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.