The XX Factor

Maine Lawmaker Shows Off His “Man’s Brain” on the House Floor, and It Is Small

I am thinking in my brain right now. I am thinking, in my brain, that Maine House Minority Leader Ken Fredette needs to take his brain to the shop for a tune-up because, holy John Gray, people, THIS QUOTE, which was spoken out of Fredette’s mouth to express his displeasure with Rep. Linda Sanborn’s proposal to accept federal funds to expand health care coverage: 

As I listen to the debate today and earlier debate on this bill, I can’t help but think of a title of a book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. And it’s a book about the fact that men sort of think one way in their own brain, in their own world. And women think another way in their own brain and in their own world. And it really talks about the way that men and women can do a better job at communicating. Because if you listen to the debate today, in my mind—a man’s mind—I hear two fundamental issues. From the other side of the aisle, I hear the conversation being about: free. ‘This is free, we need to take it, and it’s free. And we need to do it now.’ And that’s the fundamental message that my brain receives. Now, my brain, being a man’s brain, sort of thinks differently, because I say, well, it’s not—if it’s free, is it really free? Because I say, in my brain, there’s a cost to this.

Fredette is trying … so … hard … to explain why he wants to turn down the federal money. (He seems to be saying it costs too much?) But in addition to airing out some devastatingly stale stereotypes about rational men versus silly ladies—which he appears to attribute to that paragon of scientific reporting, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus—Fredette ends up arguing (we think?) that all Democrats are female. And all Republicans are male. We can’t be sure: The whole thing is confused further by the fact that the legislator presents his point in what sounds like a prose poem by Gertrude Stein.

Just for fun, here’s Stein:

Exact resemblance. To exact resemblance the exact resemblance as exact as a resemblance, exactly as resembling, exactly resembling, exactly in resemblance exactly a resemblance, exactly and resemblance. For this is so. Because.

Anyway, Fredette thinks that people who support expanding health care (Democrats) just want free stuff, and they want the free stuff because they’re women, with a yearning for free stuff programmed into their free-stuff-wanting lady brains. Men, on the other hand, can resist the siren’s call of things—presumably because they dwell in the Platonic world of ideas, where they belong since their minds are so powerful and discerning. Oh, and for all of Fredette’s tortured hand-wringing about “if it’s free, is it really free?” and his brain’s grim conclusion that “there’s a cost to this,” the bill is expected to save Maine $690 million.