The Real Romneys

If you want to know exactly what the Romneys—Mitt and Ann—are all about, nothing says it better than the following, which was “overheard by NBC’s Garret Haake,” an embedded reporter with the Romney campaign. The event was a fundraiser in Florida and this selection is from First Read:

*** Giddy over the Rosen flap: At the fundraiser, Haake adds, both Romney and his wife Ann remained absolutely giddy about last week’s Hilary Rosen flap. “It was my early birthday present for someone to be critical of me as a mother, and that was really a defining moment, and I loved it,” Ann Romney said. The candidate went further, calling the episode a “gift” that allowed his campaign to show contrast with Democrats in the general election’s first week. But while Romney said last week that “all moms are working moms,” that doesn’t apply to mothers who are welfare recipients, the Boston Globe says. Romney said at a Jan. 4 campaign stop in Manchester, N.H.: “Even if you have a child two years of age, you need to go to work,” Romney describing his position as Massachusetts governor. “And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless,’ and I said ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving daycare to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.’”

Ann Romney: “It was my early birthday present for someone to be critical of me as a mother, and that was really a defining moment, and I loved it.”

Mitt Romney: “Even if you have a child two years of age, you need to go to work… I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.”

Ann Romney looks a lot different today than she did last week, doesn’t she? As far as I’m concerned, she owes Hilary Rosen and the country and apology for her brazen exploitation of an important issue.

And the idea that in Mitt Romney’s reckoning a mother on welfare needs “to have the dignity of work,” and Ann Romney, rich beyond most people’s dreams, doesn’t need to go to work—presumably because money can buy her all the “dignity” she needs—sickens me to the core.

18 Comments

  1. The difference in the rhetoric between ‘types’ of working/stay at home mothers is stunning. Low income stay at home – BAD. Wealthy stay at home – GOOD. Low income needs job because child care has no dignity. Wealthy rejects a job because child care has value.

    Stunning.

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    • Stunning and off-putting and enraging. Sadly, Democrats, including Bill Clinton, played the same kind of game in the 90s.

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      • I’m interested to see how this plays out in the election. I think both the media and the GOP (and maybe the Dems) don’t quite get how aware women are of how recent are their gains. And how offended they are and will remain if this nonsense keeps up.

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        • Moe,

          I have wondered for two years now how long it would be before women realized their reproductive rights are, and have been for some time, under attack.

          Just today yet another restrictive abortion law was signed by the reactionary governor of Mississippi. The state’s one facility that provides abortions may end up closing because of it. Many states have moved to ban abortions after 20 weeks; contraceptive access is being restricted via opt-outs for businesses; onerous state regulations on women’s health clinics (we all thought Republicans hated regulations, right?) make it very difficult to keep them operating; Planned Parenthood is in danger of being defunded, should the GOP take complete control next year; and a Romney presidency would likely see two more radically conservative justices on the Supreme Court who would destroy privacy rights under the Constitution.

          Yet, people are arguing over whether it is “work” if rich women stay at home with their children, as if there is some kind of parity with the rest of the female population, most of whom don’t have husbands who are also vulture capitalists and who can fund their dreams.

          Duane

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          • I’d like to see women stand back and take a longer look . . . to me, the abortion battle (at least at the strategic and political level) has ALWAYS been about getting women ‘back in thier place’. I remember how Barbara Walters and Barbra Streisand were widely loathed on the right – and I beleive it was because they were seen as ‘uppity’.Republican men have always fought back. It’s not just reproductive rights – it’s economic and legal. They’re after it all. They will fail of course, but the question is in the meantime, how much will they slow the progress of women (see Ledbetter, Lilly).

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            • Moe,

              Not only are white men (via the abortion “battle”) trying to get women back in their place, but there is an attempt to put blacks back in their place via the weird attacks on Obama (see: Ted Nugent). Now, to be sure there is not a blatant claim that both women and blacks have behaved too “uppity” and therefore must be stopped, but there is a more subtle message. Nothing else explains the unwarranted vitriol against a president who for the most part has governed as a centrist (see: Richard Trumka’s interview in which he claims Obama is betraying the labor movement) and who has gone out of his way (unfortunately for Democrats at times) to reach out to the other side.

