The Blog

'GOP Lawmaker Principle'

11:10 AM, Mar 25, 2014 • By MICHAEL GRAHAM
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

It’s being called the “GOP Lawmaker Principle.” Here’s how it works:

On Sunday, the Boston Globe ran a news story about a Republican state senator in Massachusetts who “filed a bill that could prohibit a divorcing parent from having sex in their own home.”

The Globe reported, “Senator Richard J. Ross, a Wrentham Republican, filed bill 787 which would pertain to the divorcing parent still living in the family home.”

Within hours, the latest example of the so-called Republican war on women ricocheted across liberal websites:

“GOP Bill Would Force Divorcing Women To Get Permission Before Sex,” read the headline on liberal talk host Alan Colmes’s website. 

“Bill Forces People Going Through Divorce To Get A Judge’s Permission Before Having Sex In Own Home,” ThinkProgress reported in a headline, noting that “Ross, who serves as Minority Whip, took over former Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-MA) state Senate seat in 2010.”

Those crazed, right-wing Republicans. Even in New England they’re nuts!

Except that’s not what happened.

In Massachusetts, the state constitution (written by John Adams, by the way) allows citizens to propose bills and ask their legislators to file them.  When a legislator is asked to file a bill, especially one that he doesn’t agree with, he can have “By Request” spread right across the top.  Which is what Sen. Ross did.

The Boston Globe didn’t initially report this. (They have since updated their story) Nor did the Globe point out that the citizen-proposal was filed more than a year ago and it’s not any closer to ever becoming law (which it won’t).

In other words, there was no news here.  But that didn’t stop liberals from making it one. At least, until they were caught.

Dave Weigel, writing at the site Slate.com, coined the phrase  “GOP Lawmaker Principle,” and he predicted just weeks ago that we’d be seeing a lot more of it.

“As the national electoral plight of Democrats increases, so does the incidence of stories about obscure state Republican lawmakers,” Weigel wrote.

You might also call it the “Todd Akin Axiom” or the “Some Dumb Guy Nobody Ever Heard Of Syndrome.”  The two premises behind it are a) every Republican is responsible for every single utterance of every other Republican; and b) the media will abandon the pretense of objectivity to promote insignificant stories about Republicans they’d never report about Democrats.

We know the latter is true. Just weeks ago in the same Massachusetts legislature where Ross serves, a Democratic house member was still serving in the legislature—despite the fact that he was simultaneously “serving” in the state Department of Rock-Breaking and License-Plate Art.

State Rep. Carlos Henriquez was convicted of two counts of assault against a girlfriend and sentenced to six months in jail. He refused to resign and, for a time, it was an open question as to whether the 90-percent Democratic house of representatives would expel him.

Eventually they did. But have you ever heard of him? Of course not. He’s not a Republican. A Democrat who actually beats up a woman isn’t as news worthy a Republican who just says something dumb in the Two Dots (Montana) Daily.

Which brings us to the fundamental premise of the “GOP Lawmaker Principle.” Every Republican is his GOP brother’s keeper.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 15 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers