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Thu Apr 12, 2012, 12:41 PM

Really? - The Ann Romney Wars?

The War of Hillary Rosen is already effectively over, and the Romney campaign won it. Yesterday, in her capacity as a usually-ignorable CNN talking head,* Rosen took umbrage at the role Ann Romney was playing in her husband's campaign. "His wife has never actually worked a day in her life," she said. Ruth Marcus, whose take on the story is only slightly spoiled by her own friendship with Rosen, explains why clutching pearls and condemning the pundit is the wrong response.

Rosen’s fundamental point — that Ann Romney’s experience is far from typical, that she has not grappled with the economic and family issues that face many women today — remains true. You don’t have to be a combatant on either side of the Mommy Wars to recognize that Ann Romney’s privileged life experience is not typical. She’s never had to worry about the price of a gallon of gas as she filled up the Cadillacs. She is at the tail end of a generation that did not agonize over the choice of whether to stay home with the kids and from an economic platform that gave her the luxury of making that choice.

But even the best defense of Rosen is a discussion of Ann Romney, and not the underlying economics that the Obama campaign wants to talk about. And this is where presidential campaigns differ from other sorts of campaigns. In a pretty fantastic 2007 story, Jodi Kantor explained, quite bluntly, that Ann Romney had struggled to connect with people (in her husband's first race, she talked about her successful weight loss!) and became very well aware of the sort of stigma that comes with being the home-making wife of a rich man. She got better at it, but she kept up a lifestyle that few people can relate to.

These details can be joked about in a primary, or a governor's race. Things change when a candidate becomes a potential president, and his wife becomes a potential First Lady. It's like the pre-sainthood stage before the church is about to confirm your miracles. By March 2012, when Mitt Romney was clearly marching toward the nomination, Ann Romney's love of dressage had evolved from a joke to the grist for a long profile. Attack her, and you kick off a multi-news-cyle umbrage-fest. I guess this must be frustrating for liberals who think it's unfair for wealthy Republicans to present themselves as jess' folks as they campaign for supply-side tax cuts. Campaigns are unfair, guys.

Forgot the link: http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2012/04/12/the_ann_romney_wars.html

Poor little Ann can't stand the heat already!

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Reply Really? - The Ann Romney Wars? (Original post)
liberal N proud Apr 2012 OP
renate Apr 2012 #1
calimary Apr 2012 #2

Response to liberal N proud (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 12:48 PM

1. Hillary Rosen should apologize, plain and simple, even though it's not quite fair

She should have added "outside the home" at the beginning, but oh well, too late now. And I love what another DUer said about how she got to stay home: "Which home?" Hillary Rosen didn't say anything that wasn't true, but the Obama campaign has a huge advantage with women and we need to keep it.

Before this gets bigger and snarkier, the Obama campaign should reframe the debate by saying something about how Rosen doesn't work for them or represent them in any way, and that they were happy for Ann Romney that she had that choice. Most families don't.

(*Edited to change "What home?" to "Which home?"

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Response to liberal N proud (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 01:00 PM

2. Ann Romney is NOT a non-combatant. She's willingly made herself so.

When she puts herself out there side-by-side with her husband at rallies and speeches and personal appearances, being interviewed, standing there taking questions, taking the spotlight, not a shrinking violet, SHE IS A COMBATANT. She joined the volunteer army alright. She's in it and like it or not, she's a target. Kind of a soft target for now, but still, a target.

At the same time, I'm sure she NEVER had to "work" that struggle between "do I take my kid to the doctor, or do I buy meat for my family's dinner tonight?" Her worry might have been - which Cadillac do I drive my kid to the doctor in? If you're a stay-at-home mom because you can easily afford it, because you're lucky enough to have married a high-roller, it's not the same! If you're sitting on a cushion of "200 million, 250 million, gee, I'm not sure how much money I have..." IT'S DIFFERENT. Did she stay at home raising those boys AND have to stay out of trouble with a boss at work? Did she have the inner AND outer struggle of "serving two masters" as so many working moms do? No.

She's not a sympathetic character to me, especially with her five healthy robust silver-spoon sons who never served in the military, and a husband who got rich by firing people and carving companies up and shipping jobs overseas and wants to cut funding for the needy so the rich can do better. Of course she'll be painted that way by the media and we'll have to grit our teeth and deal with it for awhile. It's unfortunate that Hillary Rosen stepped into it. That's gonna cause us trouble and Rosen knows better.

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