A tale of an Obama surrogate who isn’t
This is the Week of the Woman™ for the Romney campaign and Mitt is going whole hog trying to prove that it is he, not President Obama, who is the pro-woman candidate (maybe I should pause while you stop laughing.) His chief advisor in this effort is, apparently, his wife Ann, pictured here from the Americans for Prosperity forum in Troy, Michigan not long ago.
Yesterday, a teapot tempest erupted when Hilary Rosen (I know, I had never heard of her either) said on CNN that Ann Romney “never worked a day in her life” so wasn’t qualified as an economic advisor. The Republican Outrage Machine™ jumped into quick action to come to her defense and Ann made her Twitter debut by tweeting: “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”
From there it got crazy. Romney spokesperson Eric Fehrnstrom tweeted “Obama adviser Hilary Rosen goes on #CNN to debut their new “kill Ann” strategy, and in the process insults hard-working moms.”. Yes, he called it a “kill Ann” strategy. Hyperbole doesn’t even begin to describe that sort of commentary.
Rush Limbaugh and other far-right commentators are calling it “the Obama regime’s war on moms”.
The Catholic League was particularly ruthless (God bless ‘em), tweeting (yes, the Catholic League tweets) “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.”. HAD to adopt kids? Because she’s not woman enough, I guess? Such compassionate Christian SOBs…
On the left, of course, everyone from Obama campaign heads Jim Messina and David Axelrod to DNC Executive Director Patrick Gaspard quickly repudiated Rosen’s comment. Even the First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted a condemnation of what Rosen said.
So who the heck is Hilary Rosen and why did she say what she did?
First of all, let’s be clear: she’s not an Obama surrogate. Despite what Fox News and countless Republicans are saying, she’s not working with the White House or the president’s reelection campaign. She actually works for CNN as a commentator. The quick and clear refutation of her comments by Democrats up and down the board make it clear that she is out there on her own on this.
But, less face it: Rosen wasn’t saying being a mom isn’t hard work. Plain and simple, she was saying someone who has never had to earn a paycheck is probably not qualified to be an economic advisor, particularly to a presidential candidate. Rosen made it pretty clear that’s what she meant in a statement released today:
Let’s put the faux ‘war against stay at home moms’ to rest once and for all. As a mom I know that raising children is the hardest job there is. As a pundit, I know my words on CNN last night were poorly chosen. In response to Mitt Romney on the campaign trail referring to his wife as a better person to answer questions about women than he is, I was discussing his poor record on the plight of women’s financial struggles. Here is my more fulsome view of the issues. As a partner in a firm full of women who work outside of the home as well as stay at home mothers, all with plenty of children, gender equality is not a talking point for me. It is an issue I live every day. I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended. Let’s declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance.
Republicans know all of this, of course. They know that President Obama has done more to advance the cause of women’s equality than anyone since the last Democratic president. There is just no arguing about it.
They also know they have absolutely no way of fighting the argument that they are engaging in a war on women after they have put (or at least attempted to put in some cases) their atrocious, misogynistic, anti-woman legislative agendas in place across the USA. Just as one example, have a look at this chart put together by the Guttmacher Institute:
When you combine this with invasive, involuntary vaginal ultrasounds, rolling back equal pay for equal work laws, reducing access to contraception and a whole host of other things that impact women much more than men, you simply cannot argue the fact that one of the primary Republican agendas is to roll back the progress made in the rights of women wherever and whenever they can.
When you’re in that sort of defensive stance and you have no other arguments, you have to start making shit up. Any argument, no matter how lame, hypocritical, facetious and distorted it is, begins to look pretty good.
When the forces against you are bearing down and you have no real defense, even dirt clods and spit balls start to look like ammunition. And THAT is exactly what this is all about.