Fed Nominee Stephen Moore Has History of Controversial Remarks About Women

Stephen Moore, who has been nominated to a seat on the Federal Reserve Board by President Trump. has a history of controversial remarks about women.

Stephen Moore, the conservative economist and pundit who is on Donald Trump’s list for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board is facing questionsabout previous writings and comments about women and women’s sports:

WASHINGTON — Stephen Moore, the economic adviser President Trump plans to nominate to the Federal Reserve, wrote in a 2000 column that “radical feminists” had turned white men into an “oppressed minority” on college campuses, warning parents against sending their daughters to schools that devote resources to women’s studies and black history programs.

“Colleges are places for rabble-rousing,” Mr. Moore wrote for The Washington Times. “For men to lose their boyhood innocence. To do stupid things. To stay out way too late drinking. To chase skirts. (At the University of Illinois, we used to say that the best thing about Sunday nights was sleeping alone.) It’s all a time-tested rite of passage into adulthood. And the women seemed to survive just fine. If they were so oppressed and offended by drunken, lustful frat boys, why is it that on Friday nights they showed up in droves in tight skirts to the keg parties?”

Mr. Moore is a longtime economic commentator and writer, who has worked for conservative think tanks and The Wall Street Journal editorial board, and founded the anti-tax Club for Growth. Mr. Trump has not yet formally nominated him for one of the two open positions at the Fed; he is currently undergoing White House vetting. Over his career, Mr. Moore has endeared himself to many Republicans through columns, speeches and television appearances, in which he skewers liberals and high tax rates with glee.

That history in some ways buoys Mr. Moore’s chances of winning confirmation in the Senate: Many Republicans have long known and liked him, and several have said they will support him, even though Democrats call Mr. Moore a partisan warrior and warn he would be a loyalist to Mr. Trump on an independent Fed.

But Mr. Moore’s long paper and video trail also contains potential roadblocks to confirmation — particularly a history of writing about women in unflattering terms. While many of the columns are written with sarcasm, they contain controversial statements that could raise questions about Mr. Moore’s actual views toward women. Mr. Moore has already been criticized by Democrats for his failure to pay more than $300,000 in child support to his ex-wife, Allison Moore, which resulted in Mr. Moore being held in contempt of court in 2013.

In a column reprinted in the Ottawa Citizen in 1998, Mr. Moore complained about coed youth soccer games, which he called “a giant social experiment imposed upon us by the geniuses that have put women in combat in the military. No one seems to care much that coed sports is doing irreparable harm to the psyche of America’s little boys.” He called a kindergartner in his son’s soccer league, named Kate Lynn, “Secretariat in pig tails.”

In a series of columns for National Review in the early 2000s, Mr. Moore mocked female athletes and proposed, in what he says was a joke, that women be barred from officiating, announcing or even serving beer at N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament games. “Is there no area in life where men can take vacation from women?” he wrote in 2002. “What’s next? Women invited to bachelor parties? Women in combat? (Oh yeah, they’ve done that already.)”

(…)

In 2014, Mr. Moore critiqued a Democratic proposal to combat gender discrimination in a column for National Review. “The crisis in America today isn’t about women’s wages; it’s about men’s wages,” he wrote.
“What are the implications of a society in which women earn more than men?” he wrote. “We don’t really know, but it could be disruptive to family stability. If men aren’t the breadwinners, will women regard them as economically expendable? We saw what happened to family structure in low-income and black households when a welfare check took the place of a father’s paycheck. Divorce rates go up when men lose their jobs.”
In 2017, Mr. Moore drew criticism from fellow panelists during a discussion of sexual harassment on CNN, where he passed along what he said had been advice from a leading corporate executive: not to meet with a woman without a third-party present.

“He said to me about two or three years ago something that I thought was very good advice for people who run companies,” Mr. Moore said, “and this is a very good advice, is that I would never have a meeting with a woman without someone else in the room. You all — and this is — unfortunately, this is where we’re at today. If you are in a position of power, a Bill O’Reilly, a Donald Trump, anyone who is running a company, you cannot be —”

His fellow panelists cut him off, saying such a policy could negatively affect women.

“If you’re in a position of power,” Mr. Moore said, “it’s probably not a good idea.”

