Last night, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen went on TV and said that Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, who is a stay-at-home mother, had "never worked a day in her life."
And just like that, we've all been sucked back into the same discussion about motherhood we've been having since feminists started encouraging women to work outside the home. Politicians from both parties have denounced Rosen's comments and affirmed their own gratitude and awe of stay-at-home mothers nationwide. Today, First Lady Michelle Obama came out in support of mothers, which is absurd news to report in the first place; the notion that anyone would openly denounce mothers at large was, until last night, a ridiculous one.
Plenty of people across the country are outraged, and plenty of voices in the media are assuaging that anger with the same old platitudes we've heard a hundred times before: Moms are important. Being a mom is a full-time job. Being a mom is hard.
Non-working moms deserve just as much respect as their employed
husbands or partners. It's like Mother's Day came early this year.
Ordinarily, that would be a good thing. But in this case, it's totally missing the point.
Listen to Rosen's statement -- not just the "never worked a
day in her life" part, but the whole thing -- and you'll realize she's
not just talking about hard work. Rosen is a mother herself; she surely
knows exactly how much time and energy it takes to do the job. She's
talking about work that supports a family monetarily. Rosen was speaking
in response to a question from Anderson Cooper about Mitt Romney's
understanding of women's economic issues, and what she said was this:
Ultimately, women care more about the economic well-being of their family and the like, but [Mitt Romney] doesn't connect on that issue either. What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, "Well, y'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 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, in terms of, how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school.
sum it up: Ann Romney's upper-class lifestyle -- not her status as a
stay-at-home mother -- has put her out of touch with the problems that
face most American women.
Where have we heard that argument
before? From just about every left-leaning political pundit in the
country who's spoken about Mitt Romney. The man can't seem to shut up
about his homes and cars and high-stakes bets -- and Democrats have
nailed him on it again and again.
Of course, just because a person has
lots of money doesn't mean they can't successfully run a country, or
offer good economic advice. But plenty of people have claimed that exact
thing about Mitt in the past, without facing widespread condemnation. Why
protect Ann Romney from that same judgment?
Oh, right, because
it's far more interesting -- and politically advantageous
-- to take Rosen's comments out of context and whip everyone up into
another chorus of "Moms Are the Best."
Don't get me wrong: Moms are the
best. I think I'll call mine right after I publish this post, and so
should you. But after we hang up, let's not let ourselves get distracted
with all this politically correct pandering to parenthood. Nobody's saying moms don't work. And anyone who
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truly respects mothers -- and all other women, for that matter -- should
do us all the favor of focusing on the political issues that affect women, rather than one poorly worded argument on their behalf.