As a stay at home mom, I have occasionally noticed a certain level of patronization and derision aimed my way by the more left-leaning, feminist career women sector. There seems to be a perception that stay at home moms are rich women who are not pulling their weight in society and have taken the easy way out or, even sillier, that those women are victims of male hegemony who have been brainwashed and, poor creatures, simply don't know any better. The reality is far different, but more on that in a minute.
Wednesday night Hilary Rosen, democrat strategist extraordinaire, came out with this little doozy:
The White House is scrambling to get some distance from her comments, not even waiting until morning to chastise her. The bus she went under was chock full of top administration officials, including the President and First Lady personally. Good for them.
Ann Romney has said that her chosen career was being a mother. I couldn't agree more. For women like us, raising our children is the most important job we can have. For me, being the subject of my daughter's essay on role models is better than any bonus. Seeing my children using the life lessons I have tried to instill in them to raise themselves up and strive for more is better than any promotion. And contrary to Ms. Rosen's bungled talking points, staying home isn't a 'luxury' for most women, it just makes sense. I take nothing from working moms - I was raised by two and used to be one myself. I have enormous respect for women who pursue a career and manage to juggle it all. But because our priorities are different from Ms. Rosen's doesn't make them any less legitimate
It's pretty obvious that what Rosen was trying to do was go after Romney for being rich. Thus the "never worked a day in her life" quip. The implication is that Romney spent her days eating bonbons and lounging around in a peignoir admiring her diamonds while her staff did all the work. Too bad democrat strategist extraordinaire Rosen screwed it up so spectacularly. Ultimately, she feels Romney shouldn't advise her husband because as a rich woman, she didn't have to deal with the financial struggles many women are dealing with today while raising her children and thus can't really identify with the 'common people'. Which, ironically, could have been a legit class warfare argument (if you go for that sort of thing), if only it hadn't been delivered by ol' Hamhands Rosen.
Non plussed by the negative blowback, Rosen doubled down:
Wow. Talk about respectful and sincere! Mind boggling, isn't it? There were several more "clarifications" in the same vein. Again, she is stretching to make the 'Mrs. Moneybags' argument and fails spectacularly. She apparently didn't realize that her statement sounds a lot more like sour grapes than reaching out a hand of reconciliation. She has since offered a more traditional apology - via public statement. I guess there's no phone call for Ann, either.
The really interesting part of all of this is that this wasn't just a case of momentary foot-in-mouthitis. This might well have been a trial balloon for a line of attack against the likable Mrs. Romney. We all know how necessary it is for Team Obama to shut down any threats quickly and thoroughly. Rosen's clumsy, tone deaf attempt at marginalizing Ann has been an unqualified disaster, without a doubt. But was it a fluke, or was it part of a greater plan?
With that thought in mind, I'd like to show you a little snippet of a speech President Obama made last week at the White House Forum on Women and the Economy that slipped under the radar (emphasis mine):
And once Michelle and I had our girls, she gave it her all to balance raising a family and pursuing a career. And something that, could be very difficult on her, because I was gone a lot. Once I was in the state legislature, I was teaching, I was practicing law, I’d be traveling. And we didn’t have the luxury for her not to work. And I know when she was with the girls she’d feel guilty that she wasn’t giving enough time to her work, and when she was at work, she was feeling guilty she wasn’t giving enough time for the girls. And like many of you, we both wish there were machines that could let us be in two places at once.”
You decide. The setup for a line of attack against wealthy Ann Romney as an out of touch slacker lolling in the lap of luxury in contrast to hard working, guilt riddled working mom Michelle, or a simple attempt to appeal to middle class working women? Remember, it's not just about "getting a fair shot" it's also about doing your fair share. It's pretty safe to say that if this was a trial balloon, they probably won't follow up on it after the swift and damning reaction Rosen got, although they'll probably try coming at it from a different direction (do I see a Gloria Allred presser with a disgruntled nanny in our future?). They really can't drop it. "Hey, she's rich!" is about all they've got.
What I would really like to know is, who better than a stay at home mother would know about the economic impact of legislation and the economy on the family budget? Sure, Ann Romney had more in the kitty than many stay at homes, but I fail to see how that disqualifies her from the discussion.
One more thing: I love to find the silver linings in things, and I've found one in this: Ms. Rosen's day job happens to be democrat strategist with access to the top echelons of the Obama administration. Why is this a good thing, you ask? Well, if this is the caliber of strategist they have working for them, this election is a shoo-in.
UPDATE: Before I start the update, I have a little question I'd like to pose: If making a paycheck is as important as it seems to be to legitimizing who can have a say and who can't, why is volunteerism so revered on the left?
It seems Bill Maher might be having some money troubles, because he seems bound and determined to shame the Obama SuperPac into returning his million dollar donation.
Left-wing pundits tried to move on quickly from the whole thing, calling it a non-issue and a waste of time.
As I predicted, they keep (clumsily) trying the "Hey, she's rich" line of attack, but could someone explain to me how Princeton and Harvard educated, multi-millionaire Michelle Obama is a legit voice for financially strapped women but Ann Romney isn't? Officially, Mrs. Obama went back to work to pay off school loans, but what fails to get mentioned is her million-dollar house and expensive private schools for the kids - luxuries many stay at home moms either scarifice or never have a chance to achieve. At worst, they're both out of touch, but that doesn't mean they can't advise their husbands. Besides, I'm pretty sure that no matter how dead-on Ann Romney's advice might be, neither Hilary Rosen nor the president of NOW would ever support either her or her husband.
And in conclusion, here is some food for thought on the deeper reason for why the left disdains stay at home moms.