Romney’s Birther “Joke”: Foul

Oh, Mitt, you’re such a cut-up!

As I was fulminating about Mitt Romney’s Ethics Dunce-worthy below-the-belt swipe at President Obama in Michigan (  “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place where both of us were born and raised.”), a friend protested, ” You can’t blame Romney for that! He’s got to be furious, with the Obama campaign calling him a felon and Harry Reid saying he’s a tax cheat. He has a right to fight back.”

I sure can blame him, and do. The “joke”—I suppose it is legitimate to call it a joke, since the anti-Obama crowd laughed; it’s an “Oooooooo!” joke…) brought the whole idiotic, racist, “Obama’s not really one of us” birth certificate canard back into the campaign, when it should have been buried with Donald Trump’s hair long ago. This is, as my friend suggests, “tit for tat,” which in this campaign means that it dragged the election, the Presidency, the people and the country even deeper into the gutter. At this rate, Obama’s campaign manager Stephanie Cutter will soon be making “jokes” about Romney’s “magic underwear,” and Romney will respond by pointedly calling the President “Barack Hussein Obama” at every appearance. Can “Up yours!” and “Fuck you!” be far behind?

I’m sure Romney’s ticked off.  The Obama team accused him of being a felon, and responded to his objections by saying he was “whining.” Harry Reid stated unequivocally that Mitt was a tax cheat, and the White House said, “Hey, we don’t speak for Harry!” ( but we’re happy to have him do our dirt work for us!) A pro-Obama PAC produced a scurrilous ad suggesting that Romney was responsible for the death of a man’s wife, and Obama hit-man David Axelrod defended it.  None of that justifies stooping to a call-out to the birthers, who are even lower than Stephanie Cutter. We’re supposed to be electing an adult to the highest office in the land, and trustworthy adults to not use being ticked off as an excuse to lash out. I’ll concede is was a clever way to be unethical, uncivil and unfair: after all, Obama made a similar joke about the birther flap at one of the mirth-filled press dinners, and the form of the statement gives Romney a plausible defense: “Hey! The President DID have to produce his birth certificate! Why is it unfair to mention it in jest?” My colleague Ethics Bob Stone has the answer. Bob writes, “How do you encourage the right-wing idiocy that Obama was born in Kenya and thus an illegitimate President, while not getting the tar of hate on yourself? Why, by making a little “joke” about it…”

Just as Obama and his minions have refused to acknowledge and apologize for the felon, tax cheat and wife-killer slurs, Romney’s camp is, embarrassingly, denying that a direct reference to birth certificates wasn’t intended to reference the birther issue. “The governor has always said, and has repeatedly said, he believes the president was born here in the United States,” Romney adviser Kevin Madden told the press, as his pants burst into flame. “He was only referencing that Michigan, where he is campaigning today, is the state where he himself was born and raised.” This statement has a recent parallel in the Obama campaign too, as it denied that Vice President Joe Biden’s “They’re gonna put y’all back in chains!” to a substantially black audience was an intentional slavery reference.

No body fair and sane believed that denial, and nobody fair and sane should believe that Mitt wasn’t dog-whistling the birthers, which is only a hop, skip and a jump from sending regards to the Klan. Yet Romney-supporting bloggers—smart ones, not the crazies— are pushing a stunning argument that Romney’s “joke” was something far more subtle. Here’s the usually estimable Ann Althouse:

“Romney is saying — in so many words — I’m more truly and fundamentally American than Barack Obama. And the implication is: I want you to think about the ways that Obama hasn’t fully embraced American values of freedom, capitalism, etc. etc. Of course, you don’t have to be born in America to have those values. I imagine Ted Cruz has those values, and he was born in Canada. He might make a great Senator from Texas soon, but he can never be President. We don’t need to see his birth certificate, because it’s no secret. He’s not qualified to be President, and it’s no disparagement of him to say that. But notably — and pay attention now, because this should help with understanding Romney’s joke — no one running against Cruz would make a joke about his being born outside of the United States. Romney’s (implicit) joke about Obama works not because of where he was actually born, but because of much more substantive ideas about commitment to foundational American values.”

To which the usually rational Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) repsonds,

“Exactly. With the added benefit that the press would miss the point and thus, in its outrage, spread the idea further than Romney could on his own.”

