Pity the politician caught on tape, hopscotching thoughts into an illogical babble.
Catherine Hanaway’s moment came at a conference last weekend in St. Louis. Her performance was a doozy.
Hanaway took aim at what she termed the liberal framework that values sexual permissiveness as evidenced by out-of-wedlock births. Then Hanaway claimed that it leads to acceptance of all “sexual preferences,” including pedophilia and child pornography.
I kid you not. This came from the woman who wishes to be Missouri’s next governor.
Hanaway began with a common conservative discourse about unmarried mothers. It is a line that conveniently misses the fact that in more than half of such births, the father is a cohabiting part of the family. But why quibble. Where she went rogue was the reach to child pornography as an offshoot of such unmarried sexuality.
This is the crazy that people reserve for friends. Hanaway spoke ideas that she felt would reverberate at the conservative event.
It isn’t that more liberal-minded people disdain marriage or dismiss correlations between out-of-wedlock births and higher rates of poverty. But they flinch at politicians who belittle single, working mothers while at the same time cutting funding for the very things that have been proved to stabilize families.
Education lifts women out of poverty and toward healthier relationships. Not preaching from a podium about morality, birthin’ babies and wedded love.
By Wednesday, snippets of Hanaway’s address showed up in an email blast for Democrat donations. The chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party labeled Hanaway as “nothing but another Todd Akin Republican.” Recall that Akin famously professed the unscientific view that a woman who has been raped can magically avoid pregnancy because her body will shut down conception.
As a former U.S. attorney, Hanaway is painfully familiar with horrendous cases of child porn. Surely she knows that Democrats find these criminal acts equally deplorable. Yet she chose to invoke single, working mothers as a battering ram, drawing a convoluted connection from them to disgusting crimes against children.
She’s right about one thing. It’s too simplistic to call her views a war on women. Rather, the approach is a far more tortured, often paternalistic and offensive view of women.
And it’s so dismaying to watch an educated woman partake in the foolishness.