Friday, April 13, 2012

The Daddy State

From the Christian Science Monitor. What Hilary Rosen said:

“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 why do we worry about their future.”

The Romney campaign pounced, with Ann Romney putting out her first-ever tweet: “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”

Feminism is all about honoring choices. Ann Romney chose to be a stay at home(s) mother, and as any parent knows, it IS hard work taking care of a bunch of kids.

Ann Romney had the option of making that choice, which is something that most women do not have. Most women have to work outside the home, in order to help support the family. Very few women are married to men as wealthy or wealthier than Ann Romney's husband.

Ann Romney never had to worry about the electricity being shut off, how to stretch the food budget till payday, or how to juggle kids, work schedule, and day care. She never had to worry about being able to afford health insurance, or losing her job if she took a day or two off with a sick child. Ann Romney's wealth insulated her - then and now - from the kinds of harsh realities faced by working women every single day. If Ann Romney were given the same stipend a woman on TANF gets, would she be able to live within her means? She does have 2 Cadillacs, after all. We all know that welfare queens only get one.

Then there's the ironic aspect of the Romneys nattering on about choice - when he supports economic policies that would make life even harder for working women, especially the ones at the bottom of the wage scale. Not to mention that he wants to be in charge of women's reproductive choices.

Of course this whole tempest is really about income and class divisions. No one wants to admit that - including the ever spineless Democrats, who began apologizing for Hilary Rosen as soon as the opportunity provided itself. None of them were brave enough to admit that Rosen may not have said it well, but there are some kernels of truth in what she said.

At least now we know that the outraged Republicans value stay at home moms.
Except when they don't.


In January, Romney touted his proposal as governor of Massachusetts to raise the amount of work required of parents on welfare so that they could “have the dignity of work.”

“I wanted to increase the work requirement,” said Romney in New Hampshire. “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.’”

Because when rich white women stay home with the kids, that's hard work. When poor women stay home with the kids, they're lazy, and need to learn dignity.

Wealthy women aren't required to learn dignity - it comes with the silver spoon they're born with.

This is condescending, paternalistic, and elitist. Never mind the nanny state. Mitt wants to give us all the Daddy State.

Attacking Ann Romney isn't a good idea - but pointing out Mitt's hypocrisy is a very good idea. The Romney's level of wealth is a great insulator. The only way these two could be further removed from real people's lives would be if they lived on another planet. And for all practical purposes, they do.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I see no issue with personally attacking Ann Romney. Are not she and her husband one? Did "they" or did "she" choose five rather than one child? The right had no problem personally attacking Hillary Clinton and Michele Obama and I continue to be disgusted with the Dmocractic Party who has lost it's spine, courage and defense of the social contract. If the Romney's wish to run for the highest office in the land, perhaps now is the time to start acknowledging that much of their flipflopping is actual lying, and not a change of heart. And, being as wealthy as they are, they don't even have a concept of understanding what it's like making a choice between staying childless, or entering further hardship by starting a family. I chose to stay childless (and by the way, I've never had an abortion. I worked very hard at not getting pregnant in the first place). Ann Romney will never know what that kind of choice was like to make.