Controversy Over Verbal Attack on Ann Romney (UPDATED 3)

UPDATE 3: How nice: Hilary Rosen has apologized for her comments about Ann Romney and some conservatives now attack her for raising children as a lesbian. This is a classic case where a Democrat put her foot in her mouth, gave an issue to GOPers and some on the GOP side overreached and undermined an issue handed to them on a silver platter. It’s another example of how partisans and ideologues escalate verbiage — and how the side that escalates it the worst is going to lose swing voters in the general election. On the other hand, Rosen has activated the GOP’s “secret weapon” (Ann Romney), caused Barbra Bush to come to Mrs. Romney’s defense, and inspired a big debate on The View. You can’t say Rosen helped the candidate she is trying to elect.

Our original post:

Here’s more proof that partisans on both sides simply can’t control themselves when they get into attack mode. Uh, oh, here come the “false equivalency” comments, and emails and blog links. But all you have to do on this comment is change the name and it’s something that sounds like it comes right out of right wing or left wing talk radio or an ideological cable show guest on MSNBC or Fox News:’

Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen stirred controversy Wednesday evening when she criticized Ann Romney for having “never worked a day in her life.”

During a discussion on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 of the so-called war on women, Rosen said she agreed with Mitt Romney’s claim that women care more about economic issues than reproductive rights. But Romney’s use of his wife Ann’s perspective shows how poorly the former Massachusetts governor connects with voters, Rosen said.

“Guess what?” Rosen said. “His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing.”

Rosen continued, “There’s something much more fundamental about Mitt Romney. He seems so old-fashioned when it comes to women, and I think that comes across, and I think that that’s going to hurt him over the long term. He just doesn’t really see us as equal.”

Rosen’s comments provoked a quick response from the Romney campaign, as well as from President Barack Obama’s reelection team.

Ann Romney, who previously was not on Twitter, sent her first official tweet in response to Rosen’s comments.

“I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys,” she wrote.

“Believe me, it was hard work.”

So this suggests the only people how who can enter into this debate are women who worked at regular jobs? The others have viewpoints that don’t count?

Will we next hear that some jobs don’t qualify?

And now, suddenly, raising a large family (even with lots of money) is just a lark?

And here come those “false equivalency” charges. But a phrase aiming at discrediting a criticism doesn’t erase the validity of the criticism.

UPDATE: Washington Wire offers this little tidbit:

“You know essentially, you’ve taken on sort of the most sympathetic person in the candidate’s realm, the wife, who is taking care of the children, supporting the husband, doing everything she can because she loves him. Michelle Obama is a pretty terrific woman I have to say, and I think that attacking her is a dumb strategy on the Republican’s part.”

– Democratic strategist Hillary Rosen, quoted by the Washington Examiner, on CNN on May 19, 2008.

I used the word “d-u-m-b” in discussing this on my Twitter page.

This is yet one more — rpt more — example (I have given many over the years) of how partisans on both sides (uh, oh here come more false equivalency charges) go into outrage mode over something the other side says then say the same thing when they want to try and discredit the other side.

Which is why some independents remain and will remain independents.

UPDATE II:
Rosen won’t apologize, suggesting it’s the Romney camp trying to take attention off Romney’s record. Another politically ill advised response. In reality, her response is her trying to take attention away from her comments on Ann Romney.

Firstly, as you can see above she made comments about Michelle Obama that will allow GOPers and others to argue that she says one thing about a D woman and another about an R woman. But the bottom line is she now keeps this line open – which will be repeated and rerun on talk radio and ideological cable shows where they can easily fill time with outrage and talking heads who will beat their chests (and they say the things about the other side later when they feel it helps then politically).

You wonder when you watch politicians and those around them if they read anything on damage control. (Perhaps only when it comes to storm damage on their property.)

If this is the political smarts of team Obama then I suspect this election will be even a lot closer than some experts expect. On the other hand, I am not one who has felt that Team Obama has been the Dems best political team. They have been aimed with luck (John McCain as their opponent) and favorable circumstances for the Ds (8 years of George W. Bush). And now they face Mitt Romney who makes tofu seem exciting.

Karl Rove must be watching this and salivating.

