Besides running our Karl Rove Did It! contest (click here and here), in which we dig up instances of liberals’ blaming the all-seeing, all-knowing, all-diabolical Rove for everything from long lines at the Ohio polls to Mary Cheney’s lesbianism, we’re collecting mail in the ‘Bag on other issues.

Here’s Inky reader “Jasmina” on The Other Charlotte’s dig at the mainstream media (the “MSM”) for refusing to call the election for G.W. Bush on Wednesday morning even though the president was ahead of John Kerry in Ohio by almost as many votes as Gore was ahead of Bush in the entire country in 2000:

Can we stop calling it the “mainstream media,” when it is so clearly not mainstream.

I’ll second that motion, Jasmina. And so, undoubtedly, will the 51 percent of American voters who were subjected to months and months of wall-to-wall Kerry-boosting by nearly all the newspapers and television networks but chose not to pay any attention to it.

And now “Daniella” on a completely different issue:

“I am a stay-at-home mom with two very young daughters (2 years, 7 months). I was just wondering if anyone had a comment about the importance of one parent staying at home with children.

“I hold a master’s degree in chemistry, so I had a very good job before leaving the workforce. I feel that my job here at home is just as important as the job I had because I’m raising a child to be a responsible adult.

“My husband and I now live in the U.K., where the government does support women that leave their jobs to raise their babies for at least the first four months of their lives (the gov. takes over once the mom is approx 35 weeks pregnant and requires their job to pay the women a certain percent of their pay for the first four months). Thinking back at living in the States, I didn’t realize how terrible it would be for these moms to come to work after only six to eight weeks! I just think companies will get more production out of these women if they allow them more time off with their baby. I mean four months is not asking too much, is it?

“What do you think? Does anyone have any suggestions for women who are ready to go back to work after being out of the workforce for three to five years? Are there any organizations, books, etc. out there that can restore some of the lost self-confidence?”

You seem to be raising two issues, Daniella. You’re a highly educated woman who’s chosen to take time out from your career to be with your small children, and that’s a wise and brave choice. Unlike the “mainstream” (read radical) women’s organizations, we at the IWF applaud, not denigrate, stay-at-home mothers, while we realize at the same time that staying at home is not always an available choice.

First, you wonder why the U.S. doesn’t give new mothers five full months of paid parental leave as the U.K. does. The answer is that someone has to pay for all this. The U.K.’s strategy is to socialize the burden by making the taxpayers–everyone who lives in the U.K. or does business there–bear the cost. That’s nice for individual mothers but operates as a drag on the U.K. economy, even in good times such as now. The U.S.’s strategy is to leave the decision of how to finance maternity leave up to individual families. That reduces the cost of doing business here and encourages aggregate job growth, which is likely to be better in the long run for mothers seeking to re-enter the paid workforce. I’m no professional economist, but this report of a slowdown in the U.K economy versus this one tallying a huge growth spurt in new jobs here might have something to do with our lack of a huge and expensive social-welfare system for the middle class. We’d rather see our middle class–including middle-class women–get its benefits directly in the form of paychecks.

Second, you wonder if there’s any literature out there for educated moms who decide to take a few years off to raise their children. I highly recommend Danielle Crittenden’s What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman. And read Meghan Cox Gurdon’s delightful column, “The Fever Swamp,” on National Review Online (click here for today’s entry). Meghan is off the charts in brainpower and a funny, talented writer. She’s raising four kids; I think she’s the new Erma Bombeck.

But do any other Inky readers have suggestions for Daniella? If you do, I’ll post ’em.