September 29th, 2010

Political mixed marriages

The NY Times interviews some couples who find themselves in mixed marriages of the political variety.

Note that, in the marriages described in the article, it’s the woman who’s the liberal and the man who’s the conservative. This ties in with statistics showing that, ever since a transition time somewhere during the 70s or early 80s, women consistently have been more likely to vote Democrat and men Republican.

Note also how polite and tactful the conservative men in the Times article are toward their liberal spouses, and the unwarranted condescension of most of the liberal wives towards their own conservative husbands. Here are some examples of what I mean [each quote is from a different liberal woman married to a different conservative man; emphasis mine]:

“It’s his character, his emotions, his appreciation of me that are important. And he is coherent in his own way. He has legitimate reasons for all the repellent ideas he holds.” [the article regards this as humor, and perhaps it is meant to be—but it doesn’t sound all that funny to me.]

“My friends might act dogmatic or superior or try to pick a fight,” [another liberal wife] said. “And it’s frustrating because he does know a lot. I know I’m right, but he is more articulate. And he’s kind, so how can he have these political beliefs — he doesn’t think that global warming is man-made — or appreciate people that I think are dangerous?”

“I had a history of dating Republicans. I found them interesting but misguided.”

“…[H]e’s not a pocketbook Republican.”

I’ve personally known a number of marriages of the mixed political variety. Almost all of them have conformed to this Democrat-woman Republican-man pattern. Almost all of them seem to be working out pretty well.

In the olden days, the couples I knew used to laugh that they shouldn’t bother to vote because their votes always canceled each other out. Now, however, there’s a lot less laughter.

[NOTE: This post ties into my previous one.]

101 Responses to “Political mixed marriages”

  1. Tom Says:

    I had a girlfriend with a doctorate who took pleasure in pointing out poll data that, the higher the educational achievements of women, the more likely they were to be liberal; as was she.

    I was courteous and tolerant. On road trips, she thanked me for not listening to Rush.

    Do not miss her.
    One truly should not get into bed with the enemy.

  2. SteveH Says:

    “”the higher the educational achievements of women, the more likely they were to be liberal””

    I’ve always wondered why statements like that weren’t more eye opening epiphanies for liberals instead of proud statements of fact. You go to this institution and you come out with an ideology heavily skewed in one direction in comparison to the population as a whole not exposed to the institution. Helloooooo!

    I’ve always thought indoctrination done slick enough could very well leave its victims unaware. But to be proud and marvel at the statistics proving ones own successful indoctrination is quite another thing.

  3. T Says:

    “. . . it’s the woman who’s the liberal and the man who’s the conservative.”

    So does this mean that the Mary Matalin/James Carville marriage is, politically speaking, a nuptial nemesis?

  4. roc scssrs Says:

    There was an English professor at Dartmouth some years ago who used to write occasional articles for National Review. He used to say there was more variety of opinion in his old Army platoon than there was on the whole Dartmouth campus.

  5. Scott Says:

    IMO, 40 years ago the differences between the two parties were minor. You had liberal “Rockefeller Republicans” in the northeast, like Jacob Javits and Nelson Rockefeller. Likewise, there were prominent conservative Democrats, like Scoop Jackson and Zell Miller. The vast majority of both parties was comprised of centrists.

    I believe the establishment of both partyies wanted it that way. It makes it much easier to transition power when neither party stands for anything and they’re all centrists. There’s little disruption to society because the changes in policy are so minor. That made it easy for the two parties to sit down and negotiate compromises.

    That has changed in the past 40 years. When LBJ signed the CRA of ’64, he knew he was going to gain nearly all the black vote but lose nearly all the southern white vote for the Democratic Party. To make up for that “hole” the Democrats then engaged in a strategy of catering to all of society’s disaffected radicals to compensate for the loss of the southern white vote: protesting college students, environmental extremists, feminists, gay rights advocates, and the enlightened new age counter culture fringe were welcomed into the Democratic Party. They mostly accepted their place on the fringe of the party until the internet age. Now the far left wing has taken over the Democratic Party. In response, the Republican Party is slowly becoming more conservative. That is going to give voters a real, meaningful choice between the two parties. It is also going to make it even harder to negotiate compromises given the ideological differences between the two parties are about as wide as they’ve ever been. You can see this in the trend in ACU scores. The number of Representatives and Senators with scores of 100 (signifying a highly conservative voting record) as well as the number with scores of 0 (extremely liberal voting record) both increased sharply from 2008 to 2009. So, rather than conservatives pulling liberals to the right, or liberals pulling conservatives to the left, they are both becoming more dug in on ideology.

    It will be interesting to see how these split marriages prevail if this persists.

  6. Hong Says:

    This is why I would never date a liberal woman. I wouldn’t want my identity subsumed to their arrogance. What self respecting man allows himself to be drawn into such a union? Only the beta males need apply…

  7. Occam's Beard Says:

    “”the higher the educational achievements of women, the more likely they were to be liberal””

    The longer recruits are in boot camp, the more gung ho they become.

  8. Baklava Says:

    I’m headed to a mixed marriage.

    If current events comes up, there is always an underlying tone of condescension.

    I even bring this up. I say, “look – conservatives like myself always at least concede the point that liberals are well meaning – with rose colored glasses on – but that the intentions don’t mean that the policies will result in more prosperity. Why can’t liberals at least discuss the policies merits?”

    The last discussion (I mentioned it on this blog) was about the capital gains tax cut – a Jerry Brown commercial says that it will benefit the rich.

    My sweetie says, “It does benefit the rich”.

    I’m flustered and flabbergasted. She has cousins, nieces, nephews and family who are affected by this recession (she herself has a safe state job). I say to her that this class warfare rhetoric and anti-business attitude is what has this state at 12.6% unemployment.

    BY THIS TIME HER attention is back on Entertainment Tonight.

