Republicans, Media Just Want To Know What Kind Of Sissy Takes Paternity Leave Anyway

Culture Wars

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg just got back from paternity leave, but horrible people (i.e. Republicans) are acting as if he's Ferris Bueller skipping out on his responsibilities and singing "Danke Schoen" on a parade float.

The Washington Post offered some classic “both sides" coverage.

Washington Post

The actual story here is that Republicans are monsters who claim they are “pro-family," but begrudge a new father for spending time with his newborn children.

Of course, anti-gay bigots, most of whom reside in the GOP, don't believe Buttigieg's a real father.


You can sense the contempt in the Politico story that asked “Can Pete Buttigieg Have It All?" It's as if he's an eccentric billionaire who collects rare children instead of a normal human who started a family. The lede is like the opening from a political thriller: “Pete Buttigieg has been MIA." That's untrue. "Missing in action" is a military term for a member of the armed forces who hasn't returned from a battle, their body has not been found, and they are not thought to have been captured. No one knows what the fuck is going on. It's unsettling. All relevant parties knew Buttigieg's location: He was at home with infants, feeding them and changing diapers. He might have even slept every once in a while.

“MIA" has developed a colloquial meaning, but it's almost always negative. Former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham was described as MIA because she never gave press briefings. Articles described Melania Trump as MIA because she went almost a month without a public appearance, and no reason was given.

Senator Tammy Duckworth from Illinois called out the grossness of the Politico story, which seemed to want to blame the gay guy for the nation's supply chain issues. She tweeted, "When the press accuses a new father of being 'MIA' for going on parental leave to bond with a child, it sends exactly the wrong message to working families."

Sam Stein defended his Politico colleagues, Alex Thompson and Tina Sfondeles, and insisted that “MIA" had a non-negative connotation. He's a professional writer.

STEIN: Yes. I absolutely was MIA [when on paternity leave]. Stuck in a NICU tending to my kid. Then at home in the most important and fuflilling time of his and my life. And my employer was fine with me being MIA. They encouraged it. That's the entire point.

That's not what “MIA" means, but Stein kept embarrassing himself. He suggested that everyone at some point says, “Sorry, I've been MIA." Neera Tanden pointed out that “sorry" literally means you're apologizing for something. Buttigieg or anyone taking family leave has no reason to apologize. This is a legal benefit to which they're entitled.

Human slime trail Tucker Carlson mocked Buttigieg's paternity leave, which he seemed to think involves breastfeeding. Obviously, he wanted to point and laugh at the homosexual, because Fox News is a big hunting lodge for bullies. Sunday, Buttigieg said he wasn't going to apologize to "Tucker Carlson or anyone else for taking care of my premature newborn twins." Damn right.

The Daily Wire's Matt Walsh took the absurdity to another level and smeared the whole idea of men taking paternity leave. He tweeted:

The thing about paternity leave is there isn't much for dad to do when the baby is a newborn, especially if mom is breastfeeding. His main role is to take care of mom as she recovers but of course that doesn't apply to Buttigieg so I'm not sure why he needs paternity leave at all.

People are saying dad needs paternity leave for "bonding time." Sure, a week or something is fine. But the baby isn't going to bond with dad much until he's a little older. And we shouldn't be paying cabinet secretaries to stay home for two months for "bonding time" anyway.

You can also still bond with your child while working. I'm very well bonded with all four of my kids and I had no paternity leave for any of them

Functioning humans understand that caring for a newborn is hard work and requires a team. That remains true once the child is no longer pooping every two hours.

Walsh boasts that he has four kids, but he apparently thought his job was done when his wife had mostly physically recovered from childbirth. This is not someone in possession of empathy. However, we guess he's not specifically attacking Buttigieg as a gay parent. He seems to think all fathers, regardless of sexual orientation, should suck.

We feel sorry for him and his kids.

[Politico / Washington Post]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."

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