Move over John Derbyshire. Make room for National Review Online columnist Kevin D. Williamson, the latest conservative to astound those of us who naively thought there was little the right-wing could do anymore that would leave us staring in open-mouthed disbelief. Sure, Republican Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin did as much this week, holding forth on the magic of female biology regarding “legitimate rape.” Not to be outdone, Rep. Steve King (R, IA-5) astounded us twice; once when he backed up Akin’s take on pregnancy and rape, and again when he schooled the public on multicultural groups.
But not even Akin or King hold a candle to Williamson. Sexism? Racism? Puh-leeze. Willamson combines both, and tops things off with another “ism,” for a post that would be brilliant if only it were satire. But it’s not. He means it, and he’s probably just saying what a lot of conservatives are thinking.
Akin merely “misspoke” by trotting out the same sexist claptrap that conservatives have been serving up for years. The only surprise (for some people, at least) was that Akin’s views are so far within the conservative mainstream, that he’s had no lack of defenders. King, whose most noteworthy quality has been his ability to make Michelle Bachmann sound coherent by comparison, managed cover sexism and racism in the same week.
Meh. Amateur hour. Enter Williamson.
Let’s just be honest, with a right-wing guy begins by asking “What do women want?”, he’s not really asking. He’s certainly not asking women. He’s not even asking conservative women. (Even a quick word with Kathleen Parker might prove somewhat enlightening here.) The male conservative only asking the question because he already has the answer, and he’s going to tell you the answer — because somebody has to.
Williamson lets his inner caveman grunt, and goes on to give new meaning to the term “paleoconservative.” Men, he says, select mates based on fertility. Women, naturally, select for status; that is, the little ladies look for guys with enough means to take care of them.
You want off-the-charts status? Check out the curriculum vitae of one Willard M. Romney: $200 million in the bank (and a hell of a lot more if he didn’t give so much away), apex alpha executive, CEO, chairman of the board, governor, bishop, boss of everything he’s ever touched. Son of the same, father of more. It is a curious scientific fact (explained in evolutionary biology by the Trivers-Willard hypothesis — Willard, notice) that high-status animals tend to have more male offspring than female offspring, which holds true across many species, from red deer to mink to Homo sap. The offspring of rich families are statistically biased in favor of sons — the children of the general population are 51 percent male and 49 percent female, but the children of the Forbes billionaire list are 60 percent male. Have a gander at that Romney family picture: five sons, zero daughters. Romney has 18 grandchildren, and they exceed a 2:1 ratio of grandsons to granddaughters (13:5). When they go to church at their summer-vacation home, the Romney clan makes up a third of the congregation. He is basically a tribal chieftain.
Professor Obama? Two daughters. May as well give the guy a cardigan. And fallopian tubes.
Where to begin? It sounds like something a progressive would write as a parody of guys just like Williamson.
You know why Mitt Romney’s awesome? Check out his stats: he has so much money he gives it away and when he touches things he rules them. He has kids. They’re boys. All of them. Science says that means he’s awesome. So does money. Rich people are mostly men. See that picture? No daughters. Barely any granddaughters either. When he goes to church he goes to church. He gets all up in that house.
Obama? All daughters. Mister Rogers was a pussy.
Except the parody is funnier, because it’s obviously a joke. You get the sense that Williamson really means this. It has all the characteristics of the typical rant delivered by a white Republican guy who just can’t stand it anymore, and is going to tell-it-like-it-is whether you want to hear it or not, because somebody has to. Conservatives are usually called “courageous” for spouting this kind of stuff nowadays.
There’s the obvious sexism. One wonders why Williamson doesn’t suggest that Obama’s cardigan and fallopian tubes be delivered buy former president George W. Bush, who — flight suit and codpiece notwithstanding — spawned two daughters (twins!) in one shot. I mean even compared to Obama, Dubya’s practically a woman.
And that, in Williamson’s universe seems to be about the worst thing one can be. You’d be forgiven if you got the sense that Williamson thinks girls (daughters, in particular) are worthless. You might even be relieved that he didn’t suggest that baby girls could be left on a hillside to die of exposure (or whatever fate befell them), to clear the way for more potential sons. In fairness, I don’t believe Williamson thinks that daughters specifically, and women in general, are worthless. Of course, they have value. After all, they are potential vessels for future sons.