Ah so! Romney wasn’t saying that Obama wasn’t born here, just that he thinks, talks and acts like someone who wasn’t born here! Kind of like the “American Taliban” and other traitors. Well, that’s all right then.

No, no, no, and no.

No, it isn’t, no, that’s not what Romney was doing, no, that wouldn’t be any better, and no, there is no excuse for it.

Yes, Romney should apologize, and mean it.

__________________________

Pointer: Ethics Bob

Facts: Washington Post

Sources:

Graphic: Biography

 

 

66 thoughts on “Romney’s Birther “Joke”: Foul

  1. You need to get down off your high horse and smell the roses my friend. What a harmless little joke this was. It is nothing compared to the diatribes launched by Obama and his supporters and it has the added benefit of being both true and fitting at least in a geographic context.
    What he should do is launch an immediate campaign to denounce Obama for hiding his university records. Why would Obama do that? Is it because he put on his application he was a foreign student and/or muslim so that he could get the PC points from the admissions people?
    In fact one could say you are getting rather PC in your selective ethic outrage.

    • No, you need to wake up and smell the ethics, and also stop making excuses for dirty campaigning, “my friend.” Here’s a tip: any comment beginning “it is nothing compared to…” proves ethics ignorance and appeals to unethical and invalid rationalizations.

    • No, you need to wake up and smell the ethics, and also stop making excuses for dirty campaigning, “my friend.” Here’s a tip: any comment beginning “it is nothing compared to…” proves ethics ignorance and appeals to unethical and invalid rationalizations.

  2. *Sigh*

    When I first heard about this remark, I was hoping it fell into the ‘harmless joke’ category, but that was eroded when I actually heard the sound clip.

    Much as my emotions want to say otherwise, your arguments are sound and this is something Romney should not have done.

    Here is a crass political reason for doing the right thing — this takes Romney off message. He is the challenger and needs to be hammering on his real arguments at every chance and not sidetrack himself.

    One other thought. If Romney were to make a sincere apology — it would totally shock a lot of people. Perhaps, once they picked their jaws up off the ground, they might actually listen to him.

    Regardless of anything else, ten wrongs don’t make a right. It appears they only make a political campaign.

    *sigh*

  3. While I agree with you, old friend, that this “gaffe” was uncalled for, I believe the value of the current commentary is primarily that it shows the evident success of the Obama campaign and their surrogates in “rattling” the otherwise unflappable Romney in the course of this campaign so far. However, regardless of whether one accepts the Hawaii birth story or not, there IS a history of Obama making and remaking his past narrative according to what is politically expedient, as in the Acton and Dysel literary agent book announcement matter: (http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/05/17/The-Vetting-Barack-Obama-Literary-Agent-1991-Born-in-Kenya-Raised-Indonesia-Hawaii), as just one of many, many examples. Given Obama’s propensity for recreating his own personal history, it would not be irrelevant, nor inappropriate, to at least make it clear, that there is, and never has been, any controversy about his birthplace. Contort this as you may, but on its plain face, it has nothing to do with race. It has to do with Obama’s rich history of lies and deception.

    • However, regardless of whether one accepts the Hawaii birth story or not[…]

      Regardless of whether one believes the story of Peter not raping and murdering a girl in 1992…

      Slander is slander. the link is also ridiculous, as the blurb is self contradictory. Someone born in Kenya is African or black, not African-American. Clearly, it was an error.

  4. Thanks for covering the full stupidity of this little embarrassing episode. When I heard the joke I smacked my forehead. Then I read Glen and Althouse, two people I generally like although Ann has been off point a little more frequently here recently, and the first thing that came to mind was Stephanie Cutter. Mitt/Ann/Glen are taking a play right out of Team Obama’s book on this one, make a dog-whistle joke and then deny any possible dog-whistle noise.

    I find it insulting that both campaigns actively question people who take their words and statements at face value. ‘You didn’t build that’ does not actually mean business even thought I used the singular ‘that’ instead of ‘those’ which would have indicated I was talking about infrastructure/teachers/rule of law, and no I will not issue a clarification. The birth certificate joke was not a joke at all, it was a subtle commentary of the values of America. ‘Put y’all back in chains’ was not a reference to slavery it was ??? Seriously, I am not stupid, I know what words mean and at the same time I am open to complex, subtle arguments but you are not making them here.

