Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ann Romney's Experience is the Question

Stay at home parents -- moms or dads -- do work. It isn't easy raising children. I know, I was a child and a pain in the ass.  There is no doubt in my mind that those who stay at home contribute to the family and provide real economic benefit to the household.

Now, parents who work full time also raise children. They also do laundry, make dinner or leave early to see kids at said dinner, help with homework, and even sometimes have to deal with the negative consequences of having kids due to pesky social norms.  These parents contribute to the household with both income and to those other areas where stay at home parents provide their primary contributions.

All of this being said, Hilary Rosen's resume building statement on CNN yesterday was 100% true and has nothing to do with Ann Romney being a stay at home mom.

The Romney family is rich. Like really rich.  They have people to clean their many homes and cook meals for them. I am sure that there were many times that Ann or Mitt or one of their five boys cooked or cleaned but I would imagine that it wasn't often and it was for recreation rather than out of necessity. As my mother (a working one, for the record) said, "Ann Romney has no more idea what it is like to be a working woman than George H.W. Bush knew about the price of milk in the grocery store."

But that isn't even the whole point.

For the sake of this argument, let's assume a stay at home parent is a professional occupation where the person doing the job has expertise in the care of children and has gone through training of some sort to become this expert. It is a reach, I know but just go with me here.  This person should be called upon to do her or his job well while being expected to provide counsel to others working in the field.  But this person shouldn't be expected to provide counsel or advice to other professions.

Rosen's statements were curt and intended to cause this kind of a kerfuffle, and anyone who thinks otherwise is stupid.  This flash-point statement from a low-level, semi-affiliated Democratic operative allows the higher ups to fake outrage while still hammering away at Mr. Romney.  It brings our good friend Rush Limbaugh back into the War on Women conversation.  It also distracts from the real issues at the core of this statement.

The Department of Labor revised jobless claims today. Guess what?  More people are out of work than we thought and that is bad. The fact that Mrs. Romney chose not to work and to stay at home with her kids is not a choice most Americans have the opportunity make.  (Please see above re: "Like really rich.") Her husband, the person running for president, has been a player in the economy for years.  He has both created and destroyed jobs in his previous roles.  He was, according to my grandmother a longtime Massachusetts resident (another great source of political knowledge, using the Mrs. Romney theory) the worst governor in Massachusetts state history.  He has raised tons of money and ran the Olympics.  And now comes the fun part: He is running for president based on his professional and political experience. (See where I am going here? No? I will spell it out.)

Mrs. Romney is not running for president and has no experience that would qualify her for that position, of her own admission.  So why are we upset when someone points out that her experience, or lack there of in this arena, makes her unqualified to provide opinions to the nation or the next Republican Presidential candidate on issues that will dominate this Presidential election?  Whether about economy or working women's issues or anything else?

Is she providing advise on something she has special expertise in that she hasn't told anyone about? No? So as opposed to actually saying she is an expert or a trusted sounding board to her partner, she fights back saying she was a good mother and stayed home to raise kids. Fuck that noise.  Parents, regardless of gender, have responsibilities to their kids.  Move past the enlightened 1950s bullshit.

This is a non-issue that has been further distorted by the media and by the horrific state of affairs that poisons our political environment in this country.  Rosen should have phrased the attack differently and probably should have focused on Mr. instead of Mrs. Romney.  Of that, there is no doubt.  But she wasn't wrong.

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