April 12 2012
Carrie L. Lukas
Ann Romney, mother of five, “has actually never worked a day in her life.” That’s how the DNC’s Hilary Rosen put it, and the Obama campaign has been back-tracking ever since. They are now trying to make it clear that they still think it’s inappropriate to attack a candidate’s family and didn’t mean to suggest that raising five kids isn’t “work.”
It’s tempting, of course, to hold this remark up as evidence of the very low opinion that many on the Left hold of stay-at-home moms. Feminists like Linda Hirshman, author of Get to Work…and Get a Life Before It’s Too Late have helped create the sense that many on the Left consider women who take time out of the workforce as letting down the sisterhood, and failing to contribute to society in any meaningful way. Proposals to create government-funded daycare centers also further this image: Stay-at-home moms can and should be replaced by childrearing factories that take care of the unpleasant business of wiping noses and teaching the ABCs, which is all stay-at-home moms do anyway.
Yet I’m pretty confident that Hilary Rosen recognizes that raising kids is “real work,” and didn’t mean to denigrate all of America’s stay-at-home moms. I’m sure that she recognizes that stay-at-home moms have real value, not just in raising their own kids, but to their communities.
She was really trying to make a point that is also made about the First Lady—Ann Romney has no personal experience with the economic struggles facing so many of American women today, just as it’s a stretch for Michelle Obama to pretend that she was facing the same troubles as any old working mom when her husband was a Senator.
Fine. We get it. And I’m sure the media will help her paper over this slip. But she should recognize—as should the whole Obama Campaign—that the idea of a GOP “War on Women” is just as ridiculous as a DNC “War on Stay-at-Home Moms.”