    I would contrast this to Akin’s ‘Legitimate rape’ statement where the phrase has no actual coherent plain meaning, and he issues a clarification on what he meant to say. The rest of his statement was bat shit crazy, but I don’t hold it against the guy when he misspeaks and then issues a clarification. But the two presidential campaigns are not misspeaking, they just want their words to have multiple meanings to different groups of people.

    • Mitt/Ann/Glen are taking a play right out of Team Obama’s book on this one, make a dog-whistle joke and then deny any possible dog-whistle noise.

      I don’t think you understand the term “dog-whistle”. If you did, you wouldn’t claim it was from “Team Obama’s book”

      • Dog-whistle politics is when a politician makes a statement which has one meaning to the general public and another meaning for a targeted group of the general audience. Are you claiming the Obama campaign does not use this tactic?

  5. I am not going to comment on all the gaffes/misspeaks/code words uttered by Biden, Obama, and Romney. I tend to agree that they should use their words more carefully and if something comes out wrong, clarify later.

    But Todd Akin believes what he said (the first time), and he is not alone amongst Republicans. If you want a list of women-denegrating quotes, I can provide one. Akin has a reputation for his extreme right-wing beliefs, and he is not afraid to let people know what they are. He’s probably the most ethical one in the bunch–he lost his ethics when he “clarified.” He and his tea party colleagues are a danger to the rights and health of women.

        • Not sure what your point is, except that here in the Great Plains, in my state of South Dakota, the application of such principles that you decry has led to one of the most efficient, well-run state governments, which was one of the first in 2011 to balance income with outgo, with mostly contented people who recognize the value of self-determination, hard work, respect for neighbor, devotion to God and traditional Christian values. But, we’re “boring,” don’t ya know. Take your choice.

    • First, every republican denounced Akin’s baby fairy comment, so you can’t paint all republicans with the same beliefs that Akin had.

      Second, please specify how tea party republicans are a danger to the rights and health of women. I have heard this a lot from people, but I don’t know the specifics.

      • First, every republican denounced Akin’s baby fairy comment, so you can’t paint all republicans with the same beliefs that Akin had.

        No. No they didn’t. For instance, Ryan hasn’t. Which makes sense, as Ryan has backed multiple laws with no rape exception for abortion. This magic baby fairy belief is relatively fringe, but it’s not nonexistent.

        Second, please specify how tea party republicans are a danger to the rights and health of women. I have heard this a lot from people, but I don’t know the specifics.

        Banning abortion. Banning contraception. Personhood amendments. Defunding planned parenthood. These are all things backed by the tea party.

        • Seriously, Ryan has condemed the statement, ‘His statements were outrageous, over the pale. I don’t know anybody who would agree with that. Rape is rape, period, end of story.’ and this ‘Akin told NBC’s Matt Lauer yesterday that Paul Ryan had personally called Akin and asked him to drop out of his U.S. Senate race.’

          from http://oregoncatalyst.com/18671-gop-condemns-rep-todd-akins-comments.html

          A no rape exception for abortion is the most coherent conclusion someone can draw from a pro-life position. You can disagree with the pro-life position, but the no rape exclusion part of Akin’s statement was no the objectionable part, ethically.

          Please show a national republican figure who wants to ban contraception. Seriously, ending federal funding for planned parenthood is not putting woman’s rights or health in jeopardy.

          • Paul Ryan’s comments in your link are about some rape being legitimate. There’s no comment about the magic rape baby fairies.

            Please show a national republican figure who wants to ban contraception.

            How about Paul Ryan again, and the stupid personhood amendment he sponsored. It would ban any kind of contraception except condoms.

            Seriously, ending federal funding for planned parenthood is not putting woman’s rights or health in jeopardy.

            Planned parenhood is vital in keeping poor pregnant women healthy. They also perform basic screening procedures for free that uninsured women would go without. Do you check your facts before you write?

            • Just to clarify the facts, Planned Parenthood receives 70 million dollars in grants from the Federal government, or 7%. You are free to draw your own conclusion about how much harm to woman this will do, I stand on the side of zero harm will be done.

