Punking Hilary RosenPosted: April 12, 2012
Hilary Rosen provided the right wing noise machine with a two second sound byte that has been used to reignite the Mommy Wars. They have purposefully obfuscated what Rosen said thinking they will dupe women into voting for Romney. I am not falling for it. I can’t imagine most of the women I know will fall for it either. Any one that thinks that Hilary Rosen believes that stay-at-home parents without access to maids, nannies, yard crews, and millions of dollars don’t work, raise your hand! I thought so. It’s different when you have the ability to just write a check to get anything done. Ann Romney does not have the day-to-day experience of 99% of the women in this country, housewife or not. Most women who work inside and outside of the home have to do stuff for themselves. They can’t just write a check and call on an army of servants. Not so with Ann Romney. So, why is every one punking Hillary Rosen? That Punk’d treatment would include that provided by “this is what a feminist looks like” President Obama and his gang of campaign boyz.
President Obama strongly disagreed with Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen’s controversial comment about Ann Romney, saying today that “there’s no tougher job than being a mom.”
“Anybody who would argue otherwise, I think, probably needs to rethink their statement,” the president told Bruce Aune of ABC’s Cedar Rapids affiliate KCRG.
Rosen sparked a political firestorm when she questioned Wednesday whether Ann Romney is qualified to gauge women’s economic concerns, claiming the mother of five has “never worked a day in her life.” The Romney campaign pounced on the comments as an opportunity to boost the GOP frontrunner’s standing among female voters, while the president’s campaign and the White House publicly distanced themselves from Rosen.
My mom was a “housewife” too. However, Mildred cleaned our house. Mrs. Anders watched me and my sister when we weren’t at Miss Margaret’s pre-school, Miss Donna’s ballet lessons, or Mrs. Donna’s swimming classes. My mom played a lot of bridge, spent a lot of time at the country club, and then did things for junior league like volunteering at the hospital gift shop or attending lunches for the local Red Cross. Mrs Olsen did all our laundry except for our clean ironed bed sheets that were dropped off by Kimball’s laundry at our front door. My dad did the grocery shopping since mom hated doing that and he cooked dinner any way so it was pointless for her to do that. So, as you can see the life of an upper middle class house wife is just full of challenges. Most of the women I’ve mentioned here–like Miss Donna who taught me ballet or the Mrs Donna that taught me swimming–were either widowed or divorce. Mildred and Mrs. Anders had husbands that were old and not able to make money any more since their bodies had way gone pass the point of being able to do the kinds of physical work their educations would allow. Mrs. Olsen was putting her son through college. Yup, my mom had the toughest job in the world. Did I mention that we were the poor ones in my family? My mother’s brother and sister had live-ins for all of that. Of course, my aunts were “housewives” too although I came to think of them more as country club wives. They never worried about much of anything except boredom and when to pick us up. None of us were rich enough to have chauffeurs. Some how, I can’t imagine Ann Romney cleaning any of those multitudes of houses, can you? So, I wish I was reading a lot more articles in support of Hillary Rosen, like this one from The Nation. My mother had the ability to pay a lot of other people do a lot of things. She didn’t have to worry about making ends meet, for example. She had other women doing a lot of work because they needed that money just to stay in their houses. I don’t think my mother could’ve related to Mrs. Olsen’s concerns any more than Ann Romney could relate to most women. The issue is not if you choose to work or not. The issue is if your life is completely underwritten by millions of dollars or a struggle to keep food on the table.
Rosen was responding to Mitt Romney’s constant trotting out of Ann when he gets a question on women’s issues:
What 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 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 and how do we—why do we worry about their future?
There’s nothing there about stay-at-home moms, or the idea that that raising children isn’t work. Rosen was referring to the fact that Ann Romney—an incredibly rich and elite woman—likely does not understand the economic concerns of most American women. Again, it was unfortunate choice of words—but she wasn’t wrong.
The Romney campaign, predictably, has grabbed onto this “controversy” in an attempt to divert attention from their missteps around equal pay and the war on women yesterday. Ann Romney joined Twitter, and her first two messages were about the flap, writing that “all moms are entitled to choose their path” and that she “made a choice to stay home and raise five boys.”
Since all moms are “entitled” to “choose” their path, I’m very much looking forward to the Romney’s plan for national mandated paid parental leave. I’m also wondering, since they believe that women’s domestic labor is valuable and real work, when they will come out in support of wages for said work. (Or perhaps women are only entitled to make their “choice” when they have the financial means to do so.)
Focusing on this slip-up just brings more attention to the way in which a Romney presidency wouldn’t support mothers. Because empty platitudes about motherhood “being the hardest job in the world” doesn’t change the reality of most moms’ lives, or make their job any easier.