Expect to see Rosen’s comment in some future Romney ad.

UPDATE: >Talking Points Memo notes the Obama campaigns “swift rebuke” of Rosen’s comments — but also how the Romney campaign is seeking to use it:

After stumbling badly in the first day of the general election campaign, the Mitt Romney campaign is seeking to regroup by making a mountain out of what Democrats say is a molehill: the attack on Ann Romney’s choice to stay home and raise children by a Democratic CNN contributor Wednesday night.

Welcome to Hilary Rosengate.

As part of a panel on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” Rosen questioned whether Ann Romney was qualified to be talking about women’s economic issues since she’s “never worked a day in her life.” This launched a late-night Twitter offensive by Team Romney and a swift condemnation of Rosen’s remarks from Team Obama.

The Obama campaign’s rebuke came swifter and stronger than the Romney campaign’s response to Rush Limbaugh’s attacks on Sandra Fluke. At the time, Romney didn’t join other Republicans calling on Limbaugh to apologize, opening him up to accusations that Romney was afraid to take on a powerful GOP voice.

After a day in which they were knocked off course from their message on women and the economy, the Romney campaign was eager to push back Thursday, sensing Rosen’s remarks finally gave them the upper hand on an issue polling has shown to give Democrats an enormous edge among the female electorate. The Romney campaign hopes to make Rosen “a household name.”

The bottom line is that it was mind boggling bad politics, handing GOPers a new issue (the war on stay at home mothers?) and Rosen will have to somehow explain why she it was so terrible to criticize Michelle Obama but a woman who spent time with her kids and has an R in front of her name is somehow unqualified to weigh in on a political issue and one that involves her husband.

Once again: why independents (happily) remain independents.

And, once again, if this reflects the political smarts of Team Obama they could grab defeat from the jaws of victory that had seemingly been grabbed out of Republican’s jaws. You read Rosen’s comments and think, I thought only Fox News had moles?

100 Comments

  1. My wife did not work outside the home. She raised three children (and myself). If I were to say she “never worked a day in her life” I would find myself so far in the dog house it would take the rest of my life to get out.

    Only a woman or an unmarried man could make this statement as one who was married knows what side his bread is buttered.

  2. A War on Moms! Great strategy, Ms. Rosen.

  3. Wow that was a really stupid thing to say. So basically stay at home moms don’t count. I like that. How bout 18+ kids who are still in college or freshly out. Voters who themselves haven’t really been facing their own economic decisions yet. I guess we should blow them off too. I like to ignore the rights constant blathering about how the left wants to marginalize traditional america, but then someone on the left goes ahead and actually does just that. Can’t we all agree that Mittens is out of touch without going after his wife. There is ample opportunity and evidence for that already.

  4. The most extreme part of the stupidity is that if Rosen had simply said, “Mrs. Romney never had to worry about finances because her husband was always fabulously wealthy,” it would not have been arguable in the context of the situation.

    Meanwhile, that being said, Mrs. Romney certainly does have the right to express her opinions on the subject, and her opinions are a valid as anyone else’s unless proven wrong. I agree that Rosen was blathering out her a**. Meanwhile, is she supposed to be an official spokesperson for Obama or the Democratic Party? Just because she works for them, does not mean her views are the Party platform.

    Oh well…the silliness goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on, …

  5. Ha, tell Hillary to check out Eleanor Roosevelt, she probably never “worked” a day either, however like Mrs. Romney she raised five kids. Rosen seems intelligent, and I’m sure we can allow her a bad quote once in a while as we can allow the Reps the same (hah, gotcha).

  6. Can we agree that Rosen’s comments don’t represent Democrats in general any more than dumb comments from conservative individuals don’t represent most Republicans?

  7. “She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing.”

    This is likely true. I doubt Ann Romney has ever had to struggle to make ends meet.

    As for staying home and raising kids? My own Mom raised 5 boys and 2 girls. We’re talking some hard work there Bucko. Not a smart comment by Rosen.

  8. I guess Obama and Romney can’t weigh in on immigration laws. They haven’t been Mexican a day in their lives.

  9. I guess Obama and Romney can’t weigh in on immigration laws. They haven’t been Mexican a day in their lives.

    True, LOL.