    I said, “did you hear what I just said”. She said, “I’m watching this”.

    ARGHHH !!

    I understand that she wants to do the right thing. But if she WANTS to do the right thing then we need to go deeper in these discussions. Having a shallow discussion (which I’ve raised with her) is not the kind of relationship I want. I don’t need “agreement”. I just need the respect of an honest discussion.

  9. Occam's Beard Says:

    Sorry, and I hope I’m not giving offense, but sometimes I really question the wisdom of letting women (or the young) vote. Sure, there are sensible people in each group, but the proportion of ding-a-lings is awfully high. (Exhibit A: the demographics of car owners whose cars bear a “Coexist” bumper sticker – the apotheosis of ding-a-linghood.) Furthermore, both groups are exquisitely sensitive to social pressure, and thus easily manipulated. Last, both tend to trust feelings and magical thinking more than hard-headed logic and common sense (as evidenced by, for example, their response to reminders that the world doesn’t work the way that they would like: “Well, it should.” Oh. OK.

    These worrisome traits of these groups wouldn’t be so bad if the inputs to (determinants of?) their political views – the media, Hollywood, and their social circles – were randomly distributed across the political spectrum, but they’re not. They’re uniformly on the left, which means they constitute a large bloc of votes for ding-a-ling policies.

    The psychology of these groups, like that of Europeans, appears to be fundamentally infantile: they can be as silly as they like, with no need to exercise responsibility, because ultimately Daddy will take care of them and shield them from the consequences of their silliness.

    This is not a good situation.

    Again, apologies if I’ve given offense.

  10. Jed Skillman Says:

    Try this theory on for size:

    Leftist Liberalism is a belief pattern of youth. You know, “don’t trust anyone over 30.”

    Women, generally speaking, are more youthful than men of a similar age. This may explain why they tend to cling to their youthful ideologies much longer than men.

  11. Tom Says:

    Be warned. I read some time ago about an academic psychologist who studied marital relationships as the basis of his career. He got to the point of claiming he could tell within 15 minutes of interviewing a couple which marriages were doomed: If one showed a lack of respect for some attitude or attribute of the other.

    You have posted about your relationship multiple times, and I am always troubled for you when I read the difference between you and your fiancee’s political views, and her put-downs , implied or actual.

    Good marriages are not made in bed.

  12. Portia Says:

    You haven’t given offense. I think that is changing though. Women have been liberal because they’ve been spoiled. They’ve transitioned from childhood to state-endorsed childhood. I don’t think we need to cut sufrage for women (no, my gender does not influence this) but I think we need to institute some form of poll tax. How is this: if you want to vote you pay taxes. If you don’t pay taxes, nothing bad happens, but you’re disenfranchised. Alternately, you’re allowed to pay this “poll tax” (not constant, but a percentage of your income. You’re fourteen and wish to vote? Sure thing. Pay x percent of your lawn-mowing money) by serving either in the military or in something else that’s either dangerous or unpleasant. It means you put something ahead of your own little self-satisfaction and your own “actualization,” in either case. I.e., you’re an adult. And don’t get hot under the collar at paying to vote. Money IS the sincerest declaration of interest. We pay for that which we value. So why not franchise.
    As for why it may be changing — life is about to become MUCH harder for everyone.

    And Baklava, you know this, and I know you know this, but you’re headed for trouble at top speed. She should at least LISTEN to you.

  13. Adrian Day Says:

    SteveH: Terrific observation. A little frightening too. as if our institutions are political equivalent of the Borg. Or as Albert Brooks said in Defending Your Life, “This is what smart people eat?!!?”

  14. Beverly Says:

    I like Portia’s idea. And that of a literacy test, impartially applied!

    Living in Moscow on the Hudson, I meet, daily, many “men” who have these same ding-a-ling ideas. And cling to them with self-righteous fervor.

  15. fmt Says:

    I was in a mixed marriage. Then my wife started reading neoneocon. All is well.

  16. Baklava Says:


    I once asked somebody who had a COEXIST bumper sticker what it meant.

    They said, “It’s a message to Christians – look closely at the fine print on the bumper sticker”

    I looked closer at the time – It’s about atheism.

    I’ve NEVER understood Coexisting with a terrorist. They are preaching to the wrong people. They need to preach to the beheaders. How do I coexist with a beheader? Submit to beheading???

  17. Baklava Says:


    I hear ya.

    She has a certain “loyal” and “devoted” quality unmatched by any other that I’ve seen in my lifetime.

    If I were to list 50 qualities those two would be in the top 5.

    I don’t ‘vent’ anywhere but here. The frustration is actually pretty seldom because there is a certain “acceptance” of the situation – and so why talk about current events.

    If 98% or 99% of things are good – then I can accept her for who she.

    Is any relationship perfect? I don’t know of one. With her great heart and wonderful and kind spirit with incredible devotion and loyalty – and yes with sexiness – I find those qualities to be the most important.

    Am I making excuses for her? Absolutely not. I am absolutely struggling to make the relationship even better. I want 150% ! 🙂 I actually address these issues from time to time.

  18. T Says:

    “the higher the educational achievements of women, the more likely they were to be liberal.”

    Don’t forget, the higher the educational achievement of a woman, the more likely it is in a field of humanities or social studies where liberals predominate anyway.

    Not many female Ph.D. engineering conservatives.

  19. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    Baklava: let me join the chorus.

    We know nothing about your fiancee, other than what you’ve told us. But it does indeed sound as though she doesn’t respect you, or at least your views (and your right to be taken as seriously in them as she wants her views to be taken seriously by you).

    As a wise person once said, you need to train them how to treat you. That applies to all sorts of relationships. If behavior you find disturbing has no cost to it, it will continue. (From her perspective, why shouldn’t it?)

    Perhaps you can turn this around. But if she doesn’t respect you, and you plan to get married, the time to do something about it is now.