              • In 2011, it was 360 million or ~300 million, depending if you want to go with a conservative commentator or NPR. Heck, there was a supposed scandal where Planned Parenthood had to account for the 2.3 billion they got from the federal government from 2002 to 2009: or just under 300 million a year.

                Heck, one Texas program involved 35 million of federal money. Are you claiming that Texas got half of the the total federal funding for Planned Parenthood? Come on man.

                Also, even cutting 7% would do significant harm. A 7% money cut would necessitate the closing of clinics and limiting of free services. $70 million could cover a million pap smears, or a million pre-pregnancy checkups. Absolutely zero harm done…so long as you don’t think women are worth anything.

                    • In regards to your last paragraph, again a false dichotomy. Cutting money from a program does not necessary mean a reduction in service.

                      To be honest, I am done responding too you. Your mis-characterization of my position, ‘so long as you don’t think women are worth anything.’ is offensive, unjustified, and rude. If this were the first, or the only, instance of this I would let it slide, but you have repeatedly used this fallacious line of reasoning.

                    • In regards to your last paragraph, again a false dichotomy. Cutting money from a program does not necessary mean a reduction in service.

                      There’s no dichotomy there, and yes, cutting 7% of the budget does mean a reduction in service. The point of the cut was to reduce services. Sheesh.

                      To be honest, I am done responding too you. Your mis-characterization of my position, ‘so long as you don’t think women are worth anything.’ is offensive, unjustified, and rude.

                      My comment was accurate. I do have to apologize though. I assumed you were at least sane. Instead, you believe, you can cut the budget with no reduction in the result. That’s beyond stupid. Do you know nothing of economics?

                      You can be done responding to me, but that doesn’t mean that the positions you have previously claimed become any better.

    • Akins was an opponent of the Missouri Tea Party candidate. Your claim they are his colleagues is patently untrue. You are right about him, wrong about them. Your assumptions are showing.

      • Akin caucuses with the tea party. He was one of the 29 original members…prior to the 2010 election. Another tea party candidate in the primaries does not mean Akin is not a tea partier. Also, what does the Missouri tea party say about him? http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/akin-conservatives-rape-romney/2012/08/21/id/449307

        Putnam said he was instrumental in urging Akin to make his Senate bid in the first place and told host Ernest Istook, “I don’t think there’s a more principled person in Congress than Todd is.”

        and

        “I thought we had died and gone to heaven when he got the nomination [for senate]”

  6. This would be NORTH Dakota. And the life described is typical of all oil rigger towns, and as such, largely reflect those life-styles of temporary workers who come from somewhere else. We may encounter an element of this in SOUTH Dakota soon, as a small portion of the Bakken shale becomes developed in my state. Nevertheless, this has nothing to do with the essential nature, philosophy and good governance of the native residents of the state. What you missed was the opportunity to ‘dis’ my state over its large and impoverished native American population, but that is more a matter of Federal policy, and the legacy of the rapacious history of white settlement in North America generally than it does with the state of South Dakota.

    • I bet you Dakotans hate it when we get you mixed up. I apologize. Being from the great state of Missouri, and potentially being admirably represented by Todd Akin, I would never think of “dissing” another state for any reason. You’re right, fracking is coming to South Dakota, so keep that link handy.

      As for the danger I see to women posed by Republicans:

      It was just this year that Wisconsin state senator Glenn Grothman (R) said that, “money is more important for men,” as he argued against a Wisconsin state equal pay act. In his view of the matter, there is no pay discrimination because women simply don’t want to be paid as much as men do, particularly when they are married and more focused on raising kids (as he duly noted). Never mind the millions of single parent households headed by women.

      Grothman also made headlines this year when he said that “unwanted and mistimed pregnancies” are “a choice” that women make and are not actually accident.

      Idaho state senator Chuck Winder (R) just this year said that women may not actually know the difference between rape and the normal course of sexual relations in marriage (something Winder believes involves a woman being obligated to have sexual relations with her husband even when she does not want to): “I would hope that when a woman goes into a physician, with a rape issue, that that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage. Was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage, or was it truly caused by a rape?” He went on to imply that many women are using rape as an excuse for abortion.

