Political Animal


August 09, 2011 4:35 PM Megyn Kelly and the broken-clock theory

By Steve Benen

If a conservative is a liberal who got mugged, maybe a Democrat is a Republican who discovered the value of family leave.

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, who’s never made the slightest effort to hide her on-air Republican activism, returned to the airwaves today after a three-month maternity leave. As Pat Garofalo noted, Kelly invited Mike Gallagher on to the first show back, in large part because the right-wing radio host had criticized the fact that Kelly even got maternity leave in the first place.

Gallagher put forth a half-hearted effort, asking, “Well, do men get maternity leave?” Kelly would have none of this.

“Guess what honey? Yes, they do. It’s called the Family Medical Leave Act. If men would like to take three months off to take care of their newborn baby, they can. […] Just in case you didn’t know, Mike, I want you to know that the United States is the only country in the advanced world that doesn’t require paid maternity leave. Now I happen to work for a nice employer that gave me paid leave. But the United States is the only advanced country that doesn’t require paid leave. If anything, the United States is in the dark ages when it comes to maternity leave.

“And what is it about getting pregnant and carrying a baby for nine months, that you don’t think deserves a few months off so bonding and recovery can take place, hmm? … You can’t answer the question because there is no answer, my friend.”


I’m not accustomed to agreeing with Megyn Kelly about much of anything — I guess even a broken clock is right twice a day — but on this, she’s completely right.

I am curious, though, about the larger political argument here. The Family Medical Leave Act, which Kelly praised, was strongly opposed by Republicans in the early ’90s, even getting vetoed by the first President Bush for being “anti-business.” For that matter, in 2011, the notion of the United States joining the rest of the advanced world in requiring paid maternity leave would is a pipe dream — the GOP would never consider even allowing a vote on such an idea.

Given this, is Kelly prepared to start endorsing Democratic efforts to help working families? And what kind of punishment would she face if she does?

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • withay on August 09, 2011 4:42 PM:

    should be "Gallagher put forth a half-hearted effort....."

  • bardgal on August 09, 2011 4:42 PM:


    I just looked out my window, and pigs are not flying.

  • J from Wpg on August 09, 2011 4:43 PM:

    Garofalo put forth a half-hearted effort, asking, �Well, do men get maternity leave?�

    - did you mean Gallagher put forth ?

  • DAY on August 09, 2011 4:44 PM:

    But, but, I thought Republicans were Pro Family.

    Of course we can debate what "pro family" actually MEANS. . .

  • Eeyore on August 09, 2011 4:45 PM:

    Space aliens have abducted Megyn and replaced her with pod woman.

    Don't Republicans believe that women should submit to their husbands, keep tidy homes, cook tasty meals, stay home and take care of the kids, and not try to do manly things like having careers?

  • Brenna on August 09, 2011 4:47 PM:

    We could use a mouth like hers on our side. She has chuts-pa!

  • DRF on August 09, 2011 4:48 PM:

    Excellent point.

    Today's GOP would oppose the FMLA as excessive government intrusion into and excessive regulation of business, increasing the cost of doing business, etc. Undoubtedly, the entire Republican caucus in both the House and the Senate would have opposed this bill if Obama and the Democrats had introduced it.

    Intellectual lightweights such as Kelly don't connect up their ideological opposition to government action to the actual, real-world benefits they derive from that action.

  • jdog on August 09, 2011 4:55 PM:

    Shorter MK: I like the social welfare policies that benefit me.

  • TeaBaggerSmith on August 09, 2011 5:00 PM:

    While Megyn Kelly was on her baby vacation, Mike Gallagher and the rest of the working world were towing her dead weight.

    Megyn Kelly should be fired from FOX immediately. Plus, I want congressional inquires into why the best news network in America is run like some commie sorority house.

  • DAY on August 09, 2011 5:00 PM:

    After further thought, I have further thoughts.

    When I farmed, the sheep and the goats and the various other mammals pretty much gave birth on their own. Labor, delivery, clean up, then feed the result, and go to lunch. A few needed help, and yes, a few died.

    Humans did pretty much the same, both before and after we started to walk upright. A whole heck of a lot of Third World ladies would laugh aloud at Megyn's idea of 'paid maternity leave.' Have the kid, nurse it, and get back to choppin' that cotton.

    It was only when the midwife was replaced with the MALE medical quack that women began to die in childbirth. Now that we have golf, we also have the C-section. . .

  • Squeaky McCrinkle on August 09, 2011 5:01 PM:

    Just another self-obsessed idiot who doesn't deserve to be taken seriously.

  • patrick II on August 09, 2011 5:01 PM:

    Republicans lack empathy and are only for federal programs that they themselves experience. Megyn just had a baby, so now she is for family medical leave, Bob Dole, who had a bad arm, notably bucked the republican party in favor of handicap laws, John McCain does the same for torture, the Reagan family came out for stem cell research after President Reagan's Alzheimer's.

  • Kathryn on August 09, 2011 5:06 PM:

    Well said patrick ll, they can only relate when it happens to them, not the great unwashed.

  • Oldskool on August 09, 2011 5:08 PM:

    Maybe she has a friend who will explain how the "dark ages" reference applies to everything her employer and her party represent.

