What Hilary Rosen said about Ann Romney last week has been ticking at my brain like one of Peter Tibbles' earworms. “Never worked a day in her life. Never worked a day in her life.” And again, “never worked a day in her life.”
The Romneys then cooked up some outrage and tried to show how hard Mrs. Romney worked. Mrs. Romney tweeted, "I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work." One of the sons announced to the press they never had a nanny.
All this is par for the course. What I did not expect was how fast and furiously everyone in the Obama administration, from the president on down, pedaled to defend Mrs. Romney.
“Motherhood is the hardest job there is,” chorused everyone as they pilloried Hilary Rosen. The pile-on was so thick that Rosen canceled her scheduled Sunday appearance on Meet the Press and then she “deeply” apologized.
This should never have happened. The attacks on Hilary Rosen are the result of willful, deliberate misunderstanding of what she said - first by the Romneys and then by the idiot Democrats who apparently have so few important issues to deal with that they can't recognize a phony one when it smacks them in the face.
Come on! Everyone knows what Rosen meant - that Ann Romney has never depended on a paycheck to raise a family.
Ann Romney has never run short of rent money because the kids needed shoes. She never had her pay docked for taking time off to care for a sick child. She never stayed up a night in her life trying to figure out to how afford birthday gifts. She has never had to say no to a child for anything, ever, because there was no money for it.
However hard motherhood is in any economic bracket in terms of raising children to become responsible adults, it is infinitely more difficult when holding a job outside the home. That's what Hilary Rosen meant.
In his speech to the National Rifle Association last week, Mitt Romney said in response to Ms. Rosen, “I happen to believe that all moms are working moms.”
And Mrs. Romney likes to tell campaign audiences that her husband told her “more times than I can imagine, ‘Ann, your job is more important than mine.’”
Well, apparently for Mitt, that applies only to wealthy mothers. In case you missed it, Chris Hayes on the Sunday edition of his Up show on MSNBC, tracked down some video of Romney speaking in New Hampshire about his position on welfare when he was governor of Massachusetts:
“I wanted to increase the work requirement,” Romney said in January . “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child two 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 daycare 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.”
Noblesse oblige and all that. Chris Hayes also noted that this has been Romney's position for many years:
“As Romney himself put it in a speech to the Burlington Business Council during his campaign for Senate in 1994, the purpose of welfare “is to get people back into the workforce, that work is ennobling, and that we will do everything in our power to make sure that people who are on welfare have an opportunity and an obligation to go to work, not after two years but from day one if we could.”
Fer gawd's sake – is this man running for president or for king? As far as I can tell, neither Romney is the least embarrassed by their doubletalk.
No one – not the Romneys, not the Democrats – comes out of this untarnished. At least Hilary Rosen spoke truth. I wish she hadn't apologized.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Michael Gorodezky: An Important Moment and a Simple Truth