George Graham

Father Knows Best? Still?


A report commissioned by two Republican lobbying groups finds that most women consider the party “intolerant,” “lacking in compassion,” and “stuck in the past.” To fix the problem, the report recommends a campaign to convince women that they’re wrong

.What? Don’t the little darlings realize father knows best?

Slate’s Amanda Hess reports this morning that:

R.R. Reno, editor of First Things (a journal that promotes “economic freedom” and a “morally serious culture”), published a very helpful essay illustrating how this fresh new strategy might work in practice. Reno begins his piece with a richly-drawn portrait of a hypothetical female Democratic voter: She is a “single, 35-year-old McKinsey consultant living in suburban Chicago who thinks of herself as vulnerable and votes for enhanced social programs designed to protect against the dangers and uncertainties of life.”

(Reno does not specify the number of cats she owns, but for the purposes of this discussion, let’s assume the answer is “several.”)

Reno speculates that this woman (whom he has invented and preprogrammed with opinions) feels “judged” by a Republican platform that opposes gay marriage, because “she intuitively senses that being pro-traditional marriage involves asserting male-female marriage as the norm—and therefore that her life isn’t on the right path.”

So she votes for the Democrat, who does not appear to be “intolerant” of her lifestyle.

I know quite a few women who wouldn’t vote Republican if they were being waterboarded. And not one fits that description (except for the part about the cats).

But, according to Reno, that’s the kind of voter Republicans must convert. How?  Reno has a strategy:

This woman is suffering from “various kinds of personal unhappiness related to the lack of clear norms for how to live,” Reno writes. She secretly “wants to get married and feels vulnerable because she isn’t and vulnerable because she’s not confident she can.” And so, actually, she should support the party that wants to force people into traditional marriages, thus improving her chances of getting married herself.

How about that, all you little ladies out there? Do they have your number, or what?

Click for the Slate article.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for