Republican lawmakers can’t seem to stop offending women, in spite of the GOP’s stated goal to attract women voters. Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) explains in his recent memoir that it is the wife’s role to “voluntarily submit, just as the husband is to lovingly lead and sacrifice.”
The Washington Post reports that a chapter from Pearce’s new book emphasizes wives and husbands each have roles in the household, and the wife’s role is obedience. “The husband’s part is to show up during the times of deep stress, take the leadership role and be accountable for the outcome, blaming no one else,” Pearce writes. “The wife’s submission is not a matter of superior versus inferior; rather, it is self-imposed as a matter of obedience to the Lord and of love for her husband.”
Pearce maintains enough self-awareness to admit this conceit, which he attributes to the Bible, is unpopular. “The principle is among the most controversial of all directives coming from the Bible. Critics abound, both Christian and non-Christian.” He thinks too many of his friends “dealt with the directive by ignoring it.”
Not everyone ignores it; a sitting federal judge once wrote it is the wife’s job to “subordinate herself to her husband.”
Chances are Pearce’s prescription for a subservient wife was not really what the Republican National Committee had in mind when it urged party leaders to use language so women “know we are fighting for them.” In the wake of the 2012 election, with its flippant comments on “legitimate rape” and rape pregnancies being a “gift from god,” some GOP candidates now take lessons in how to talk about women.
And Pearce and his fellow Republicans continue to pursue legislative restrictions on women that are entirely in line with much of their rhetoric. Pearce himself was a cosponsor of deceptively titled “No Taxpayer Money For Abortion Act” to raise the cost of abortion services and restrict rape victims’ options.