    Good luck!

  20. Tatyana Says:

    Thanks, Neo – you found an answer to my [unverbalized] question: why am I, a Right-libertarian woman, still single? Now I know – conservative/Rigth men prefer liberal, Dem-voting women.
    I guess they need to hone those debating skills on someone…

  21. Baklava Says:

    HA !

  22. Baklava Says:

  23. Baklava Says:

  24. Mr. Frank Says:

    Conservatives tend to see their positions as empirically verifiable with no moral or emotional content. Either a high minimum wage raises youth unemployment or it doesn’t (It does.)

    Liberals tend to see their positions as morally superior to those held by conservatives and not subject to empirical verification.

    It would be hard for a conservative to be intimate with someone who viewed themselves as morally superior.

  25. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    I cannot imagine being married to a partner who did not share or at least respect my political views. Not quite sure why I was able to discern my wife’s leanings before we married. We were both in our twenties and pretty apolitical. Maybe it was the fact she was enthusiastic about my military career. Anyway, when in our 30s we began to take notice of politics, she was quicker than I to understand the difference between liberal and conservative. And she always zeroed in on the conservative candidates as having better ideas.

    Today, I am a conservo-libertarian, but she is just a flat out conservative. A bit to the right of Genghis Khan, she is. It has, over the years, created a bond that is very strong and mutually satisfying. We’re going to do a stint on a phone bank for Dino Rossi tomorrow night. These days that’s our idea of a fun night out.

    All the TEA Party rallies we have attended have been led by strong, well-spoken women. I have been greatly encouraged by the number of conservative women that are stepping up to run for office. There are plenty of conservative minded women if conservative men just look for them. Cannot imagine being in a politically mixed marriage if politics are at all important to you.

  26. david foster Says:

    It is *possible*, if rare, for two people to have belief systems which are very similar at the core but are manifested in different ways at the political level as a result of different life experiences. The best (if fictional) example of this can be found in Ayn Rand’s “We the Living” in which the strongly anti-Communist Kira becomes friends with the devoted Communist Andrei.

    Kira to Andrei: “…you see, if we had souls, which we haven’t, and if our souls met – yours and mine – they’d fight to death. But after they had torn each other to pieces, to the very bottom, they’d see that they had the same root.”

  27. heehaw Says:

    I couldn’t imagine being in a long-term relationship with a woman who wasn’t conservative. Dating or partying, I really don’t care what their views are, that isn’t what I want their company for.

    But the fact of the matter is that political views follow straight from a person’s ethics. Liberals’ ethical system is simply screwed up, giving rewards to people who don’t work, pushing people who do. They create systems that actually make society poorer. They attempt to alleviate short-term societal pain for a few while creating long-term structural problems for everyone else. I could go on and on.

    The fact of the matter is if a woman thinks this way about society, these ethics are going to show up eventually in the relationship. And there is no way I am going to be connected long-term to someone with that moral (or lack moral) outlook. I dumped a girl this summer because of her politics when she wanted to go past the “dating” mode. I’m dating a conservative now (advanced degree, and most the MBA women I know are republicans), things looking good for a long-term deal… 🙂

  28. Occam's Beard Says:

    You haven’t given offense.

    Good. I’m glad!

    They’ve transitioned from childhood to state-endorsed childhood.

    Thank you. That encapsulates the phenomenon exactly.

    I don’t think we need to cut sufrage for women (no, my gender does not influence this) but I think we need to institute some form of poll tax. How is this: if you want to vote you pay taxes. If you don’t pay taxes, nothing bad happens, but you’re disenfranchised. Alternately, you’re allowed to pay this “poll tax” (not constant, but a percentage of your income. You’re fourteen and wish to vote? Sure thing. Pay x percent of your lawn-mowing money) by serving either in the military or in something else that’s either dangerous or unpleasant.

    I agree (dunno about 14-year olds, though). Bottom line: you’ve got to have skin in the game to vote. Those who don’t, get to watch. It seems only fair. Why should someone have a say in allocation of resources to which he himself did not contribute?

  29. Baklava Says:

    Daniel in Brookline wrote, “the time to do something about it is now.

    I’m working on it.

  30. Tom Says:

    Never grasped origin of “skin in game”. Know what it means, think it came from golf, which has its own lexicon. Skin Games?

  31. Occam's Beard Says:

    I was in a mixed marriage. Then my wife started reading neoneocon. All is well.

    My wife was more liberal than I was/am (but then, who isn’t?) when we first met, but over the years she’s moved distinctly rightward, at least partly because my views from 20 years ago have been validated by events (e.g., heterosexual AIDS, for Westerners, was BS concocted by homosexuals to a) mobilize research funding, and b) avoid stigmatization as disease vectors, that “gay rights” would lead to pressure for homosexual marriage (despite homosexuals protestations to the contrary at the time), and that such manufactured “issues” as Y2K, killer bees, and shark summer were all rubbish).

    In each case a cui bono analysis leads to falsifiable hypotheses as to the origin of social issues, and in each case those hypotheses have been borne out in practice. (E.g., if feminists were really concerned about women, they’d be up in arms about the Islamic world; if their primary interest was agitation, they wouldn’t fuss over any issue that didn’t advance that goal.)

    So all is fine on the home front. The curious thing for me is having liberal friends, whose comportment in their personal lives is diametrically opposed to their political views. Chief among these is a fiscally conservative friend who rants about unions, decries deficits, and runaway spending, yet is an ardent liberal and hates the Tea Party for “not supporting the Administration.” He makes my head hurt.

  32. Baklava Says:

    Lordy – See this news item

    Can we go with Steve Poizner now ??????

  33. Occam's Beard Says:

    I once asked somebody who had a COEXIST bumper sticker what it meant.

