Will someone tell John McCain that the wife beating jokes just aren’t funny?


In an interview that appeared in the Las Vegas Sun yesterday:

Jon Ralston of Las Vegas Sun: (On why he didn’t choose Gov. Jim Gibbons to chair his Nevada campaign?)

John McCain: I appreciate his support. As you know, the lieutenant governor is our chairman.

Ralston: (Why snub the governor?)

McCain: I didn’t mean to snub him,. I’ve known the lieutenant governor for 15 years and we’ve been good friends….I didn’t intend to snub him. There are other states where the governor is not the chairman.

Ralston: (Maybe it’s the governor’s approval rating and you are running from him like you are from the president?)

McCain: (Chuckling) And I stopped beating my wife just a couple of weeks ago….

Now, a few people have pointed out that John McCain was referencing what’s apparently a well-known euphemism for a loaded question or character assassination (for example, a journalist will ask out of the blue “when did you stop beating your wife?” implying that the domestic violence was taking place at all). But, I personally had never heard of the phrase in that context before this interview. And for a politician who’s already been under fire for his stance on women’s and reproductive rights (not to mention for verbally abusing his wife) don’t you think he should be a little more, oh I don’t know, choosey with his words?

I find the idea that a presidential candidate could flippantly throw around references to domestic violence disturbing. I mean, if he’s making jokes like this on the campaign trail, what in the world would he do on the policy front? And as my mother always said, sarcasm always has an element of truth…

What are your thoughts?

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

Join the Conversation