Don’t You Dare Place Your Marriage Above Your Politics
Place your wife in a station above all other women at your own peril
Last week, the Washington Post published a profile on Vice President Pence’s wife, Karen.
As WaPo reported, Mrs. Pence “never weighs in on or attempts to influence policy” nor does she wish to speak on her husband’s behalf. Though if you’d like to learn more about her work in art therapy, she’ll gladly speak about her passions there.
The WaPo profile paints the Second Lady as a quiet, but solid support to her husband and the job he seems to take quite seriously. So naturally, the political media and beltway elites cranked up their outraged machines and pointed the crosshairs at a reference to a 2002 quote (actual quote was excluded from the WaPo article) in The Hill, which discussed Mike Pence’s “rule” refusing to dine alone with women not his wife. “If there’s alcohol being served and people are being loose, I want to have the best-looking brunette in the room standing next to me,” Pence told The Hill in 2002.
Can you believe that guy, actively working to protect his marriage in a notoriously licentious profession?
Though he’s never been accused of discrimination, beltway elites of all stripes (some whose opinions I generally genuinely appreciate and admire) were blinded to his devotion to his marriage and family and decided there was simply no scenario where Pence’s decisions wouldn’t preclude a supremely qualified woman from being his Chief of Staff. Again, there’s ZERO evidence Pence or his views have promoted workplace discrimination. Pence’s staff is comprised of women advisors aplenty, but the supposition that refusing to dine with other women is inherently discriminatory seems enough of an argument for some.
Case in point:
Do Pence’s rules to avoid temptation to commit adultery trammel women’s rights? | Opinion https://t.co/z4m8jzV7GG pic.twitter.com/DuzXG220Ct
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) April 4, 2017
The Atlantic dug in further and learned Pence routinely turned down cocktail invites from men just as frequently, but that doesn’t make sexy outrage bait.
The Hill article gives more context on how the Pences were thinking about this, at least back in 2002. Pence told the paper he often refused dinner or cocktail invitations from male colleagues, too: “It’s about building a zone around your marriage,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a predatory town, but I think you can inadvertently send the wrong message by being in [certain] situations.”
The 2002 article notes that Pence arrived in Congress a half decade after the 1994 “Republican revolution,” when Newt Gingrich was the speaker of the House. Several congressional marriages, including Gingrich’s, encountered difficulty that year. Pence seemed wary of this. “I’ve lost more elections than I’ve won,” he said. “I’ve seen friends lose their families. I’d rather lose an election.” He even said he gets fingers wagged in his face by concerned Indianans. “Little old ladies come and say, ‘Honey, whatever you need to do, keep your family together,’” he told The Hill.
There’s no room for traditional family values in progressive culture where putting a woman’s self-interested career aspirations in front of the sanctity of marriage and family is an acceptable and preferable trade-off. And that’s really the argument here — “Don’t you realize a woman might want to be his Chief of Staff and how can they do that if he won’t drink with them alone?!”
Avoiding alone time with other women isn’t solely religiously rooted as many have argued, it’s simply wisdom. If Pence is never alone with another woman, he can’t be accused of anything improper. Any political consultant worth their salt would advise as much.
Damon Linker, Senior Correspondent at The Week highlighted the obvious double standard of those decrying Pence’s desire to be cautious about female company, likening his decision to academic rules requiring professors to leave their doors open when meeting with students:
“I don’t buy that it’s because of a grand injustice to women. He could meet with a woman at the office with coworkers around. Why isn’t that an acceptable accommodation? Like how when I teach college, I’m told not to shut my office door with a student. Isn’t that the same kind of double standard? Yet there’s no outrage. It’s seen as a prudent measure to protect young women and male profs.”
Also participating in the selfish argument party was the suggestion that the Pences have all kinds of “rules” that prevent the missus from enjoying the freedom modern women ought to enjoy. As is the case with many married couples in circumstances unfavorable to a successful marriage, agreeing to avoid potentially problematic circumstances is no hard and fast “rule” it’s a decision both parties make together for the betterment and preservation of their union.
Critics have piled on Mr. Pence without bothering to ask Mrs. Pence what she thinks or how she feels about their marital decisions. From the Christian vantage point (and the Pences are devout), they sure do seem to have this figured out — he protects their marriage (and her), makes her his ultimate priority, and lifts her up. Meanwhile, she serves as his “his gut check and shield”. Theirs is an unusual, caring and equitable model in a self-centric microcosm.
With the Anthony Weiners, Bill Clintons, Ted Kennedys, with the influx of sexual assault awareness campaigns, and far too many horrific stories of campus sexual assault, the Pences should be lauded for their devotion to one another and to fidelity. Not to mention their dedication to practices that ensure women he interacts with, not just his wife, find themselves in a safe place above reproach.
But such normalcy is intolerable, it seems.
The lesson here is simple: You are free to give women preferential treatment, to ensure their career success, so long as those women are not your wife.
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Damon Linker’s tweets on this were incredibly good; he examined why this simple and seemingly uncontroversial statement was in fact a threat to liberal’s entire belief system, and so emotionally they had to respond with outrage.
Yaaaaannnnnt! Why should they be happy instead of like us. smh
I do admire the guy. His priorities are straight and set in concrete. An example that others should follow.
From our hunting safety course to the kids:
Its not what you do when others are watching, but what you do when no one is looking.
That’s the definition of Character: How you act when you know no one is watching.
I know a whole population of very successful businessmen…and women…who follow the exact practice.