  10. When did Ann Mittens have time to work at home. she’d trip over the illegal aliens working for the Mittens. Plus, I doubt she ever cleaned the stable for her dressage horses.
    http://www.aberdeennews.com/fa.....3377.story

    Most middle class woman now work and raise kids without a horse stable…

  11. It was a dumb thing to say, of course. The work of women in the house has always been discounted as not “real” work, and of course that’s not right.

    The point she quite inartfully made (“attack”? meh…), though, does have some merit. The economic needs of an average stay-at-home partner or caregiver, in addition to the needs of most women who want to or need to work outside of the home, are indeed quite different than those of the spouse of an extraordinarily wealthy person. When Romney says that women’s most important issue is the economy because his wife says so, it’s not that it’s an untrue statement, it’s that it comes off just as disingenuous as when he says he follows Nascar a little because his buddy owns a team (or whatever it was), or that he likes American cars and in fact has a fleet of them and elevators to move them around. The reason women care about the economy is because, just like men, we need money and jobs to feed and house ourselves and our families. These are just not the same worries experienced by the Romneys, and we all know it. If Ann Romney has never held a job outside the home, that’s not because we have an embarrassing lack of good US jobs right now, and it wasn’t because she couldn’t afford daycare for her 5 kids (two reasons many women do not work outside the home now), it’s because she always had so much money it wasn’t necessary.

  12. “Which is why some independents remain and will remain independents.”

    Quite right. I will only support someone who has demonstrated that they will break from their party when their principles dictate. I don’t see that in any of the candidates on either side right now.

    Rcoutme: “Meanwhile, is she supposed to be an official spokesperson for Obama or the Democratic Party? Just because she works for them, does not mean her views are the Party platform.”

    Riffing off of Joe’s theme, I’d ask: would we make that argument if this were a Republican speaking ill of a Democratic politician’s wife? Have only positions that are officially written into the Republican platform been targets of criticism?

    roro: “The point she quite inartfully made (“attack”? meh…), though, does have some merit.”

    That’s charitable, especially considering that if it really was just inartful language, why did she resist apologizing so long? But, yes, there is a valid argument that the Romney’s wealth make them out of touch. Of course the Romneys aren’t the first wealthy political family but Mitt’s gaffes don’t help either. But the way she phrased the point, and then doubled-down, is not irrelevant. Can anyone imagine uttering the words that she said without immediately realizing their stupidity and disavowing them? The fact that she apparently didn’t reflects that maybe she is… well… out of touch, as well.

  13. I agree that the wealth angle is at least an actual reason that Ann Romney may not be able to relate to struggles of women and families in a down economy- but on the other hand, I don’t see where the campaign has ever presented it as though Ann Romney knows about these things from personal experience. All they’ve said, from what I’ve heard, is that this is the number one concern she hears from women when she’s on the campaign trail. You don’t have to have personally experienced economic hardship to see it in the lives of others and to relate to it with empathy.

  14. ” I don’t see where the campaign has ever presented it as though Ann Romney knows about these things from personal experience”

    CStanley — Yes, that’s exactly what Mitt Romney’s trying to do. Every time someone asks a question about gender inequality or issues considered “women’s issues”, he refers to his wife, and how since he’s married to her, he must know something about women.

  15. The point Rosen is making is that Ann has a husband with so much money that she can choose to stay at home and raise kids. I bet she had lots of help with either housecleaners, maids or nannies. Something most women in this country do not have the money for.

    And I agree with Rosen that Ann Romney does not know the economic choices the vast majority of American women in this country face, having to work full time and raise a family.

    Ann can speak about issues important to parents, such as education. She can talk about her choices of reproductive rights. She can talk about other issues. However there is no way she can possibly accurately represent the majority of women in this country who are forced to work one (or more) jobs.

    I’m not trying to say that her work as a “Mom” is any less than the work of a woman who goes into the office every day. I am saying that Ann’s experiences are vastly different and more privileged, than the experiences of any women in this country who must work to put food on the table for her and her family.

    So if Ann Romney wants to represent women, she represents those who have always had so much money that they can actually choose how to live their lives, how much to work, whether to stay at home, how many housekeepers/maids/nannies to have, etc.

  16. The point she quite inartfully made (“attack”? meh…), though, does have some merit. The economic needs of an average stay-at-home partner or caregiver, in addition to the needs of most women who want to or need to work outside of the home, are indeed quite different than those of the spouse of an extraordinarily wealthy person.

    Because of course they were always that wealthy and never had to deal with the mundain facts of life like most of us? Never lived in a $75 basement apartment with her husband, raising their first child while going to school. Putting off school because of children and having to go to night school to finish her degree. Then of course dealing with multiple sclerosis and breast cancer is no big deal as long as you have enough money. Sure They always had enough money that She was never forced to work. So? That isn’t much of a statement. She had her first kid in 1970, didn’t get a degree till 75 what job would of paid enough that she should of worked? The logic seems to be based on political expediency more than anything else. Yes she didn’t have the exact same life that others have had but that doesn’t mean her viewpoint is worthless or that she should be ridiculed.

  17. I bet she had lots of help with either housecleaners, maids or nannies. Something most women in this country do not have the money for.

    They had their first kid in 1970 while going to BYU and lived in a $75 basement apartment. I doubt BYU provides nannies or maids to undergraduates.

  18. Huh?

    I have noted that weird awkward way he’s referring everything related to women to Ann. My point though is that he (nor she) doesn’t seem to be holding up the Romney family as an example of having weathered economic hard times.

    Anyway- their campaign must be absolutely LOVING this. Mitt wasn’t skilled at using Ann in the campaign, and now they’ve been handed a huge opportunity on a platter to elevate her status and basically introduce her to the public. I don’t know much about her but she seems to be quite capable of handling herself so far.

  19. But I think a far more important point to make about Mitt Romney is this (which seems to have gone unnoticed) also said by Rosen, above:

    ““There’s something much more fundamental about Mitt Romney. He seems so old-fashioned when it comes to women, and I think that comes across, and I think that that’s going to hurt him over the long term. He just doesn’t really see us as equal.”

    As far as Romney not thinking women are equal… There are many Republicans out there (including many women) who believe a woman’s place is in the home. I’d like to know if this is Mitt’s belief and if he thought Ann should stay home because he didn’t want her to work outside the house. I assume the early days of the marriage Ann did not have children. Did she work then? It would be interesting to know what Romney thinks about women working in the corporate office. I also wonder if there were any women in positions of influence at Bain Capital while he was there.

  20. Ann Romney chose to stay at home and raise her children. That is fine with me, and everything else flows from there. Or at least should.

  21. The comparison of Ann Romney to Michelle Obama is ridiculous. Michelle worked hard at a career and raised a family. Neither she nor Barack came from money. They both had to balance work, family and Barack’s political aspirations on a limited budget.

    Mitt seems to have entered politics after he was a successful businessman and Ann seems never to have worked in the corporate world. Neither had to worry about where the next meal would come from. Neither have faced economic uncertainty.

  22. Who was comparing Ann Romney to Michelle Obama, Stockboy? I must have missed something.

  23. adeline’s dad — I don’t think it’s “charitable”, particularly. It was a statement that could be taken in more than one way, and tries to point to the fact that working outside of the home while raising kids is different than doing the work of raising a family. I’m frankly a little tired of the untouchableness of the idea that stay-at-home moms are the most hard-working selfless group of people (any more than working mothers or stay at home dads or working dads), and it’s just not true that Ann Romney is representative of that group anyway. There is a small number of women, like Romney, who can really *choose* to stay at home, as she did. There’s nothing wrong at all with that choice. However, it should be noted that 3/4 of women with children under 15 years old work outside the home. Most do so because they have to work to make ends meet.

  24. Hilary Rosen was wrong to criticize Mrs. Romney. Raising 5 sons so close in age is indeed a lot of work.

  25. *must stick with personal resolution not to reply to EEllis*

  26. They both had to balance work, family and Barack’s political aspirations on a limited budget.

    I’m not sure why you think this wasn’t true of the Romney’s? Sure both their parents had money, tho they weren’t wildly rich, but that doesn’t automatically grant the kids access to that money. My father had a good career and made a comfortable living. I still struggled to pay bills because his money wasn’t mine. Now Mitt did wait until successful to go into politics, but that hardly seem a reason to bash his wife. The Romney’s became wealthy it was not inherited wealth and they didn’t get that money until they were married for 10-15 years.

  27. “My point though is that he (nor she) doesn’t seem to be holding up the Romney family as an example of having weathered economic hard times.”

    No certainly not, I agree. He is holding up his wife as someone who knows what women think are important, in general, and that that is the economy. He’s glossing over the fact that her experience and reliance on the economy is very different than that of most women. Saying that a mother of 5 has never worked is certainly inartfully worded and incorrect. Saying that an extraordinarily wealthy woman who never had to want for money for herself or her family might not be the most representative example of the American EveryWoman’s reliance on a strong economy is entirely true, and not at all insulting to those women who do get a choice of whether they want to work or not.

  28. Roro, what I’m saying is that they’re not making the “experience” argument, therefore a response that says that she hasn’t experienced the same things as less wealthy, working women, is pointless and comes across as petty envy.

    And if I were Ann Romney I’d turn the argument on it’s head and say that yes, her family has had the blessing and good fortune of wealth, and this is why the Romneys want to focus on economic expansion to restore more opportunities for everyone- thus giving the ore women the choice to choose to stay home if that’s what is right for their family.

  29. So we want a dirt poor candidate with a dirt poor wife (ooops partner) that has experience in immigration problems, a military background so he can be the Comm. In Chief, a lawyer so he can understand legislation and of course be articulate and free from foot in mouth disease. Wow, I forgot, foremost he must be an expert puckerer so he can kiss anybody’s ass that is a potential campaign donor. Management experience optional.

  30. There seem to be some people who are ignoring the facts about the Romney’s actual status at the beginning of their marriage. They had their first child while they were both undergraduates at BYU. They lived in a small basement apt their and they had no nannies or maids. After completing his undergraduate work they moved when Mitt went to Harvard. Ann didn’t complete her undergraduate degree until 75 going to night school while raising her children. When Mitt graduated he was recruited by many companies and obviously had a good job waiting but didn’t become automatically wealthy. That was a process that took many years and happened 15 years after they got married.

  31. Not good enough, EE, she has to have had “work” experience. If she took in wash in that basement apartment and set up a Xmas Club account at the local bank, we could give weight to her views (the only ones a candidate listens to, btw).

  32. Yeah actually if you do look at the timeline it seems that the Romneys and Obama’s probably aren’t much different, except that Romney’s wealth increased more rapidly and the Romneys are also older so they’re further down the path of moving in these insulated circles and having privileges like household help. And certainly both couples also are in the political bubble which removes people from the mainstream too…and both are far removed from the world of women who truly don’t have the option of staying home to raise kids.

  33. I disagree with your first paragraph, in that he’s using his wife’s experience as a woman to say that he knows what is important to women. By proxy, he’s saying that the issues that have tanked his numbers with women shouldn’t matter to women because the one he is married to says so. I know you and I differ greatly on those other issues, so maybe glossing over them is something you see as a positive in the Romney campaign.

    One can’t ignore, though, that having children is very very expensive, and women who have them young tend to make less money throughout their lives, tend to be more financially dependent, tend to get less education, are much more likely to be living in poverty, and tend to just plain have less money. He’s trying to say that the economy is important to women but that that is separate from women being able to control their own fertility. This is obviously untrue, as the number one factor in women’s financial independence over the last few decades is that they now have safe, legal, and relatively cheap tools to control their fertility. (This, by the way, is one of the reasons I think such things are so vitally important to society as a whole.)

    I do agree with your last paragraph. That would be a good way for the campaign to frame the issue. As with most of Romney’s campaign, though, it’s going to be tough for him to sell it well, because he’s just so darn good at saying stupid things. Furthermore, if you believe his plan for economic expansion is bunk and has zero chance of working anyway, well, even if you believe he’s genuinely concerned about the economic welfare of women who aren’t already rich, you’ll still think he’s out of touch and wrong.

  34. Taking your first and second paragraphs together, yes, I do see it as a positive to pivot from contraception to the economy. I say that both in the sense of wishing him success and in the sense of believing it’s better for the country to focus on what I believe is the most pressing issue. Even in the sense of your last paragraph’s point, that many people will disagree with his economic vision- but at least I think it’s healthier for the candidates to have to present their competing plans and let people make informed decisions.

  35. To be more blunt, roro, I guess I’d have to say that I think Obama should have to defend his economic record rather than engaging in deflection and fearmongoing over birth control, which is what I believe is what he’s done.

  36. “at least I think it’s healthier for the candidates to have to present their competing plans and let people make informed decisions”

    Absolutely, CStanley, but recall this all came up because Romney is trying to stem the bleeding on his poll numbers with women, which are dismal. He’s also trying to help his image as an out-of-touch richie-rich robot. It’s fine with me for him to use his relationship with his wife for this, but I think the point is that it’s not working well because of the surrounding issues we’ve been talking about.

    I don’t think that’s too blunt, CStanley, and I agree that Obama will definitely have to defend his economic record. That said, Obama on this issue has been pretty quiet about everything except for simply making a policy decision he thought was right, and then letting the rest of us argue about it and respond to it. He hasn’t done much deflection or fearmongering at all, in my opinion.

  37. Okay, to sum up what I have read in the article and these comments I come to some ‘conclusions’.

    1. The Romney’s were married in college (undergrad BYU), as many Mormon couples are. They also had at least one child during that time. It is likely, though not guaranteed, that their families supported them during the college years (including Mitt’s time in Harvard) but not lavishly.

    2. Ann finished her degree attending classes at night.

    3. Mitt was offered multiple jobs upon graduation from Harvard. No word on whether or not his father’s political connections helped there.

    4. It took Mitt some time to become ‘very’ wealthy–no word on the Romney income in Mitt’s first 10 years of work.

    5. Most of us agree that Rosen’s words were either inaccurate or badly chosen.

    6. No one has told me whether or not Rosen is supposed to be a person who matters (I have never heard of her before this article), but I guess she is supposed to be ‘somebody’ in Democratic circles?

    7. Most of the commenters seem to believe that the Republican Party (or at least Romney’s campaign) will try (with a majority thinking succeed as well) to spin Rosen’s gaffe into some sort of Democratic attack on stay-at-home moms.

  38. That said, Obama on this issue has been pretty quiet about everything except for simply making a policy decision he thought was right, and then letting the rest of us argue about it and respond to it. He hasn’t done much deflection or fearmongering at all, in my opinion.

    That is what Obama does on nearly every issue, roro, and when it’s this much of a pattern it becomes pretty obviously a part of the strategy IMO. I think it’s worth noting that I believe Bush did the same with campaign rhetoric though his critics often didn’t seem to notice that it was always surrogates doing the flame throwing. It’s a pretty well worn tactic, of course, but both of these guys have made a lot eof hay with it.

  39. Wow, this thread really took off. I wish I had time to respond to more, but I’ll just respond to roro’s response to me.

    Roro, it can’t be taken in more than one way. That’s the charitable part. She said that Ann Romney never worked, making reference specifically to her stay-at-home mom status. After the firestorm erupted, she stood by her words, which means that they were not just inartful. They were the words that she meant. There is no ambiguity there about how she feels about stay-at-home moms, regardless of the underlying point about the Romney’s wealth. You don’t have to believe that stay-at-home moms are untouchable to see how that view is offensive and out-of-touch.

  40. If Obama were to get more involved in the matter he could rightfully be criticized for both acting unpresidentially and attacking a candidates’ wife. It is fitting that he remains silent. I don’t think that Hilary Rosen is working as his surrogate– at least not in this instance-especially since his campaign manager totally rejected Rosen’s comment
    Couldn’t you say that Ann Romney is acting as Mitt’s surrogate because he is so weak with this demographic?? I don’t think Rosen’s comment was justified, but Mrs. Romney IS putting herself out there on a controversial issue so its only fair to allow some response from the other side.

