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Rachel Maddow Slams ’60-something Male Pundits’

“I realize a lot of 60-something male pundits look at this issue & think hmmm… bad politics for Democrats on the Catholic side. There’s another way to look at it.” – Rachel Maddow

Who are those “60-something male pundits?” More importantly why do we care what they think?

Mark Shields, E.J. Dionne and Chris Matthews, as I see it, are three of them, but there are many more.

What’s the other way to look at the issue of Pres. Obama’s contraception decision, beyond what the “60-something male pundits” view?

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Americans of all faiths, including Catholics, but also those unaffiliated, agree with Pres. Obama. Then there are the all important independents, which Obama has lost over the last couple of years:

Numerous pundits have predicted that the requirement –and its narrow exemption for churches – will be a political liability for Obama. But where Shields sees “cataclysmic” fallout, the White House sees something quite different: a chance to widen the reproductive health debate beyond abortion to issues like contraceptives, winning over key demographics of independent voters in the process.Why White House sees political opportunity in the contraception battle

It’s a catastrophe say the male pundit class!

Matthews says, it’s not about the number of Catholics who use birth control.

But but but, Mathews say, or the number of non-Catholics who attend Catholic colleges or universities or receive help from Catholic charities.

Matthews say it’s about what the church itself teaches. Mark Shields and E.J. Dionne agree. I’m sure the Catholic bishops are pleased, but all represent a contingent bent on controlling women.

I wonder if any of these men find it ironic that they’re defending dogma that American Catholics by a wide majority completely ignore. All of these men, mind you, don’t have ovaries or the job of planning their life in an environment that is economically challenging.

According to the Matthews-Shields-Dionne contingent, it’s not about the hundreds of thousands of women employees who work in Catholic institutions who would be denied affordable contraception, which is an economic issue for any modern woman, as well as a means to plan her future.

There is another way to look at this issue, but you’d have to look beyond a myopic vision that doesn’t include what’s good for all women, regardless of religion.

We’ve seen throughout our media during this debate why the story on women’s rights and our freedoms is so often left in the dark. They ignore the issue at hand and jump to the fantasy political impact, while screaming about the 20th century traditional views that don’t represent the 21st generation.

Yesterday on “Daily Rundown,” Chuck Todd had E.J. Dionne and another middle-aged man on to talk about this issue. Today he had a terrific panel of women (video below), including the formidable Neera Tanden, making a lot more sense than the 60-something male pundits yesterday. Shira Toeplitz from Roll Call said not even in Pennsylvania, which she covers a lot, will this issue impact over other issues and for the very reason I stated in the previous paragraph. It’s a new generation era. Sara Taylor Fagan, a former Bush administration official, also brought up relevant points.

I’ve done the rundown on what happened on “Morning Joe,” where guests and Scarborough stated Obama would lose the election over this issue, which David Gregory parroted today. Mika Brzezinski did a terrific job this morning herding squirrels, while Tina Brown emphasized that most Catholics agree with Obama.

In new media, Josh Marshall chose to feature a religious conservative reader expressing dissent on the subject of Obama’s free contraceptive care for women. The focus of the email was that the reader claimed to have quit reading the Washington Monthly “because their presentation of religious concerns showed a clear lack of effort to understand the point of view of people who are religious.” Falling into the usual trap of giving religious conservatives a platform to make a women’s health issue about religion is TPM’s choice. It may even be an economic one so as not to lose readers, which I certainly can understand. But when no such threat to religious freedom exists and you choose not to engage the falsehood, you’re not helping women or clarifying the issue. But TPM has never been feminist.

In this discussion we also see yet another chapter in why we still do not have a female president, but also why we still see so few women leaders in our public life. The criteria for what it takes to pass the test is steep. A newcomer first has to kiss all the local establishment men’s rings on religion and women’s right to prove you won’t be too shrill. But we all saw what Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as Rep. DeGette and other so-called members of the “pro choice caucus” were willing to do when push come to shove. The first female Speaker of the House in U.S. history caved to the men in her church to get health care passed.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating here. No matter the religion, that women choose to be dictated spiritually through the inherent misogyny embedded in organized religion, wherever it occurs, and the politics that props up this philosophy remains a real issue for modern women and the relevancy of the church today.

