Wednesday, February 24, 2016

John Kasich Whiffs

According to the polls John Kasich would be the strongest Republican candidate against Hillary Clinton. A lot of good it’s doing him.

Kasich brings a solid track record and real credentials to the race. It’s not doing very much for him.

He has touted his record, but his successes in the public arena have largely been ignored. One might say that his message has been drowned out by those who shout louder, but that would not be quite the truth.

In fact, Kasich is running as the soft, cuddly candidate, the nice guy. There’s nothing wrong with being a nice guy if you do not allow your niceness to look like weakness. In Kasich’s case, that is exactly what he has done.

If you want to know why a man who has such a sterling record of governance is doing so poorly, you need not look any further than the recent dustup over women in the kitchen.

Here are the offending sentences, from a town hall meeting in Fairfax, Virginia. Kasich said this:

“How did I get elected?” Kasich asked the crowd, recalling his first run for state senate in Ohio in 1978. “I didn’t have anybody for me. We just got an army of people, who, and many women, who left their kitchens to go out and go door to door and to put yard signs up for me. You know, things were different. Now you call homes and everybody’s out working. But at that time, the early days, it was an army of the women that really helped me get elected to the state senate.”

You may not have known it, but the worst thing you can say about a modern woman is that she is in the kitchen. Thus, that she is preparing dinner for her family. It is such a blow against her dignity and her honor that, if you to suggest such a thing, you will be immediately called out, excoriated and shunned from polite society.

Doubtless the reaction echoes a remark made by Betty Friedan in The Feminine Mystique more than five decades ago. In her book Friedan called the suburban home a “comfortable concentration camp” in which women are subjected to “a slow death of mind and spirit." American housewives, Friedan suggested were “walking corpses.” Of course, no one took offense because Friedan was only saying that women are mindless victims.

Most feminists think that Friedan went a wee bit too far, but still, the notion is alive and well in the outrage visited on John Kasich. Moreover, we note, with some chagrin, that Friedan was trashing women who honorably made homes and cared for their children.

If you are willing to grant any credence to Friedan’s swill, I challenge you, if you are a housewife, to walk up to someone who survived the concentration camps and say: “I know how it felt to be in the camp. I felt just the same thing while I was making dinner for my children last night.”

Friedan’s remark is a misogynistic obscenity.

Today, sexually liberated women are up in arms about being called sluts. It’s called slut-shaming. One understands that an honorable woman, a woman who would never imagine hooking up, would resent being called a slut. But, women who are proud of their sexuality, who revel in their hookups and their sexual prowess… why would they resent being judged on their behavior?

If they are proud of what they have been doing, they ought to be open and honest about it, and to ignore those who think ill of them. Since when did reputation count so much for these sexually liberated women? If they believe they should not be judged, they would probably do best to ignore the taunts and the reputational damage. After all, if they really cared about how other people saw them, they would do better to conduct themselves accordingly.

But, I digress.

Apparently, John Kasich uttered a calumny so heinous that it was denounced from all sides of the political spectrum. Salon declared that Kasich was trying to lure the misogynist vote and that his statement meant that he wanted women to get out of the doctor’s office and into the kitchen. One might ask who is going to feed said woman’s children while she is at the doctor’s office, but that would be misogynist. Don't you know: her househusband will be doing it... unless he is Bill Clinton, in which case he will be taking the opportunity to hook up with whomever.

Salon reported that candidates from Marco Rubio to Hillary Clinton took out after Kasich:

The outcry was swift and harsh. Sen. Marco Rubio’s staff sent out clips about the quote, as did left-leaning interest groups, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted “a woman’s place is wherever she wants to be.”

Why was nice, sweet Marco Rubio piling on here? Which side is he really on? As for Hillary’s remark about women being where they want to be—as in, in Bill Clinton’s bed—might she not have asked herself whether women have a duty to care for their children… regardless of whether that is where they want to be.

And then, Wolf Blitzer asked Kasich to apologize to women. And Kasich complied, thus dooming his campaign, probably irrevocably:

I’m more than happy to say ‘I’m sorry’ if I offended somebody out there, but it wasn’t intended to be offensive.

Had Kasich told Blitzer and the feminist truth squad—led by Marco Rubio—to stuff it, he would have put his campaign on firmer footing. Only the most warped moral sense would count making dinner as disgraceful behavior. As everyone has noticed, that is what Donald Trump would have done, and, on this score he would have been correct.

Some have suggested that Trump would have done because he has no sense of shame. Effectively, the description of Trump, used by Ezra Klein, is salient. Unfortunately, it is not a good thing. Being shameless means never believing that you do anything wrong. It means dropping your pants and demanding to be respected for your candor. It means dispensing with the rules of decorum and believing that because you have said it, it must have been great. Shamelessness is arrogance masquerading as confidence.

