A Sartell reader, Tom Dullinger, recently sent me a column written by syndicated commentator Mona Charen. He enclosed a note suggesting I might want to comment on that column.
Mr. Dullinger, thanks for sending it. I’d be glad to comment. Here goes:
The headline of the Charen column is “Democrats play mom role but lack ability to be dad” (Dec. 26, 2014 on www.townhall.com).
Charen begins her cartoony tale by claiming Democrats have always portrayed themselves as “nurturing and supportive of the little guy.” Then she quickly sets up a metaphorical dichotomy, asserting Democrats are weak moms and Republicans, by implication, are strong dads.
The Mommy Party (Democrats), she says, crow about bringing us social programs that are in reality (Charen’s reality, that is) squishy, destructive mommy programs. They have, she implies, spoiled millions of people, causing them to become irresponsible, lazy and dependent users. Shades of Mitt Romney.
From there, Charen instantly regresses mentally to the “Father Knows Best” world of the 1950s when men were men and women (tsk tsk) were sappy, not-very-bright misguided coddlers. Nurturers in Charen’s world, you see, cannot be strong and decisive. Her entire column, which serves up those stereotypes, is insulting to the women of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Charen proceeds to trash all of those apron-string programs. Like other historical reactionaries (for example, those who claim the Holocaust never happened), Charen’s mind flails as she parrots lame generalizations why those programs are not only ineffective but detrimental. She has sense enough not to trash the first two (Social Security and Medicare) because she knows how successful and widely popular they are, probably with her own parents. But she has a gunslinger’s heyday with those other molly-coddlers: Head Start she calls a “colossal failure.” The free-lunch program is “overly broad and encourages waste” with too many children on it. The Civil Rights Act has brought us virtually nothing but racial quotas and reverse discrimination. Aid to Families with Dependent Children encourages out-of-wedlock births and poverty. ObamaCare, she laments, does nothing but cause the middle class to pay higher premiums while covering only a fraction of the uninsured.
Charen, of course, is a wee bit right. There are problems with all of those programs, but they have been tweaked to work time and again in the good old days, before Tea Party obstructionists, when good Papa Republicans actually worked with good Mama Democrats. Does anybody remember those days when – to name just two examples – Republican Ronald Reagan and Democrat Pat Moynihan worked together to shore up Social Security and Democrat Bill Clinton worked with a Republican Congress to improve the welfare system?
Charen is correct the programs she trashes are far from perfect. There are some cheaters; there are some lazy people; there is some wasteful spending. But some is not all. And to pretend, as Charen does, that all of those programs have been utter failures is ridiculous. Imagine, if you will, the rampant (and dangerous) social turmoil, human misery and even deaths that would have occurred without those programs.
No sirree! Charen will have none of it.
But wait, folks! There’s more!
She then hauls out her “manly” artillery to blast President Obama for his spineless mommy policies regarding Cuba and Iran. He should have manned up and demanded the Castros introduce freedoms and stop oppression, like 50-years’ worth of other presidents have demanded (to no avail).
After pegging our president as a foreign-policy pussyfooter, Charen roars about “weak-willed” Diane Feinstein, who dared to release that CIA report on torture. But, is it any wonder? Feinstein, after all, is only a woman and a mommy too. She just couldn’t help it, poor thing.
Pumped up by he-man mental steroids, Charen saves her biggest guns for North Korea. Once again, Obama proved himself a Mommy-Party weakling in the recent hacking-movie incident, Charen proclaims. Like all other armchair warriors who love to carp about Obama, she writes he should have used a “manlier” approach and given that country “a steely warning that if one hair on one American’s head were to be damaged by Pyongyang, Kim Jung Un’s regime would be history.”
Sounds like “Nuke ‘em” to me. How many bombs will do the job, Ms. Charen? Are you man enough to drop ‘em?
Charen ends her column with this: “People like moms who coddle them, but they also respect and honor dads who defend them and keep them safe . . . The Democratic Party has done well by being Mom. But its complete inability to be fatherly when necessary may prove very damaging.”
I’d like to end my column this way: Ms. Charen, please consider writing Western-movie screenplays, something like, say, The Daddy-Dudes Ride Again. The fearless Daddies will win the day by shooting up every varmint in sight, along with their weak-willed mamas. No mercy! By the time the movie says “The End,” you can bet your boots there’ll be no more mommy-coddled sidewinders left down yonder in the town of Charen Creek.