Men like Matthews, Shields and Dionne are representatives of this religious hierarchy because they fuel the Catholic Church’s anti-women agenda. But modern women of all faiths and none are seeing through them, because after all, it’s the 21st century and it’s long past time for women to take back faith and spirituality.

Our traditional media, cable networks and even new media sites are replete with hostility for the basic instruments women need to maintain their financial health and plan their lives. They are led by men and network executives, producers and others who are cowardly and some even unethical, putting profits above women’s health and economic security, or pretending there’s a religious freedom issue to boost ratings and the political pie fight.

Below is a comment I want to share from “roseOred.” People are watching how this subject is being covered and many don’t like who networks are choosing to make an argument against women.

With the exception of Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes, MSNBC has been infuriating me on this topic.

  • They gloss over or ignore the fact that religious universities and hospitals benefit from public money.
  • They ignore the fact that a whole bunch of states all ready require religious universities and hospitals to cover contraception and there was no big uproar over it.
  • They ignore the fact that apparently some of those states require even churches to cover birth control (thank you Rachel Maddow).
  • They ignore the fact that for a lot of women in a lot of areas, just going to a different hospital or finding a job at another hospital/university isn’t easy, realistic, or even possible.
  • There’s no mention of the fact that in this economy it is particularly heinous to vilify contraception given the cost of having and raising children.
  • There’s nobody pointing out the irony that when working class or poor women- especially women of color- have unplanned babies and require government assistance to feed them, conservatives fall all over themselves to blame them and call them a drag on society, welfare queens, etc. (You’d think for that reason alone they’d try to help poor women control their own fertility. Of course then they’d lose that warm feeling they get from feeling superior and demonizing groups of people they know nothing about. And they’d lose the perceived electoral benefits that this kind of posturing gives them.)
  • And nobody (save Melissa Harris-Perry) has mentioned the one thing that would end this whole controversy forever and ever: the adoption by the US of single-payer healthcare or a public option. If we had either one of those things, nobody’s healthcare would get in anybody’s religion and nobody’s religion would get in anybody’s healthcare. Instant fix, everybody happy! Right?

You know what I love? Some middle aged white dude telling me how problematic our lady-needs are for Catholics (98% of whom use contraception) and for the President’s re-election chances (as if there is any indication at this point that the general election will be that competitive, given the profoundly flawed group of Republican candidates and upward economic trends).

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13 Responses to Rachel Maddow Slams ’60-something Male Pundits’

  1. Art Pronin February 8, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    So  true! Sissy Farenthold says we need a Women’s Occupy movement. I bet Obama caves on this- which would cost him votes for Nov-no?

  2. Cujo359 February 8, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    For my part, I’m amazed at how clueless some folks can be, and yet continue to write newspaper columns that are taken seriously by at least a few people.

    Young women are one of the more likely demographic groups to be electively non-voting. If they don’t see much reason to support Obama, then Obama will not have their votes in anywhere near the numbers he did last time. OTOH, crotchety old men are among the most reliable voters, regardless of their politics.

    As someone who is a lot closer to being a man in his 60s than a young woman, even I can see this.

    Obama’s numbers might suffer a bit among Latinos if this contretemps with the bishops continues, but I can’t think of any other group of potential supporters who would be influenced very much. Even Latinos would have to think about their priorities, I would think, given that none of the GOP candidates seems to have an immigration policy that is anything less than dreadful.

    Considering how little any progressive ought to be caring whether he’s re-elected or not, Obama should be doing whatever things like this he can, and sticking with them. My mind won’t be changed by an eleventh-hour conversion, but I suspect a lot of folks’ minds would. If the economy remains flat, or worse yet if Europe blows up its financial system as it seems determined to do, then he’s going to need every vote he can get.

