The Jury Talks Back

9/2/2009

Bob McDonnell Misrepresented

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amphipolis @ 6:25 am

The Washington Post reported on a college thesis written by the Republican candidate for governor in Virginia:

At age 34, two years before his first election and two decades before he would run for governor of Virginia, Robert F. McDonnell submitted a master’s thesis to the evangelical school he was attending in Virginia Beach in which he described working women and feminists as “detrimental” to the family.

I thought it was odd for them to quote just one word as backup for this, so I checked the source – page 40:

Republican concerns for fiscal austerity are easily impaled by an additional $1.3 billion a year in expenses. Surely the leadership recognizes that existing federal child-care programs already cost more that $6.9 billion in 1988. Further expenditures would be used to subsidize a dynamic new trend of working women and feminists that is ultimately detrimental to the family by entrenching a status-quo of non-parental primary nurture of children.

On the next page he advocates making choices available for day care “to deliver quantity and quality, while allowing maximum liberty to utilize parents, churches, relatives, and friends who can truly care.”

Aside from the issue of whether it is even appropriate to imply that a  20-year old college thesis represents his current beliefs, McDonnell is clearly being deliberately misrepresented here. Working women and feminism were not new trends in 1989, but a push for government subsidies and institutional day care were. His point back then was not that working mothers were detrimental to the family. He was against government subsidies for day care and he had concerns about institutional day care.

It’s amazing what the press can do with one word taken out of context.

17 Comments

  1. I’m glad nobody’s reading the crap I wrote in school.

    Comment by gp — 9/2/2009 @ 7:09 am

  2. This is why I refuse to write papers… I refuse to have the BS I pull outta my ass the night before a paper is due come back and become political fodder when I end up running for office…

    Though I suppose this site alone would kill any chance I had at running on a “Palin = Bad” platform and tricking the media into shilling for me…

    Comment by Scott Jacobs — 9/2/2009 @ 7:13 am

  3. It’s hideous that the chattering assholes think that someone isn’t fit to run for office if they have ever explored ideas that are ‘against the PC rules’.

    Nothing in his paper is even controversial. No kidding more working parents is not so great for kids. It’s a tension feminists recognize.

    They want to get it into your head, from a very early age, that if you add Palin to your facebook profile, write an opinion that is contrary to dogma, etc, you are harming your political prospects. Hell, if you write an op ed opposing obamacare, they want your grocery store to go out of business. The wapo is intolerant.

    Comment by Juan — 9/2/2009 @ 1:56 pm

  4. I disagree that this is out of context. “ultimately detrimental” modifies “dynamic new trend”. the money is being used to subsidize the trend – so therefore the subsidy itself is not the trend. the trend is a trend of “working women and feminists.”

    Going just off of what you quoted above, I think it’s clear that he’s saying that working women and feminists are a dynamic new trend which will be ultimately detrimental to the family – and because it will be ultimately detrimental to the family, it’s bad to subsidize it.

    Comment by aphrael — 9/2/2009 @ 8:46 pm

  5. Which isn’t all that bad, frankly.

    There are many studies that support the idea that a stay at home parent is better for a kid…

    And really, what it comes down to is this: A thesis written 20 years ago is vitally important, and the writer is to be held to every single word, but an entire freaking book written by people in power in the administration are absolutely inconsequential, and it’s probably racist of me to bring it up.

    And lets not forget the stuff Obama wrote in college that we’ve yet to be allowed to see. I mean, if it’s important that we scrutinize every written word from a Gov., how much more so the importance we do the same for the PotUS…

    Comment by Scott Jacobs — 9/2/2009 @ 9:09 pm

  6. And aphrael, where the hell you been?

    You never call, you never write…

    There’s another blog, isn’t there?

    Comment by Scott Jacobs — 9/2/2009 @ 9:10 pm

  7. aphrael would, of course, deliberately leave out the reason given by McDonnell as to why expanding federal child care programs (providing additional incentives for mothers to leave their young children at day care centers) would ultimately be detrimental to family i.e. “… [it would entrench] a status-quo of non-parental primary nurture of children.

    Now, maybe this makes me a troglodyte, but I do believe that a child’s primary care giver, especially while young, should be a parent not a day care center.

    Comment by Martin Knight — 9/3/2009 @ 1:26 am

  8. aphrael, I disagree. At most the thing is poorly worded.

    This was 1989, the year my first child was born. The new trend was not working mothers, it was day care subsidies and institutional day care. Which is why he goes on to develop strategies to allow for working mothers without subsidies or institutional day care.

    He was not against working mothers per se. He was against the government subsidizing day care.

    Comment by Amphipolis — 9/3/2009 @ 5:17 am

  9. “It’s amazing what the press can do with one word taken out of context.”

    Only when they want to. Only when they want to.

