Jonah Goldberg
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It's going to be bait and switch for as far as the eye can see.

That's how it looks now that the smoke has cleared after the recent "Mommy War" skirmish over Democratic operative Hilary Rosen's comment that mother of five Ann Romney had "never worked a day in her life."

There's no need to re-litigate all of that again. If Rosen apologized any more she'd have to sever a digit Yakuza-style. And the White House couldn't distance itself more if they dispatched the Secret Service to burn down Rosen's house and salt the earth for good measure. Fortunately, the Secret Service is too busy with other things.

And besides, the whole episode was a "distraction." That was the quasi-official line almost the moment Rosen's comments caught fire. It was a "manufactured controversy." NBC's Chuck Todd, easily one of the best political analysts in the mainstream media, responded to the spat by proclaiming: "Welcome to the world of the shiny metal object. A person no one agrees with has ignited a manufactured controversy."

Way over on the left, the editor of The Nation, Katrina vanden Heuvel, said on ABC's "This Week": "I think this whole debate has been a distraction. The issues we should be talking about are equal pay, combating rising health-care costs for families, and sick payday leave for women. And these are issues that the Republicans oppose."

In fairness, Todd and vanden Heuvel are right, at least about the spat being manufactured. The Romney campaign smartly pounced on Rosen's comments as a way to turn the tables on the Obama campaign, which had been banging the war drums on the entirely phony "Republican war on women" ever since the entirely manufactured Sandra Fluke controversy.

Fluke, recall, was the Joan of Arc of free birth control who wasn't invited to testify at a congressional hearing about the Obama administration's effort to force religious institutions to pay for medical services that violate their religious teachings. A 30-year-old activist who picked Georgetown because she wanted to fight Catholic policies from the inside, Fluke was a ringer, and the Democrats wanted to use her to distract from their deeply unpopular plan to bulldoze religious liberty.

When Rush Limbaugh went overboard mocking Fluke's arguments to the point where he suggested she was a "slut," the Democrats leapt into action. So did the mainstream press. Fluke became a national martyr, treated with kid gloves by nearly every outlet. The same Katrina vanden Heuvel who mocked the "distraction" of Hilary Rosen anointed Fluke a "profile in courage" who "speaks for millions of women who won't allow Rush Limbaugh to silence their voice with his vile viciousness."

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Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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