  41. Yes, they can, adeline’s dad. If you define “work” as “having a job that brings in money”, as is quite common, the statement is merely inartful. If you define “work” as “anything that requires dedication and expenditure of over a period of time”, as is also common, then yes, obviously the words are incorrect as said. We can all hmm and ha over which she meant, but it’s pretty obvious that she meant the former and not the latter.

    And there most certainly is ambiguity about how she “feels” about stay-at-home moms in general. Saying that Romney never had to work is different than saying anything about all stay-at-home moms, except that they share the fact that they don’t have jobs outside the home. Honestly, even most stay-at-home moms do have some outside job at some point in their lives, which Ann has not. And good on her, but let’s not pretend that the comment was meant to reflect on anyone but one individual and those in similar positions of privilege.

  42. Bluebelle, I’m not sure if that was directed toward my earlier comment about Obama staying above the fray. My point wasn’t that he should get more involved, it was that I don’t care for the “staying above the fray while surrogates get down in the dirt” stuff when either side does it. My preference isn’t for the candidate himself/herself to do the dirty work, it’s for the campaign to avoid a lot of this stuff altogether. And in this case, it was in reference to the recent War on Women episodes, not yesterdays comments by Rosen (as far as I know there wasn’t any direct connection to the Obama campaign.

    And yeah, I do agree that Ann Romney is putting herself out there and fair game for criticisms. It’s just that this particular criticism was politically quite dumb.

  43. CStanley — Making policy decisions is a pretty far cry from fearmongering. What Bush did, making speech after speech about the axis of evil and whatnot — that’s fearmongering. Obama didn’t go out and sell his decision, and he hasn’t done much to defend it since. He just made it. You could say that it’s a strategy he’s using, and you’d probably be right, but not talking about something is usually considered mutually exclusive with using that something as a distraction.

  44. Roro, I assume you aren’t being deliberately obtuse but you must know that a comment like that is going to offend most any stay at home mom, and if you look at what she first tweeted by way of apology to Ann Romney, it included the kind of jab that always provokes division between mothers who work outside the home and those who don’t. I don’t have the quote handy but it was something to the effect that working moms also have to work hard at raising their kids as well as doing their other job. In other words, this was about who has it harder, those who parent full time or those who split their time between parenting and a paying job. If this was only about wealth making Romney out of touch, Rosen (a professional communicator no less) wouldn’t have gone there on something so divisive to women.

    I also think that if you watch the video rather than reading the transcript, it comes across differently and seems to betray her personal feelings about the choice to stay home rather than pursuing career.

  45. Roro- I guess I wasn’t clear about Bush- what I was specifically referring to was the rhetoric where GOP accused war protestors of being unpatriotic. That didn’t come straight from Bush, it was always surrogates as far as I could see. And when Obama is in campaign mode he doesn’t personally say things to impugn motives of opponents but his surrogates do.

  46. Gotta go do some “work” myself now. ;-)

  47. CStanley — It’s true I haven’t watched the clip, and have only read the transcript, and you’re right that I might be missing some of the tone. I do not, though, really ever use the tactic of purposeful obtuseness, just for your future reference.

    There is a bigger issue here that you touch on — the false (or at least manufactured) division between women who work outside the home and those who do not. We’ve fought so long and so hard to get to a place where women can work outside the home; fought not just against the workplace dynamics and sexism that kept women out of the office for so long, but also against the idea that the essence of femininity is motherhood and home-based work. Those who choose to work outside the home while raising families (or not) must still deal with workplace sexism and lower pay, but also the still-engrained idea that where they really belong (and what they’re really suited to) is raising their kids (as if many aren’t doing exactly that). Those who choose to stay at home with their families instead of getting an outside job have to fight both against the fact that doing so is unpaid and undervalued “women’s work”, and the fact that some consider them “traitors” to the hard-won rights to be doing things other than homemaking. It’s still an area where women can’t really win either way, in aspects that very rarely exist for me. Once again, culturally ingrained misogyny pits women against each other.

  48. Dang it, again the commenting system ate my comment, then wouldn’t let me repost it, saying it’s a duplicate.

  49. CStanley — It’s true I haven’t watched the clip, and have only read the transcript, and you’re right that I might be missing some of the tone. I do not, though, really ever use the tactic of purposeful obtuseness, just for your future reference.

Submit a Comment