    I’ve NEVER understood Coexisting with a terrorist. They are preaching to the wrong people. They need to preach to the beheaders. How do I coexist with a beheader? Submit to beheading???

    I’ve always wanted to ask one of those clowns what the bumper sticker meant. Do they grasp that coexistence requires the assent of two parties? Do they seriously think that anyone here would care about anything the Islamic world did as long as they left us alone?

    With pacifist-types I’m always tempted to demand their wallets and car keys, just to see their reaction. Never done it, though.

  34. Baklava Says:

    October suprise !

  35. Baklava Says:

    I wouldn’t want their car. It has an idiotic bumper sticker on it and I wouldn’t want to be seen driving it !

  36. Occam's Beard Says:

    I like Portia’s idea. And that of a literacy test, impartially applied!

    How about taking a leaf from the butterfly ballot brouhaha in 2000, and lay out ballots such that it took some intelligence and reading skills to vote the way you intend? That way nitwits would actually vote the opposite of the way they think they’re voting. Dems would never win another election.

  37. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    I’ve been in three marriages so far — one liberal/liberal, one liberal/conservative, and one conservative/conservative — all different phases of the same long marriage to the same smart guy.

    The middle phase was not always peaceful, but it certainly was interesting. We got through it without fisticuffs or divorce, in part, by trying to maintain civility and respect for each other’s intelligence and sincerity (which is not to say we always succeeded). More important, though, was the reason david foster suggests — that is, even when our ideas differed on the surface, they always sprang from deeper shared values that we had in common. It just took me longer than it took Mr Whatsit to recognize the discrepancy between those values and the political assumptions we started out with.

  38. expat Says:

    I just can’t imagine being married to a man who didn’t respect my opinion; I would always feel that he was condescending toward me. But then again, my male friends were always the people I preferred discussing politics and philosophical topics with. My female friends always seem to be following the received wisdom rather than challenging it. As long as we stick to topics where they have direct experience, there is no problem in finding common ground, but we always seem to reach a point where I know it is useless to talk further. I would hate to have such a no-go area in my marriage. It’s one thing to tolerate different tastes or superficial interests, but basic values and world views are just too important.

  39. DG Says:

    Heard quote.. “I would have an easier time if you were a different religion from me than being of a differing political stripe.”

  40. Bill West Says:

    Robin of Berkeley is different – she’s the “changer” her ‘mate’ Jon has remained on the Left.

  41. Baklava Says:

    I have read Robin of Berkeley’s columns with great interest.


    My first marriage was 4 years long (with a conservative) and was hell. She was the devil. We went to 50 marriage counseling sessions during the 4 year period (1997 – 2001). She was by FAR not respectful.

    I think it depends on how much current events and politics is a part of your relationship.

    I think my outlet is Nyomythus 🙂

    Most days pass without a single mention of current events or politics though it is a big part of me.

    Two people intersect their lives and make it work. We make it work because what we choose to intersect is limited politics.

    She isn’t leftist or liberal per say. She is simply one who turns on ABCCBSNBCCNN and hasn’t changed.

    She recognizes lately that there IS an alternative point of view. She just hasn’t warmed up to the merits of the arguments in the alternative sources of information BECAUSE…. she’s not interested.

  42. Kathy Says:

    I have been in what started out as a mixed politics marriage for almost 27 years. When we married my husband was a Democrat and I a Republican. My husband has become more and more conservative over the years and has not voted for a Democrat for 18 years. These marriages can work. Especially as he has come around to a lot of my views!!

  43. rickl Says:

    Baklava & Occam:
    There’s another version of the Coexist sticker which I’m rather fond of:


  44. Baklava Says:

    That’s on my cube tomorrow !

  45. Baklava Says:

    Soon to be an ‘office’. 🙂 not cubicle.

  46. gs Says:

    1. That political compatibility has become an important consideration in potential marriages strikes me as unhealthy encroachment of the collective into the realm of the personal. Therefore I speculate that political compatibility is more important to leftists than to conservatives or libertarians.

    2. Overall, the more formal education someone has, the more likely they are to turn to the State for income. (Not that there’s necessarily wrong with that in principle.) Mirabile dictu, highly educated elites tend to be leftists who favor a large expansive government.

    3. I read somewhere that Carville & Matalin never discuss political philosophy. Probably being in the same business contributes to their rapport even though they work for opposing customers.

  47. Artfldgr Says:

    long history note to read about the free love movement, and suffrage and all that… deleted

    Mary Gove Nichols ring a bell? of course Mary Wollstonecraft should ring a bell… how about Frances Wright? John Humphrey Noyes? The Utopian free love community in Oneida, New York. New Harmony? Moses Harmon? Utopian socialist thinkers of the 1820s and 1830s? American anarchism? anti Comstock sex radicals?

    So much of what is going on has to start from those points. I am trying not to post a long post to reveal history people dont know DETAILS of (and would be shocked).

    why bother to learn the history and realize that; the reason that history repeats is that its a laboratory for those who have power and read it (and share it with upper class family, not commoners).

    rather than make up the way from scratch, they copy and refine, and so history repeats. variations on a theme orbiting and repeating the things that work (and casting out what doesnt).

    disparate impact and that kind of argument worked great to get a whole society to mass murder the cheaters. so they recycled it again, and it worked again here. If you didnt know thats how they riled up the common germans to act out against jews, you wouldnt prevent it from being a feminist argument and race argument, and economic socialist argument doing the same thing here.

    heck, you might look to the history and wonder if this is really what you support? (once you realize what the unchanged goals were)…

    [deleted rest of post… ]

  48. JuliB Says:

    J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    “I cannot imagine being married to a partner who did not share or at least respect my political views. ”

    Me neither! I view it as an outlook issue. My fiance is pretty hard right, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  49. TheOtherLarry Says:

    My wife was left-leaning: “Those greedy rich”; “Those evil corporations”; “There should be a law”. She preferred watching main stream news. She also has a MHA. About a year ago she finally started watching Glenn Beck with me. Although she still has some lingering liberal ideas stuck in her head, she mostly watches Fox news and does not miss an episode of Glenn Beck. Sometimes, now she gets more animated and passionate about politics than I do. Progress.