      Medicaid is crucial to women’s health. It provides coverage to nearly 19 million low-income women, meaning that they make up 70 percent of the program’s beneficiaries. Any slashing of Medicaid’s rolls will therefore fall heavily on their shoulders. And Paul Ryan’s budget would do just that. The Urban Institute estimated that Ryan’s block grant plan alone would lead states to drop 14–27 million people from Medicaid by 2021

      Ryan’s budget repeals the Affordable Care Act, and with it the Medicaid expansion that some states are already threatening to refuse. 13.5 million women were expected to get health insurance coverage under the expansion by 2016. A Ryan budget would ensure they stay unprotected.

      The majority of Medicare beneficiaries are women, and twice as many women over age 65 live in poverty as compared to men. Ryan’s budget plan would raise the eligibility age for Medicare to 67 while repealing the ACA, leaving those between ages 65 and 67 with neither Medicare nor access to health insurance exchanges or subsidies to help them buy coverage.

      Legislation introduced to the Georgia legislature by Bobby Franklin (R) in 2011 would make abortion the legal equivalent of murder and require miscarriages to be investigated by authorities. Although the legislation would not place any criminal penalties on natural spontaneous abortions, it would require miscarriages to be reported by hospitals and other medical institutions, and a fetal death certificate issued. Authorities would be required to investigate the cause of fetal death in cases where a miscarriage occurs without attendance at a medical facility. I don’t think this one got signed by the governor, but I could be wrong.

      That’s just a quick Google search; if you want more, just ask.

      • A couple of things:

        1) Quoting various idiot Congressmen and wacko state legislators to impugn the whole GOP is obviously unfair. If I were to use Debby Wasserman-Schultz, shameless liar and shill, or the increasingly outrageous Harry Reid, as typical of Democrats, that would be similarly unfair—and she’s the DNC chair while he is the Senate majority leader.
        2. Entitlements have to be slashed to stop the nation from reaching an economic dead end, and it will cause hardship to men and women both. Saying that Ryan’s cuts target women is deceitful whether one agrees with his recommendations or not.
        3. Insane, ignorant and unethical legislation is proposed by members of both parties, constantly. Again, one idiot does not impugn the party, except to the extent that it runs idiots for office. Two words: Joe Biden. Two more: Michele Bachmann
        4. There are plenty of good reasons to repeal the ACA. Saying that it is anti-women to want to repeal it (and start over) because some provisions of the law help women essentially holds that when bad legislation has some good provisions it can never be reconsidered. That’s nuts.

        • The issue was how the tea party beliefs would hurt women. If you want to list the ways core Democratic Party beliefs would hurt women, fine, we can have a discussion.

          1. I am not attempting to impugn the entire Republican party. I am pointing out legislation brought up by Republican legislators that would fit perfectly into the tea party ideology and would be detrimental to women’s rights and health. And they are not hard to find. Want to get into minorities, children, gays, the elderly? Essentially, however, the tea party is made up of Republicans with a few Libertarians thrown in.

          2. Of course entitlements have to be dealt with; but not by exploding the defense budget and slashing services to the poor, meanwhile cutting taxes for the rich. Again, a core tea party tenet. I never said Ryan was targeting women. I doubt if he thinks about them much. They’re just collateral damage.

          3. Michelle Bachmann IS the tea party. There is indeed crazy legislation out there proposed by Democrats. I am pointing out crazy legislation that adheres to core tea party beliefs. Introduced by Republicans.

          4. I was asked to back up my claim that the tea party would be harmful to women. Repealing the ACA will harm women. Repealing the ACA is at the top of the tea party agenda. Therefore, the tea party agenda harms women in this respect.

          • If you were talking Tea Party, then I would agree with your point, at least from your point of view. But what you WROTE was “As for the danger I see to women posed by Republicans.” It is no more fair to conflate the entire Republican Party with the Tea Party than it is to say Occupy Wall Street speaks for the Democratic Party.

            • Please forgive me for my Freudian slip. I’m absolutely okay with editing my remark to say “danger posed by the tea party’s influence on the Republican Party.”

                  • My mouth is agape that both you and Jack seem to assume something about Tea Partiers that flies in the face of my experience. In my area about 20 per cent are Democrats. About 40 per cent are minorities. Just under 60 per cent are women. Three of the five local leaders are women. And in my experience the attitudes you complain of – wait for it, Jack, (and which I generally agree with) are more analogous to positions taken by a few outlier establishment Republicans than tea party members. But I could be wrong..

