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Monday, October 25, 2004

The Bush daughters and their dad--not so complicated

This article actually tries to make conservative sense out of the hands-off attitude Bush takes with his own daughters compared to the way that Carter, Clinton, and Kerry seem to be very involved with their children. The strain on the writer, Ann Hulbert, to make sense of this is palpable.

Rosemond comes right out and says that "conservatives believe that where government is concerned, the less, the better. The same applies to the governing of children." By this, he means parents should do less micromanaging and let kids learn from their mistakes—as he presumes they will, pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps.

Hell, then Reagan was the best dad ever, since he couldn't recognize his own child at his high school graduation. Deadbeat dads--the new heroes!

As usual, the media myth that "family values" is actually about family instead of code for the patriarchy befuddles the whole situation. It's very simple why Carter, Clinton, and Kerry are proud to show interest in their children and Bush, etc. are not. It's feminizing to show too much knowledge of your children. The Bush family myth is that he made them, she raised them. Liberals like to see men who actually take a hands-on role in child-rearing. The hands-on, strict parenting image that you get from the Democratic men with regards to their children is visible on the Republican side, if you look to Laura Bush.

Rove has put way too much time and energy into Bush the Man's Man to show him as someone who is overly cuddly with children.

Edited to add: It was brought to my attention that the crack on Reagan sounds like I'm making fun of his Alzheimer's. It wasn't meant that way--when Reagan didn't recognize Michael Reagan at his graduation, it's widely assumed it was because he had put his first son and first wife behind him. I was cracking on his neglient attitude towards his family, which I think is a fair target. Senility isn't a fair target, and to boot, isn't that funny.

6 Comments:

Blogger Lanoire said...

I think you hit it right on the head. This is also partly why, both with THK and Hillary Clinton, we get those snide comments about Kerry and Clinton being "whipped" and there being a "co-presidency." Because they're clearly both partnerships when it comes to their kids.

Also, "hands-off"? This about the man who made that "leash" comment? Bush's method isn't laissez-faire. It's Aloof-but-Autocratic Father to Laura's Involved Mother. My opinion of Kerry rose when I saw his response to Bush's "leash" comment--"I try not to do that," plus a rather shocked look on his face.

Also, Kerry comes across as someone who'd be a good father to a daughter, while I bet Bush would be able to get more publicity mileage out of his kids if they were sons (not that he'd make a better actual father to a son than to a daughter, just that he'd look like a better father). He'd be able to put on a show of man-to-man, father-son bonding quite nicely.

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