(While we’re on the subject, when a candidate’s reproductive capabilities become a qualification for the oval office? So what if Mitt Romney has many sons? We make people famous for reproducing these days, but that doesn’t mean we make them president. Not yet, anyway. Give the Romneys a reality show and let’s be done with it.)
If that wasn’t enough, Willamson had to bring Jay-Z into it, just to prove his conservative cred by playing the race card. (Apparently, white, male conservatives are the only people allowed to play that card these days.)
Some Occupy Wall Street types, believing it to be the height of wit, have begun to spell Romney’s name “Rmoney.” But Romney can do better than that — put it in all caps: R-MONEY. Jay-Z can keep his puny little lowercase letters and the Maybach: R-MONEY doesn’t own a flashy car with rims, R-MONEY does billion-dollar deals with Keystone Automotive and Delphi. You want to make it rain? R-MONEY is going to make it storm, like biblical. Rappers boast about their fat stacks: R-MONEY’s fat stacks live in a beachfront house of their own in the Hamptons, and the bricks in that house are made from tightly bound hundred-dollar bills. You have a ton of money? R-MONEY has 200 metric tons of money if he decides to keep it in cash.
At this point, you’re probably just glad he didn’t start rapping. Nothing good comes of that. Not even that “Anglo-Saxon heritage” can change that.
What stands out here isn’t just the sexism. Women, even successful women like DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman, have little value beyond their fecundity, and their potential as vessels to give birth to more sons. (You know? The offspring that really matter.) It isn’t even the racism, which is mild compared to what we’ve heard from conservatives since 2008.
Williamson nearly proves himself even more of a one-percent supremacist than Romney.
Just as Romney and his fellow conservatives are in utter denial about the impact of the Israeli occupation on the Palestinian economy, and the impact of countless U.S. interventions in the governments and economies of Latin American nations, so they also deny the impact of policies that favor the wealthy over the working-class — and wealth over work itself — on the America’s economy and its people. As Cenk Uygur writes, that’s because to Romney and Republicans “we’re all Palestinians.”
What he leaves unsaid is what is obvious in his mind, “The richer guy is obviously the better guy.”
The fact that Mitt might have had some advantages being the son of multi-millionaire governor and Israel might have had some advantages in getting $3 billion a year from the US and having a sovereign country is irrelevant to Romney. Richer equals better. Period. Who cares what the circumstances are? Mitt’s always about the bottom line.
Romney’s deeply offensive comments about the Palestinians probably won’t hurt him in the election at all. There is no group in America you can insult with more impunity than Palestinians and Arabs. That doesn’t hurt your electoral chances, it might even help. But what does hurt is the overwhelming sense you get from Romney that he is looking down his nose at you. This son of a bitch actually thinks he’s better than the rest of us because he was born to a mega-rich dad, figured out how to cheat the system at Bain and hid away so much of his money abroad (tax avoidance was an enormous contributor to his fortune – do you have any idea how much more you save up if you pay 10% in taxes a year rather than 35%). Now, that doesn’t sit so well.
Who wants to have a beer with a guy who thinks he’d rather be having a Chardonnay with one of his equals? To Mitt, we’re all Palestinians.
Instead, conservatives conveniently dismiss or disregard the impact of decades of their conservative policies.
… Democracy hasn’t done away with the “divine right of kings.” It has been manipulated by a wealthy elite, now empowered by the Supreme Court to manipulate our democracy to an unprecedented degree. “Providence” has provided us with a new ruling class. The conservative worldview, as defined by George Lakoff in Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, holds that the wealthy are our moral superiors.
Competition is necessary for a moral world; without it, people would not have to develop discipline and so would not become moral beings. Worldly success is an indicator of sufficient moral strength; lack of success suggests lack of sufficient discipline. Dependency is immoral. The undisciplined will be weak and poor, and deservedly so.
Strict Father Morality demonstrates a natural Moral Order: Those who are moral should be in power.
And our moral superiors already have insufficient influence over our government, according to one Romney backer.
From there, it’s easy to make the leap to a budget that obliterates the social safety net, and a regressive tax plan that, raises taxes on the working poor and the middle-class, won’t grow the economy but will increase the deficit, all to give millionaires another tax cut.
Mitt Romney’s policies show that he’s an “extremist for the privileged.”
Sure, Williamson might start out on shaky ground for a conservative, by suggesting that Romney is superior to Obama in the evolutionary sense. But the inherent Social Darwinism that informs his rant makes it OK.