                    • The tea party caucus doesn’t just vote on the budget. They tend to vote as a bloc on the abortion and women’s rights issues as well.

                    • I think the 20 per cent is kind of high, but I don’t know where you live. The figures I found were all over the place, but I will concede that there are Democrats in the tea party.

                      Grothman has attended tea party rallies, Akin is their hero, and Ryan is their demi-god, similar to the worship bestowed on Barack Obama by some of his supporters. I do believe that folks like Winder and Franklin have been emboldened by the rhetoric of the tea party; if the party disavows them it is to their credit. I can find no evidence of that, either.

                    • On further thought, “disavow” might imply some kind of association between these men and the tea party. But I would expect, from a group that is proud of its influence on policy, to make some kind of statement of their position, either for or against.

      • The income difference between men and woman goes away when you properly control for years of experience, hours worked, and education. The state senator is correct in regard to traditional gender roles and the importance of money. Most studies have shown woman are more willing to take time off of work to raise a family then men are, that is what the senator is saying here.

        ‘Unwanted and mistimed pregnancies’ are the result of a choice. The fact that they are the results of a careless, or ignorant choice does not change the fact that two people decided to engage in an activity with a high probability of producing a pregnancy.

        The rest of your argument boils down to republicans want to control spending on entitlements by cutting them. Well, I have news for you, if medicaid spending is not reduced those medicaid cards will not be worth the paper they are printed on. Sorry, actually that is already the case, ever try to find a doctor in the Washington DC metro area who will accept a new medicaid patient? Restructuring these programs in a good faith effort to make then actually sustainable in the long run does much less damage to poor woman’s health then keeping the status quo.

        • Lilly Ledbettter made 40% less than her male counterparts who had equal or less seniority. Women are, in fact, paid less than men for the same work. I don’t believe that 70 cents for every dollar argument either, but your calculus does not apply here. And if you think there’s any such thing as “traditional gender roles” anymore, you are living in the 20th century (the first half of it).

          Women get pregnant unintentionally despite being conscientious about birth control because–guess what? No method of birth control is perfect. They also get raped. This particular guy wanted to make single parenthood a factor in child abuse.

          I have no objection to entitlement reform. Also Defense spending reform. And don’t balance the budget on the poor while giving tax cuts to the wealthy. Depriving millions of women of health care does nothing for them in the long or short term.

          • Lilly Ledbetter is an N of 1, I am sure there are men in DHS that are underpaid in comparison to their female counterparts. When large scale pay studies are done that control for the relevant factors there is no income gap.

            Living in the first half of the twentieth century? You seriously believe more men then woman choose to stop working to stay home with children? Seriously?

            • When large scale pay studies are done that control for the relevant factors there is no income gap.

              Citation needed. This argument has appeared mutiple times on Ethics Alarms. Nobody has been able to point to the stuides showing what you claim.

              You seriously believe more men then woman choose to stop working to stay home with children?

              I don’t believe that was claimed. I believe what was claimed was that traditional gender roles are no longer accurage, if they ever were.

              • I don’t want to get into a semantic argument about what ‘traditional’ gender roles are, suffice to say there are preference differences between the genders. In aggregate these preferences lead to different outcomes. Self identified men and woman are not equivalent groups of people, they are equal but not equivalent. Luckily for me, my field recognizes that equality and equivalence are not the same, := is not the same as =.

                • “Traditional gender roles” has nothing to do with actual average differences between the genders. It’s about making sure women do women’s work and men do men’s work.

        • The income difference between men and woman goes away when you properly control for years of experience, hours worked, and education.

          Citation needed.

          The state senator is correct in regard to traditional gender roles and the importance of money.

          Traditional gender roles are irrelevant.

          Most studies have shown woman are more willing to take time off of work to raise a family then men are, that is what the senator is saying here.

          The senator is saying that since women are more willing to take time off, they shouldn’t be paid evenly with men in even situations. The latter doesn’t follow from the former.

          ‘Unwanted and mistimed pregnancies’ are the result of a choice. The fact that they are the results of a careless, or ignorant choice does not change the fact that two people decided to engage in an activity with a high probability of producing a pregnancy.