  50. Maggie's Farm Says:

    Thursday morning links…

    Fierce feminist lobbying
    Neo on mixed political marriages
    The Kombucha kerfuffle
    A look at auto-tuning. I need that for my church singing.
    Horrible. Far Left Fabricates Maid Sob Story to Smear Meg Whitman
    The horrible Grayson looks like he’s on t…

  51. Perfected democrat Says:

    “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts”; the bottom line in any relationship of depth is mutual respect and honesty, liars and fools need not apply, unless they happen to be shared values…

  52. julia NYC Says:

    I’m in a mixed marriage. Didn’t really start out that way twenty years ago, but sometimes ……..people CHANGE and youre still in a marriage with them!!! Yes it’s true! This horrible thing CAN HAPPEN and people become different than WHO YOU MARRIED! In our case the person who changed was ME! I became a CONSERVATIVE and no one was more surprised than I was. It happened during the 08 Dem primary when the Dems completely screwed over Hillary and the majority of the voters who voted for HER instead of well….you all know what happened.

    I then looked at the Repubs and realized I agreed with them, they were at least better than Obama, and so here we are. And I tell you its weird. And if I were dating someone, their political persuasion might be an issue, I don’t know. But what can you do if it happens twenty years later down the road? Get divorced over Obama? I mean, really.

    So the way we deal with it (and my husband, of course wonders what the hell happened. As he certainly didn’t sign up for marrying a Republican), is we rarely rarely talk politics. And for now it kind of works. He is by far the more viscious however when a political “debate” comes up. We especially make friends uncomfortable unfortunately (and are friends are unfortunately all rabid libs), and have come close to clearing a room. So, we certainly don’t want that to happen, so we’re finally reaching a point where we don’t talk about it. At all.

    But it has been a fascinating journey, learning how to tolerate the other person’s so obviously wrong point of view for the sake of domestic harmony. And we just don’t talk about it at all. Because neither of us wants a fight. At least about that.

  53. will Says:

    Yep, me too. It didn’t start out that way, but that’s what’s happened here. For me it’s been a long time coming. I’ve posted elsewhere on this blog about the conversion. She is indeed a democrat and that probably won’t change. We don’t discuss politics anymore. Not long ago she asked me if I was a Republican now, and I simply said “does it make a difference?” She is quite aware of what is going in the country and the world. My views on Islam are not very popular with her belief system, however she can still not view an image of the WTC (intact or otherwise) without running to the bathroom. She of course, was there right beside me in Brooklyn when the first plane hit the tower. Ensuing events have only hardened my views, cap that off with the “Presidency” that we are now subject to, and well, the topics stay light. Sometimes I wish things were different, but my eyes are now open, and I cannot support my own demise.

  54. wheels Says:

    My ex was a very liberal person (A “unions can do no wrong … well, maybe they can, but I’ll still support them because corporations are out to screw the workers” type). My girlfriend is very liberal – we don’t have political discussions because it upsets her when I can pull out facts and figures to which she can’t respond.

    Even if I wanted to find a new girlfriend (and I don’t; we’re pretty happy together), the population around here is liberal to the point that the vote in local elections gets split between the Democrat and the Green, so I wouldn’t anticipate a lot of success.

  55. Hatter Says:

    I found it interesting how the New York Times article focused almost exclusively on the female, liberal part of the relationships. I suppose it shows how, in the eyes of the New York Times and its readers, conservatives aren’t really people. We’re oddities to be studied and mocked.

    – H

  56. Thursday Fluff « Says:

    […] to that. ………………. Then there is this story out about mixed political marriages. The comments are fun. The examples in the story give quotes by leftie women dissing their rightie […]

  57. The gold digger Says:

    My husband is the liberal (BSEE) and I am the conservative (BA English, MBA). With us, I think it has something to do with our upbringing. He was reared by Birkenstock wearing, Mother Jones subscribing, activist, union (even though his dad had a PhD in English and tenure, he was also unionized – what???), socialist atheists.

    My parents are devout, small-town Catholics whose parents and relatives were small businessmen and farmers. My dad was in the air force and we lived in Spain and Panama when I was a kid. Nothing like seeing dictators at work – Franco and Torrijos – to mold one’s foreign policy ideas.

    Even though my husband and I do not agree on politics, he would never call my ideas “repellent” in public.

  58. Trimegistus Says:

    I married a woman considerably more liberal than I, and I think she has drifted to the right over the years.

    During the Clinton Admin., we could agree to disagree, because politics wasn’t serious anyway. 9/11 shocked her and she was mostly an “I don’t like the war but it’s necessary” person about Iraq and Afghanistan. Which is fine — nobody likes war, after all.

    Currently . . . I’m not sure. She saw Obama as a pragmatic centrist and some of that positive view still lingers. Nor is she as bothered by the corruption of the media. Her profession is academic and we live in New England, so she’s immersed in liberal bubblethink all the time. I am a disruptive element and at times that causes problems.

    Baklava: Seriously, think twice. You won’t change her, and her airy contempt for your views is a BIG DANGER SIGN. For God’s sake be sure you have a prenuptual agreement if you insist on marrying her.

  59. armchair pessimist Says:

    I’ve been the right half of such a marriage for almost 20 years. I’m a conservative, and made no bones about it from the start; she throws her wet clothes into the laundry basket. No doubt the one is as strange and wrong to her as the other is to me. You make allowances. I do however worry about our Baklava’s future. Both parties really have to have a sense of humor for it to work.

