Who’s Zooming Who?

I’m still brooding about the disingenuous way the political class has reignited the Mommy Wars.  There are so many hypocrisies at play in this conversation that it’s easy to forget that what this is really about are narratives that reinforce stereotypes of women.  It’s also about the ways politicians manipulate the insecurities of women–especially in their mother roles–to ensure that we are divided as they conquer.  We’ve been told that all those laws passed and introduced in the last two years that severely restrict women’s access to abortion, health care, equal pay and protection and now birth control are not part of a concerted effort by one of the parties to remove our progress to achieve equal access to jobs, society, and autonomy.  Now, we’re once again being regaled on that marble column with the label “Mom: Most Important Job Holder in the World”.   However, in their world and their laws, it appears some mothers are more equal than others.  There is no where this double standard is more true than how they bestow sainthood on stay-at-home wealthy women while they assign poor mothers of children the role of lazy slut who breeds to stay home, live off the government, and do nothing.  After all, welfare allows one to live such a life of luxury that big screen tvs and bons bons automatically come with each public housing unit.

Yup, the same group of folks that fought the family leave act, that are defunding all education-related expenses except ones associated with religious indoctrination and really hate family planning and pre-natal care are all in for all sainted moms.  I’ve had about all the faux outrage I can take about poor Sainted Stay-at-Home Mom, Ann Romney, who has that well-defended full time, most important job while her husband’s been out on the republican speaking circuit saying that welfare moms need the “dignity of work”.  So, Mrs. Romney has the dignity of being a stay home mom that can spend all that time doing the hardest job on the planet, but welfare moms don’t have the dignity of work unless they have a job?   What kind of hypocritical nonsense is this?

Poor women who stay at home to raise their children should be given federal assistance for child care so that they can enter the job market and “have the dignity of work,” Mitt Romney said in January, undercutting the sense of extreme umbrage he showed when Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen quipped last week that Ann Romney had not “worked a day in her life.”

The remark, made to a Manchester, N.H., audience, was unearthed by MSNBC’s “Up w/Chris Hayes,” and aired during the 8 a.m. hour of his show Sunday.

Ann Romney and her husband’s campaign fired back hard at Rosen following her remark. “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work,” Romney said on Twitter.

On Sunday, Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg told The Huffington Post in an email, “Moving welfare recipients into work was one of the basic principles of the bipartisan welfare reform legislation that President Clinton signed into law. The sad fact is that under President Obama the poverty rate among women rose to 14.5 percent in 2011, the highest rate in 17 years. The Obama administration’s economic policies have been devastating to women and families.”

Mitt Romney, however, judging by his January remark, views stay-at-home moms who are supported by federal assistance much differently than those backed by hundreds of millions in private equity income. Poor women, he said, shouldn’t be given a choice, but instead should be required to work outside the home to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits. “[E]ven if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work,” Romney said of moms on TANF.

Recalling his effort as governor to increase the amount of time women on welfare in Massachusetts were required to work, Romney noted that some had considered his proposal “heartless,” but he argued that the women would be better off having “the dignity of work” — a suggestion Ann Romney would likely take issue with.

So, who has dignity here and who doesn’t and what are the rules?  It seems to me to put an awful lot of women in a no win situation.

The Romney campaign, hoping to make up its deficit among women voters, jumped on the comment. “I happen to believe that all moms are working moms,” said Romney.

It turns out he doesn’t. If you’re a poor mother in Massachusetts and you go to sign up for TANF, you’ll see you need to fulfill a “work requirement.” And you cannot fulfill it by being “a mom.” And that’s because of policy that Romney signed into law in Massachusetts, and Bill Clinton signed into law nationally.

That law has seen some real successes: The poverty rate for single mothers is lower now than before the legislation passed in 1996, and the labor-force participation rate is higher. Both parties brag about it routinely. But those numbers are only successes if you believe, as both parties do, that being a stay-at-home mother is not the same as working.

Over the past week, both parties decided to pander to stay-at-home mothers by forgetting this policy consensus and claiming they have always believed being a stay-at-home mother is “work.” But while they certainly believe parenting is toil, they don’t believe it is, in any real sense, work. And you can see that in the laws they’ve made.

After all, it’s not just TANF that doesn’t recognize parenting as “work.” Social Security doesn’t count parenting as “work.” The tax code doesn’t count parenting as “work.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t count parenting as “work.”

Obviously, poor women don’t have the same routes to dignity that upper class women do.  In other words, I small a hypocrite.


36 Comments on “Who’s Zooming Who?”

  1. RalphB says:

    This is the most fundamentally dishonest campaign being run by the a truly vile candidate of an insane party I’ve ever seen.

    Bachmann said on MTP that women should have choices of what to do with their bodies, utterly disregarding all her own positions. It’s beyond pathetic!

    • dakinikat says:

      The lies are so obvious and so many people are still taken in because it’s what they want to believe. My jaw drops nearly hourly these days.

  2. ecocatwoman says:

    So correct, Kat. But isn’t that what the Repugnants are all about? HYPOCRISY & Do As I Say, Not As I Do. MHP yesterday had a discussion on this topic. While I wasn’t thrilled with her intro & bashing of Rosen, the discussion was good & points she brought up were excellent. There are 2 videos: http://video.msnbc.msn.com/melissa-harris-perry/46419672#47054468 and http://video.msnbc.msn.com/melissa-harris-perry/46419672#47049601

    • RalphB says:

      It’s classic KKKarl Rove strategy to project everything bad you are doing onto the other guy and try to inoculate yourself. They’ve been doing that since long before Rove but he did perfect it.