              As for the progress of women, this election is a call to arms. I fear that should Republicans take it all (and that is a distinct possibility no matter what you hear from pundits on our side), it will set back women’s rights an entire generation. Even if Obama beats Romney, it is an uphill climb to keep the Senate (too many Democratic seats up for grabs the next two cycles) and the House (due largely to redistricting) is a lost cause, barring a complete collapse of the national ticket (I still hold out hope that is possible).

              Somehow, Hispanics and women have to be energized beyond expectations to give Obama a win and a Democratic Congress. This will be the White People’s Party’s last chance to throw their weight around, and somehow they know it.

              Duane

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              • Yup . . . they know it and they don’t know what to do about it. The religous right white party is termnal.

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  2. ansonburlingame

     /  April 17, 2012

    Moe,

    An intertesting view and one that I might agree with, to some extent.

    WOMEN get pregant and thus should suffer the consequences. OMG, but there are some that lay the blame on women alone.

    The last time I attended a biology class, it takes “two to tango” yet never do we hear much about how to hold the MAN accountable for his contribution to an unwanted pregnancy. Why, I wonder?

    53% of all birhts in America are from single women ( under 35 years of age) today. That does NOT count the abortions of course. I would guess that with NO abortions that number would go to the 80 or 90% level. Yet who suffers?

    The women and the kids,for sure. In fact I wonder how many “single dads” have more than one child from a given or multiplle woman.

    Now please come up with a social policy that can fix that problem. I big KNIFE, comes to mind, but…….

    Ansod

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    • anson, as you know, there are no policy solutions to misogyny. The only thing that changes that is time and education.

      The ill educated or fundamental religionists cling to a world view that does not include gender equality. I think they are deeply frightened by the rapid demographic shifts away from a white male-centric culture.

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  3. ansonburlingame

     /  April 18, 2012

    I am glad to hear someone say that some social program cannot fix a social ill, such as misogny. For sure I agree. Said another way, used long ago during Civil Rights debates, one cannot legislate morality.

    But then you seem to leap to the conclusion “I think they are deeply frightened by the rapid demographic shifts away from a white male-centric culture.”. By such a statement you point your finger at the religious right in a stereotypical manner, thinking of them as dominated by white people from the South, by and large. Well go walk the halls of Joplin High School today and see the skin color of pregnant gilrs in maternity clothes.

    Our problem in Joplin is not black single moms in their teens. It is teenage GIRLS of all color that become pregnant. And you know as well as I do that RELIGION will not fix that problem.

    Maybe however self interest could mitigate the problem. Make a law requiring a father’s name on every birth certificate with attendant legal obligations on that one MAN (or boy) as well as his family, if he is under 18 years of age.

    Another approach could involve relooking at statuatory rape laws. Any girl under 18 that becomes pregnant should have been legally “violated”, be it consensual or not. No I am not talking about throwing horney young people in jail. But I am suggesting enforcement of real and tough legal financial obligations on the part of BOTH parents beginning with prenatal care and up until the newborn reaches adulthood.

    I would also suggest that when a teenage (under 18) boy or girl causes a pregnancy, the PARENT(s) of those kids be held financially responsible all the way up to the newborn baby reaching 18 years of age as well. In other words Mom and Dad become legally responsible for a grandchild for 18 years after birth.

    We all know quite well that self interest (having sex) causes unwanted pregnancies. But at least for the man (boy) today there are NO legal or financial conseqences for fulfilling that self interest only at the “launching” so to speak.

    I had several classmates in my small hometown that became parents in High School. But they got MARRIED when the pregnancy occurred, not by force of law but rather by force of society and the morals of that old society. That simple step, getting married, then demanded legal obligations for the years ahead.

    But I also feel strongly that demographics is not the cause of teenage pregnancies. SEX causes such pregnancies and the ones that suffer the most are of course the babies resulting which then becomes a huge drain on society as well.

