This is what happens when you let everyone see the thought process, or lack thereof that goes into your ramblings that are generally reserved for your Wall Street Journal column. I don't know if Peggy Noonan was having a senior moment or if she'd already been hitting the cocktails before the taping of This Week, but she had a bit of trouble when asked what she thought about Anne-Marie Slaughter's recent article in The Atlantic, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.
We got quite a stark contrast between the concise, intelligent, specific remarks from Hilary Rosen on the United States being behind the rest a good deal of the world when it comes to family-friendly work places and then... well... there was Peggy Noonan's response.
TAPPER: OK, let us talk -- now turn to this Atlantic cover story, "Why Women Still Can't Have It All" by Anne-Marie Slaughter, former State Department official. Hilary, we've all read this. It's a provocative essay. What did you think of it?
ROSEN: You know, two things kind of for context first. The first is, two-thirds of mothers in America today actually are primary or co-breadwinners for their family, so women don't have the luxury of whether or not to work. We have to work.
The second is, I think men are increasingly feeling this pressure, so I don't -- I don't, you know, want you to feel left out. But that kind of brings us...
TAPPER: Thank you.
ROSEN: ... to a central problem, which is this issue really has to move beyond kind of party talk and angst and philosophy to some place that gets our country moving forward. We're the only -- we're one of two countries in the developing world that do not actually have paid family leave, that does not have flexible mandated work hours, that does not have federally supported child care. Those issues, you know, have historically been women's issues, but they're really economic issues. They support everything, and we really ought to move this issue into some policy debate.
NOONAN: Oh, I think you can't legislate away some of life's limits and joys. It's a very rich and varied thing. Look, I think that -- interesting article in the Atlantic tends -- it seems to me it is focusing on how women are doing in the world, in business, in the professions. What percentage of people we have -- of women we have in the State Department and are we slipping and such?
And I think, therefore, it takes a slightly limited view of what women are, what choices they have, and what they might want to be. And so it's seemed to me a little bit limited and crabbed in its canvas, I suppose.
I forget where I'm going with that, beyond it is good to remember that it is good to work with children, it is good to be in the house, it's good to be in the office. All of these things are good. You've got to be open about them, but you can't try to legislate it too closely.
If there was ever a segment in need of a bobblespeak translation, it's this one.