Rosen: Just Following the President's Lead

Carol Platt Liebau

4/13/2012 9:10:02 AM - Carol Platt Liebau
It's hard to apologize for views one truly holds -- as evidenced by the statements of both Hilary Rosen and President Obama.

Rosen has apologized for "offending" . . . claiming that her words were "poorly chosen."  Ironically, she claims that she was unclear in what she said, whereas the real problem is that she was all too clear.  The fact is that many on the left simply feel nothing but contempt for women who choose to stay at home and raise children rather than entering the workforce.

What's particularly damning is that it appears Rosen was simply following up (with insufficient subtlety) on a meme initiated by President Obama, who said

[W]e didn't have the luxury for [Mrs. Obama] not to work.  

Ignore the fact that even with one parent's income, the Obamas were well above the income norm in this country.   The President's use of the word "luxury" gives the game away.  Aside from one archaic definition that no longer obtains ,Merriam-Webster defines "luxury" as follows:

"a condition of abundance or great ease and comfort: sumptuous environment"

"something adding to pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary"

"an indulgence in something that provides pleasure, satisfaction, or ease"

Aside from the fact that many moms would hardly describe their daily lot as particularly "sumptuous," or their work as an "indulgence" that's "not absolutely necessary," between Rosen's words and the President's, there's an obvious effort (though less direct on the President's part)  to contrast Ann Romney with Michelle Obama, suggesting that the former is nothing more than a cosseted, overprivileged rich lady who has lived a life of ease (and rendering somewhat ironic his insistence that family should be treated as "civilians" -- a war metaphor revealing in itself).  When taken together with Rosen's follow-up, President Obama's "luxury" remark about stay-at-home moms is a transparent attempt to neutralize the appeal of Ann Romney, whom some on the left fear as Governor Romney's "secret weapon."  And it's a typical play from the extensive Obama White House resentment-stoking playbook.

The happy (or "unhappy," as it turns out) synchronicity between the President's statements and those of strategist and frequent White House visitor Rosen suggests that a effort was in the making to cement Obama's appeal among working women by a divide-and-conquer strategy.  Who knows? Maybe polling shows that stay-at-home moms are such a lost cause for the Obama campaign that they thought there was no significant downside to this strategy.  

Now, they may believe differently.  But Rosen's "apology" shows little real contrition, and if you believe that President Obama is profoundly opposed to the substance of her comments, contrast his passionate denunciation of Rush Limbaugh with his gentle rebuke to Rosen.

The contrast suggests that the president and his strategist are not terribly regretful about the attack on stay-at-home moms; they're just terribly sorry that it backfired.