    Anson

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    • [Our problem in Joplin is not black single moms in their teens. It is teenage GIRLS of all color that become pregnant. And you know as well as I do that RELIGION will not fix that problem.]

      Actually anson, teen pregnancies are WAY down, lower than they’ve been in 20 years. And interestingly, that is in spite of other statistic that could otherwise push the numbers up

      Females are now menstruating a full five years earlier than they did in 1900. Five years! That means 9-15 years old. And that means the biological imperative to reproduce is kicking in much earlier than it used to. On the other hand – this gets odder and odder – sperm levels in young males are down since WWI (first time they measured) so maybe that’s nature offsetting the increased estrogen levells in females.

      It’s all mysterious for sure. But our world, our species, has an arc, and that is causing enormous changes.

      Yoou also say: “By such a statement you point your finger at the religious right in a stereotypical manner, thinking of them as dominated by white people from the South,”

      The religious right IS dominated by the South. Just look at the voting records, legislative records and social measurements. Every one of them shows the South to be unique in its religiousity, especially of the evangelical variety.

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  4. ansonburlingame

     /  April 18, 2012

    Wow Moe,

    No way can I compete with your research on age of menustration or sperm count in young men. I was also unaware that teenage pregnancies were DOWN. My guess that is simply because of the legality of abortions now as opposed to when I grew up in the 50’s.

    I suppose the pregancies of girls under 18 might not result in nearly the number of births now, but based on hearsay alone from teenagers that I know, I firmly believe sex,, real intercourse is far more prevalent today than long ago.

    I was an only child and raised two sons. I KNOW what was on my mind at age 15, 16, and up and also know exactly what was on the minds of my sons at that age. I have a 16 yr old grandson as well and can “read him like a book” when his grandmother asks about “girls”.

    For girls, well you have always been a mystery to me, then and now. I have two grand daughters graduating from HS this year and several younger ones coming along the way into adulthood now. No way can or would I have a parental like discusson with any of them. Not my business.

    But IF I had such “talks” I suspect it would be the same that I had with my “budding” sons. I did not spend much time on mechanics as they already knew such from both school and the “barnyard” of teenage kids. Instead I spoke, openly, about responsibility. I tried hard to get them to understand the consequences of imprudent actions and how devastating such consequences could be.

    I have no idea when either of my sons lost their virginity and actually don’t care. But by luck, good sense on their part or whatever, I do not believe there are any “little Burlingame’s” out there of which I am unaware. As well, knowing the two older grand daugthers as I THINK I do, I suspect there are some teenage boys in Joplin and Arlington that had to try to lift the car bumpers to relieve “stress” after a “date”.

    That is not because of skin color, genes, wealth or lack thereof, it is the early guidance of parents that can at least plant ideas to consider, but never ulitmately control what goes on during a “date” or whatever. And the sterile classroom of education CANNOT replace such guidance. If I tried to do that as a teacher I would be fired, summarily, in all liklihood.

    Discussions about sex should be very private and personal discussions. Can you imagine trying to have such a discussion in a classroom with 25 teenagers from all “walks of life”. No way in my view. And yet many of those kids NEVER have such discussions, based on love, caring about them and those with whom they associate, etc.

    There are some things far beyond the realm of government. And this is one of them for sure. All government can even attempt to do is mitigate the consequences after the fact. That is like the horse and the barndoor, for sure, as well.

    Anson

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    • [My guess that is simply because of the legality of abortions now as opposed to when I grew up in the 50′s.] Actually no anson, although abortions no doubt are far more frequent,, it’s access to birth control that’s made the difference. Kids are definitely having more sex, at much younger ages, and seem much more comfortable with it than we were. (oh, I remember very well! A girl who got “in the family way” usually went away for a while – it was all about shame.)

      Still anson,I do not beleive that sex ed and conversttaions should be restricted to family. The entire society is invested in our kids knowing the facts and learning to act accordingly. We’d be in big trouble if we depended entirley on parents, because far too many are either physically or emotionally absent for that to be reliable.

