Gail Collins, the New York Times’s editorial page editor (2001-2007) turned feminist columnist, went on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show on Tuesday night to discuss the revelation that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger having a child with a long-time domestic servant. Although Schwarzenegger, the former bodybuilder and actor, hardly has a reputation as a social conservative, Collins nonetheless used him to tar the social right as hypocrites.
Maddow: But we’re sort of being confronted with the glass houses and throwing stones problem. I understand why people have glass houses. People fail. But why is throwing stones still part of, a main stream part of Republican politics?
COLLINS: Well, because there are people, a lot of people in the country who not only have very strong, you know, family values, but believe that somehow you can legislate them into other people`s families and they’re very powerful within the party. So, the poor Republican candidates, I must say, do get kind of stuck on this one because they toe this very rigid line about personal behavior when like most human beings, they’re failing to live up to it.
Collins, who had a rapport with the left-wing host, went on to praise the Democratic president and serial philanderer Bill Clinton:
Because the heart wants what it wants. But the thing is, the voters are very practical about this stuff. I have very seldom seen and I am pathetically a real expert on these issues, a politician who gets punished by the voters for behaving badly in private. I mean, you have to be really out there. You have to be John Edwards, you know, to be punished for this kind of stuff. The problem is that, that the politicians don’t trust voters with this kind of thing. They don’t trust them to actually judge them on performance, which is what they usually do. I mean, look at Bill Clinton. Look how well Bill Clinton did. Look how much everybody loves Bill Clinton now after -- I mean, they don’t care as long as the performance is right. I mean, people are much more bitter at Arnold Schwarzenegger for having screwed up the entire California economy than they are because of this.
Collins’s sentiments on abortion showed through later in the friendly chat:
MADDOW: Let me just ask you about this. Are there Republican politicians, modern conservative politicians who have tried to buck the moralizing thing, who have tried to say, you know what? We ought to really shut up about the family values thing since all of our houses are made of glass and we can’t see through them because they’re all so cracked?
COLLINS: Not in that way. That would be a good way. I mean, Mitch Daniels did make that sort of much-commented-upon remark when he was talking to the conservative gathering in Washington about how really we should be looking at the deficit and not worrying about all this other stuff. But then he went right back home and signed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood and to require that women be told all these totally inaccurate things before they get an abortion.