  60. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    There’s an old chestnut: “Mixed marriages can work if there’s enough goodwill”.

    I use that jokingly to describe my marriage — I’m from Jerusalem, my wife is from Greater Tel Aviv. (She would immediately interject: “I am NOT from Tel Aviv! I’m from Ramat Gan!!” Q.E.D.)

    In all seriousness, I do think that mutual respect is far more important than equivalent viewpoints. If you respect the person you married, and they you, then your differing viewpoints should make you examine your own beliefs carefully… and perhaps arrive at the conclusion (surprise, surprise!) that intelligent people can honestly disagree about controversial issues.

    Or perhaps it’s just a matter of what’s very important to you. I, for example, can’t imagine marrying someone of a different religion; my Judaism is a very important part of my identity, much more so than my politics.

    As it is, my wife and I have some (small) issues of serious disagreement. I grew up with pets, she didn’t; as such she doesn’t really understand, emotionally, about a pet being a member of the family. I’m a military veteran (IDF) and she isn’t, so there are aspects of that mindset she doesn’t get. She was raised with corporal punishment (and is dead-set against it); I was not. We bridge these gaps of non-understanding, as best we can, with good will.

    (Politics? I’m a conservative, she’s a Libertarian. She surprises me sometimes by being much more vehement than I, in an area where we agree.)

    Daniel in Brookline

  61. Baklava Says:

    Julia NYC,

    Welcome to conservatism !

    Love the story…

  62. Baklava Says:

    Baklava: Seriously, think twice. You won’t change her, and her airy contempt for your views is a BIG DANGER SIGN. For God’s sake be sure you have a prenuptual agreement if you insist on marrying her.

    You can’t take it personal. She has contempt for the viewpoints no matter who says it.

    But when I talk to her about respect and respecting what I say – she insists that she respects me 100%. I tell her that I don’t feel it. I tell her that she seems to dismiss my arguments whole cloth with just one sentence like, “Why isn’t there any black people who vote republican or the capital gains tax cut does benefit the rich.”

    I ask her to go deeper with me and discuss these things but she’s done.

    It’s not a lack of respect. It’s a certain amount of disinterest.

  63. Brad Says:

    My wife: ” Need any more .22 shells while I’m at the store?”

    I love that women til my last breath.

  64. The gold digger Says:

    My husband and I disagree on politics, but we both love bacon and he’s a hottie. So it works.

  65. suek Says:

    >>It’s not a lack of respect. It’s a certain amount of disinterest.>>

    I don’t know…that sounds even worse. It seems to me to indicate a self-centeredness that could easily be harmful to a relationship. How many young women do you know who fake interest in football, basketball, cars, fishing – and maybe even .22 shells – just because that’s what “her” man is interested in? The fact that she simply writes off a topic _you’re_ interested in is a bit off putting – to me, at least. Maybe it’s the new “honesty” but it seems to me that she could – should – at least _pretend_ to be interested!

    I think I agree with others – don’t rush into this marriage…take your time. Unless you plan to get started on kids – like…instantly!, you have plenty of time. And I’d imagine that another divorce isn’t really high on a list of do-overs that most people would appreciate!

  66. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    Baklava: no doubt you’ve tried expressing similar disinterest in her political notions… or been similarly dismissive. (e.g. “But Obama is a socialist! He talks like one, he acts like one, every socialist promise he’s made has come true.” Then shrug and say you’re not interested in talking about it.)

    Not to be mean, mind you… but to make her understand, in her gut, how you feel when she does it to you.

    If you’ve done that, how has she responded? If she’s okay with not talking about it, then you might have a problem, but at least she’s not hypocritical about it. If she insists on pressing the point, then you have the conversation you’ve been wanting to have with her.

    Just my $0.02 worth — available for free, just to Neoneocon readers.

    Daniel in Brookline

  67. Baklava Says:

    I’ll be trying that next Daniel.

    I’ll be attempting to set boundaries and expectations.

    If she can’t show an interest. I will do the same as a consequence. 🙂

    I’ve set the stage for it….

    🙂 executing will be difficult since i’m not that way…

  68. eots Says:

    We conservatives are above petty squabbles.
    …Both me and my husband started out on the left and moved to the right.

  69. expat Says:

    I saw a picture of Arnie a little bit ago, and this thread made me wonder whether or how much his marriage to Maria might have influenced actions he has taken as governor. Did he trade off certain “minor” (in his mind) positions in order to keep peace at home and within the Kennedy clan?

  70. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Saw Tammy Bruce speaking at a university on the west coast some years ago. A female student brought up a point, Bruce demonstrated without notable emotional loading that the facts were wrong. The student walked out. The woman with her said to Bruce, “You’re oppressing people with facts.” And the second one walked out.
    I presume there’s a guy out there who might say such things….
    I have a lib relation. We were discussing the health bill. I said that some docs were retiring early because they didn’t see the likelihood of making enough money to be worth working. Supply of docs drops, right.
    “They’re greedy,” says the relation. Okay, says I, youi’ve called them a name. Now, how are you going to get them to go to work? No answer.
    In her mind, calling them a name was all that was necessary.

  71. Severely Ltd. Says:

    Oh Geez, am I ever late to the discussion. I read most of the comments, and I have to agree,
    Baklava, with the commenters that discourage you. Of course, no one can argue with love, but at least give it a long engagement.

    Political leanings are built on the fundamental foundations of character, which, in spite of exceptions like Neo, often do not change. My wife and I discuss this, and neither of us feel we could be really content married to a Liberal. Rock-bottom agreement on the important stuff makes marriage a lot easier and more interesting.

    If my wife disputed the significance of the values I consider important, I’d want to leave her for being hopelessly misguided.
    If she agreed with my values but felt they could best be achieved with Liberal policies, I’d have leave her for unmitigated stupidity.
    I’m joking, but only a little.