  • bobbo on August 09, 2011 5:09 PM:

    It's like when Dick Cheney couldn't get on board with Bush's anti-gay marriage nonsense. It was only because he has a gay daughter. Remember, "empathy" is a dirty word to these people.

  • ameshall on August 09, 2011 5:16 PM:

    I guess we'll have to wait until Kelly's a cancer survivor for her to recognize that until the ACA, we were the only nation in the industrialized world where breast cancer survivors could be denied health insurance coverage for having a pre-existing condition. As far as I'm concerned, Kelly's no advocate for women.

  • JustMe on August 09, 2011 5:19 PM:

    the right-wing radio host had criticized the fact that Kelly even got maternity leave in the first place.

    I really don't understand why. I assume Fox News has a maternity leave policy as part of their overall compensation package. The Free Market has decreed that maternity leave is something worth offering in order to attract talent, so why would Gallagher criticize the decrees of the Market?

  • Trollop on August 09, 2011 5:25 PM:

    I guess this means she finally delivered Satan's llama out of her ass..

  • SYSPROG on August 09, 2011 5:26 PM:

    She didn't NEED it until now. It's easy to criticize EVERYTHING when you aren't the one needing it...health care, social security, medicare...that's for the blood sucking 'others'...but when YOU need/want it, then it's a pretty cool thing.

  • Steve on August 09, 2011 5:31 PM:

    Dear Meagan,

    Be sure to send a thank you note to President Clinton for the FMLA.

  • Steve on August 09, 2011 5:33 PM:

    err... "Megyn"

  • Chesire11 on August 09, 2011 5:35 PM:

    Actually, in Sweeden, they get 480 days of PAID leave at the birth of each child, which must be shared between teh two parents (the minimum one parent can take is 60 days).

  • angryspittle on August 09, 2011 5:40 PM:

    She is just another flaming hypocrite. Socialism for me but not for thee.

  • max on August 09, 2011 5:57 PM:

    Nothing like a little real life experience to change one's point of view. Megyn Kelly, welcome to rest of the human race and good luck with your baby.

  • JD on August 09, 2011 6:37 PM:

    Kelly is like the rest of the right-wingers: dead set against government unless it benefits them personally.

  • Mark on August 09, 2011 6:38 PM:

    "Now I happen to work for a nice employer that gave me paid leave."

    Why does Faux News hate corporations?

    I wonder if Fox will suffer a backlash from this? Coming out against such social policies, when in fact they offer it to their own employees. Hypocrisy anyone?

    Congrats on your new baby Megyn. Please raise her to respect all points of view.

  • Ketchupism on August 09, 2011 6:39 PM:

    One way to see it is that a broken clock is right twice a day (ignoring military time of course). Sure, I'd go along with that with one exception: conservatives are notorious for their double standards. Another word for it is hypocrite. I'm not calling anyone names here but my guess is that there's no love in this woman's heart for any liberal way of thinking about our country's problems. I think she took a pretty safe issue to brandish about; an issue that's not going to get a lot of push back from anyone in particular. However, I see this as just another self-centered and selfishly motivated stunt on par with any kind of crocodile tear you might have kicking around somewhere. Any criticism leveled at her or this issue will bounce right back at the source. It's quintessential chicken-shit for a lack of better words. Republicans don't do bleeding heart very well; it's always disingenuous at best.

  • slappy magoo on August 09, 2011 6:39 PM:

    I me mine I me mine I me mine

  • bdop4 on August 09, 2011 7:01 PM:

    Unfortunately, irony is completely lost on rightwingers. Their brains are unable to process the incongruity between their statements and their ideology.

    Joe Scarborough does a lot of that as well.

  • zandru on August 09, 2011 7:23 PM:

    Per DAY, "It was only when the midwife was replaced with the MALE medical quack that women began to die in childbirth."

    You really have no clue. That's some of the most uninformed ideological blather I've heard since I last attended a meeting of fellow businessmen.

    It's false, by the way.

  • pluege on August 09, 2011 8:31 PM:

    republicans prove over and over that at the core of their indecency is their utter lack of empathy. Its a fundamental character defect prominent in every republican.

    Sure kelly advocates for maternity leave now that she has personally experienced it. I bet anything a year ago she thought it was part of the socialism destroying America in her mind. And of course gallagher could never have the slightest idea what she or anyone else advocating for maternity leave were talking about because he couldn't experience it himself and therefore couldn't care less.

    If only science could invent an empathy pill we could eradicate republicanism.

  • Al B Tross on August 09, 2011 9:27 PM:

    Albert Hoffman found a certain compound....#25?

    But science has developed a test for the authoritarian(republican) personality syndrome......


  • Skip on August 10, 2011 1:03 AM:

    I seriously doubt Ms GOP elitist is changing her stripes just cause she now changes diapers. [rolls eyes]

  • anon on August 10, 2011 1:04 AM:

    Good take down by Megyn but only because she is passionate about that one issue. I imagine she is Repuglican in every other way, otherwise why work for Fox?

  • boconn13 on August 17, 2011 2:58 PM:

    No picture of the baby?