Mr. Moore also wrote several parodies of the traditional family “Christmas letter,” in which he referred to himself in the third person as “Steve” and listed various complaints about his family. In 2001, he wrote that he had bought a new Camaro convertible, and that his young children were impeding his attempts at “hitting on girls” while driving around:

“On more than one occasion Steve has been cruising around town with the top down and a gorgeous 20-something blond has pulled up beside him: he looks longingly at her, she gives him a ‘come hither look,’ and then the mood is spoiled when she sees David drooling in the baby seat and then Justin and Will start making weird faces at her,” he wrote.

“She sticks her finger in her mouth and zooms off and Steve is left screaming at the kids: ‘How many times do I have to tell you tyrants to stay out of sight when I’m hitting on girls?’ And then Will, with a puzzled look on his face says, ‘but daddy, we already have a mommy.’ And then Steve says, ‘Yes, but imagine, just for a moment, how nice it would be if you had a much younger mommy.'”

To be frank, Moore’s writings on these subjects are not unfamiliar or uncommon in conservative circles. Indeed, these seem to reflect a prevailing zeitgeist among even conservative women that the most oppressed minority in the country is the white, conservative, male. The sarcastic tone of many of his articles about women is also similar to that which one sees from several conservatives who have written about similar topics over the years. In that respect, I suppose that there is nothing per se controversial about what Moore has written except for the fact that it makes him out to be something of a male chauvinist, which is quite honestly not uncommon among conservatives.

Despite this record, it doesn’t appear that Moore is likely to follow the fate of Herman Cain, whose controversial nomination was dropped by the White House on Monday after it became apparent that there was insufficient Republican support for his nomination. Unlike the Cain situation. there don’t appear to be any Republican defections on Moore’s nomination and the fact that he is a well-known conservative pundit who has developed deep relationships with Republicans and conservatives over the years is likely to help his nomination make it through the Senate. We may see remarks like this impact the votes of people like Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, but unless there are more defections than that Moore is likely to be confirmed.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Donald Trump, Economics and Business, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Joe says:

    As annoying as his “jokes” are, it’s too bad that anyone has had to mount an attack on anything more than his (mis)understanding of economics.

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  2. Michael Reynolds says:

    I would be desperately embarrassed to have said anything like this. It’s a broadcast of your own weakness and fragility. I have never in my life felt threatened by women. I’ve frequently been threatened by men, but not women. How does one write, “If men aren’t the breadwinners, will women regard them as economically expendable?” and not feel humiliated by the public acknowledgement of fear, insecurity and weakness? It made me cringe just to read it. Why not just write “I’m a pitiful wimp,” and save the excess verbiage?

    I’ve always strived to (and now can insist) live outside of any hierarchy. I don’t want anyone below me, and I won’t tolerate anyone over me. And yes, my particular career makes that easier for me than for most people. But the point is that I’ve long recognized the essential weakness of so-called ‘alpha males.’ They need hierarchies, they can’t survive without them. Just look at all the supposed alphas who grovel at Trump’s feet. I’ve never seen a greater collection of cowards and wimps.

    This has not been a good few years for men. Weak, weak, weak.

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  3. steve says:

    Everything written above will be seen as a positive by conservatives. He is a slam dunk in the Senate when you only need 51 votes.

    Steve

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  4. Jen says:

    Watching his appearances on CNN, he strikes me as one of those people who thinks he is hilarious, but no one else finds even remotely amusing.

    My guess is that he wrote some of this stuff thinking it was witty. (It isn’t.)

    He’s totally on-brand for a Trump appointee.

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  5. Kit says:

    I don’t mind some good natured ribbing in the battle of the sexes. And I suppose that William Barr could have redacted the above to seem innocuous enough. But Moore’s views and, ah, humor ran the gauntlet from offensive to hateful.

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  6. Gustopher says:

    the women seemed to survive just fine.

    That would be the most perfect epitaph for his grave stone.

    Steven Moore
    Born: some date
    Died: some other date
    The women seemed to survive just fine

  7. DrDaveT says:

    To be frank, Moore’s writings on these subjects are not unfamiliar or uncommon in conservative circles.

    I was going to say that I would be shocked to learn that anyone Trump would want to nominate had not made problematic and offensive public statements about women. You are even harsher, to label it a problem endemic in conservatives, as opposed to a Trump personality flaw.

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  8. Franklin says:

    And then Steve says, ‘Yes, but imagine, just for a moment, how nice it would be if you had a much younger mommy.’

    To conservatives, this is a clever joke that no one has ever thought of before.

    Steve, usually I’d suggest you keep your day job, except nobody wants you to be a Fed Chair, either. So please, why don’t you go on the road with your comedy?

