Punking Hilary Rosen

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.

36 Comments on “Punking Hilary Rosen”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Thank you so much for writing this, Dak! I wanted to write something about it, but I have been just too enraged to get anything written.

    Obama’s response to Rosen’s remark is disgusting. I think it’s analogous to his treatment of Shirley Sherrod. Hilary Rosen has been a loyal supporter, but all the Obama men and even the first lady rushed to throw her under the bus. Everyone knew what Rosen meant. I’m just repulsed by the Obama campaign’s behavior toward her.

    Obama could have shown some courage and just said that Rosen obviously misspoke and her point was that Romney’s POLICIES will hurt women and that Ann Romney has no way of knowing what it’s like for poor women with hungry children. And by the way, if being a mom is so important, then why do women who are on welfare also have to find jobs and day care instead of caring for their children full time?

    I thought Jessica Valenti’s post at the Nation was outstanding. The last straw for me was when I read the latest from Dave Weigel at Slate. Weigel presumes to speak for women in announcing that “the war on women is over” because of what Rosen said. If I could, I’d slap his face for that.

    This is about real policies that Republicans are pushing and real laws that Republican lawmakers are passing that will destroy women’s ability to even make a choice about whether to have a career or a family or both. This isn’t some “meme,” and Democrats in Washington didn’t dream it up. Real women out here in the world noticed what was happening. All the new anti-woman legislation was barely noted by the corporate media until the Virginia law and all the protests.

    Sorry for the rant, but I’m sick and tired of men presuming to speak for women and assuming they know how we feel about all this.

    • Fannie says:

      I agree……….why didn’t Obama tell us how many servants Michelle has? That must have been real hard for him to overlook that information………NOT.

  2. dakinikat says:

    Hillary’s facebook page is just being swamped by things both good and bad. I really feel for her. She’s a terrific person and doesn’t deserve this at all. The democrats should be standing behind her. I hope some one from the Clintons camp will change the tone of the conversation.

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    Hillary Rosen was on CNN earlier claiming she “misspoke” . No she didn’t. She was merely referring to Romney’s stupid remarks that he depends upon his wife to come back from the “war on women” with assertions of her ability to gauge the economic issues facing women today. As if a woman of her financial means would have the slightest clue.

    The Catholic League then fired up by pointing out Rosen’s lesbianism as if that in itself makes her unworthy to speak on the issues since her children were adopted and Ann Romney’s were not. Unbelievable!

    But the Dem establishment left Hillary Rosen out to dry all on her own. Backpedling for the women votes would carry more heft if they stood behind her the words she spoke and casually pointed out the same points that you yourself have made right here in this little corner of the blogosphere.

    But leave it to the GOP to march out their hatred for the gay community by allowing the Catholic League and Bill Donohue to make their case for them. Sad, disgusting, narrow minded little men who would rather defend the church against claims of pedophilia than to ever treat another human being with dignity.

    Shame on the GOP, the Democratic Party and any of those morons who have used this issue to gain votes.

    And Rush LImbaugh can go to hell!

    • bostonboomer says:

      I heard Rosen on Anderson Cooper tonight and I thought she handled the whole thing with dignity. She had already written a post on HuffPo early this morning that should have been enough to satisfy the Obama gang. But they’re so scared of Republicans, they never even stop to think before throwing there supporters under the bus and running them over several times.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        I saw her on the 5pm segment with Wolf Blitzer and her manner was one of chagrin. Especially when he started to read comments from the Dem side that essentially “cut her loose” from them.

        Her comment was intended on letting Ann and the Romney campaign know that she was not buying into the idea of Ann being an economic adviser and had nothing to do with motherhood.

        Leave it to the Right to run with a twisted version but the Left then had to chime in my distancing her from their side and must have hurt.

        The Right with Romney think that have a “savior” in Ann since there is nothing about him that attracts women let alone any voting block. She has become their “new Barbara Bush”. She is all over the dial as we speak.

