Saturday, May 10, 2008


The GOP has long portrayed itself as the party of family values, but has steadfastly opposed such family-friendly legislation as generous parental leave and, most recently, fair pay for women. And uber-Republican Phyllis Schlafly has gone so far as to claim that there is no such thing as rape within marriage. GOP to Mother: you can stay at home and take care of your kids or your sick elderly parents, even if you have to starve. You might work as hard or harder than your male counterparts and be paid less, but don't sue for back pay in cases of discrimination or you will hinder free enterprise. And Mom, if Dad forces himself on you, close your eyes, lie back and think of Barry Goldwater.

The GOP is responsible for the sorry reality that 170 countries have better family leave policies than the United States. But, protesteth the GOP, such matters should be left to the private sector. But the record is grim. Only 8 percent of private employees in America have access to paid leave to care for newborns or other family members.

And now we learn from the Washington Post that the GOP supported--and then opposed--a resolution in support of Mother's Day. (Thanks to BitchPhD for the tip). Perhaps our GOP Solons discovered, at the last moment, that Mother's Day grew from the efforts of abolitionist and activist Julia Ward Howe, whose first "Mother's Day Proclamation" in 1870 was a scathing denunciation of war. Surely it would not soften the hardened hearts of the party of George W. Bush and John 50 or 100 more years in Iraq McCain to hear Ward's timely words:

From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.

So read all about the GOP's latest legislative shenanigans:

On Wednesday afternoon, the House had just voted, 412 to 0, to pass H. Res. 1113, "Celebrating the role of mothers in the United States and supporting the goals and ideals of Mother's Day," when Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), rose in protest.

"Mr. Speaker, I move to reconsider the vote," he announced.

Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), who has two young daughters, moved to table Tiahrt's request, setting up a revote. This time, 178 Republicans cast their votes against mothers.

It has long been the custom to compare a popular piece of legislation to motherhood and apple pie. Evidently, that is no longer the standard. Worse, Republicans are now confronted with a John Kerry-esque predicament: They actually voted for motherhood before they voted against it.

Republicans, unhappy with the Democratic majority, have been using such procedural tactics as this all week to bring the House to a standstill, but the assault on mothers may have gone too far. House Minority Leader John Boehner, asked yesterday to explain why he and 177 of his colleagues switched their votes, answered: "Oh, we just wanted to make sure that everyone was on record in support of Mother's Day."

By voting against it?

Perhaps the GOP's recent vote for and against Mother's Day was a rare act of legislative honesty.