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Foust's Smear of Comstock, and Motherhood, Was Ignored

Foust's Smear of Comstock, and Motherhood, Was Ignored

By Ashley E. McGuire - October 10, 2014

Arguably the most underreported incident of the 2014 midterm races thus far was John Foust’s sexist smear of his fellow congressional candidate in Virginia’s 10th District, Barbara Comstock.

Back in August, Foust said of his Republican opponent, “I don’t think she’s even had a real job.” 

Let’s pause for a moment and just dwell on this remark.

First of all, if we assume that being a mother is not a job, just something a layabout woman does to occupy decades of her life, then the remark is still a plain lie. On Day One of his campaign, Foust no doubt got a briefing on the “real jobs” that Comstock has held throughout her career. Jobs such as being a senior staffer and adviser to the highly popular congressman, Frank Wolf, they are jockeying to replace, for starters. 

Hmm, what else? There is her time as chief counsel to the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, her time in private legal practice, her contribution to two presidential campaigns, her highly regarded role directing research at the Republican National Committee, her tenure as the director of public affairs at the Department of Justice, her co-founding of a public relations firm, her lobbying stint, her tireless work on human trafficking, and the five years she has spent representing the people of Virginia as a state delegate. 

If Foust knew nothing of this deep into his campaign, he’s got to be one of the most inept candidates in recent memory. But we all know that his remark about “real jobs” pertained to Comstock’s most important role, being a mother to three children. This wouldn’t be the first time a Democrat has slipped up and degraded motherhood in the heat of political battle. Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen will go down in history as the woman who remarked that Ann Romney, mother to five boys, had “never worked a day in her life.” This brought back the bitter taste of likely presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s infamous 1992 quip that instead of working in law and politics, she could have “stayed home and baked cookies.”

It all makes you wonder, why do Democrats hate moms so much?

The media quietly shuffled papers around instead of focusing like a laser beam on Foust’s snide remark, apparently because it has that emperor-with-no-clothes quality to it. The party that supposedly stands for women and has been tirelessly defending them against Republican bogeymen who are waging “war” on women has a track record of denigrating a choice that the vast majority of women still say they want: motherhood. 

Had the situation been the reverse, a Republican man suggesting that an accomplished Democrat woman had never had a “real job,” denizens of the Internet would still be rending their garments. The talking heads would still be rolling. The hashtags would still be trending. The left would still be valiantly defending oppressed women everywhere. 

Instead, Barbara Comstock, who had three children while attending night school at Georgetown Law while her husband was holding down a middle-class job as a high school teacher, is left twisting in the wind. (Well, maybe not twisting, as she is up in the polls.) And left with this as a Twitter “apology” from Foust’s party for his comment: “If @barbaracomstock were a man, she’d be down 20 pts w women. Her record & policies are horrible for women. But voters assume . . . ”

Assume what? Finish the sentence. That she is winning just because she is a woman? Not because of her brain or her qualities or her platform? 

But the problem is this: Comstock is not a man. She is a woman. And her opponent, a man, made the most sexist remark of this political cycle. It’s one we’ve heard before from the Democrat Party’s echo chamber, notwithstanding that it hardly fits with the narrative that theirs is the party that cares about women. And they didn’t say sorry, because they weren’t forced to, because the press and party bosses didn’t make them. 

So the mothers of America need Comstock all the more, because otherwise who is going to defend our choice to stay home and bake cookies all day?

Ashley E. McGuire is a senior fellow with The Catholic Association.

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