Traditional Tim Pawlenty Forgets His Minnesota History

“It’s certainly a social and cultural, and moral issue, but it also has practical effects. I think obviously a man and a woman together are the traditional family. That’s how children are born and raised – traditionally.”
Tim Pawlenty responding to a question by Candy Crowley on CNN State of the Union, July 24, 2011

Hmmm … so how did the “traditional family” fare during Tim Pawlenty’s tenure … “how children are born and raised

According to State of Minnesota Department of Health reporting, in 2009 33.5% of births were by unmarried women in 2009 which was up from 2003 (Governor Pawlenty’s first year in office) when it was 27.7%. In fact, while the data indicates that total births were not significantly different; the number of unmarried women giving birth went up 22.1% while births of married women went down more than 7%.

It’s not just in Minnesota … the 2010 Census reveals that married couples represent 48 percent of all households.

Mr. Pawlenty made this statement on the day that New York revised its laws to actually encourage more marriages … albeit of the same sex … and according to news reports many children watched as their “parents” finally were recognized by the State of New York.

Mr. Pawlenty addressed “domestic relationships” …
“I think we have a longstanding practice – it’s social, it’s legal, it’s cultural… that says a man and a woman are joined together for obvious reasons: in relationship, in marriage, in procreation; in raising children, in their function in society. And I’m not at the point, nor will I ever be at the point, where I’m going to say – you know what – that’s not really special or any different than any other domestic relationships we can imagine or assemble. I don’t buy that at all.”

Mr. Pawlenty did not make this Minnesotan proud
… instead it re-enforced a concern about Governor Pawlenty
… his failure to promote women in leadership positions in his Administration
… Governor Pawlenty maintain a “traditional” male-dominated Cabinet and although his Governorship went through a number of Chiefs of Staff — none were a woman. Although Pawlenty’s predecessor, Governor Ventura’s Chief of Staff was not a woman … he was a gay man … previously, Arne Carlson had a number of high profile women such as Tanja Manrique as General Counsel and Deputy Chief of staff and Cyndy Brucato as Press Secretary and Deputy Chief-of-Staff.

Mr. Pawlenty seems to be embroiled in a little tiff with another Minnesotan running for President, Michele Bachmann … and the suggestions that Ms. Bachmann may not be able to perform the job due to migraines hits me as a backhanded sexist slam since women are more prone to having migraines. As Judith Warner observed in an OpEd that a picture is being painted of the “enormous stigma attached to mental health problems, and migraines, with their association with depression and anxiety, their well-known link to stress and their history of being dismissed as a disease of neurotic women
… more-or-less pushing women into the “traditional” role as Mom and nothing else.

Of course, Mr. Pawlenty does not describe his own wife that way … instead “I’m very thankful for my red-hot smoking wife”.

Mr. Pawlenty has changed a lot over the years … but this backwards slide to become a “traditionalist” may garner him some support in Iowa where same-sex marriage is legal but also an issue dominated in terms of loud and polarizing debate. Mr. Pawlenty should read the February 2011 Iowa Poll with these key findings
– 35 percent would vote in favor of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, while 38 percent would vote against the measure.
– Asked whether they favored or opposed the recent Iowa Supreme Court decision that allowed gay and lesbian couples to marry in Iowa, 30 percent told the Iowa Poll they just don’t care much one way or the other.

Mr. Pawlenty may be clinging to “traditional family” while the number of unmarried births on the rise and same-sex couples uniting as families is becoming more and more commonplace.
People are concerned about JOBS and the ability to provide for their families … regardless of the format … and Mr. Pawlenty’s economic plan is based on wishful pipedreams.

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