To what extent do our verbal slip-ups reveal the way we actually feel? Are they signifiers of deep-held beliefs that we normally wouldn’t verbalize, or just meaningless slips of the tongue? That’s a question I’m honestly asking, because Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich had a bit of a rough moment today in Fairfax, VA, while speaking at a rally.
“I didn’t have anyone for me,” he said, by way of illustrating his underdog status. “We just got an army of people who — and many women who left their kitchens to go out and go door-to-door to put yard signs up for me.”
Amazingly, a Republican audience member called him out on it—they never do that—and Kasich took it in stride.
“First off,” the woman began, “I want to say about your comment earlier about the women came out of the kitchen to support you, I’ll come to support you, but I wont be coming out of the kitchen.”
“I got you,” Kasich replied, as the audience laughed.
In the grand scheme? No big deal…unless he happens to run in the general election against Hillary Clinton, at which point he’ll be bludgeoned to death with that comment. But that’s probably not happening, because Kasich isn’t nearly crazy enough to win the GOP primary. But it does raise an interesting point about the values of someone like Kasich, who thus far has been the poster boy for moderate Republicanism in a sea of roiling insanity. Regardless of how reasonable he may seem in the face of candidates like Trump and Cruz, the fact is that Kasich has a rough record on LGBT rights (despite a sensible moment in one of the first debates) and has fought against Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion advocates for most of his career. We can’t read his mind, so it’s impossible to know whether sound bites like these reflect a soft prejudice—or at least a very paternalistic idea about women’s roles in society—but you can guarantee that’s how it would be spun in a general election. In microcosm, it’s a representation of how the evolving nation is leaving the GOP behind.