Meet the Press   |  June 02, 2013

3: Experts examine Syria involvement, women in the workplace

A Meet the Press panel of experts analyzes the future of U.S. involvement in Syria and the dramatic rise in women as primary breadwinners in the modern American family.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> news this sunday morning "new york times" in the, the sectarian violence that's spreading from syria throughout the middle east . 1,000 people killed in iraq in may alone. we're back with our roundtable. tom freiedman, you've been traveling through the region including turkey. it makes it very difficult to see how the united states can have a positive impact on this region.

>> david, we're seeing the breakdown basically of almost a century old political -- back to world war i when the middle east was twdivided up into these states. it was done under --

>> i've got a copy of that.

>> you can bring it up. what we're seeing now is the new do it yourself version. this will not be done by imperial powers from the top down. it will be done by the people from the bottom up. i think the issue the president is struggling with as a country is what to do about syria . i've just come from syria and yemen and turkey. and i would say, you know, what i seem to see in the debate here is no one saying what is the outcome we want? the rebels are being hurt, you know, and lord knows that resonates with me. but we've got to say what is the outcome we want? do we want to preserve a multi -- produce a multiethnic unified democratic syria ? if that is the case, you don't just have to arm the opposition. once the opposition topples assad, there's two more civil wars coming. one between sunnis and alawites. then between sunnis and sunnis between secular islams. if you want to arm the rebels to topple this regime to produce a unified syria you're going to have to have international peace keepers on the ground. if your goal is just to bloody iran and syria , our opponents, feed the rebels arms. let them defeat hezbollah, all these bad guys. then the issue is going to have to be you're going to be ready for the breakup of syria . lastly, if you're arming the rebels just in order to create a stalemate so they'll negotiate, ultimately there's no deal assad and the rebels are going to reach that, again, won't require international peace keeping force to somehow maintain. please do not will the end without willing the means. we tried that in iraq. it didn't end well.

>> it's daunting. a head snapping segue. i want to segue from that to something that is back home here. a big issue for a lot of families, something that caught our attention this week from the pew research center . look at the percentage of the mothers as the sole or primary breadwinner in the families. back in 1960 if you look at this chart, 10.8%. and now here we are in 2011 . it's at 40.4%. ana, there's a lot of discussion within marriages now that's a bottom line discussion. about who should be working based on who's earning.

>> i think that's where the discussion should be. amongst marriages. there has been an evolution in the american family . you know, i think what we have to be as a society is accepting of what couples decide to do for themselves. there are some people who want to lean in. there are some people who want to lean back and be on a rocking chair drinking a mint julep . whatever works for every couple --

>> enough about your sunday afternoon.

>> when i say in my house i want to be a kept woman , the answer i get back is i want to be a kept man. that's not working. it's not working in my house. but i think it's -- what chairman rogers was just saying i think makes a very important point. he talked about what girls go through in so many other parts of the world to be able to go to school. here we encourage girls and women to reach their potential. when they do, we want to do something about it. i think we, women that work, need to be not judgmental of women who don't. i think men who are mister moms need to be accepted by those who are the alpha male bred wadwinners. i think it's got to be whatever folks. different folks.

>> marsha, we talked about this before around this table. first of all, what is the impact of this as a data point? now we have research backing up what so many of us know, which is that this is a new reality?

>> yeah. it was so interest ing. the day this came out i was doing a roundtable discussion at the middle tennessee girl scout center with 20 affinity group leaders from corporations in tennessee. and one of the things that everybody seemed to agree on was that as we go to an economy where your -- your intellectual property, your thought, all of that is geared -- we're an information economy . women excel in that area. you're going to see more women move forward as breadwinners. but it is up to companies to make certain that there is a level playing field and that women are not shortchanged as they try to get on that ladder to success.

>> it goes beyond up to companies. i would love to see our party have many or of you. we as republicans have got to do a better job.

>> in the political arena, you're exactly right.

>> it will make us a much better party.

>> i say we need to be the great opportunity party.

>> how about pay equity loss to ensure that women are treated fairly in the workplace?

>> i think that more important than that is making sure that women are recognized by those companies. i've always said i wasn't -- i didn't want to be given a job because i was a female. i wanted it because i was the most well qualified person for the job. and making certain that companies are going to move forward in that vein, that is what women want.

>> what about --

>> they don't want the decisions made in washington. they want to be able to have the power and the control and the ability to make those decisions.

>> jonathan, it's also a question of what men want. i was struck, bloomberg business week has this cover story out. working dads want family time, too. talking about lean out. it talks about younger men, certainly true in my life, in my generation, who are coming out of college. if they are. or starting on their work life. and understanding that they want things in their careers. they understand that their partner is going to want those things, too. so they look at responsibility at the home including child rearing as a total partnership.

>> absolutely. you know, there's a line in that story that i think all of us have reflected on. it's an old line. that nobody -- no man in particular on his death bed says, i wish i'd spent more time at the office.

>> right.

>> people from both sexes want that family time. they should get that family time. marissa mayer , head of yahoo! set up a huge debate recently when she said that there should be less flex time , more people coming into the office. when it turned out she had child care for herself there, you had a huge national debate. but both men and women should get that flex time that technology now allows. but what i'm worried about with men is that they're not graduating from college. women now make up more than 25% of college graduates greater than men. women . i'm confusing the statistics there a little bit.

>> i worry --

>> women are dominating --

>> men have -- disproportionate with the impact of the changing economy in terms of job opportunities. but as a parent i must say, i spent an awful lot of time when i was young on my career, traveling. my wife was home. my kids -- i had one sick child. three kids. and the greatest regret of my life is that i didn't apportion more time to my family in those early years. and you can't get that time back. so to the extent people are making those decisions differently now, i think it's a really positive thing.

>> got to get a break in here. we'll come back