Thursday, June 05, 2008

Granny President, Conservative Style

Cal Thomas, a conservative columnist, writes about what a conservative Madam President for this country might look like. He's extremely funny:

A major problem for those wishing more conservative women would run for national office is the smaller pool from which to draw candidates. Large numbers of conservative women adhere to the "family values" they preach. Many prefer the company of family members to that of politicians. It isn't that they don't have drive, vision, or care less about their country than liberal women; it is that their fulfillment comes at a different level and they are paid in a different currency.

You see, Cal needs to explain to us very carefully that it's only the women who are expected to actually live "family values". Conservative guys don't have to do that. They are not scarce in that pool of candidates. Every rock I throw there hits one of them. But the ladies, now. That's a different story, innit? Well, someone has to live those "family values", right?

In short, conservatives believe in gendered division of labor, one in which the women get paid in a different currency altogether (though, sadly, there is no exchange rate between that and the U.S. dollar).

They also don't believe that women should wear pantsuits. By the way, I never thought to use that term in feminist writing, never. But reference to Hillary Clinton's "pantsuits" have become so ubiquitous as insults on the liberal blogs that I realized I have totally missed the feminazi implications of women wearing pants. It's like we are back in the era before Coco Chanel made the idea of women wearing trousers chic. Anyway, Cal doesn't like pantsuits:

What would a female conservative presidential candidate look like? First, she wouldn't wear pantsuits - except when climbing into helicopters. She would wear St. John (note to male readers: look it up; women are impressed I know this). Her husband would be mostly in the background, like Denis Thatcher. Unlike Bill Clinton, who can never leave the stage, this conservative woman's husband would be secure enough in his own skin to allow his wife to promote her beliefs unencumbered by him.

And how does the shadow husband get around the awful (awful) problem Maureen Dowd pointed out the other day: getting emasculated by his too powerful spouse? Thomas doesn't tell us. That only he would wear pants in that family seems to be enough.

I'm trying to imagine this Madam President and all I get is a flickering picture of Margaret Thatcher. I bet that's what Cal got, too. But Margaret Thatcher never fitted the "family values" stuff at all, and I'm sure Thomas knows it. So he ends up suggesting that a conservative woman president would be like a very stern grandma, one who would rap all the guys on the knuckles if they misbehaved.

Family values, indeed.