Spokespersons and pundits stick their foot in it all the time. But rarely do we see public relations heavy artillery brought out to do damage control to the extent provoked by Hilary Rosen’s recent remark that Ann Romney “never worked a day in her life.”
President Obama himself responded to this – “…it was the wrong thing to say.” First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted repudiating Rosen – “Every mother works hard and every woman deserves to be respected.”
Clearly, Rosen’s short verbal assault on Ann Romney was something the Obama campaign apparatus saw as a very serious problem. But why?
It seems ridiculous to think that women, married and at home or otherwise, would change their vote based on this relatively trivial observation.
Veteran Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg called this “…a nothing story” and predicted that it would have no effect on how women vote in this election.
But no one can accuse the Obama political machine of being dumb. Quite the opposite. So, again, how to explain the high level PR damage control barrage to clean up the perceived mess made by Rosen?
Here’s the real problem that I believe they saw.
The issue was not so much what Hilary Rosen said, but who said it. More than Rosen’s words, her persona itself is an assault on working class, traditional thinking Americans of both sexes.
Rosen, who works closely with the White House, is a high dollar lesbian “inside-the-beltway” Washington power broker. She and her now estranged partner, the former director the Human Rights Campaign – an organization championing rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders – adopted two black children in 1999.
Her current lesbian partner is president of the American Federation of Teachers – the nation’s second largest teachers’ union.
At a time when it is critical for Obama to gain support and confidence of the same middle of the road white working class Americans who swung over to him in 2008, the last thing he needs is to have Hilary Rosen become a poster child for his party.
She has earned millions in the very influence peddling and power brokering business that Obama campaigned that he would purge from Washington. Her lifestyle embodies and boldly conveys the view that traditional American values and the traditional American family should no longer be considered “the way” but one of many possible legitimate lifestyle choices.
President Obama was elected in 2008 by voters unhappy with the Republican Party and unhappy with the status quo in Washington. He sold himself as a new kind of politician – a fresh, new beginning.