Friday, April 13, 2012

Hilary Rosen versus Ann Romney

Hilary Rosen (left), Ann Romney (right). Picture swiped from
You have, no doubt, heard about the hornet's nest that "Democratic strategist and political commentator" (that's what the newspapers call her) Hilary Rosen stirred up, when she had this to say about Ann Romney on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees show:

With respect to economic issues, I think actually that Mitt Romney is right, that ultimately, women care more about the economic well-being of their families and the like. But there's -- but he doesn't connect on that issue either.

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 we worry about their future. 
Yes, she really did say that:  Ann Romney "has actually never worked a day in her life." And I provided the context in the quotation above, so you would know that she meant exactly what she said.

Wow. Hilary Rosen just disenfranchised every single stay-at-home mom in America. Now, I will grant that stay-at-home moms now constitute less than half of the female electorate in this country.  (Let's define a "stay-at-home mom" as a woman who chooses to be a full-time mother and homemaker instead of being a part-time or full-time member of the paid workforce.) But stay-at-home moms haven't been this marginalized since the other famous Democratic Hil(l)ary said, on March 15, 1992, "I suppose I could have stayed at home and baked cookies."

Well, as the son of one stay-at-home mom and the husband of another one, I've been truly pleased to see the reaction Rosen's comment has gotten. High-value Democrats are running over each other in their haste to get away from her. The  president and the first lady have distanced themselves from her, as have national leaders of the Democratic Party and Democratic leaders in Congress. Some of them have even said, "She's not part of the Democratic leadership" - even though she has been called a "Democratic strategist" and, I might add, acted the part in other venues.

Republicans have taken her comment for the free gift it is, and still haven't stopped capitalizing on it.

Perhaps the most interesting thing so far has been Wolf Blitzer scolding her, on the air,  demanding that she apologize to Ann Romney, and scolding her again for her lame non-apology.

(Her apology? She said to Wolf, "Oh, well I sent out an apology this afternoon." First, she insulted this high-profile lady in a high-profile way, and then she either emailed or Tweeted her an apology, twenty-four hours after she made the insult,and now she expects that to be good enough. In this way, Hilary Rosen demonstrates her total lack of class. A handwritten apology, with an original, handwritten signature, in a hand-addressed envelope, either delivered by hand or by express mail: that's what this situation calls for. Maybe even a bouquet of balloons or flowers. But not an email message. That shows no class at all.)

(Update: It turns out she did issue a statement to the press, apologizing to the world in general for her "poor choice of words." In other words, she meant what she said, but she wished she had said it differently. Um, that doesn't count. What we were all waiting for was something like this: "Dear Ms. Romney. I was wrong. I'm truly sorry. To prove it, I'm going to stop talking in public for a while.")

(She tried it again on Blitzer's show:  "I'm sorry if that offended you."  Did you catch the weasel word? "IF." And she wasn't really sorry. What she said was: "If you're thin-skinned, then I apologize for that flaw in your personality." That's not an apology. )

She keeps trying to talk her way out of the situation, but with every word she says, she digs herself deeper and deeper into the pit she dug for herself. The best thing Hilary Rosen could do right now is give Ann Romney a sincere, public apology and then SHUT UP.

Stay tuned for part two: what two national women's organizations have to say about it.

Postscript: This is totally off-topic, but after I wrote that last sentence, I got to thinking. Maybe Rush Limbaugh should have done the same thing, in his recent situation: issue a sincere, public apology and then shut up.

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