          Sex with a condom, on the pill or using the ring, and/or on an IUD is not likely to cause pregnancy, but pregnancies do occur from sex in these circumstances.

          The rest of your argument boils down to republicans want to control spending on entitlements by cutting them.

          I think the rest of the arguments is that republicans don’t value the lives of women and the poor very highly.

          • Here you go, the quoted part below is from the forward written by the Labor Department.

            An Analysis of the Reasons for the Disparity
            in Wages Between Men and Women

            “There are observable differences in the attributes of men and women that account for most of the wage gap. Statistical analysis that includes those variables has produced results that collectively account for between 65.1 and 76.4 percent of a raw gender wage gap of 20.4 percent, and thereby leave an adjusted gender wage gap that is between 4.8 and 7.1 percent. These variables include:

            A greater percentage of women than men tend to work part-time.
            Part-time work tends to pay less than full-time work.

            A greater percentage of women than men tend to leave the labor force for child birth, child care and elder care. Some of the wage gap is explained by the percentage of women who were not in the labor force during previous years, the age of women, and the number of children in the home.

            Women, especially working mothers, tend to value “family friendly” workplace policies more than men. Some of the wage gap is explained by industry and occupation, particularly, the percentage of women who work in the industry and occupation.

            Research also suggests that differences not incorporated into the model due to data limitations may account for part of the remaining gap. Specifically, CONSAD’s model and much of the literature, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics Highlights of Women’s Earnings, focus on wages rather than total compensation. Research indicates that women may value non-wage benefits more than men do, and as a result prefer to take a greater portion of their compensation in the form of health insurance and other fringe benefits.’

            Please read the whole thing:

            http://www.consad.com/content/reports/Gender%20Wage%20Gap%20Final%20Report.pdf

            Single woman without childeren earn more then their male counterparts:

            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704421104575463790770831192.html

            One more:

            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704415104576250672504707048.html

            Lastly, the point about sex, unwanted, or ill timed pregnancies, are the result of a choice. I am not making any judgements about what should follow from this logic, policy or otherwise. But to say that an unwanted pregnancy, that is not the result of a rape, is not the result of a choice made by at least two people is beyond comprehension.

            • By the way, I have never written here that there is NO gender gap—there is, and I have seen in in action in more than one workplace, up close and undeniable. I have also helped perpetrate it, as when I was in non-profit management, I hired almost exclusively women, because I could get better employees cheaper that way. The women accepted my first offer, and men of the same or lesser ability/qualifications did not. That’s a negotiation gap that leads to a gender gap.

              What I have written about is the repeated “78 cents for every dollar paid to a man” state, which is misleading and wrong, and impossible to substantiate.

            • By the way, I have never written here that there is NO gender gap—there is, and I have seen in in action in more than one workplace, up close and undeniable. I have also helped perpetrate it, as when I was in non-profit management, I hired almost exclusively women, because I could get better employees cheaper that way. The women accepted my first offer, and men of the same or lesser ability/qualifications did not. That’s a negotiation gap that leads to a gender gap.

              What I have written about is the repeated “78 cents for every dollar paid to a man” state, which is misleading and wrong, and impossible to substantiate.

            • Again, your argument does not address the issue of equal work for equal pay, it simply addresses the overall wage gap between men and women. There is a difference. Jack’s done a good job of debunking the 70 cents on the dollar argument, but read his comment below. In the same job, women are frequently paid less than men.

              But they don’t mind, because they all have handsome husbands who are the primary breadwinner. Not.

              • I sincerely do not understand your reasoning here. The forward, from the Obama labor department says, ‘this study leads to the unambiguous conclusion that the differences in the compensation of men and women are the result of a multitude of factors and that the raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers.’

                How do you get from there to unequal pay for equal work. The study linked would have picked up that difference, if it were as prevalent as you suggest, but it didn’t. If unequal pay for equal work is prevalent, it would show up in the raw wage gap and would not be explainable based on preference differences. It’s not there in aggregate, and while there are of course situations when this occurs it is not the norm. If it were the norm, it would show up in these studies.

                • The foreward is not an official part of the study. What this survey actually says is that when you control for some things, the raw wage gap is decreased, but a wage gap of 7% still exists. They do not know why that wage gap still exists, and everything after that is speculation.