But it’s not just that Romney is bad for women (whether they work outside the home or not). What’s being lost in this conversation is the incredibly facile and insulting notion that just because a woman made the decision to marry Romney and occasionally talk to him about other women, that he is somehow well-informed on women’s issues. Ann Romney is not an expert on women’s issues just because she happens to be one. And she’s not an expert in what mothers need just because she has children. Believing otherwise is infantilizing and reduces women’s very important and complex concerns to beauty parlor chitchat.
What’s disappointing to me is that most of the press and even many Democrats are allowing the right wing to frame and punk single mother Hillary Rosen. Here’s a little sample of the right wing smear going on right now.
No one is arguing that raising children isn’t work. Democratic strategist and CAP Action board member Hilary Rosen is a single mother of twins who had to go through the expensive and challenging process of adoption with her then partner Elizabeth Birch. Now, she’s trying to stick up for other mothers who don’t have the luxury of millionaire husbands to help fund their child-rearing duties, and the backlash is getting ugly. Catholic League president Bill Donohue attacked her family on Twitter this morning:
@CatholicLeague: 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.
So, just so you know this is right wing spin, here’s Limbaugh and the newly fabricated “democratic war on mothers”. So, the defunding and removing access to prenatal care, school lunches, family planning services, preschool, maternal leave, and a myriad of other family-friendly programs wasn’t enough evidence of a republican war on mothers that we need to invent things out of thin air?
Rush Limbaugh jumped into the firestorm on Thursday created by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen’s jab at stay-at-home-mom Ann Romney as the radio talk show host accused the Democratic Party of launching a “war on mothers.”
Limbaugh spent the bulk of his three-hour afternoon program griping about Rosen’s charge Wednesday that Mitt Romney’s wife has “never worked a day in her life,” telling listeners that the comment summed up the Democrats’ position on women’s role in society.
“This is big because it’s such a teachable moment. It’s such an illustration of who these people are, the left. It’s such an illustration of phonies of feminism. It is an illustration of the absolute hostility that the left has for women who stay at home,” the conservative radio host said, speaking before Rosen issued a statement apologizing to Ann Romney.
He continued, “Obama and the Democrats are not content to just divide men and women. They want to go deeper and dive working mothers from stay at home mothers. And they want to attach the virtue to working mothers and assign no virtue to stay at home moms. Now you talk to most women, even those who consider themselves feminists … they will tell you that they thought that was a battle they fought and won and ended years ago.”
Limbaugh also personally defended Ann Romney, referring to her as a “role model.”
“They’ve gone after the wrong woman here. Ann Romney is not disliked. Ann Romney is not unlikeable. Ann Romney isn’t controversial. Ann Romney isn’t telling anybody how to live. … Ann Romney’s a role model. Don’t care what you think of Mitt. That’s not the point here. She is a role model for living and trying to live a fulfilling life,” he said.
No one but Ann Romney knows if her life is fulfilling and if she considers herself any kind of a role model. I would hope my daughters would not consider Ann Romney’s life one worth copying but then that’s my values. For one, I love my father a lot. If he were an outspoken atheist like Ann Romney’s was, I certainly would have never allowed any one to sneak-baptize him into any religion after his death. I consider that the panultimate disrespect. I also would not for a minute raise my daughters in any tradition where women must call 18 year old man children “elders”, where tons of money is spent defeating the ERA, and where women are not allowed access to “heaven” with out a husband sponsor. That’s just the short list of the kinds of patriarchal, women-hating stuff that goes on in Romney’s religion. I don’t consider that much of a role model for self respect. I also would’ve put my husband on the roof of the car if he’d have tried to put the family dog up there. However, Ann Romney has to live with all of these decisions and her life. That’s the deal with being a mother, you should be able to choose the way you do it. I can’t imagine any one thinking Ann Romney’s choices or lifestyle is common to all but a few women and I challenge all of us that see this backlash and stand behind Hillary Rosen. For a group of people that scream class war at the drop of a hat, the misogynists sure have done a great job of missing the point of class and money in Rosen’s comments.
I’ve just been told that David Pflouffe is on Lawrence O’Donnell acting lie a complete ass. He just called the pillorying of Rosen a “rare moment of bi-partisan agreement”. This is just another example of the inability of Democratic men to really stand up for what’s right. Unbelievable! This is akin to them joining in the swift boating of Kerry. This has nothing to do with the choice of not working or working. It has everything to do with being a member of a privileged elite that’s far removed from the rest of us. We need to be very vocal about this.
or as Hillary herself puts it on her facebook:
I’ve nothing against @AnnRomney. I just don’t want Mitt using her as an expert on women struggling $ to support their family. She isn’t.