Weighing in on the Rosen-Romney debacle

April 13, 2012 at 11:27 am 1 comment

I’m a little behind on this one, since news moves too fast, but I wanted to weigh in on the comments of Hilary Rosen regarding Ann Romney, and the fallout from those comments.

I didn’t see it, but Wednesday night on CNN, Rosen – a Democratic adviser who is not as far as I can tell involved with the President’s re-election campaign – made some comments. Here is her entire quote:

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 do we worry about their future?

You may know that the part that people are jumping all over is the “never actually worked a day in her life bit” because Ann Romney was, in fact, a stay-at-home mom who raised five sons.

Now look. Raising kids is hard work. No doubt especially when there are five of them, and they’re all boys. But it’s not the same thing as having to work for pay because you can’t survive without two incomes. Or being a single mom and having to work because you’re all your kids have.

And really, if you read all of Rosen’s quote, her point is about how the Romneys never had to worry about economic insecurity and it’s true that she’s “never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing.”  The Romneys are incredibly wealthy and it’s pretty well-established by now how out of touch that makes them.

Rosen’s point and Romney’s reaction really highlights that while being a stay-at-home mom is hard work, not all women get to do just that. Many have to work for pay and take care of their kids. I think it also brings up the uncomfortable truth in this country that there are many women doing the work of a stay-at-home mom who would otherwise be choosing to work outside the home for pay if we had better family policies in our workplaces. A lot of women are subtly forced out of the workplace, especially in male-dominated fields, when they have kids, and sometimes it’s just because the woman is the partner who makes less that she ends up staying home – her income doesn’t cover childcare costs, so it’s better for her to drop out of the workforce.

Jessica Valenti over at The Nation does a really good job of articulating all of this:

Since all moms are “entitled” to “choose” their path, I’m very much looking forward to the Romney’s plan for national mandated paid parental leave. I’m also wondering, since they believe that women’s domestic labor is valuable and real work, when they will come out in support of wages for said work. (Or perhaps women are only entitled to make their “choice” when they have the financial means to do so.)

Ultimately, the intent of Rosen’s words were not to diminish Romney for being a stay-at-home mom, but because Mitt Romney is struggling to capture women’s votes and because he has no real policies that would actually help women (see above) or working families for that matter, they’re using the Rosen statement out of context to distract from the larger issues. And the media is letting the Romney campaign get away with it. We should instead demand that Mitt Romney tells us his plans to actually help working families and, in particular, the mothers who are part of those families.


Entry filed under: News Roundup.

Books I’m Reading Helping a girl learn she can

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. April Wrap Up and May Kickoff « Undefined Ambition  |  May 3, 2012 at 1:47 am

    […] stepping up and its results. I also tried to expand my blogging horizon by taking on politics and current events, book reviews, and other things going on in my life. Oh yeah, and I posted my first dinner […]


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