As forKasich, he should have refused to apologize, not because he has no sense of shame, but because he did nothing for which he needs to feel ashamed. Having a sense of shame means knowing when to apologize and when not to apologize. It’s a subtle distinction, but one that is worth noting, even if it is going to be ignored in the political din.

One suspects that more than a few women today believe that being liberated means doing exactly what they want, when they want, wherever they want. If you were wondering why so many of these women are unmarried, there’s your answer. They have been convinced to reject the responsibilities and duties and obligations that accompany wifehood.

Back in the day, when I was younger and more naïve, I occasionally received female clients who told me that they wanted to undertake counseling because they wanted to be married.

Occasionally, I would ask them: Do you want to be a wife?

Shock and dismay washed over their faces. It was as though I had grievously offended them by pronouncing the ultimate four-letter word.  Some would say something like: What do you think I am?


Dennis said...

I love today's feminists because they are so good at alienating almost everyone to the point of looking foolish. Is there nothing they cannot take umbrage at? And one wonders why a significant number of women have no desire to be called feminists.
Katich real problem is that he apologized to people who in no way will actually vote republican. If most women are looking for someone who will act like a real man, and I see increasingly evidence that this is true, then he failed. His best response would have been NO response because almost every person there with a memory would have understood what he meant. Trying to use today's supposed standards to evaluate the past is a fool's errand.

Ares Olympus said...

Groan... who needs feminists when you have enablers like Wolf Blitzer?

Anyway, his campaign has been going no where. And you'd have to think Joe Biden has said hundreds of things even more tactless, and he got to be VP for 8 years.

Maybe Kasich is running for VP?

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

John Kasich's behavior reminds me of Al Gore in the 2000 race.

Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: As for Kasich, he should have refused to apologize, not because he has no sense of shame, but because he did nothing for which he needs to feel ashamed. Having a sense of shame means knowing when to apologize and when not to apologize. It’s a subtle distinction, but one that is worth noting, even if it is going to be ignored in the political din.

Perhaps we all need some lessons on this game of when not to apologize. And Stuart covered this!
Are there times when it is better not to apologize? If apology is supposed to make you feel better, how can it happen that some people feel better for not apologizing?

A recent research report has addressed these complex issues.

The study is better than most, but still we should clarify some of the presuppositions.

I am struck, for example, that the studies fail to distinguish between shame and guilt. By attaching apology to guilt, thus to criminal acts, the researchers confuse breaking laws with failing to honor commitments.

One may apologize for committing a crime, but a pledge to change your ways will normally not undo the damage you did when you burned your neighbor’s house down.

Strictly speaking, apology is associated with shame, not guilt.

Of course, some people apologize all the time, whether they are in the right or the wrong, while others rarely apologize at all, even if they are egregiously in the wrong.

You should apologize when your own behavior causes a moral injury. The apology aims to undo the harm done by declaring your action unintentional and by promising never to do it again.

Yet, you do not need to apologize every time someone takes offense. When you are dealing with someone who is hypersensitive and prone to grievance, your actions might not be the proximate cause of his hurt feelings. You do not need to apologize for someone else’s thin skin.

Human nature being what it is, some people abuse the ritual of apology because they like to see other people squirm.

The last part is especially true when dealing with advocates of alleged victims, people who don't feel any personal offense. So it does seem like politicians have to practice redirecting attention away from abstract offenses.

So when Wolf asked: "You said that comment wasn't artful, but would you like to apologize to women out there, for saying they left the kitchen to campaign for you?"

My reply might be something like this:
"Wolf, this is not a real issue. I intended nothing except to express gratitude for all the help I've received over the years. If any of my thousands of volunteers past or present were offended by my words, I ask them to come forward privately and I'll listen. Until then let's move on."

At least that redirects attention from faux victims. And strangely it seems you have to practice resisting pressure until you can do it sincerely and not sound weak.

Wm Sears said...

"If you were wondering why so many of these women are unmarried, there’s your answer."

Possibly as a secondary reason. I suspect that the primary reason is that no one has asked them. See Helen Smith and the theme of Men on Strike. The wisdom of the past has been forgotten.

Marsh said...

That remark is not why Kasich is not doing well in the polls. Although, I do agree w/ you that he should not have apologized. That was really lame on his part.

As to your belief that Trump has no shame, I call BS. The man brought a flame thrower to a knife fight and is kicking butt. Stop clutching your pearls while pretending that it is anything more than that.

priss rules said...

Like him or not, Trump is the only viable candidate. Too many people are sick of establishment politics.

In the long run, I think Sanders will be better than Hillary who is looking more and more like a phony.

Joyce Buckley said...

Bottom line of this over long lament is that Kasich fell into terminal disfavor because of his kitchen remark. I observe that he was definitely establishment with his condescending tone and curled lips. His recounting of his accomplishments was tiresome. He seemed to be present, and a sponsor, of every major event in D.C. and Ohio.