and assorted relations, all working cooperatively within the household, and across related households in interconnected networked communites, all struggling together to survive.

    What is worth discussing is why they are so eager to ignore this reality, and fixate on the post WWII norm that was brief and vanishingly atypical of history, like the brief flowering of tailfins or hula hoops.Report

    • Kimsie in reply to LWA says:

      Because the older reality sucked balls.
      Read some Russians if you don’t believe me.Report

      • LWA in reply to Kimsie says:

        There is always a reason why things change- because someone benefits from it.

        Certainly, Ward and June Cleaver didn’t appear to be all that eager to have Grandma and Grandpa Cleaver move in, and they probably weren’t expecting the Beav to give up his own career aspirations, stay home and take care of them as they aged.

        The post WWII model was of tremendous benefit to families like the Cleavers, since the New Deal social welfare state allowed them to be finally freed from the strings and bonds that connected them to the traditional extended family.

        Which is kind of the point that I would make to both conservatives and liberals- the “family” or “community” that we speak of comes with a price tag, of surrendering a degree of autonomy and individual freedom that we currently hold.

        In a booming economy of unlimited resources, everyone can afford to pursue their own lives; in an economy of scarcity, pooled resources and interdependent obligations makes more sense.Report

    • zic in reply to LWA says:

      +1, LWA.

      You brought to mind something rather profound my sweetie said the other day, “There was no such thing as the Rugged Individual; instead there were rugged, self-reliant communities.”Report

  26. Will H. says:

    50 Michele Bachmanns in the Senate would be concrete progress.
    Then everyone could have what it is they desire.Report

  27. zic says:

    Meagan Kelly attacks. . .


    If somebody could imbed this video, just for the public record, I’d be grateful.Report

  28. lawrence says:

    I think 2013-2014 is winnowing season for the right.
    They’re make a list of all these wingnuts, so they won’t be allowed near a mic when the election comes around.

    At least that’s my theory.Report