I just read a well-intentioned column by Matt Lewis at The Daily Caller. In his essay ‘The triumph of political games: 7 reasons to reject Rosengate,’ Lewis argues from a position of “visceral disgust” about the flap over Democrat strategist Hilary Rosen’s comments about Gov. Mitt Romney’s wife Ann.
Rosen, among other things, said Mrs. Romney “never worked a day in her life!” The exclamation point denotes the level of intensity in Rosen's voice when she made that statement.
Lewis believes the reaction of many conservatives (I’m included by implication) can be attributed to “phony, feigned outrage” and obscuring “real issues.”
With all due respect to Mr. Lewis, this is very much a real issue.
Rosen’s mindset is common on the Left. It didn’t help matters when President Barack Obama wandered into the conversation by saying he and our First Lady couldn’t afford for her to stay home with their children—that, he said, would be a “luxury.”
I am assuming he used the word “luxury” in the sense of something self-indulgent—the dictionary offers the term in the sense of something “one only rarely indulged in.”
Other definitions refer to expensive items or items that are nonessential, “often expensive or hard to get.”
Working as a full-time mother fits not one single definition of the word “luxury.”
I can’t tell you how many times over the years as I took care of my daughters and my husband while running a very active freelance business many of my friends on the Left assumed I was living on Easy Street. I recall one friend asking me to volunteer my services to edit a newspaper published by a women’s group. I told her I just didn’t have the time. She was so angry with me, it ended up damaging our friendship.
During those years I rarely had a spare moment. In between running the home, running the business, trying to volunteer at church and in my children’s schools, I often saw my work published and I’d wonder to myself how the hell I had time to write it.
I’m hearing some on the Left excuse Rosen’s comments because Mrs. Romney is viewed as “privileged.”
So what? Many of our leaders and virtually every branded celebrity would be considered “privileged.” Furthermore, has a single one of these pundits walked in Mrs. Romney’s shoes? Of course not.
‘Rosengate’, as Lewis called it, is just another manifestation of Leftist-on-woman condemnation. I have heard such snarking more often from the Left who seem to believe the only way a woman can be happy is by becoming the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Women fought for the rights to own property, the right to vote, the right to set goals and to achieve them. We fought for the right to choose what we do with our lives. Among those women suffragettes were many women of "privilege."
Why, then, would Rosen feel it necessary to insult Mrs. Romney on that level?
I believe Rosen said what was in her heart. That is what she believes and that is what many of her fellows on the Left believe.
I do realize Democrats are in war mode over locking up what’s being called “the female vote.” That party has done the same with the “black vote,” the “hispanic vote” and niche voters like the kids and labor unions involved in Occupy Wall Street.
Millions of words have been written about the voting blocs both parties are seeking.
What Rosen said deserved all the fury and words that can be leveled at her. Mr. Lewis may not understand it, but I do because I have confronted that same attitude more times than you can imagine.
Fulltime domestic work is not a “luxury.” For many of us, it was a choice made and fulfilled by great sacrifice, determination and team work with our mates. And even if I was wealthy beyond all reason, if I did my mothering job properly, it wouldn’t matter how “privileged” I was. Mothering is the greatest challenge I ever faced in my life. As an aside, if we could figure out how to do it, most anyone can because we were a long way from well-to-do in those days. The key word is choice, and the key question is what plan can you come up with to enable your choices whatever they may be.
Mr. Lewis may pass “Rosengate” off as political posturing. That is most unfortunate and I suggest he talk to mothers who work fulltime at home and then (a nod to T. S. Eliot) perhaps return to wrestle with his words on paper in a manner fitting his intellectual potential.
‘Rosengate’ was a seismic moment, an indication of exactly how many on the Left view women who don’t espouse Leftist views. In addition to that, our president's description of full time domestic work as a "luxury" may have been a casual slip of the tongue, but it was extremely misleading. The Obamas made a choice just as my husband and I did. The least the president could do is admit the truth and own the choice they made. Many of my female friends who work outside the home admit that was a matter of choice.
Isn't that what the women's lib movement was supposed to be all about? Choice?
If those matters aren't a “real issue,” Mr. Lewis, I’d like you to tell me what is.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/April 13, 2012)