Contradicting the endless New York Times articles celebrating "the new American family," "blended families" and "quasi marriages," a recent census report says that only 12 percent of Americans will be married as many as two times in their entire lives. Only 3 percent will be married three or more times.
(The "one of every two marriages will end in divorce" canard comes from comparing the number of marriages in a given year to the number of divorces that same year -- but the divorces could be from any of the millions of marriages consummated in the prior several decades. Serial divorcers also bring the "average" divorce rate way up.)
So why does James Traub, writing for The New York Times, describe the "Rob and Laura Petrie" model of the Bush family as "a return to an increasingly abnormal 'normalcy'"? To the contrary, after peaking in the late '70s, divorce is, again, increasingly abnormal.
One gets the impression that a lot of reporters are fantasizing about divorcing their wives, so eager are they to make divorce sound as American as apple pie. Deviants always try to exaggerate their numbers so as to not feel quite so deviant. Ask any Ron Paul supporter.
What newspaper writers tell us about the "more contemporary tableau of family life" -- as Traub put it -- doesn't jibe with either the facts about how often Americans divorce or how likely people are to vote for a divorced man for president.
Amazingly, a recent article in The New York Times by Sheryl Gay Stolberg cheerfully proclaimed that "Americans long ago moved past divorce as a political non-starter" -- in the very same paragraph in which she cited a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finding that half of all voters would have a problem with a candidate who had multiple marriages.
Half! And that's what the public is willing to tell pollsters.
So why do so many Republicans who think they should be president come from the small category of repeat marriers? Only 12 percent of the entire population has been married as much as twice, but about 50 percent of Republican candidates for president have been married at least twice.
Can't we nip this trend in the bud before losing another election with a candidate who's a prima facie loser?
Luckily, Chris Christie, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain are all happily married to one, and only one, spouse. But please keep these statistics in mind during the next Republican primary so we don't have to keep pretending to take seriously candidates like Newt Gingrich, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani.