Paul Ryan's Demand for Dad Time Gets Cheers, Jeers

Would-be speaker applauded for taking a stand, knocked for hypocrisy
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2015 8:44 AM CDT
Paul Ryan's Demand for Dad Time Gets Cheers, Jeers
In this June 9, 2015, file photo, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is seen in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Molly Riley, File)

Paul Ryan put out a list of demands he'd need met before agreeing to become House speaker, and one is getting its fair share of attention. Ryan—who the New York Times notes is a regular at his kids' basketball and volleyball events, as well as the family's "designated pancake maker"—said he wanted to cut down on weekend travel and fundraising so he could spend more time at home with his wife and three kids, making him an "unlikely spokesman for balancing family life with work," as the Washington Post frames it. "I cannot and will not give up my family time," he said after a House GOP meeting Tuesday. His daddy declaration is getting ample response:

  • "Three cheers for Paul Ryan," Ann Marie Slaughter, who penned a 2012 article in the Atlantic about leaving her high-profile job to tend to her sons, tells the Post. "He'll reinvent the job." She adds, though, that if a woman had made that demand, it would be a different story: "If Nancy Pelosi said that, it would be all over."

  • Other high-profile women also give Ryan a thumbs-up. Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg gave Ryan the "Lean In Award," noting, "Having leaders who weigh responsibilities as fathers as much as their responsibilities to their jobs shows all of us what is possible." Meanwhile, Arianna Huffington tweeted, "Good for Paul Ryan."
  • Not everyone was so enthusiastic, calling his demand "hypocritical," per CNN. "That's why Dems are fighting for paid sick time, family leave & schedules that work - bills your party repeatedly blocks," tweeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren, adding: "@PRyan Family time should not be a privilege reserved for the Speaker of the House. You deserve it – and so does everyone else."
  • Bernie Sanders, who tweets regularly about paid family leave, noted, "Republicans talk about 'family values' but the US is the only major country that doesn't guarantee paid family leave."
  • Perhaps the harshest assessment comes courtesy of Sam Biddle at Gawker, who rails on "enemy of women" Ryan and "perpetual self-promotion machine" Sandberg for her "odd choice." "Ryan ... has opposed congressional efforts to help women receive fair pay for their work, over and over again," Biddle writes. One of the three children he wants time with is "his daughter, whose reproductive health and ability to fight for a paycheck comparable to her brother" Ryan clearly doesn't care about. (Raw Story spells out six ways it feels Ryan has not leaned in for women or families.)

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