Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Why the Liberal Left Fears Ann Romney

It was yet another example of the political left's war on women. On conservative women. For the political left, feminism of the past decades is dead and they are struggling to find strong rhetoric to fill the void to pander for votes. Now, according to the desperate, it is a-ok to go nasty against the likely GOP nominee's wife on national television to try to score points for President Obama. Never mind that the convention to announce and introduce the nominee is not until August.

The reason the silly remarks about Ann Romney uttered by DNC surrogate Hilary Rosen are important is that it shines a light on the arrogance of the political left. There is a faction that is so steeped in the mommy wars of the past decades that, to them, the thought that millions of women would be offended by Rosen's mouth doesn't even enter a discussion. Plus Rosen makes the mistake that only conservative women make the choice to be stay at home moms and homemakers.

As a former stay at home mom, I can tell you that not all of us were conservative women. Not all of us were voting Republican. I'm here to burst that bubble. I was in the company of liberals.

Here's the thing - it is common courtesy that the wife of politicians are given some space. Typically they are not dragged into the fray until the campaign is in full swing and a wife says something questionable in a stump speech - you know, like when Michelle Obama said she had never "really" been proud of America until Barack ran for President of the United States. That kind of thing. But, since Obama has little to run on and his legacy legislation - Obamacare - is so very unpopular, what Team Obama has to do is paint Mitt Romney as some out of touch, rich, white guy trapped in the 1950's with his traditional family. Plus, he's a Mormon.

There is little for Barack Obama to run on besides traditional class warfare waged by Democrats in an election year. Division, not unity, is the battle plan. We are watching the last futile grasps towards 1960's liberalism as exhibited by the presidency of Barack Obama. It has been an utter failure.

See, it was not ok to question Barack and Michelle Obama's religious affiliation with a church that boasted black liberation theology as the core of its worship but the Mormon religion and the Romney's faith is game. There will be stories that Ann Romney had no choice but to stay home because of her faith.

The religious dynamic of the Romneys' Leave It To Beaver lifestyle has been largely lost on the partisans making hay out of the latest flare-up in the mommy wars, which was sparked by a Democratic strategist charging that Ann "has never actually worked a day in her life." But while much of the debate has centered on class — with liberals casting full-time motherhood as a luxury for the rich, and conservatives hoping working-class women will identify with her — the fact is that even if Mitt were a middle-class schoolteacher, there's a good chance Ann still would have foregone a career.

That's because for many Latter-day Saint women, staying at home to raise children is less a lifestyle choice than religious one — a divinely-appreciated sacrifice that brings with it blessings, empowerment, and spiritual prestige.

It has become standard campaign speak to pander to women as a block of voters.

To pretend that Democrats do not engage in manipulative talk about a war on women is all but to admit that, in politics, words aren’t always meant to have meaning. Their value is in voter mobilization. In this case, the assumption behind the words is that women are wedded to legal abortion and to a government bureaucracy that mandates insurance coverage of contraception, sterilization, and even abortion-inducing drugs. The assumption is insulting, and it caught up to Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections, when, for the first time since the metric has been tracked (1982), they failed to win a majority of women’s votes.

In a perverse way, Rosen’s ridiculous claim about the “war on women” being a GOP delusion gave some credence to her subsequent apology to Ann Romney for insulting not just the wife of the presumptive Republican nominee but all women who have ever chosen to work in the home, raising children.

She didn’t really mean it! It was just another tool to scare women into voting Democrat in November! Don’t hold me to my words. They are but a means to an end. As the president now infamously winked on the international stage: After the election, there will be more “flexibility,” words can have their meanings again, and they’ll let us know what the agenda really is.

Funny, I don't recall Rosen belittling Teresa Heinz Kerry as a woman who "never had a real job" in her life. I do, however, remember Heinz Kerry trying to make that claim about Laura Bush who, in fact, was a former public elementary school teacher and librarian with a masters degree.

The choice to stay at home to be a full time caregiver and homemaker is not one for only the wealthy. This choice is made by middle class women every day. I know. I was one of those women.

The narrative of class warfare fails to capture the votes of Independents in elections because it fails miserably in its goal - to divide those voters along ideological lines. The fact is, most Americans respect successful people and strive to be successful in their working lives, too. The thought that only wealthy women stay home, out of the "working" world, is an outdated and false thought. Women do what is best for their families and millions of women stay home, at least for a while, to raise their own children.

The choice is most often an economic one - if the women has a job that pays less than is practical to cover the cost of child care, that woman will stay home until her children are older. The choice can be a lifestyle choice, as was in my case. My husband travels extensively for work and his schedule is not predictable. It made sense for one parent to be the constant parent at home with our son, to be a way for his sense of security and stability. We made the adjustments of living on one income and all that that entails.

Liberal women stuck in the wars of the past fail to be very progressive themselves. Using the fact that a woman chose to stay home with her children as a way of criticizing her husband is bizarre. Let's remember why Rosen waded into this territory - Mitt Romney said that Ann Romney advises him that women are most concerned about the economy and the lack of jobs available in our country. Liberals don't want the economy to be the issue in this campaign because their candidate - President Obama - will lose that argument.

Would Rosen prefer that Mitt Romney not have a real partner in his wife? Is that what feminists have been fighting for all these years? I consider myself a feminist and I have always been a full partner in my marriage. Feminism is defined as: the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men. Clear enough, right? Choice for all women.

Women are usually the ones making the financial decisions in the home. Major appliances, which repair services to use, home security, even the very neighborhood in which to live are all decisions usually made predominantly by women. Women purchase the groceries, clothing, home decor, personal care items, and so on as every day chores. Women talk to each other and give recommendations and advice to each other when needs arise. This is not breaking news.

Hilary Rosen did one thing that was quite unexpected, I am certain. She united conservatives behind Mitt Romney on behalf of their support for Ann Romney. Ann Romney is a huge asset to Mitt Romney. She is personable, warm, and not afraid to stand up and speak on behalf of her husband. She is the former First Lady of Massachusetts so she is experienced in speaking to voters. Why wouldn't she have her ear to the ground with voters on what concerns them most?

Ann Romney is strong. She not only raised five sons and supported her husband's very successful personal career both in business and in politics, she also is a breast cancer survivor and lives with MS. She is a happy warrior. She is no shrinking violet. The liberal left does not quite know how to handle that.

I like Ann Romney a lot.

1 comment:

namaste said...

i like her a lot too!