Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Misogyny; relationship policing; homophobia.]

"Well, I've got a sister. She could play that role if necessary. I've got a lot of friends. We'll have a rotating first lady."—Republican presidential candidate Senator Lindsey Graham, on being asked who will be First Lady if he is elected president, since he is unmarried.

The questions about Graham's bachelorhood are absurd. And, because there have long been rumors that Graham is gay but has not publicly disclosed that information, it's important not to ignore that part of the context for these questions is embedded homophobia and a prurient curiosity about his sexuality, which makes these questions gross, too.

(There is, of course, debate about whether politicians who vote to limit the rights of others on the basis of their identities, e.g. sexuality, and/or choices, e.g. abortion, have an ethical responsibility to disclose if they share those identities and/or make the same choices in their private lives, and there are good faith arguments on both sides of that debate, but this isn't the thread for it.)

Graham shouldn't be obliged to answer questions about his bachelorhood, because it's irrelevant to whether he is fit to be president.

That said, his response here is excruciatingly awful. Because he's a Republican, and needs to count on the antifeminist vote, he won't just respond the way he should, which is: "That is a ridiculous and contemptible question in the year of our lord Jesus Jones two thousand and fifteen."

So instead, he offers up his sister—about whom Politico notes: "His sister, Darline Graham Nordone, resides in South Carolina with her husband and two daughters from previous marriages, suggesting that she would not be able to be in Washington all the time."—and his female friends to serve as "rotating First Lady."

And I suppose if he runs out of friends and relatives, some diligent Republican aides will provide him with binders full of women from which to choose to round out the rotation.

It continues to be a real mystery why Republicans aren't connecting with a majority of female voters.

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