    My last Bible study was thirty-some years ago, but I still remember: “be not unequally yoked”.

  72. neo-neocon Says:

    Severly Ltd: as far as politics, character, and values go, it depends. My politics were mainly based on my upbringing, and the news outlets from which I got my information. As long as I stuck to the Times, Globe, etc., I could (and did!) have the same values and character I do now, and yet be a moderate liberal who voted Democratic.

    Things changed when I:

    (a) developed more of an interest in political events and started to inform myself more; and

    (b) started to read more widely online and discover competing sources of information and arguments that were more compelling.

    No change in values or character, just in interest and information.

  73. Oblio Says:

    Run away, Baklava.

  74. Severely Ltd. Says:

    Neo, I can see how sometimes it is a matter of paying more attention or perhaps opening up to new sources. Or, as some commenters above implied, maturity.

    However, Baklava, I wouldn’t count on any of that happening. Of course, if you won’t be swayed,you can always leave National Review or Commentary on the coffee table, or leave this site or Instapundit up on her laptop and hope for the best.

  75. Baklava Says:

    We had another conversation today – it was short.

    We have been together 2 years and we’ll be for another 2 before marriage.

    Our conversation today was about Meg Whitman and Gloria Allred.

    She listened with some interest as Hugh Hewitt interviewed Meg Whitman today. Before the interview she believed that Meg Whitman knew the woman was illegal. After the interview???

    She was silent. 🙂

  76. Baklava Says:

    This was while we were driving to Sam’s Club.

    The conversation went something like:

    Her: Gloria Allred carries a lot of weight.

    me: I disagree. You said the same thing of Bill Clinton but whenever Bill Clinton campaigns for somebody their polling goes down.

    Her: But Bill is very well liked.

    Me: He carries a lot of negatives. He carries high negatives and high positives. When I hear him I think that the person he is campaigning for must be loose with the truth.

    Her: Silent.

  77. Baklava Says:

    It was the conversation first and then listening to Hugh Hewitt second.

  78. rickl Says:

    Man, you should have heard Mark Levin tear into Gloria Allred tonight. To her face. She was a guest on his show.

    I think she’s used to more deference from members of the media.

  79. douglas Says:

    Baklava, it certainly can work, and it sounds like you’re making inroads 🙂

    You might make points not just politically but future husband wise by pointing out (by showing her the link to the Sac Bee you provided) that Whitman has been wronged, and as a man, you feel it’s important to stand up for someone who’s been wrongly attacked in this way. I’m pretty sure she wants that in her husband, right?

    Whether or not it works is really about your values. It can be that your politics arrived in different places even though your values are similar, and if so, she’ll come around in time. Children tend to make a woman more conservative, also, so there’s that to look forward to.

    My wife and I had fairly different views (me solid conservative, her moderate Dem), but our values were very much in line. We really mesh like a zipper- different sides of the same thing, so it works out.

    Best of luck to you.

  80. douglas Says:

    Oh, and she’s moved a bit right since then!

  81. Teri Pittman Says:


    Welcome to the club! I voted for Dems from McGovern to Clinton. Then it dawned on me that I was hearing how stupid the Republican candidate was for about the fourth time and just got tired of being taken for granted.

    My late husband and I were in sync, both becoming conservative about the same time in the marriage. My boyfriend now is a liberal and an Obama supporter. I am not. And so we are having to learn how to respect each other’s opinions and what areas that we should choose to avoid. I understand that he’s a liberal because he cares about injustice, but he’s also a capitalist. He admits that I do research my points of view but sometimes we just agree to disagree. I agree with the other posters that what is most important is respecting each other.

  82. suek Says:

    >>She was silent. 🙂 >>

    Your assignment now is to determine what her silence means…
    1) “I can’t refute your statement, but I’m not going to argue the point. Also not going to change my opinion – whatever you say.”

    2) “Whatevah…”


    4) “Oh look at the pretty bird(dog, dress, shoes…you get the point) over there!”

    What the silence means could be _very_ important. If you can figure it out!

  83. Tom Says:

    I have the sense that our friend Baklava is distinctly younger than most of us concerned about the longterm viability of his relationship with his beloved.

    Agreeing to disagree when one side has bought into, and defends, a pack of lies, is a worrisome arrangement. It will not hold up under the inevitable stresses to come. When one compromises one’s reasoned principles, one surrenders–gives away– a thing of value. One is diminished. And, both doing that diminishes both.

    A marital union should be greater than the sum of its parts. It should strengthen both, not diminish both.

  84. Severely Ltd. Says:

    Well put, Tom, a perfect capper on the topic.

  85. Baklava Says:


    I must remind folks that respect, love, kindness is in all other areas of our relationship.

    What does one do with another who has only listened to ABCCBSNBCCNN her whole life?

    It’s completely different world view.

    She’s never dealt with the results of raising tax rates or lowering them. She only deals with the emotion of does it help or hurt the rich.

    I’m asking more of her than she’s ever given.

    We’ll get there.

    I’m not disillusioned or naive. Thanks for the discussion thought. I like when Neo posts on this topic.

    BTW, The latest from Robin of Berkeley is humorous

    To put it simply – My sweetie is the opposite of the “Peters” of the world that Robin described. She has good values, never has done drugs and is a hard worker, and loves me in a huge loyal and faithful way.

  86. Baklava Says:

    Maybe the gas pedal was stuck on that Prius ! (in Robin’s story)

  87. Tatyana Says:

    Baklava, ask yourself – would she approve of you airing your laundry (I didn’t say “dirty”) in public?

    I know I wouldn’t.

    She is trustful, loyal and devoted – why are you betraying your intimate relationship on a public website?

    Whatever your disagreements, be it politics or who’s getting the garbage out – it must be between you two. Maximum – if you need an advice, ask your closest friend, not strangers on internet!