                  More importantly, this study doesn’t actually explain anything. It makes assumptions about women’s desires and creates different baselines for variables with different genders. For example, they assign separate coefficients to the amount of earning power that men and women should lose while out of the workforce. The difference here is used to make up the gap. They are begging the question. See page 35 in the summary.

                  • It boggles the mind that anyone can have an issue with a simple concept like equal pay for equal work. People turn into pretzels quoting studies and surveys, claiming women don’t care or don’t deserve it because they get pregnant (probably through carelessness) and have to take time off. Plus, they probably have a baby daddy and don’t have to work anyway. Then they manage to whittle down the gap so that it seems insignificant, and nobody really knows why it’s there, so what to do?

                    The fact is, there are employers that discriminate against women in the workplace. It doesn’t matter if it’s the “norm” or not. Passing a law that says they must pay women with the same experience just as much as men does not harm anyone and benefits the millions of women out there who must support themselves and their families.

                    • When I was in college, I worked periodically as a bank teller for a local bank—some nights, and over holidays. There were several of us, all students, who filled in. At Christmas we were shocked to get bonus checks, a real unexpected treat. One of my fellow junior tellers was enthusing about the checks, and mentioned what the amount of her check was. It was 30% less than mine.

                      I was stunned. It made no sense—we didn’t just do the same job, she was better at it than I was, and worked more hours too. It just seemed like gratuitous discrimination to me. I confess—I didn’t say anything to her or anyone else until quite a while later. I just quit. That was the firts time I was even aware that gender discrimination existed .

                    • A couple quick points. There is always discrimination, the rate of discrimination never goes to zero. I am not saying it’s right to pay people different wages for the same work. The issue I take is the belief that this is widespread, of course it occurs but these studies indicate that the scale of the issue is small.

                      I understand the frustration of dealing with discrimination and while we disagree on the scope and solutions of the problem, I want to assure you I do not hold any of the beliefs you bring up.

                      I acknowledge there are employers who discriminate, for lots of reasons, and my personal feeling is that a competitive labor market combined with the profit motive works far better at ending this discrimination then passing laws. Firms which engage in large scale discrimination in the workforce reduce their productivity relative to firms that don’t discriminate. It’s my belief that this market incentive is a better tool at reducing discrimination then laws are. We can disagree on how to solve the problem, but there is no disagreement with me that discrimination in hiring is unacceptable.

                      As an aside, there are costs imposed when you pass those types of laws, there is an argument that those costs are justified, but those laws do have costs.

                    • The issue I take is the belief that this is widespread, of course it occurs but these studies indicate that the scale of the issue is small.

                      At least 7% difference overall. Well, you’ve already said that 7% less couldn’t possibly be a problem.

                      I acknowledge there are employers who discriminate, for lots of reasons, and my personal feeling is that a competitive labor market combined with the profit motive works far better at ending this discrimination then passing laws. Firms which engage in large scale discrimination in the workforce reduce their productivity relative to firms that don’t discriminate. It’s my belief that this market incentive is a better tool at reducing discrimination then laws are.

                      There are a few precursors missing that torpedo free market answers. We do not have open information of salaries or completely free movement between companies. I’d love for the market to fix this inequality, but I just don’t think the conditions are there.

                      As an aside, there are costs imposed when you pass those types of laws, there is an argument that those costs are justified, but those laws do have costs.

                      Agreed.

            • You’re equivocating. Choosing do something that has a .1% chance of causing pregnancy is not the same thing as choosing to become pregnant.

              • You have just made the argument against passing Voter ID laws. The problem is not widespread, and the cost could outweigh the benefits. Thanks. Glad something came out of this discussion.

  7. Shame on those we count on to lead the way. Gossip, slander, and demeaning one another via the news media is a “way of life” in America. Yes, we are falling into the gutter.

  8. Queen’s Hospital, Honolulu, Hawaii: just six years after BHO was born there my little girl was born there. I don’t know if anyone’s asked for her birth certificate yet.

  9. I agree with your position, Jack. Real men need to resist taking those kinds of cheap shots. Real men also shouldn’t contribute to the problem by offering on-line souvenir coffee cups imprinted with a birth certificate, either. What happened to all the adults?

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