It’s a LOT more common than people think, and it just makes sense. It isn’t at all difficult or awkward to live, either.
I’ve been following that rule since the 90s when “sexual harassment” and “hostile environment” became the subject of corporate training sessions. And those sessions were recommending it and still do.
I know a few pastors who have the same policy. They absolutely will not counsel a female member of their congregation without their wives present. Being alone with an emotional woman can lead to ‘drama’ even when nothing untoward happens.
I know of a Pastor who got in trouble because of that kind of “Drama” going on behind closed doors. In fact, he was so unlucky that he somehow managed to run into that kind of behind closed doors “drama” 8 times in 8 months, with 8 different women. But he swore none of it was his “fault”, it was the women who made him do it. (seriously, he did)
Yeah, he got let go because of his “bad luck”.
its self preservation both politically and financially.
Just a year or two ago there was a gossip scandal about a couple of Representatives who were said to be having an affair. No proof was ever offered publicly, and the female Rep. lost her seat in the following election. Even though the truth of this story was never established, it caused, I am sure, a lot of pain in two households. I think Washington is a town where rumors and gossip run wild.
The idea that one can’t be a chief of staff unless one-on-one dinners with alcohol occur is preposterous.
For either sex, the rule that lunch is work and dinner is a date is a sensible one.
“Don’t You Dare Care Place Your Marriage Above Politics”?!
Huh?! “You Dare Care Place”…….? Doesn’t make sense.
The point of the article is sound. And, as the above commenters state, it is both wise and prudent as a DC political figure.
It is just another faux outrage to attempt to sling mud to see what sticks, plus smear the man’s name, period.
There is a very ugly subculture in Washington, DC, that exists right alongside more normal people. Women throw themselves at members of both Houses of Congress, and some of the men think they have found the Happy Hunting Ground.
What you are seeing are the the adulterers giving one another cover, nothing else.
Seriously: enjoy life – ignore the msm. All of it: fake news, tv, movies, books, magazines, music, etc.
Plenty other things to do.
There’s nothing wrong with how Pence orders his private life, however, if one-on-one-meetings involve work, then Pence must have a gender-neutral rule.
Why must he? He’s the same person at work, subject to the same temptations, and what happens at work doesn’t stay at work. But it would be stupid to hobble himself by applying the same rule to men, just so the women don’t feel left out. Those precautions simply aren’t necessary with men.
If one employee is severely immunocompromised, so that people who meet with him must wear masks, does that mean everyone in the office must be masked at all meetings, whether the sufferer is there or not?! No, everyone understands that you wear masks when the risk exists and not when it doesn’t. This is exactly the same. Since Pence presumably knows himself not to be attracted to men, he has no need to take the same precautions with them that he does with women, and it’s stupid to suggest that he should.
Yes, this does put women in his office at a disadvantage; so what? What makes that wrong? It’s an unavoidable result of accepting reality. The immunocompromised fellow is also at a disadvantage, because people don’t invite him to meetings without thinking twice whether he really needs to be there; that’s just common sense. So is the employee who’s at home on bed rest and therefore must telecommute; again, that’s just reality.
Milhouse: Yes, this does put women in his office at a disadvantage; so what?
It only matters if you think women deserve equal treatment in the workplace.
This is the problem with lefties: they completely ignore basic facts of life, morality, and individual freedom. As Milhouse has taken the time to painstakingly explain, you simply can’t grasp the fact that “equality” is impossible. I would add that it’s not even desirable.
Think about it: you insist that Mike Pence should a.) have dinners with female employees, colleagues, etc. despite his personal feelings on the matter and the agreement he’s made with his wife, b.) cease having dinners with females and males in the name of equality, or c.) force himself to be as sexually attracted to and tempted by males as he is by females. This latter one is the best, right? How better to provide “equal treatment” than to feel tempted by one’s own gender when one is heterosexual?
Work lunches, drinks, dinners are commonplace, and there’s a solid argument to be made that more gets done at these meetings than at the workplace. How does forcing someone who has no wish to jeopardize his marriage or his own moral compass to do things he is not comfortable doing become “equal treatment”? Do we find something he’s not comfortable doing with males and force him to do that, too? You know, for the sake of fairness?
Absurdity through and through.
Fuzzy Slippers: As Milhouse has taken the time to painstakingly explain, you simply can’t grasp the fact that “equality” is impossible.
While perfect equality is unattainable, reasonably equality of workplace opportunity is not only attainable, but mandated by law.
Fuzzy Slippers: Think about it: you insist that Mike Pence should a.) have dinners with female employees, colleagues, etc. despite his personal feelings on the matter and the agreement he’s made with his wife, b.) cease having dinners with females and males in the name of equality, or c.) force himself to be as sexually attracted to and tempted by males as he is by females.
If Pence conducts one-on-one business meetings, then he should have a gender-neutral rule. That is hardly a significant burden. He should not offer opportunities to men that women are denied. The greater his power and responsibility, the greater importance access becomes. The simplest solution is to simply not have one-on-one meetings.
It is nice to see someone bring back an avoidance to the appearance of impropriety. And judging how the twitter fueled rumor mill and sound bite factory works in DC, it is sage advice from Pence.
Good on him!
I think most married men who care about their marriage wouldn’t go out for drinks alone with a woman. I know I don’t. I can easily see myself having a few drinks and getting into a bad situation. I know I’m weak. I think most married woman wouldn’t want to go out alone with the boss.