Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hilary Rosen, Ann Romney, Work and apologies --Apples and oranges

According to USA Today, "Hilary Rosen says Ann Romney never worked 'day in her life'"

Wednesday night on CNN, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen said Romney, who raised five now-grown sons, had "never worked a day in her life." Mitt Romney had said earlier that his wife had relayed to him the economic concerns of women around the country.

Oh, come now.

Yes, Mittens probably did make the comment that his wife told him of the economic concerns of women around the country. She might have experience that counts, maybe, after growing up and living affluently a life of privilege. She might have heard valid issues and insights from others; I am not about to claim she is stupid, unstudied, or that her inputs are misleading.

Ann Romney, like other governor's wives, was likely active in various causes and issues, was involved in much relevant discussion, and has come to be learned and respected on various topics. Just the fact that this far into the campaign season, this is the first headline that I have seen her make tells me she is competent and not a political dummy. (Yes, I do think it takes savvy and poise to stand around quietly next to the spotlight and not make waves. Not everyone can do it competently.)

Rosen made the simple observation that Ann Romney isn't a working professional, managerial, executive, trade, or other level of employee with an employee, supervisor or executive's knowledge and experience of working in the workplace.

This is different than assessing whether what one does is "work" as in "energy expended to accomplish a task".

Comparing Ann Romney's views, as a non-participant, of workplace and national economy issues, would be like soliciting George Clooney's guidance on toilet bowl cleaners. It might be relevant, but I wouldn't bet my company -- or my nation -- on the inputs.

Mittens surely intended his remarks to endear him to women engaged in the informal (not measured in cash) economy by implying he gets the scoop on their concerns from his wife, that he listens to his wife and that she influences his policies. Mittens also likely wanted to imply that including his wife's inputs bolster's his understanding of the economy and concerns of everyone. Rosen's snipe at "not having worked" is a direct attack on the second, implied (and specious) part of the message.

What I don't see in the exchange is any attack on women not engaged in the formal, cash-measured, workplace-based, labor union influenced, speculation driven economy. Rosen pointedly struck at a fatuous political claim that his wife has broad and relevant economic experience that bolster's Mitten's candidacy, despite evidence that Mittens instead is a tool of special interests and less a responsible driver of sound economic policy than a privileged twit from the land that kept re-electing that Senator that drove his secretary off a bridge and left her with the car.

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