  3. Lake Lady February 8, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

    Do you hear that?……. Listen………………. it’s the sound of one thousand tiny violins responding to the whines of Catholics that want us to care about the opinion of a group of men ( Bishops) who have proven themselves unworthy to give moral leadership to anyone ,so they can continue to believe their childhood myths.

  4. ispice February 8, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    Hi Taylor,

    Thanks for this post. Matthews, Shields, and Dionne are among the pseudo-progressive pundits who went all out to trash Hillary Clinton in 2008. I vividly recall my astonishment at hearing Shields exclaim on the air that Hillary won New Hampshire due to her gender. And Dionne was raving wildly about Obama in the Washington Post – “He turns a campaign rally into a revival meeting.” As if that were something to be proud of. And I don’t need to recount Matthews’ sexist slurs against Hillary.




  5. Cujo359 February 8, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    Forgot to mention:

    And nobody (save Melissa Harris-Perry) has mentioned the one thing that would end this whole controversy forever and ever: the adoption by the US of single-payer healthcare or a public option. If we had either one of those things, nobody’s healthcare would get in anybody’s religion and nobody’s religion would get in anybody’s healthcare. Instant fix, everybody happy! Right?

    Plus, as a friend who does personal injury law keeps telling me, if there was single payer, he and his kind would be out of business. Yet another thing that Republicans could no longer run against. One of the reasons we’re one of the most “litiginous” societies these days is because of the way our health care is financed. Without it, far fewer people would be motivated to go through the ordeal of a trial to get the money they need.

  6. mrpister February 8, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    Tell me, did the McCarthy Era ever end, or just go into  hibernation?  Being a southern/white/male in his extremely late 50′s, I shouldn’t even be reading these articles.  Demographics can be misleading as one’s race/gender/age do not always fit into the puzzles being assembled by the media.  Following Twain’s advice, I never let schooling interfere with my education. 

    And this latest storm is another painful chapter in educating anyone as to how low and stupid the public discourse can get.  I am not Roman Catholic (though my children are) and don’t normally care about one’s religious persuasion.  But this one is rather rich, in that the headlines about what priests were (and some probably still are) doing to young boys in their care.  It could be said that while the Church was so preoccupied with abortion and birth control, they turned a blind (and sometimes helping) eye to sexual abuse of children.

    Never mind that another just-add-water war with Iran is in the stew; that gasoline prices are set to reach crippling levels (again…boy, wish we had a Democrat in the White House); the Master of the Wall St. Universe are bemoaning their fates while dismissing Occupiers as pesky hippies.

    No, we’ll gear up for another cultural war election in which the froth generated will once again hide the rot.  I don’t care about gays in the military (they served when I did decades ago, and with honor), contraception, death panels, or any of the other twists on logic that come from whores of parliment.

    This is one middle-aged male who figures any man who has a mother, sister, daughter, or wife and doesn’t care about women’s value and equal place in our society….is a blithering, uncaring idiot.  Sorry for the rant, but geez louise, such tripe about a simple implementation of an aspect of healthcare is beyond absurd; it’s maddening.

    Elizabeth Warren 2016

  7. dafederalist February 8, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    Hi Taylor,

    I listened to Sean Hannity today….I WAS LIVID….as he tried to make the rationale that the contraception mandate is a “Constitutional”  issue…..BULLSHIT!  The first Amendment prohibits the establishment of any religion and a separation of church and state….what it does not do is give the Catholic church cart-blag to do what they want to do.  If we were to take Sean’s BULLSHIT interpretation of the Constitution then I guess it was OKAY for those priest to Sexually abuse little boys for decades because according to Sean Hannity…Government shouldn’t force…blah blah blah (Thats literally when I stopped listening).

  8. Joyce Arnold February 8, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    I keep wondering how much longer it’s going to take to get beyond this stupidity … But then, I wonder that about racism and heterosexism and on and on ….

  9. secularhumanizinevoluter February 8, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

    It’s simple, if the Catholic Church wants just cater to Catholics and refuse government or public money fine. BUT if they want to suck at the public teat….take one nickel from anyone but Catholics via insurance , medicaid and medicare payments then they need to STF up and follow the laws of this secular nation.
    And some of these fracking moron jabber heads really need to read the fracking constitution.

  10. secularhumanizinevoluter February 8, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    AND if President Obama is STUPID enough to fold on this…he DESERVES to lose.

  11. LiberalJoe February 8, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

    The President and the Democratic Party should be given the political equivalent of a death sentence if they cave in on the birth control issue. Voters should leave the party because the Pres and the Dems would be demonstrating total and complete political malpractice and stupidity if they did.

    I’m Italian -American Catholic and outside of the belief in the Resurection of Christ, their is no more universal social belief by catholics as to the accepatble use of birth control. 98% of catholics believe in it. Only the Dems think that the “faithful” are listening to the priests bishops cardinals and the Pope on the permissible use of birth control. Trust me on this, no one, and I mean no one, is paying attention to them on this issue. I’m in my fifties and both my mother and grandmother used the birth control methods common and available to them. My grandmother had a terrific line about her use of birth control she said-”The Pope may love children, but he doesn’t have to worry about feeding them everyday”.

    This issue is a no brainer for Dems. No exceptions should be made. As usual they are letting a very very small minority have too large a voice to which they are allowing themselves to become paralyzed with fear from doing the right thing. They are pathetic.

    The over 60 catholic white guys are also fundamentally hypocrites because I will bet you anything you want that they used birthcontrol themselves, and if they forgot I bet their wives reminded them about it.

  12. spincitysd February 8, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    As we once said in the Navy, “stand by for heavy rolls.” There is far too much wrong with that 90 second Matthews clip to deal with here. The brain is bubbling, the keyboard is warmed up, the Mac has “Pages” fired up and ready to run. You might want to get your Nomex suit ready Taylor, I’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.

  13. mbolack February 9, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    You know, I’d give just about anything to have a 5 minute public conversation with Rick Santimonius and his holier-than-thou crowd.

    Mr Santimonius,I understand that you object to birth control on religious grounds.  That is your personal religious belief, and I respect your right to have it.  But I don’t have that belief.

    What I *do* believe, on *my* personal religious grounds, is that it is immoral to bear 7 children in this monumentally overcrowded world.  But there is a difference here;  you insist on imposing your beliefs on me, but I would never, ever, try to impose mine on you.

    I will say it again. You want to use the the law to impose your beliefs on me, but I don’t feel the need to use the law to impose mine on you.  So we’re very different, aren’t we?  Which of us is more truly a constitutional American?

    You believe in the concept of personhood, defining a person as everything including a two-cell undifferentiated zygote as a real person.  I don’t believe that.  Am I any less entitled to my beliefs than you are?

    And let me ask you another question: if indeed that microscopic zygote were human, does that mean that you think that every woman who used birth control pills for the last half-century was a murderer almost every month?  That includes the vast majority of Catholic women, too, you know, at sometime in their reproductive lives.  Do you really believe we are all murderers?

    And what about all of the other legitimate uses for The Pill?  I refer to all of those uses that truly impact and improve womens’ health.  Would you also prohibit those, on the off-chance that they might have a side effect that contradicted *your* religious beliefs?

    It seems to me that what you are doing is saying that I have freedom to practice my religion only if it agrees with what you believe!  That is very un-American.  We fought for our independence, to a very large degree, to get away from a King who did exactly what you are trying to do… impose his religious beliefs on everybody.  I am appalled, and more than that I am disgusted that you would call yourself a Republican.  What you want is to be a dictator, not the president of a republic with religious freedom.


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