Take it from a longtime Republican and a former religion journalist: Y’all whiffed on this one.
Here is Webster’s remark in context, as presented on your page:
Webster: So, write a journal. Second, find a verse. I have a verse for my wife, I have verses for my wife. Don’t pick the ones that say, ‘She should submit to me.’ That’s in the Bible, but pick the ones that you’re supposed to do. So instead, ‘love your wife, even as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it’ as opposed to ‘wives submit to your own husbands.’ She can pray that, if she wants to, but don’t you pray it.
Y’all claim Webster is telling his audience “just the opposite.” No, he’s not.
What he’s doing is drawing a distinction between what husbands should pray for and what wives should pray for. That’s all. In general, he’s saying that each person should pray for him/herself to do the things he/she is supposed to do and not pray for the things that the OTHER person is supposed to do. He’s not saying wives shouldn’t submit. He’s saying husbands shouldn’t pray for it. The fact that he acknowledges, “That’s in the Bible,” indicates that he believes the sentiment is valid, just not something it’s the husband’s place to pray for. Indeed, although I am inferring here, he seems to feel that if the wife is following the same instructions as he’s giving the husband, then in fact she WILL pray for the will, or ability, or whatever, to submit to her husband.
It’s a subtle distinction to pick out of the language, I admit. But when you’ve sat through dozens, if not hundreds, of these things in your life, these subtleties get less and less subtle. I don’t want to call it a dog-whistle, because of the association of that term with covert appeals to racism. But rhetorically speaking, it’s LIKE that.
And there’s a larger picture, too: Webster envisions a very intrusive role for government in the personal decisions of women. “American Taliban” may be a metaphor, but it’s quite apt. It’s certainly not inaccurate or wrong. So, I’d say that overall, Grayson has nothing to apologize for with this spot. In fact, I’d say you owe him an apology.
(Calling a guy a draft dodger when he in fact was 4F, on the other hand — while using an announcer’s voice to create the false impression that Grayson served — I think you’ve got him dead to rights on. That’s pretty sleazy.)
UPDATE: Digby adds: “The Village [her term for mainstream DC media] is having a full blown hissy fit about the ad, although I notice that it seems to be quite a bit less offensive to women than men. I wonder why?”