        These people are hideous. Nothing says a “war on women” than having women clawing and scratching each other’s eyes out.

    • Fannie says:

      Right on Pat………let the all go to hell, Hillary didn’t say anything out of line, ain’t no reason for her to head for the hills.

    • Woman Voter says:

      Pat you are so wise, I was wondering why they kept up with the ‘Hillary Rosen Clinton’ and now see, they are back to the witch hunt and yes I agree she miss spoke. Odd, the media has no qualm with Mike Tyson a convicted rapist, wife beater (by his own admission) and who is advocating mob violence in the Trayvon case but Hillary Rosen’s apology goes as if not said nor is it accepted.

      They sure hate Hillary Clinton as they are shaking in fear that she will be on the ticket thus throwing the GOP a crush, since the polls continue to show women are sick and tired of the War On Women!

      Some one wrote that Rosen has canceled her appearances, perhaps it is due to the hate ON the GOP is on about. Women work hard all around and women are smart enough to accept her apology and Rosen answered at length with Blitzer about what she meant, but still they want her be a blood sacrifice…rather than coming up with policies that they support, that support ALL women.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    The comments on the Dave Weigel post are really good.

    Even Rachel Maddow more or less through Rosen under the bus. The one media person who supported her was Lawrence O’Donnell. I give him a lot of credit for that.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      I caught a little of Rachel tonight when I came home and it seemed that she was a little upset by the introduction of Rosen’s lesbianism being introduced.

  5. 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.

    Damn straight!!!!!!!

    Did you see what Greta van Susteren said: Greta Van Susteren Responds To Friend Hilary Rosen’s Comment: It Was About ‘Financial Pressure’ | Mediaite

    She gave her take on the kerfuffle, opining that Rosen’s comments weren’t meant to as a swipe against women who, by choice or necessity, become stay-at-home mothers, but was instead a comment regarding knowledge of economics and the reality of financial pressure:

    I did not read Hilary’s comments to in anyway take away from the hard chore of raising children or staying at home and raising them and not working outside the family. I read it to mean that raising children without financial pressure is easier than having financial pressure. This is not to take away from Mrs. Romney – she has done an absolutely spectacular job raising 5 great sons – but to face the reality that financial pressure does make it harder to raise a family. This is also not to say that the Romney family success is anything to be ashamed of…the family should be very proud of its success. I admire success, don’t you?
    On the bright side (I always try to look at the bright side of these explosive political battles), at least we are now talking about a very important issue – women and the economy.

    I don’t care one way or another for Greta…but she is right…about the context of the comment made by Rosen…

  6. HT says:

    Tempest in a teapot. Rosen was right. Ergo Rosen should be utilized as a political football. I used to think that humans as a group would see justice for all before I expired. Lately I will expire long, long before there will be justice for all.

  7. Pat Johnson says:

    Let’s not forget that this is the same Ann Romney whose husband, should he ever get to be POTUS, has plans to eliminate Planned Parenthood which essentially serves women throughout the U.S. And, pray tell, just what is her exalted position in this matter?

    Ann Romney had a choice to be a stay at home Mom. As did Michele Obama. Why? Because their spouse’s income allowed them to make that choice. Most women do not live in that rarified world of choice.

    Some women have no other choice but work. They miss out on their kids games and activities. They supplement the family income or they do it alone. Some are unable to find work. Others find daycare much to expensive to afford.

    For Ann Romney to be considered the arbiter of women’s issues when it is her husband and his party that wish to take away choice, education, and healthcare issues to speak to women and their children is the biggest hypocrisy going. The same for Michele Obama. They have never once stood in the shoes of a working mother making minimum wage and dependent upon government assistance just to get by one day of the week while keeping their family and sanity in check.

    Hillary Rosen said nothing wrong. She pointed out the obvious and is being pilloried for doing so.

  8. janicen says:

    Greta Van Susteren wrote a post defending Rosen. The comments from her Faux News followers are less than sympathetic.