    • RalphB says:

      More classic Rove …

      A Major Oil Speculator Is Bankrolling The Latest Karl Rove Attack Ad Accusing Obama Of Raising Prices At The Pump

      The latest anti-Obama ad, which blames Obama for rising gas prices, is being financed in part by a hedge fund manager whose firm has engaged in the type of reckless oil speculation that is causing pain at the pump.

      Karl Rove’s attack ad network just launched the first major ad campaign of the campaign season against Obama. The commercial, called “Too Much,” is being aired by Crossroads GPS, a nonprofit controlled by Rove that does not have to disclose a single donor. Despite oil production levels at the highest point in recent years and Obama’s move to open up new areas to domestic drilling, the ad knocks the president for high gas prices. Unlike ordinary Super PACs, which fall under F.E.C. disclosure requirements, Crossroads GPS is organized as a 501(c)(4), meaning it never has to divulge any donor information.

      But thanks to the work of Peter Stone, an investigative journalist with the Center for Public Integrity, we do know one major donor who has given “seven figure” gifts to Crossroads GPS: Paul Singer.

  3. janicen says:

    “It’s also about the ways politicians manipulate the insecurities of women–especially in their mother roles–to ensure that we are divided as they conquer.”

    Exactly, dak. Why is this even a conversation? When do we question what men do? Shouldn’t we be wringing our hands about men’s “choices” when blue collar, high school educated men get laid off and can’t find work because they don’t have degrees. Or men with Bachelor’s Degrees get laid off or don’t get hired at all because they don’t have masters? What about stay-at-home dads? It’s all about keeping women insecure and questioning themselves. It’s very important that whatever women do, they are wrong.

  4. Fannie says:

    Obviously Mitt is zoooming Ann, and they are zoooming coning the young, and this is a MAN’S World, but wait, it wouldn’t be nothing without Ann.

  5. dakinikat says:

    prolife and promom!!!

    When “pro-life” Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman admitted that healthy babies aren’t nearly as important to him as ensuring that undocumented women don’t get any sort of doctor’s care on the taxpayer’s dime, much of the unicameral legislature decided to join together to overrule him. The legislature, led by anti-choice Republican Mike Flood, voted this session to return funding for prenatal care to the budget — dollars that go even to pregnant illegal immigrants.

    Heineman threatened a veto, but the unicameral knew it had enough votes to override, making the bill unstoppable.


  6. dakinikat says:

    Gee … they “chipped away” at stocks during college…

    When Mitt was at Harvard (remember, he did go there for a joint MBA/JD), Ann said, “Another son came along 18 months later, although we waited four years to have the third, because Mitt was still in school and we had no income except the stock we were chipping away at. We were living on the edge, not entertaining. No, I did not work. Mitt thought it was important for me to stay home with the children, and I was delighted.”

    Vintage Ann Romney: “Daughter Of Privilege” Who “Knows Little Of Real World”

    • ecocatwoman says:

      Damn, why can’t those “welfare queens” just cash in some stocks instead of expecting the government to take care of them. After all, the down & out Romenys didn’t ask for any handouts when they were “struggling” by not entertaining. Maybe if they’d had a potluck, they could’ve entertained their friends & played charades afterwards.

    • Beata says:

      “We were living on the edge, not entertaining.”

      My heart breaks for this woman. I wonder how she found the strength to go on each day? It must have been so difficult.


    • ecocatwoman says:

      Did you ever see Morgan Spurlock’s series 30 Days? It was terrific. The first episode was Living on Minimum Wage. I couldn’t find an online video, unfortunately. Here’s a blog post about it: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/morgan-spurlocks-30-days-living-on-minimum-wage.html And, of course, there’s Ehrenreich’s Nickled & Dimed. Maybe Ann & Mitt need copies of both to see how “the little people” ACTUALLY live on The Edge. At least Obama saw a side of it living with his mother.

    • northwestrain says:

      so did Ann Romney use birth control for the 4 years? Seems like the Mormon religion isn’t big on doing without.

      Since the GOP gang wants to know our personal business — we need to know about Mitten’s.

      • HT says:

        Thank you – I thought I was the only one who thought that.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        “so did Ann Romney use birth control for the 4 years?”

        I thought the same thing. 4 years, no babies, no BC, no sex? All of this whille they were chipping away at their “stock”? Really, their “stock”? I’m just totally amazed at the privileged hubris that would lead someone to tell that story as if it was a tale of sacrifice and struggle.

        “Stock”????? OMG, I”m stunned!

  7. ANonOMouse says:

    They were living by chipping away at their “Stock”????? “their stock”????? For real????
    I think I’m going to cry my damn self to sleep tonight. My heart is breaking at the thought of the anguish they must have felt at having to cash in their “stock”.

    Stock????? No really, Stock???? Brghahahahahahahhaha! While poor Mitt and Ann were chipping away at “stock” I was busy thinking that stock was the little tiny cubes of chicken & beef bouillon that came in a jar that I used to make a bowl of water and a few grains of rice, taste like dinner.

  8. RalphB says:

    This is a really great post! Thanks.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Ralphb, can you imagine telling your children of anyone that “chipping away at stock” story as the time when you were struggling to survive by cashing in your “stock”?

      I hate to do the “I was so poor” routine, I don’t want to come off like Jeff Foxworthy, but I made a game out of taking my children on soft drink bottle searches because in those days you got a 3 cent refund on every bottle. I bought & cooked many a Cube Stock Meal paid for by bottle refunds.

      Mitt & Ann Romney are from another galaxy, far, far away.