Political Hay

The Last of the Macacas

Another Republican apologizes to America's PC masters.

By 9.4.09

The PC flare-up over Robert McDonnell's excavated graduate thesis paper calling feminism "detrimental" to the traditional family has followed the usual pattern: a perfectly sound conservative position is "exposed," that position is described for days, without any argumentation to prove it whatsoever, as "offensive," an ongoing journalistic beat forms around said position, then the offending Republican offers apologies for his benighted view while quibbling a bit about the timing, extent, and motivation of the scrutiny.

The PC position is never assumed to be wrong. No, modern life under feminist ideology is going swimmingly and anyone who suggests otherwise has no place in American politics. The wisdom of the National Organization for Women will continue to guide us into a glorious future.

I have been enlightened, McDonnell has in effect informed his PC masters. According to a Washington Post story on Wednesday, under the headline, "McDonnell Tries to Salvage Women's Votes," the Republican candidate "has said his views on working women have changed in the two decades since he wrote the paper at age 34 at Regent University in Virginia Beach."

So the twenty years since then have proven feminism to be right? The family is stronger than ever under its culture? It turns out small children are better off raised by "child care professionals" than by stay-at-home mothers? Conservatives should have supported federal child-care programs all along?

In order to belly up to the table of American politics, Republican politicians feel that they must consent to these lies and swallow poisonous PC propaganda whole. Who cares about the truth of the matter? Let's just win. And this means, even if they do, that legislation never changes fundamentally. Almost all important policy debates now just revolve around two liberal positions which differ only in degree not kind.

Winston Churchill associated mindless liberalism with callow youth and conservatism with age. Were he alive today, he would have to reverse the adage. Pols start off honestly conservative and become dishonestly liberal, spouting whatever sentimental lies the PC culture decrees.

Both McDonnell and Virginia Senator Jim Webb, who once committed the similarly grievous offense of questioning women-in-combat policies, have ditched their views and now acknowledge, as McDonnell put it the other day, "the real policy world," his euphemism for the propaganda one must honor as the price of admission into American political debates. 

Both of them, as Post columnist Ruth Marcus chortled, have chalked up their old views to a new species of youthfulness: McDonnell committed his offense at 34, Webb at 33. In "The Macaca Thesis," Marcus declares such views sexist and occupying her PC propagandist cat-bird seat she sees no reason to prove the charge.

There is a little bit of hope for McDonnell, however, now that Marcus has crowned him slightly "evolved" and enlightened: "nothing can change a sexist's mind as effectively as having daughters; McDonnell's experience with watching his daughters earn master's degrees and serve in Iraq no doubt informed his current views about working women."

Though the Post hadn't yet established that McDonnell had lost votes to be "salvaged," as its headline suggested, the paper's Wednesday story assumed serious trouble ahead: "Countering McDonnell's efforts are those of women such as Arlington County resident Marjorie Signer, who serves as president of the Virginia chapter of the National Organization for Women. Signer said she read about McDonnell's thesis in the Washington Post at 11 a.m. Sunday and immediately left home to picket a Women for McDonnell rally at Lake Burke Park in Fairfax."

This is a curious piece of reporting: Why would a NOW chapter head need to wait for the Post's trumpet? Shouldn't she have been rushing off to picket that event in any case? Wasn't he already "anti-woman"?

In the PC shorthand of American politics, Republicans, no matter how much defensive and hapless pandering they do, will still be called sexist, and through these capitulations they help to cement the charge: instead of challenging the shorthand, as they should, they confirm it by promising to change their ways.

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About the Author
George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author of No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.