Until the “mommy wars” firestorm that erupted in the last few days not many people had heard of Hilary Rosen. I must admit if I didn’t watch my friend, political analyst Erick Erickson on CNN, I wouldn’t have a clue, either.
Ms. Rosen is a Democratic “political advisor” and because of her inane remark about Ann Romney’s lack of work experience outside the home, it has thrust Rosen into the maddening 2012 presidential campaign.
It did not take long for President Obama and his political advisers to distance themselves from Rosen and denounce her unbecoming commentary. Politically, it hurts because it takes the Obama team off message. Rosen was persuaded to return to the CNN studios later and apologize to Mrs. Romney.
Apparently Rosen had confused Ann Romney with some lazy Americans who depend on taxpayers to make ends meet; watching soaps, Dr. Phil or Judge Jeanine on the 42-inch big screen television.
Worse than disparaging Mitt Romney’s wife for not working outside the home, Rosen reached deep into the class-warfare bag of tricks and pulled out one of the most dismissive tried-and-true attacks Democrats use to stir the emotions of their blue collar base. Rosen drove the wedge by saying Ann Romney “has actually never worked a day in her life.”
Can’t you hear the growls of every woman, past and present who spent hours on end dealing with one or more children, overseeing the cleaning, scheduling of meals, chores, et cetera? And consider the stay-at-home mother who has decided to home school her children today. Their typical work day starts at 6:30 a.m. and comes to a halt somewhere around midnight.
This mommy debate makes me wonder why millions of career women opt to put their family ahead of salary and climbing the corporate ladder. I realize not all have that choice based on family economics, but according to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 5 million women stay at home and engage in a “life of leisure” everyday.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently issued a chart that puts a salary on what the typical stay-at-home mom would earn if she received a paycheck for her duties. The bureau studied hours required to complete domestic tasks, occupational value, skills and experience. On average, the “never worked a day in her life” stay-at-home mom should be paid an annual compensation of $61,436, just to stay even with her counterparts in the so-called work force.
Rosen’s typical class envy rhetoric that was tossed about on national television is intended to conjure images for the low wage earners that it isn’t “fair” Romney is able to enjoy the finer things in life, like staying home and raising her five boys. That while husband Mitt, hat in hand, waves goodbye as his chauffeur drives him to the office where he will pour over paperwork, dictate messages to his secretary, lunch at the club and returns home promptly at 6 p.m.
Naturally, Ann has made sure the house keepers and nanny have everything in proper order in time for Mitt’s daily cigar and sherry-size glass of port, served on the veranda.
Frankly, I want to thank Rosen for the donation. Up until her comments last Wednesday, Mitt Romney’s campaign was struggling to compete with Obama’s bully pulpit, especially with independent women voters.
Now, thanks to Rosen, Gov. Romney has some momentum, minuscule as it is. This could be the opening with a very important group of voters in swing states that will play a role in shaping the outcome of the election.
Surely, not every American woman can identify with the lifestyle of the Romneys or the Obamas. But women who put a lot of sweat equity into the lives of their children, husbands and homes can understand the dismissive message sent by Rosen.
Kenny Burgamy serves as a marketing consultant and is co-host of the Kenny B. Charles E., TV, radio and Internet program.