Republican Strategist Defends the Indefensible

Cheri Jacobus, a Republican strategist, went on CNN and tried to do the impossible: defend Jeb Bush for saying that single mothers should have shame heaped upon them to discourage them. It’s an indefensible statement, but she gave it a valiant try.

On Wednesday, Jacobus said that the likely candidate was making an effort to save taxpayer money.

“His heart was in the right place,” she insisted. “He’s talking about solving the problem of unwed motherhood, children being born into these families. Our latest census data shows us that of the bottom fifth of earners in this country, 83 percent are comprised of single-parent households, unwed mothers. You have children being born and raised into poverty.”…

CNN host Carol Costello pointed out that, as governor of Florida, Bush had not vetoed a law that forced single mothers who were putting their babies up for adoption to post their full names, physical descriptions and the names of their sexual partners in the newspaper.

“I don’t think you should be calling it public shaming,” Jacobus declared.

“To write about who you had sex with? And make it public?” Costello replied, shaking her head.

“You’ve got to support the effort,” Jacobus replied. “Was it an inelegant way to do it? Yes, but the effort and the feeling and the impetus behind it is correct. Did they get it right? Absolutely not. But it was not meant to shame the parent, the mother.”…

“They’re trying to at least let the father’s family have some say in that,” Jacobus continued. “That was the effort. It was not designed to shame the mother. If that was the result, that’s why it didn’t work.”

“The intent behind it was definitely to help the child, putting the child first. And I think it’s hard to not support that.”

I doubt she believes any of this, but she had a job to do. It’s like being a White House press secretary — your job is to lie and to say incredibly dumb things that everyone knows are not true with total confidence.

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  • sigurd jorsalfar

    “I don’t think you should be calling it public shaming,” Jacobus declared.

    “To write about who you had sex with? And make it public?” Costello replied, shaking her head.

    She might well believe every word of it. She’s a republican.

    We shouldn’t call it public shaming, even though that’s precisely what it is — as is given away by her complaint about writing about who you had sex with. It’s only ever permitted to write about who Bill Clinton had sex with.

  • D. C. Sessions

    So what she’s saying is that JEB isn’t malicious, he’s just stupid and not up to the job of being Governor over 20 million people.

  • garnetstar

    I didn’t quite understand: the single mothers were supposed to post physical descriptions of themselves, along with the other data? Why? It sounds like they’re being made to advertise their services.

    Yes, that’s quite the requirement, and “inelegant” isn’t the word that comes to mind.

  • dhall

    No problem to solve with unwed fatherhood though . . .

  • raven

    His heart was in the right place,” she insisted. “He’s talking about solving the problem of unwed motherhood, children being born into these families.

    1. This can be and often is a serious problem. Children born to teenage mothers are statistically likely to grow up in life long poverty.

    2. But the solution isn’t to make them wear a Scarlet A. That isn’t fixing a problem It’s punishment added to what is already an unfavorable situation.

    3. We’ve known how to fix this problem for about forever. Comprehensive sex ed including values clarification. Wide availability of birth control at low or no cost. Good childhood educations and pathways to economic success.

    In locations with these in place, the teenage pregnancy rate is much lower, as much as 5/6 lower in, for example, the Netherlands.

    4. So how did Jeb’s public shaming work? Not at all, failed. IIRC, it was abandoned. It probably wasn’t even legal and certainly not enforceable.

    I imagine there were a huge number of virgin births in Florida while that law was in effect. As well as many women who listed the father’s name as….Jeb Bush. Even if you tortured these women, there is no easy way to verify their answers short of widespread DNA testing, which isn’t too practical anyway.

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    I read a blog that defended Jeb by saying that he didn’t use those exact words. The implication was very, very clear from what he did write, but because he didn’t explicitly say that single mothers should be shamed, we’re all misquoting him and it’s all a liberal media plot…

  • raven

    FWIW, i have friends who work for Child Protective Services.

    One of their jobs is to identify and chase down the fathers to get child support, a legal requirement.

    1. What they often find is the father: Is in prison. Is a convicted child molester (some of these young mothers are still children themselves). Has no education and borderline retarded. Is a drug abuser living in a car. Is a member of some weird dysfunctional religious cult like the Mormon polygamists. Is unemployed. And so on.

    2. For the good of the mother and child they usually lose or forget the identification.

  • raven

    An important point.

    Jeb Bush is no brighter or better than his idiot brother. He’s got a long history of saying and doing stupid things.

    We don’t need another Let’s Weck the Country Part 2 again.

  • John Pieret

    raven:

    So how did Jeb’s public shaming work? Not at all, failed. IIRC, it was abandoned. It probably wasn’t even legal and certainly not enforceable.