    Comment by Dr. K — 9/3/2009 @ 10:11 am

  10. Oh, Scott, there are and have always been other blogs. :)

    Martin: your belief that a child’s primary caregiver should be a parent, not a day care center, does not make you a troglodyte. However, asserting that i’m deliberately leaving something important out is a bit annoying; it’s not quite calling me out as a liar, but it trends in that direction.

    It’s particularly annoying given that your response isn’t actually responsive to what I’m saying. I’m saying I think the writing clearly says that “a dynamic new trend of working women and feminists” will be detrimental, not that subsidies will be detrimental. Your response says that i’m ignoring the reason given for why expanding federal child care programs … would ultrimately be detrimental.

    But I don’t concede that the writing says that expanding subsidies will be detrimental. Whether the writing says that is the crux of the debate. So it follows that I don’t agree that “entrenching a status-quo of non-parental primary nurture” is Mr. McConnell’s reason for thinking subsidies are detrimental; at best, I would think it’s his reason for thinking working women and feminists are detrimental.

    In any event, the clause is irrelevant to the question of whether working women, or the subsidies, constituted the “trend” to which Mr. McConnell was referring. So I left it out, not because I wished to ignore its premise, but because it neither helped nor hindered the argument I was trying to make.

    Comment by aphrael — 9/3/2009 @ 2:36 pm

  11. Amphipolis – He was not against working mothers per se. He was against the government subsidizing day care.

    That may very well be true, but “further expenditures would be used to subsidize a dynamic new trend of working women and feminists that is ultimately detrimental to the family” seems to say to me:

    (a) we shouldn’t have further expenditures
    (b) because they would subsidize working women
    (c) and working women are detrimental to the family

    so, if he wasn’t against working mothers per se, he did a very bad job of expressing what he wanted to express.

    Comment by aphrael — 9/3/2009 @ 2:38 pm

  12. Isn’t there a difference between:

    1. Being against working mothers, and
    2. Being against subsidies that make it easier for mothers to go to work?

    It seems to me the former is anti-feminist because it denigrates women who want to work, but the latter is a public policy choice: Do we want to use public monies to subsidize daycare to make it easier for mothers to work, or do we want to leave it up to families to decide how to make these choices?

    If we decide it is anti-feminist to be against subsidies for daycare, then everything that makes it harder for women to work is anti-feminist and everything that makes it easier for women to work is pro-feminist. That may be politically correct but I don’t think it’s right.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/3/2009 @ 11:50 pm

  13. No, he is saying that non-parental primary nurture of children is detrimental to the family. If women working is detrimental, it is so only so fr as it compromises that. By entrenching – he considered it detrimental because it tended to do what he mentioned later, but that leaves open Republican solutions that would allow women to work who need to and still give the children the care they need.

    This means the fathers could stay home (they are parents too).

    This means that non-institutional day care should be encouraged because it would be better – which was his point later on.

    He wanted government policy to be able to “deliver quantity and quality” care that is best for children.

    His point was not that working mothers are detrimental to the family.

    Comment by Amphipolis — 9/4/2009 @ 6:57 am

  14. I’m not talking about McDonell’s thesis, although they may be related points. I’m just wondering that in general.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/4/2009 @ 5:13 pm

  15. It’s a shame so many families can’t afford to have one parent stay at home with the kids.

    I guess it’s not that hard. You can have a decent house payment $900, one car payment $300, and food for a family + bills $1000 on a pretty modest month’s salary.

    I honestly thought the internet would have solved this problem by now.

    Comment by Juan — 9/4/2009 @ 9:58 pm

  16. [...] Patterico co-blogger Amphipolis found it suspicious that only the one word “detrimental” was being quoted to back up what Gardner was obviously trying to convey to her readers. So he decided to take a look at the 93 page thesis paper for himself, something the Washington Post’s writers and editors would certainly know that less than 1% of their readers would bother to do … and of course, he discovered that “… aside from the issue of whether it is even appropriate to imply that a 20-year old college thesis represents his current beliefs, McDonnell is clearly being deliberately misrepresented here.” [...]

    Pingback by Bob McDonnell’s “Macaca” Moment - And How He Can Get Past It - Martin_A_Knight’s blog - RedState — 9/5/2009 @ 9:44 am

  17. [...] Patterico co-blogger Amphipolis found it suspicious that only the one word “detrimental” was being quoted to back up what Gardner was obviously trying to convey to her readers. So he decided to take a look at the 93 page thesis paper for himself, something the Washington Post’s writers and editors would certainly know that less than 1% of their readers would bother to do … and of course, he discovered that “… aside from the issue of whether it is even appropriate to imply that a 20-year old college thesis represents his current beliefs, McDonnell is clearly being deliberately misrepresented here.” [...]

    Pingback by Bob McDonnell’s “Macaca” Moment - And How He Can Get Past It | WTF?! Obama — 9/6/2009 @ 7:15 pm

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