Tuesday, December 23, 2008


(UPDATE: This post isn't about Dennis Prager's horrifying new essay "When a Woman Isn't in the Mood: Part I," which recommends mandatory sex for wives on their husbands' demand, but I think it wouldn't be too discern a connection.)

You know Morton Blackwell -- he's been a right-wing activist for more than 40 years; he helped train Karl Rove and Ralph Reed and he's been an ally to Grover Norquist, Paul Weyrich, Richard Viguerie, and others; he distributed Purple Heart Band-Aids at the 2004 Republican convention to mock John Kerry.

In short, he's a big deal in GOP circles -- a big enough deal that when he distributed a questionnaire to the six declared candidates for RNC chairman, all of them responded. Many of his questions are innocuous; then there's one that's just bizarre:

6.The feminists' attack on marriage was one major reason why unmarried women voted for Sen. Obama over Sen. McCain by a staggering 70% to 29%.

Do you agree that Republicans must support marriage and cut off the many incentives to divorce and unmarried motherhood that now exist in federal law and spending?

Wow. This is what one of the great minds of the GOP believes: not merely that unmarried women vote Democratic more than, say, men or married women (which is generally conceded to be true), but that if we didn't make it so damn easy for women to avoid marriage, or have kids out of wedlock, they'd stop being so hot to trot and settle down and vote Republican.

Do the six candidates find this question offensive, or at least peculiar?

Nope. Four of the six -- Ken Blackwell, Katon Dawson, Mike Duncan, and Michael Steele -- say, flat out, "Yes." Yes, in other words, Republicans "must support marriage and cut off the many incentives to divorce and unmarried motherhood that now exist in federal law and spending," in order to increase Republicans' vote count (though Duncan adds that he doesn't want to write off divorced women's votes). The other two candidates -- Saul Anuzis and John "Chip" Saltsman -- promise to (in Saltsman's words) "promote, protect, and defend the strength and stability of marriage in our society."

To be sure, a few of these guys seem confused by the question, perhaps thinking it's primarily about gay marriage; Blackwell, Saltsman, and Steele make clear that they're unswervingly opposed to letting gays marry. (Idle question: Would marriage make gays more likely to vote Republican?)

But, apart from Duncan, no one seems appalled at the notion that it's too easy for women not to marry, and laws should be altered to change that -- and thus change women's voting. It's an offensive and weird question -- but none of the RNC chairman wannabes think it's either of those things.

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