With the Left’s hostile response to Florida’s initiative to support responsible fathers, conservatives can occupy the high ground on this crucial issue, writes Patrick T. Brown in City Journal.
Republicans, we’re told, should “lean into the culture war.” Not every battle in that conflict is worth wasting powder on, but the Right does have the upper hand on at least one: the pervasive problem of absent fathers.
In 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama talked openly about how “too many fathers are missing—missing from too many lives and too many homes . . . and the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.” These days progressives, to the extent they mention the problem at all, criticize rhetoric on absent fathers for valorizing two-parent family structures.
This has left the field wide open for conservatives like Florida governor Ron DeSantis. Earlier this month, DeSantis signed a bill that devotes $70 million to promoting “responsible and involved fatherhood” in the state. The legislative package marks an important step in strengthening incentives and bolstering organizations that can help advance that goal. (For the sake of full disclosure, I am part of an informal working group that provided feedback to the DeSantis administration in advance of the initiative’s launch.)