On Wednesday night, Democratic consultant and CNN political commentator Hilary Rosen got in a snarky jibe at Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann. “Guess what?” Ms. Rosen said. “His wife has never actually worked a day in her life.”
Guarding against possible political damage — as a wife, a grandmother, a personable survivor of breast cancer, and a rather heroic victim of multiple sclerosis, Ann Romney represents a very sympathetic figure to most normal people — Obama campaign operatives have been quick to distance themselves from their colleague’s jab, but I believe that Ms. Rosen’s remarks are significant, nonetheless. (She has, for the record, essentially declined to take back her criticism.)
There is, beyond reasonable dispute, a strand of left-leaning feminism that regards stay-at-home mothers with some degree of contempt, and Ms. Rosen’s criticism of Ann Romney seems to reflect that kind of thinking.
Does any reasonable person out there imagine, though, that raising five sons involves no work?
Ironically, in the same CNN appearance and just prior to her slur against Ann Romney, Ms. Rosen was attempting to distance herself and the Democratic Party from recent Obama campaign rhetoric about a supposed Republican “war on women.”
But Ms. Rosen’s announcement that the 24/7 efforts of women who spend their days primarily or perhaps even solely as wives and mothers constitute no real “work” at all gives new life to the concept of a “war against women.” It just potentially shifts the perception of which side it is that’s waging it.
Will such devaluation of their daily lives influence the vote of millions of American women? It will be interesting to see whether this story has any “legs,” and, if it does, how it plays out.
P.S. On a completely unrelated note, don’t forget about Alan Ashton’s lecture tonight at BYU.