By week's end, it seemed clear that Hilary Rosen's repugnant attack on stay-at-home mothers was part of a larger White House decision
to attack the Romneys for being callous and out-of-touch because they are rich (Rosen was simply following the lead of the President, who had earlier declared that staying home to care for one's own children is a "luxury"
Predictably, other friends of The White House are picking up on the meme:
NOW President Terry O'Neill:
Do Mr. and Mrs. Romney have the kind of life experience and if not, the imagination, to really understand what most American families are going through right now?
(Dem) Rep. Scott Randolph
: How many house servants did "stay-at-home-mom Ann Romney have to raise her kids. [sic]" Just b/c u don't have job doesn't make u stay-at-home mom.
Mediaite's Tommy Christopher
: The parts of [being a mom] that are
hard work . . . are things that don't exist when you've got $250 million in the bank. When you've got that kind of cheddar, even the chores associated with parenting (stay-at-home or not) cease to count as work. If you've got a quarter-billion in the bank and you're still doing your own laundry, that's a hobby
The bitterness, resentment and utter cluelessness that drip from this line of inquiry are astounding -- and unlikely to elicit much of the desired response from the American people. We are a nation of aspirers, not a nation of resenters.
But even so, the foundational assumption of all this commentary -- the idea that if you've got money, you have no other problems -- is so ridiculous that it won't fool anyone with common sense . . . or at least anyone with even a scintilla of awareness about life.
Live a little while -- outside the bubble of left-wing navel-gazing -- and you'll come to see (through observation or experience) that money, if it's handled properly and kept in perspective, is a good and wonderful thing that eliminates plenty of pressing problems. It's a blessing, just as good health, a loving family or a satisfying career is.
But like any other blessing, having money doesn't make one exempt from life's hardships. It doesn't keep you from getting MS or breast cancer (in Ann Romney's case), or from having a sick, disabled or autistic child, or from suffering heartbreak or loss or disillusionment or humiliation or despair. Having money -- like its opposite, being poor -- doesn't make anyone any less human (a truism one would have thought these supposedly sophisticated commenters would have learned from their own mothers).
This effort to make people with money somehow "the other" (to use a favorite left-wing formulation) is ugly, juvenile and silly. In what is perhaps an exercise in projection, it discounts the existence of empathy (the ability to understand others' feelings or plight even if one doesn't share them).
And finally, this idea that the capacity to hire childcare help necessarily reduces or eliminates the centrality of one's role and work as a stay-at-home mother -- as reflected in Randolph's and Christopher's comments -- is not only insulting, but naive and intrusive and, above all, ignorant.
No doubt Randolph and Christopher (and O'Neill, for that matter) cheered Hillary Clinton's assertion that it takes a village to raise a child. Actually, it doesn't. But taking care of children is a task that no one can do alone. Whether they work or stay home, some women (like Michelle Obama) are lucky enough to have mothers or sisters or aunts or other family willing and/or able to share the load or give them some time off. Some aren't -- and then they have to hire people to help them (and by doing so, incidentally, they're giving someone a job).
It's worth asking Ann Romney's lefty critics: If it's all right to hire child care to go to work for a paycheck, can you remain a stay-at-home mom in good standing if you hire child care so you can go do volunteer work for, say, a lefty cause celebre like the National Abortion Rights Action League? What about if you contract a potentially mortal illness? Is it okay then? What about if you have to care for another family member, say, an aged parent? What if you have multiples? And do Democrats like O'Neill, Randolph and Christopher really want to be in the position of peeking into every household with a stay-at-home mom to evaluate who's "working" and who's not?
No doubt some stay-at-home mothers hire child care to avoid the task of raising their own children. Some women go off to work for the same reason. But neither case is the norm. And the Democrat establishment's obvious effort to subject individual Americans' domestic choices or arrangements to scrutiny and ridicule once again shows who, in which party, is truly out of touch.
Hint: It isn't the Romneys.