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  9. SenyorDave says:

    I learned a long time ago that when people insult one group it usually is not a one off. I can only imagine what he says about blacks, Hispanics, etc. He must be a regular Don Rickles with the insults.
    BTW, someone should have told him that his “Christmas Letter” isn’t exactly clever satire. It just makes him sound like a pig.

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  10. CSK says:

    I’m sure when his sons are old enough to read, they’ll enjoy Daddy’s comments about how they thoughtlessly prevented him from hitting on hot young blondes. And about how their Mommy is old and worn out by Daddy’s standards.

    And the fact that Moore is attracted to women who mime gagging at the sight of little children speaks volumes about Moore’s taste in women–none of it good.

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  11. Andrew says:

    Political toady who knows very little other than how to be a political toady; says stupid things in league with his political ideology/world outlook.

    He reminds me of some horrible version of a Steve Carrell character.

    “Heheh, look at me guys, I’m cool, I’m hip, Obama was a secret Muslim, and cutting taxes is the cure all for everything. Heheh right guys? Women are stupid and I’d hit that!! Right guys?!?”

    It’s cringe worthy.

  12. Teve says:

    To conservatives, this is a clever joke that no one has ever thought of before.

    Steve, usually I’d suggest you keep your day job, except nobody wants you to be a Fed Chair, either. So please, why don’t you go on the road with your comedy?

    Remember the Fox News attempt to come up with a right-wing Daily Show? The one that lasted 17 episodes?

    Some dude named Rob Herring announced on Twitter today that One America News Network is going to start airing a right-wing comedy show in early May. Maybe they’ll do remotes with Moore.

  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Teve:
    Comedians don’t have to be good people but they do need to be able to look with fresh eyes at the world around them, see things they were not taught to see, to see things in an original way. Conservatives can’t do that. It’s in their nature to not be funny.

    Jokes along with poetry and lyrics are the three things I can’t write. If you made it worth my while I could manage a literary novel – not a great one, but one that would get a solid ‘meh’ from the NYT and the NYRB. But I tried writing jokes once. I can do witty, but I cannot write an actual joke to save my life.

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  14. An Interested Party says:

    How does one write, “If men aren’t the breadwinners, will women regard them as economically expendable?” and not feel humiliated by the public acknowledgement of fear, insecurity and weakness?

    How does one espouse the wackadoodle economic advice he does and not feel humiliated by the public acknowledgement that he’s an idiot…

  15. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    A good joke is hard. A simple joke, not so much:

    Q: What does Trump call a person eminently qualified for a government position?
    A: Unemployed.

    Ok, it’s not very funny. Simple jokes rarely are.

  16. An Interested Party says:

    Ok, it’s not very funny.

    Perhaps…but it’s certainly true…

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  17. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    “If men aren’t the breadwinners, will women regard them as economically expendable?” and not feel humiliated by the public acknowledgement of fear, insecurity and weakness?

    With any luck, some Senator, hopefully a woman, will ask a question of Moore along the lines of Mr. Moore, are you so insecure in your masculinity that you fear being replaced by a woman?

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  18. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Conservatives can’t do that. It’s in their nature to not be funny.

    I don’t think that’s quite right. PJ O’Rourke is conservative and funny, but unlike most conservatives he has the ability to laugh at himself and his side. There is a type of person who confuses actual humor with what a bully does in making fun of someone they have power over. A significant number of media conservatives seem unable to make this distinction. A lot of young liberals also seem to lack this distinction but most seem to eventually grow out of it.

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  19. Franklin says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Jokes along with poetry and lyrics are the three things I can’t write.

    As a middle-aged somebody who has recently revived his interest in songwriting, I agree these are completely different styles of writing. But I suspect if someone gave you a meter to fill, a song form, and maybe a rhyming dictionary you could do way better with one attempt at lyrics than any of my half-finished stuff. You’ve already got the story-telling, the POV, the metaphors, the natural rhythm. Perhaps it’s making it the right amount of abstraction without sounding cheesy that’s the hardest.

  20. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I don’t think that’s quite right. PJ O’Rourke is conservative and funny, but unlike most conservatives he has the ability to laugh at himself and his side. There is a type of person who confuses actual humor with what a bully does in making fun of someone they have power over.

    That’s a good point. Some years ago I saw Rita Rudner in Vegas. Her act had some Vegas-specific jokes(*), but mostly it was jokes about her husband, and by extension about men, which tended to be quite unflattering. But she does two things that let her avoid looking mean: 1) She acts very innocent in her delivery, 2) she makes the same types of unflattering jokes about herself, and by extension all women.

