About a month ago, Nevada Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey (R) was unexpectedly candid on a conservative radio talk show, boasting that his party was likely to fare well in 2014, not because Republicans have better candidates and ideas, but because “a lot of “minorities” and “a lot of younger people” are less likely to “turn out in a non-presidential year.”
Making matters slightly worse, we learned last week that Nevada Assemblyman Jim Wheeler (R) told his constituents that he was so devoted to reflecting their wishes in the state legislature that if locals endorsed slavery, he would grudgingly go along.
Anything else Nevada Republicans can do to offend the mainstream? As it turns out, yes.
Jon Ralston reported late last week on a discussion on a local radio show, featuring several leaders of the Washoe County Republican Party. As part of the conversation, conservative publisher Len Semas noted trends on women “getting more degrees these days,” before arguing:
“There is a cultural issue. I’m of the opinion that many of – and I need to be careful how I phrase this – there are a lot of social conditions, a lot of social changes, that have occurred in the last 50 years and they parallel women leaving their home occupations as mothers and homemakers and entering the workforce…. While I don’t deny anybody’s rights to pursue their dreams regardless of their sex … the reality is there is a special role that women take on, biologically, as the bearers of children and the nurturers of children. I don’t know that we haven’t created problems in society by ignoring that important role. ADD and various learning disabilities, hyperactive kids, kids building bombs in their garage.”
Given that this is the 21st century, and we don’t often hear Americans criticize women in the workplace, Ralston expected one of the Republican county officials to express some disagreement with the argument.
That didn’t happen. Ralston heard Sean Barnhill, a Washoe GOP intern; lament the “moral decline” and how “the career seems to be more important” to women who “throw a child in day care.”
When County GOP Chairman Tom Taber asked, “Does it matter whether the mom is at home or the dad is at home?” the Republican panel replied, “It does!”
Republican officials often wonder why the gender gap is a persistent and growing problem. They really shouldn’t.