Chris Matthews just posed a question to Mel Martinez that got me thinking about the conservative coalition. He asked Martinez whether it is really sexist to believe that women are better equipped to stay at home and "raise the kids." This question has the potential to drive wedges between the conservatives, especially the social conservatives, a huge number of whom are Christian conservatives.
Evangelical Christians carry with them some strong beliefs about traditional gender roles and the idea of women being better suited to raising children than men. Take, for example, the Southern Baptist Convention's "doctrinal accountability" document, which mandates that "a wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ" and "to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation."
Establishment Republicans and the CEO's who drive the party need to be very careful about pressing the claims of sexism based on parental roles too far. The more they start pushing the idea that dads and moms are equally equipped to lead the family or to raise children, the more religious and social conservatives they will discourage.