Since I’m sure you all know what I think by now, here’s what some other Internet denizens are saying:
Here’s the thing: disagree all you want with the way Rosen phrased her comments, but this isn’t a case where family is off limits. It’s not like Rosen is picking on one of Mitt’s grandkids. After all, it was Mitt himself who chose to give Ann a central role in his campaign to win the delicate hearts of women. If he’s going to rely on her for economic advice, then we should be allowed to examine her qualifications on that issue””which is what Rosen was trying to do, albeit in a bit of hackneyed way. Grrrr.
As I’ve often said before (see here), an absurd percentage of every campaign is taken up by one side attacking the other side for something the other side’s candidate said. In almost every case, it’s something the candidate wishes he could take back the moment it came out of his mouth. Sometimes, we even get campaign kerfuffles about something a campaign advisor said, as we did when Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom’s unfortunate Etch A Sketch remark. And now, we’ve got something even more ridiculous: a kerfuffle about something said by a political professional who isn’t even working for a campaign.
I imagine millions of women watching this and saying, “Gee, those Republicans don’t think I ought to get health coverage, or equal pay for equal work, or access to contraception. On the other hand, some woman I never heard of who doesn’t actually work for Barack Obama said something on TV that sounded insulting toward Mitt Romney’s wife. I guess you’ve got my vote, Mitt!”
In the history book of Democratic politics, the chapter titled “Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory” is a long one. Years from now, CNN regular and Democratic consultant Hilary Rosen may be prominently featured in it. After all, she may have accomplished the virtually impossible: making Mr. and Mrs. Romney seem sympathetic.
Twenty years after Hillary Clinton got into hot water for declaring “I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession,” the media is having a field day with Rosen’s remark that Ann Romney “has actually never worked a day in her life.” And now Ann Romney – who Mitt says “reports to me” about what women care about, who claims “our riches are with our families,” who joked that her spouse doesn’t know how many dressage horses she owns, who protested the release of her husband’s tax returns because “unfortunately” the world now knows how “successful in business” he has been, and who actively helped sell her husband as pro-choice in liberal Massachusetts – may actually be able to help the comically out-of-touch Republican nominee narrow his massive gap among women voters.
Conservatives are working themselves up into another one of their poutrage lathers because Hilary Rosen said something truthful, and hence, mean about Ann Romney whom Mitt Romney has recently tried to pass off as I’m Every Woman because Mitt has lady problems outside the home and they’re not the buy-your-mistress-a-bauble-to-make-it-go-away kind.
What Rosen said:
”œWhat you have is, Mitt Romney running around the country saying, ”˜Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues. And when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.’ Guess what: his wife has never really worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kind of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school, and why do we worry about their future.”
By the time you read this in the morning, conservative moms and the usual cast of professional conservative aggrievement mongers will be in high dudgeon proclaiming how stay-at-homedness has been slandered and impugned and maligned and how Hilary Rosen (and therefore all Democrats) might just as well have shit all over little Austin and Madisyn’s after-school Rice Krispie Treats. Because there is no greater calling than to stay at home and raise your children, providing of course that you don’t have to make ends meet by taking a minimum wage job, maybe two if you’re a single mom, and also there are those times when you skip a meal so that your kids can eat because there isn’t enough food in the house for everyone, and also you hope that none of the kids gets sick because you can’t afford health insurance and, oh yes, the car has been making a funny noise lately and … well, you get the idea.
Which was Hilary Rosen’s point.
I haven’t wanted to say too much about this Hilary Rosen story because she’s a friend. So I can’t be wholly objective. But I will say that I’ve heard enough smackdowns telling Hilary that raising children is in fact hard work. She’s a mother. I think she knows that.
My take is that the whole thing won’t turn out to be that big a deal. I’m sure Hilary would phrase things differently if she had another bite at the apple. But I think the Romney camp’s response is more a sign of desperation to find some way to peal back terrible numbers with female voters.
That’s all I have to say.
I don’t care if there’s a logic to what Rosen said — this is American politics, and you can’t say, or seem to say, or imply, or hint, that June Cleaver is a bad person. You’re just asking for the Marshall stacks of the right-wing noise machine to be cranked up to 11, all describing what you’ve said as an attack on every stay-at-home mother in America.
It didn’t have to happen — the campaign message Rosen was responding to was already failing, and was never likely to succeed.
However, Republicans are well on their way to moving the public focus away from a faux Democratic war on women and returning it to their real war on women — and on LGBT Americans, and on any other Americans who don’t fit the right’s straitjacket definition of Americans deserving of respect and human and civil rights. Shortly after Rosen’s remarks caught fire on Twitter, the Catholic League tweeted, “Lesbian Dem Hilary Rosen tells Ann Romney she never worked a day in her life. Unlike Rosen, who had to adopt kids, Ann raised 5 of her own.” Republicans immediately went into damage control: The Republican National Committee’s Communications Director, Sean Spicer, fired back, “The @CatholicLeague should be encouraging adoption, not demeaning the parents who are blessed to raise these children.”
Which, naturally, made some people wonder if Sean Spicer supported the right of gays and lesbians to adopt, and if so, did the Republican Party no longer oppose same-sex adoptions? Upon which questioning, Spicer turned tail and ran:
Spicer is already walking back his de facto endorsement of allowing responsible, loving adults adopt and raise children. His follow-on tweets are as follows
that is not what i said RT @drdigipol: Love it. RNC’s @SeanSpicer
And a retweet from a RWNJ saying he’s only for ‘mother & father endorsement’ after ABC’s Jake Tapper picked up on the slip.
Pity those poor Republicans — tying themselves up in knots trying to get their contradictory, inconsistent, illogical positions to match up and scan right.