  9. NW Luna says:

    Brava, Dak!

    Ann Romney has no idea what 99% of American women have to face.

  10. This whole situation has been pretty absurd. If Mitt thinks he can get advice on women’s issues by asking a millionaire how she feels about it, he’s clearly going to get irrelevant answers. He’s just trotting his wife along on the stage to show off how personable he is, like when he brags about bringing his dog with him on the campaign. They’re both props.

    He’s also promised to kill Planned Parenthood, would support personhood amendments, and said Scott Walker, who cut equal pay protection, is a hero. Kind of a big deal.

  11. Hillary Rosen i love u what u said is true Ms.Lady never had to think while at work how her 14yr old could get home from school because you could not spare the $200 to pay for transportation so it could be used to pay a bill or something else to keep the house going its hard i am a black man that was raised by a black mother with a black father that i wanted to be better then i still loved him i wonder how better my kids could be if we did’nt have to think about the basic’s not mad at romney for what he has just think lot’s of people do not have it that way my wife and i go to work everyday not the best jobs but we go we don’t want welfare nor free anything being a parent not just a mother is very hard i love my kids my mother taught me how to be both mother and father that what i learned that what i want my kids to know thing is its hard being unsure about tomorrow.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Very well said, Donald. I grew up poor too, and I’m glad I learned empathy and compassion for other people instead of being insulated from care like Mitt Romney was. Ann Romney married a rich man and has never wanted for anything. They’re both clueless. Thank you so much for your hearthfelt comment.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Ann Romney’s health struggles are something we can all relate to, to a degree, we can admire her courage in her physical battles, but I don’t think there’s any way to draw a parallel to Ann Romney’s life in the big picture and the lives of middle class, low income or poor women.

        The day-to-day struggles associated with raising your children, things like childcare, healthcare, housing, food, shelter, education, clothing, necessities too many to mention, is not a worry/concern that Ann Romney has experienced. She can just decide to give her children the best, and do it. The majority of us struggled mightily, just to provide necessities, things that Ann Romney never gave a second thought. I don’t dislike Ann Romney, I think she’s a decent person, but there’s little about the lives of ordinary women that she can relate to. Like Don Rumsfeld, Ann Romney doesn’t know, what she doesn’t know, but we do!


  12. Fannie says:

    You know it Donald……………Romeny has nothing to offer our families, well, maybe some crumbs from the table.

  13. Woman Voter says:

    I think from the aspect of being a survivor of cancer and MS Mrs Romney is to be admired for campaigning as did Elizabeth Edwards for her husband. We know as women we are expected to do and do and do, and I have no qualm about her repeating what she says women say to her, but if Mitt Romney is going to say she is his women’s economic Zar he should have her meet with a wide cross section of women and make that exchange open to reporters so we can see what women in the GOP are really saying and thinking.

    I am with Bay Buchanan on what has happened to Hillary Rosen and I fore one accept her apology and still want to know about what Mitt Romney plans for women under a Romney Administration. I also think those who are proposing that Rosen and Rove debate I say no, as I think Rove hasn’t a clue about women’s issues.

  14. Woman Voter says:

    Catholic League OXG ‏ @Catholic_League

    @WomanVote The children are not hers. lets clear that up right now. #heretic

    Look who wrote me via Twitter! They are really on a hate fest with Rosen and attacking her for adopting her children as I guess only those that give birth are parents according to them. Oh, and they are calling me a ‘heretic’. The Catholic League sounds more like the witch hunts centuries ago, but they want to get back to stoning women and bringing charges of heretics.

    Wow, how sad, how truly sad, its no wonder that Rosen has pulled back, it was for her children. I hope she is OK and I accept that she miss spoke and I would accept her apology that she has already made. God speed Rosen and may kindness and understanding be with you and your family.

  15. ANonOMouse says:

    Dak…..That was a great post. TY.