Disclaimer: I’ve never met Judith Warner and I’m sure she’s a perfectly lovely mother, writer and citizen. In fact, I would love to interview her and learn more about her so that I wouldn’t feel as though her writing nags me so much – because I’m typically the kind of person who resists labels and judging a book by its cover. That said, here’s how I feel about her latest screeds, referenced in this post by McCain.

When Judith Warner’s book, Perfect Madness came out a couple of years ago, freelance writer and friend Wendy Hoke and I tore it apart. Ms. Warner’s subjects belonged to a niche – small and specific and lacking much resemblance to the majority of mothers – anywhere, except in that little small and specific niche. Not to mention, Warner wrote the book after having not even lived in the U.S. for a time and was basically comparing her experience in France to what she thought existed here (and went in search of people whose stories would back her up).

Don’t take my word for it, read this:

Warner draws her research from a group of 20- to 40-year-old, upper-middle-class, college-educated women living in the East Coast corridor. In other words, mirror images of Warner herself. Her limited scope has caused controversy and criticism, as have some of her more sweeping statements. (For example, Warner blames second-wave feminism–rather than corporate culture–for the many limitations women still experience as they try to balance the work-family dynamic.) Other favorite targets include the mainstream media, detached fathers, and controlling, “hyperactive” mothers who create impossible standards for themselves, their children, and the community of other parents around them. Warner begins and ends the book with a compelling argument for the need for more societal support of mothers–quality-of-life government “entitlements” such as those found in France. It’s these big-picture issues that will provide the solution, she says, even if most mothers don’t want to discuss them because they consider the topic “tacky, strident-sounding, not the point.” In these sections on governmental policy, and also when she steps back, encouraging women to be kinder to each other, the author’s warmth comes across easily on the page. Pilloried by some readers and supported by others, Warner should at least be applauded for opening up the Pandora’s Box of American motherhood for a new generation. And if readers are of two minds about the issues raised Perfect Madness, as Warner sometimes seems to be herself, it’s a fitting reaction to a topic with few easy answers.

Following publication of the book, she got a fellowship at the Casey Journalism Center on Children and Families and when that happened, I thought, good! Someone like her really needs some teaching.

But now, nearly two years since then, lookey here. She’s got a column and a blog (sort of – it looks like it’s just a compilation of her columns) in the New York Times. I get the Times, I read the Times and now, I might have to cancel my subscription.

Let’s get some things straight.

For all the warming to her ideas McCain seems to espouse in his post, I gotta tell ya – Ms. Warner doesn’t know what she is talking about. From the end, a statistic which Warner calls “perplexing”:

Clinton’s strongest backing among women now comes from those aged 18 to 34 – and not from her own boomer cohort. It may be that more seasoned – and timeworn – women are simply writing Clinton off as unviable because she is female.

Honey – there’s nothing perplexing about that at all. Boomer women are miserably conflicted over Hillary because we know her and we know her husband. Boomer women are miserably conflicted over Hillary because they liked Al Gore who got screwed over by Bill too and could get screwed by Hillary now. Boomer women are miserably conflicted because they include everyone along the spectrum of the feminist movement – from those that started it to those that take it for granted to those who wish it never was.

This isn’t about women presidents, Judith. This is about Hillary and so long as her image is in people’s minds, they’re going to have a tough time giving a straight answer.

I’m not a math wiz but I did well in social stats. Giving socially desirable answers isn’t some new phenom at all and I don’t doubt that it’s going on in this issue about female presidents. However, Warner, again, just doesn’t look deep enough to really question what’s going on and why. And her writing in that blog? None too clean either – I guess a blog IS a blog no matter where it originates: she’s got no editor looking it over.