    Florida state courts declared it unconstitutional and, in a perfect example of the Law of Unintended Consequences, after the “family values” party enacted it but before it was struck down, abortions shot up in Florida,

  • http://nwrickert.wordpress.com/ Neil Rickert

    Isn’t this the core of the culture wars?

    In the 1960’s, it started to become respectable for a single woman to be a mother. And conservatism has been angry about this ever since.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    All this to help them, and yet the sluts and other Undeserving Poor still won’t vote Republican. Even the poor whites only hold on to get a glimpse of watching their neighbor suffer.

  • John Pieret

    Neil:

    It certainly seems to be at the very core and that has been slipping out more and more as the religious right senses that they are losing those wars. Several religious right groups have been talking lately about the “real” cause of the “decline” in American “morals” being due to access to contraception, even suggesting that it be banned. It has really been about controlling the sexual activity of other people, particularly women, all along. Abortion, gay sex, gay marriage, transgenderism, etc. are all just icing on the cake of the religious rights’ grievance that it has lost the ability to control other peoples’ sexuality.

  • Pen

    Maybe we should heap shame on anyone who tries to restrict sex education or access to contraception. After all, they carry a huge part of the responsibility. So, what’s Jeb Bush going to be doing about that?

  • colnago80

    One only has to recall the brouhaha the religious right made over the episode in the TV Situation Comedy Murphy Brown where the protagonist, played by Candace Bergen, has a child out of wedlock. Even the sitting Vice-President Dan Quayle got into the act.

  • Lady Mondegreen

    One only has to recall the brouhaha the religious right made over the episode in the TV Situation Comedy Murphy Brown where the protagonist, played by Candace Bergen, has a child out of wedlock. Even the sitting Vice-President Dan Quayle got into the act.

    Thanks for reminding me, colnago80! I, an Olde Person, was just sitting here thinking, “where have I heard this before?

    In the 1990s, of course. Murphy Brown. William Bennett’s bestseller, The Book of Virtues.. I recall the notion that single mothers should be shamed being bandied about back then, too. Along with attempts to revive Victorian morality (I am not kidding) and a bestseller called, IIRC, A Return to Modesty.

  • daved

    Ah, yes, Bill Bennett, exemplar of morality and heavy loser (millions of dollars) at the gambling tables. An exemplar for our times.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    I had a really weird conversation with a republican about this, once. His position, as he framed it, was that he didn’t want his tax money going to support some single mom with 6 kids by 6 different fathers, who’d never worked a day in her life and had done nothing to earn it. So then I asked him what he planned to do with his money when he died, and he said he hoped to make enough to leave a good start for his kids. And then I asked him “you mean your kids, who’ve never worked a day in their lives and have done nothing to earn it?”

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    I recall the notion that single mothers should be shamed being bandied about back then, too

    But not single dads. Single dads are manly men.

  • John Pieret

    Marcus:

    Single dads are manly men.

    Or, at worst, they are just boys being boys, sowing a few wild oats.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    John Pieret, you know how it is, amirite? [High fives all round]

  • moarscienceplz

    One only has to recall the brouhaha the religious right made over the episode in the TV Situation Comedy Murphy Brown where the protagonist, played by Candace Bergen, has a child out of wedlock. Even the sitting Vice-President Dan Quayle got into the act.

    Yep. And even in the case of a mere TV show the wingnuts had no interest in how this happened. Murphy was seriously considering getting back together with her ex-husband. They had sex with a condom, but the condom broke. Murphy had a good job and plenty of money, so she could bring up the baby without needing any sort of financial assistance. Murphy considered an abortion (including the fact that she was an older woman), but decided to have the baby. Obviously, Murphy was just a big ol’ slut, deserving of the self-righteous condemnation of the VPOTUS.

  • colnago80

    IMHO, as odious as this law is, Bush’s behavior during the Terri Schiavo affair was worse. Bush participated in the trashing of Michael Schiavo, which the autopsy of his wife showed to be a pack of lies. Everything that Michael and his supporters said during that disgraceful affair was shown to be true by the results of the autopsy and everything that Bush and the Schindler family, {a pack of grifters if ever there was), said was shown to be bald faced lies. Michael has yet to receive an apology from the former Governor for his antics. The only reason that Bush didn’t send in the Florida National Guard to kidnap Schiavo, as many of the born agains demanded, was because he was well aware that if she died during the kidnapping, he could be charged with 2nd degree homicide.

    What’s most annoying is the failure of the lamestream media to report on this story and give an accounting of Bush’s disgraceful performance. A demonstration of the lameness of the lamestream media.

  • samgardner

    Why are libs so against sex?

  • Holms

    ^ Are you aware that the conservatives are the ones that want to publicise sex lives as a means to discourage motherhood? Of course you are, you’re just a disingenuous shitbag.

  • samgardner

    Holms, you’re right, I am disingenuous. Actually I was just kidding.

    Though I admit I do troll breitbart for amusement.