What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues. And when I listen to my wife, that's what I'm hearing.
Guess what, his wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She's never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we -- why do we worry about their future?
Is the claim that Ann Romney "never worked a day in her life" true? Actually, if you want to get all technical about it, yes, that is true. The Federal Government does not classify being a stay-at-home mother and homemaker as "work." Nevertheless, Romney found defenders everywhere who were outraged that her many years of being a mother of five sons and a homemaker were being contemptuously brushed aside. The First Lady promptly tweeted: "Every mother works hard and every woman deserves to be respected."
Of course, nobody has challenged the sentence after that because it's so clearly and obviously true. Romney was a child of wealth and privilege who married into a family of wealth and privilege. Romney has never suffered any kind of economic insecurity and has never had to choose between, say, health insurance and a third meal for the day for her boys. A mother who came to motherhood late in life explains:
But Romney nevertheless had a huge advantage over mothers with less money: She could hire help. She could engage baby sitters, nannies, cooks and housecleaners.
That doesn't mean she didn't find her days filled with managing schedules, overseeing homework, buying new sneakers and, yes, even wiping snotty noses. With five kids, she probably never had enough help around to avoid that duty.
Still, Romney's experience of motherhood is significantly different from that of moms around the country whose family incomes hover at the median of $50,000 a year.
Romney later said:
"Look, I know what it's like to struggle. Maybe I haven't struggled as much financially as some people have, but I can promise you that I've had struggles in my life. And I would love for people to understand that Mitt and I have compassion for people that are struggling, and that's why we're running."
Which us all very fine and well, but her husband has endorsed the "Path to Prosperity" plan put out by Representative Paul Ryan (R-MI) that would cut deeply and savagely into benefits for those who are less wealthy and privileged that the Romney family is. According to the economist Dean Baker, the Ryan budget plan:
...essentially eliminates [by 2050] all spending on items other than Social Security, health care and defense. By the end of the 10-year budget horizon most of the areas that we think of as the domain of the federal government (e.g. federal highways and airports, federal courts and law enforcement, drug research and safety, the State Department and Justice Department) will be cut by around 50 percent under the Ryan plan.
It's all very fine and well for Ann Romney to "have compassion for people," but how does that "compassion" translate into actual policy proposals? Well...it doesn't.
Bottom line is that Mitt Romney doesn't need to fire his wife as the Romney campaign's liaison to American women, but he needs to find other representatives to tell him what American women are feeling and going through. His wife Ann is a good start, but she knows about the economic struggles of American women essentially second-hand, from people she has spoken with on the campaign trail, blog posts,magazine articles, TV shows and probably books. She can't contribute any wisdom on how non-millionaires are dealing with the economy these days through her own personal experience.
Speaking of the Ryan "Path to Prosperity," Roman Catholic theologians, priests, nuns, social workers and others have condemned the Ryan plan:
If Rep. Ryan thinks a budget that takes food and healthcare away from millions of vulnerable people upholds Catholic values, then he also probably believes Jesus was a Tea Partier who lectured the poor to stop being so lazy and work harder,” said John Gehring, Catholic Outreach Coordinator at Faith in Public Life. “This budget turns centuries of Catholic social teaching on its head. These Catholic leaders and many Catholics in the pews are tired of faith being misused to bless an immoral agenda."
Allegedly, Ryan wants to liberate the poor from dependency on the government, but the 59 Catholics say that his plan is "anathema to the Catholic social tradition."
Also, Obama has decided to put his full weight behind getting the "Buffett Rule" put into legislation. Is there any chance that any such legislation will pass? Nah, but it's a good campaign issue as it reveals a stark difference between the two parties. Right-wing media sources have decided on some pushback. The Washington Beacon has charged that "[Obama] has yet to propose a comprehensive plan to reform the byzantine tax code," but the Obama Administration has begun work on exactly that. Problem is, tax simplification is a good deal harder and more complex and much less likely to produce new revenues than simply raising taxes would. Every provision in the tax code was put in there by majorities of Congress. Nothing is there that hasn't been considered and argued over and voted on. If a provision is in there, it's there for a defensible and probably a justifiable reason.
As far as other campaign issues go, Mitt Romney has come down firmly on the anti-abortion side of the abortion issue. And no, there's no reason to think that the Republican "War on Women" has been halted or that the two sides are now equal because of the outrage concerning Ann Romney and Hillary Rosen.
George Zimmerman appeared in court and invoked the "Stand Your Ground" law as a justification for killing Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager, that was pressed by ALEC,the American Legislative Exchange Council that writes bills that are later adopted, often wholesale, by right-wing legislatures. The good news is that corporations have been having second thoughts about staying with ALEC and have begun withdrawing their support.