This Week in the Mercury


Thursday, September 3, 2009

National Health Insurance, Living-Wage Jobs, Strong Unions: Traditional Values

Posted by Dan Savage on Thu, Sep 3, 2009 at 10:15 AM

The right-wing douchebag running for governor of Virginia—GOP state legislator Bob McDonnell—opposes gay rights, wants to outlaw abortion, and thinks religion (just one!) should be taught in the schools. No surprises there. But McDonnell's views about the role of women may be a little to Saudi/Taliban even for Virginia.

The 1989 master's thesis he submitted to the evangelical Regent University—titled "The Republican Party's Vision for the Family: The Compelling Issue of the Decade"—was unearthed by The Washington Post this past weekend, and it contained the sort of stuff oppo researchers die for. In the 99-page document, McDonnell outlined a battle plan for social conservative warriors that called for the usual things: make abortion illegal, oppose gay rights, bring religion into the schools. The Democrats and media reports have focused on how McDonnell went the extra mile by decrying working women as "detrimental" to the traditional family...

Here's what I don't understand: If social conservatives want more women to stay home and raise their children and do the whole traditional family thing... why don't social conservatives support the kinds of social policies that would make it possible for more women to make that choice? More women might be able to stay home and stay out of the workforce—thereby refraining from undermining the traditional family—if their husbands could find living-wage jobs... which means social conservatives ought to support big hikes in the minimum wage and favor strong unions. More women might stay home if the United States, like all other civilized nations, had either a sane single-payer health care system or found some other way to guarantee health care for all. Right now if dad can't find a job that offers health insurance benefits and mom can, mom goes to work. And if a family member gets sick and those medical bills start piling up—which they can and do, even for the insured—mom has to go to work.

But, hey, I'm talking about making it possible for more women—and men—to choose to stay home, for more families to be able to get by on the income of a single breadwinner, and I'm pretty sure McDonnell isn't interested in choice. He probably thinks the state should be able to compel women to stay home... just like he thinks the state should be able to arrest people for engaging in pre-marital sex.

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