    I’m surprised that at 40 you don’t know this basic things

  88. Baklava Says:

    who am i?

    who is she?

    This is a healthy way to write and figure things out.

    I would not seed my closest friends with doubts about her. That kind of negativity would not be fair to her.

    Tatyana writes,

    Dear Robin of Berkeley – I’m surprised at the age of “xx” that you don’t know these basic things.


    Tatyana writes,

    Dear Neo – I’m surprised at the age of “xx” that you don’t know these things.


    Logically speaking I’m 100% sure that you might be having a bad logic moment.

  89. Tatyana Says:

    Baklava, I didn’t addressed Neo, I addressed you – pay attention to the header at the beginning of my commetn.
    Logivcally speaking, you’re avoiding the answer to a very direct comment.
    And I didn’t ask who she is or who you are – I characterized her based on your own words.

    She is a good person, loyal to you and she trusts you – that’s what you said. You have been together for 2 years – enough to know somebody intimately; it’s not like you only just started dating – no, it has been 2 years. She is fmaily. And you are complaining about her in public.

    You said you’d not relay info about her to your close friends – it would not be fair to her. But you find it suitable to seek advice from perfect strangers?

    It’s worse than “kiss and tell”, Baklava.

  90. Tatyana Says:

    …and who the hell is Robin of Berkeley?
    no, don’t tell me. It was retorical question.

  91. Bill Says:

    Political discussions are difficult between me and my wife because she, while insisting that she’s “moderate” (I uh… might beg to differ, dear, you need a blood transfusion every time you vote), has to be fashionable with her more liberal co-workers. Meanwhile, my politics are more of the Christopher Hitchens / Sam Harris / Ayaan Hirsi Ali flavor of Ornerytarianism and don’t fit in the box that she is expected to fit into. What’s more, I have more freedom to be cranky at work and I think that affects her.

    It’s not so much that she and I have certain disagreements, her as a obligatory out of the box liberal (wanting to break free at work on certain issues), me more heathen-libertarian. It’s that I can rudely “surprise” [her] people on that one thing (actually 100 one things) while when she goes off the reservation she risks disapproval for “That One Thing” (whatever it may be this week).

  92. Tom Says:

    I think Tatyana is quite wrong in the nature of her reprimand of Baklava. He is not airing things in public. We have no idea who he is. His privacy is preserved.
    But I have learned, as a habitual reader and poster here, to seriously respect and indeed admire some of the other habituees. The late FredHJr and Occam’s Beard are two, but they are far from alone in my esteem.
    I view Baklava’s divulgement as an expression of trust in us here, not as a public breach. I wish him well, and appreciate the opportunity to respond to him as someone much older who has been where he is, has done that and more, and is thus a veteran, if not also perhaps wiser.

  93. Tatyana Says:

    No, Tom, I am not wrong.

    This woman loves him and trusts him. And he relays conversations the two of them had, in private, to you and to anybody on this thread who wants to have an opinion – and he is plotting some sort of subversion of her sincerely held views (however wrong they are) and asks strangers for advice on a tactic!
    So cold, calculating and condescending.

    If I were her I’d consider it a breach of confidentiality, at the very least.

  94. Tom Says:

    Give it some thought.

  95. Tatyana Says:

    My name is Tatyana, Tom.

    If I didn’t give the matter some thought I wouldn’t write a word. Maybe you’re the one that should follow your that excellent advice?

  96. stan Says:

    Sorry if someone already said this, no time to read all 95 comments. Women tend to be more likely to be liberal because women tend to be more likely to want to help without any concern or recognition of the law of unintended consequences.

    Men know that you have to let kids (fall down, deal with bullies, make their own mistakes, etc.), so they can learn to deal with it own their own. Mommy wants to rush in to fix everything for them because she can’t bear to see them struggle at all. Men know that if you really, really love your kid, you have to let them learn and grow on their own.

    Men know that you can’t fix people’s problems be throwing some money at them. Women just feel that they need to do SOMETHING and are content to support some counter-productive program that makes things worse because they feel better for having tried.

    They favor more spending on X because X is a good thing. They never stop to question whether more spending will actually make X better or whether it is the best possible use of the money. All they understand is that X is good, so good people should support X and that means more spending. End of thought process.

    When my brother was a small child, he would hear a joke and ask “and then what happened?” If only liberals would ask that question. When they don’t, the joke is on all of us.

  97. The gold digger Says:

    understand that he’s a liberal because he cares about injustice

    I am a conservative because I care about injustice.

  98. sherlock Says:

    My libtard wife likes to yell at me that I am “in love with Sarah Palin”, a person she has been taught to despise.

    I reply that “No, actually I am in love with you, but when you act like this, you are extremely lucky that Sarah Palin is not in love with me!”

  99. Rob Says:

    I don’t wanted a liberal or a conservative wife, but a centrist wife. Helps keep this crusty conservative balanced and pragmatic about every damn thing in politics and life.

    A liberal wife is like a mistress who keeps you coming back for more because of her open-minded “sensibilities”, if you catch my drift? A conservative wife is like a strict schoolmarm who makes you long for a liberal wife but she keeps you homely and grounded in life.

  100. Morgan K Freeberg Says:

    There was an English professor at Dartmouth some years ago who used to write occasional articles for National Review. He used to say there was more variety of opinion in his old Army platoon than there was on the whole Dartmouth campus.

    Awhile ago, I identified the following as the most poignant and insightful comment ever entered into my own place. With the sixth blogger-birthday coming up, that remains to be the case:

    The stuff I have to put up with from fellow students and professors! When these people talk about things closely related to their own expertice [sic] they argue constantly. When it comes to politics suddenly they all agree. I find that suspicious.

  101. House of Eratosthenes Says:

    […] this is the exception to the rule, as Neo Neocon has noticed: I’ve personally known a number of marriages of the mixed political variety. Almost all of them […]

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