Friday, April 13, 2012

Will the Real Hilary Rosen Please Stand Up?

The identity politics crisis in the Democratic Party took a strange turn this week as working mother and CNN contributor Hilary Rosen stepped into the abyss with an ill-considered remark about Mitt Romney:

"Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life."
Ann Romney, the wife in question, raised five boys before coming down with the debilitating disease multiple sclerosis. Ann hit on both points in her response:

"My career choice was to be a mother, and I think all of us need to know that we need to respect the choices women make. ... I know what it's like to struggle. Maybe I haven't struggled as much financially as some people have. I can tell you and promise you that I have had struggles in my life."
It did not help that the idea that being a housewife is not work was being espoused by a lesbian, which conjures up that militant brand of feminism which does not sit well even with Democratic voters.

Before the cock crowed, Hilary Rosen was denied three times by Team Obama:

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina tweeted: "I could not disagree with Hilary Rosen any more strongly. Her comments were wrong and family should be off limits. She should apologize."
Campaign strategist David Axelrod tweeted: "Also Disappointed in Hilary Rosen’s comments about Ann Romney. They were inappropriate and offensive."
First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted: "Every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected."
Even President Obama was obliged to respond.

"There's no tougher job than being a mom. Anybody who would argue otherwise, I think, probably needs to rethink their statement."
But the most complete denial goes to the President's White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney. He stammered out a reply to a question about the 35+ visits Hilary Rosen was shown to have made in White House logs.

"I don't know that Hilary Rosen ... I know three, personally, women named Hilary Rosen ... so I'm not sure those represent the person we're talking about ... necessarily.".
To Tell the Truth Hilary Rosen is a Democratic strategist who uses her position as a commentator on CNN to advance the Democratic Party agenda. But by the end of the day yesterday, only conservative Republican political commentator Bay Buchanan would stand by Hilary Rosen:

This all comes in the context of what Team Obama has been calling the Republican "War on Women"®. And so part of the denial of Hilary Rosen may be tied up in the wording of her apology:

"I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended. Let's declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance."
An end to the phony war on women? What would that do to the Democratic Party's 2012 strategy? Not by coincidence there have for the last few weeks been organizers with clipboards out on the sidewalks in Harvard Square asking for support for Planned Parenthood.

No surprise then that this afternoon I got an email from Kelly Ward at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee with this subject:

"The Republican War on Women is real."
Hilary Rosen, the real Hilary Rosen, is just an acceptable casualty.

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