    (*) I really like this one, about going to the emergency room in Vegas and finding out the heart surgeon wasn’t available but, “they had a heart surgeon impersonator; and he was better than the real one!”

  21. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Franklin:
    I could fake it. Or I could parody it. When I first met my wife I used to write parodies of Sylvia Plath. I had a TV idea I thought of pitching, set in the world of stand-up. Quickly realized: Oh yeah, I don’t know how to write that. I finally wrote one joke – not a good joke, and I don’t remember it – but it was a labor of Hercules. Those people look at the world through a specific lens. Everywhere I look I see story. Everywhere they look they see humor. There’s a Venn diagram that includes us both, but people like Seinfeld just have a bundle of neurons I lack and I know it.

  22. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I’ve been working on a joke for the past thirty-five years, and my father worked on it before then, and his father before him, and it’s still not there. But it it the only family heirloom. I don’t know how many generations have failed at this….

    —-

    A priest, a rabbi and a nymphomaniac duck are being chased across the tundra by the Czar’s cavalry. They spot a monastery, and slip in to hide…

    (Insert middle of joke here)

    … and then the Rabbi says “no, not a Cossack, a cassock!”

    —-

    I suppose the opposite works, with “no, not a cassock, a Cossack!”, depending on what the middle of the joke is.

    My contribution was to make the duck a nymphomaniac.

    I don’t have kids, but I have some nephews and nieces, and I hope they will take up the challenge.

  23. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    When I first met my wife I used to write parodies of Sylvia Plath.

    I have no words to express how much I would enjoy reading those.

    (“Cut” is one of my ten favorite poems of all time…)

  24. Franklin says:

    @DrDaveT: For whatever reason, my drunken college roommate was in a professor’s office late at night and stole a copy of The Bell Jar that had been checked out of the library. Fast forward around 10 years and well after we’ve lost touch, but I come across his contraband in *my* book collection. I was still living in the same area, so eventually I dropped it off anonymously at the appropriate library. I never got around to actually reading it.

    That’s my Sylvia Plath story. You’re welcome.

  25. Michael Reynolds says:

    @DrDaveT:
    Poetry parodies, baking banana bread for the University of Texas women’s center, murdering large numbers of cockroaches, and secretly reading love letters from her fiancé, were my big moves. That last was somewhat unethical but at that point I was still a good few years from anything like a moral sense. And what better way to evaluate the competition? He was earnest, boring, conventional and a puppy dog, poor bastard, he practically handed me the knife to cut his throat. He’s an architect now. In Zurich, Switzerland, where ‘exciting’ goes to be assisted to suicide.

    I’ve been cleaning out the garage getting ready to move to LA and I’ve been purging old physical photographs and mementos. I have not come across any of my ‘poetry,’ but I’ve got decades of Beauty and the Beast pix, and I was not the beauty. There was at least a five year period during which she must have exercised superhuman restraint not to tell me I was obviously bald.

  26. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I have a friend — a former student — who’s a professional joke writer. He’s done The Daily Show and several other late-nights, works on a lot of those comedy roasts, and it really is a completely different way of thinking. Everything that goes into his brain gets spun around and searched to see how it fits into joke format. It’s almost scientific. And of course he ends up pissing off a lot of people…

  27. grumpy realist says:

    @Gustopher: The Minnesotan solution: add some lutefisk.

  28. grumpy realist says:

    Actually, speaking of jokes inherited from the family, I remember my father telling one of those never-ending recursive stories along the lines of “It was a dark and stormy night….” which I have never run into anywhere else (and which I still remember from 30 years ago):

    ….early next morning we met outside the walls of Paris. I, being the innocent party, turned and fired the first shot. Bang! The man fell dead. Later on that day I wandered into a cafe situated in the east quarters of Paris. During the course of the evening I fell into conversation with an elderly gentleman seated at the bar. Finally I burst out my story: “Sir! I have killed a man!”
    “You have killed a man?”
    “Yes, I have killed a man!”
    “What was his name?”
    “Harry.”
    “Harry? Harry who?”
    “Harry Zinzindor!”
    “Zinzindor?”
    “Zinzindor!”
    “Z-I-N-Z-I-N-D-O-R?”
    “Z-I-N-Z-I-N-D-O-R!”
    “Sir, you have killed my brother! We must fight!”
    Early the next morning we met outside the walls of Paris….