Pam’s already posted on John Derbyshire’s comments about repealing women’s suffrage, but I just have a couple of thoughts I have to add. This is far from the first time that a conservative pundit has groused in public about women’s suffrage. The most famous recent-ish incident was Ann Coulter making the same suggestion. Someone should do a one page website and just keep track of all the times this meme surfaces in the mainstream media, as a reminder of how this sort of right wing extremism has a toehold in the mainstream, as a way to shame mainstream outlets that give these morons airtime. Though I suppose it’s worth pointing out that Alan Colmes was the interviewer when Derbyshire spouted off about this, and he seems to have set out to expose Derbyshire as an extreme misogynist. Which makes me wonder if he followed up by asking Derbyshire about his opinions on the prongability of young teenagers.
But The Derb wasn’t actually spouting off, to be perfectly fair. The subject didn’t just come up by accident at all. Colmes asked the question, because Derbyshire’s new book has an entire chapter making the case against female suffrage. With that information in mind, you’d think that Derbyshire might, when asked about it, have some kind of case against women’s suffrage. But he doesn’t, it appears. His “argument” is that a) women didn’t used to have the vote and b) anyway, they vote for Democrats. I’m not entirely sure how he got an entire chapter out of that, because when pressed on point #1, he seemed not to have even given a moment’s consideration to the fact that “that’s how we used to do it” isn’t much of an argument at all, since it would mean we still have slavery but don’t have penicillin.
But the real argument, if you can call it an argument, against women’s suffrage is that a majority of women don’t vote the way that The Derb wants them to. In fact, this is always the argument that anti-suffragists (can you believe we still have them in 2009?) lean on. Which demonstrates that while they’re implying that women are stupid, it’s the anti-suffragists who couldn’t find their own asses with both hands and a map. If you think you can just repeal half the population’s right to vote because you don’t like the outcome, then why even bother with democracy in the first place? Why give the voters two choice or more, if there’s only one right and acceptable choice for everyone? Why not just do what they used to do in Iraq and pass out ballots with one choice, resulting in miraculous elections where Saddam Hussein got 100% of the vote?
That’s why I suspect they aren’t even being serious so much as using this issue as a way to stir up hatred and resentment against women for being uppity and voting for who they want, instead of who they’re told to vote for. The Republicans get a lot of dividends off sowing resentment against disobedient, independent women, from the abortion issue to the constant titillating stories about sexual women on “The O’Reilly Factor” to the scapegoating of prominent women like Hillary Clinton.