      If I had teenage daughters today or at any time in the last 20 or so years,, I would absolutely make sure they had or had access to birth control. Sons as well. I’d buy them the condoms. Most of them are going to have sex – denying that fact invites trouble.. As I said before . . . they’re fertile and ‘ready’ at much younger ages.

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  5. ansonburlingame

     /  April 19, 2012

    And thus the dillema, today, as to the role of government, Moe.

    What you advise any children you might have is one thing. Ensuring that they have access to birth control pills, condums, etc. is as well your decision as a good parent.

    It is when you decide to use the power of government to force such access to MY children that I become concerned. Here is a condum, buddy, now go have fun.

    And when he in fact “has fun” and unintended consequences result, well what then must government do besides throw money at the problem. Government does a great job of throwing money at things.

    But government does a lousy job of establishing the moral basis to avoid the unintended consequences in the first place.

    We all know, again, that religion cannot fix such issues. The religous right is nuts to make such claims as well. Moral persuasion outside of any relgious context won’t work either, in my view.

    But what will cause people to stop and think, to some degree, is to have real consequences ready to be implemented in the event of “bad” decsions. No that does not mean JAIL. It means being held financially accountable with real “teeth” in such accountability.

    Have all the “fun” you like young men or women. But when something “bad” happens, you just BOUGHT yourself some financial burdens for the next 18 years (plus nine months). And depending on your age government can also “go after your parents (meaning BOTH of them regardless of marital status)” for the duration as well.

    If we the people are worried about single parent Moms and all the burdens placed on society as a result, I see two things to mitigate such a problem. Safe, legal and rare abortions and significant financial burdens of responsibility on both parents of the child, regardless of marital status. In fact why not just impose the full financial responsibility under law for that child that would automatically be imposed if the kids were in fact married.

    Put such government mandates in place and enforce them and most parents would give their sons TWO condums, just in case!!

    Anson

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    • I like the idea of making the young men bear as much burden as the girls they impregnate. I don’t know how, legally or even constitutionally, we could acheive such an outcome.

      What does work – and you touch on this as well – is social pressure. Propaganda (we never use that word, but all goverments employ it, because they know that advertising is effective), propaganda targeting male responsiblity, maybe making it ‘uncool’, could be powerful.

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  6. ansonburlingame

     /  April 19, 2012

    Moe,

    Thanks for at least understanding my points. Rare on this blog.

    Men should be equally accountable for their actions as women. Simple concept of equality between genders .

    Legally and constitutionally it seems very simple to me in terms of Law. Men have equal responsibility, under the law for the well being of a child borm as a result of the acitons of two kids or adults, period.

    Technolgy today provides society with a way to assess that responsibility. It is callled DNA testing. Deny all you like as a man, but DNA will establish clear responsibility, no questions about it.

    For sure it is “socially intursive” to ask every single Mom who the fatehr might have bee. I heard one anectdote about a “mom” saying she was leaning out of a window and was thus “raped” and had no idea who the father might have been. There are legal ways to resolve that situation, in my view but they for sure are “intrusive”.

    So what is more important, fixing or mitigating the “simgle mom” situation or using the force of law to find out who exactly the father mighjt be and holding HIM accounatalbe.

    You will not catch them “all” but you sure as heck can use the force oof law to give them “pause to consider”.

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    • anson, you say “Men have equal responsibility, under the law”.

      I may be wrong, but I don’t think that’s so. It’s probably covered by law if the father is married to the mother – but short of being sued by a party with standing, I don’t see how anyone can be compelled to surrender DNA for testing.

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  7. ansonburlingame

     /  April 21, 2012

    Moe,

    I mistyped my recommendation. I meant to say “Men SHOULD have…. “. Today they do not as far as I know. Many birth certificates have no name listed under “father”, as I understand the matter.

    Your point on how to enforce such a requirement, have a real name of a man on every birth certificate is a good question in some cases. The woman had multiple partners and no idea who the father might be. Then civil liberties associated with unwarranted search and seizure to collect DNA becomes the issue.

    So there we have the traditional dilemma in society. Which is worse, hundreds of thousands of single parent births, maybe millions, or demanding under the force of law to establish parental accountability? Up until the advent of DNA testing, such was not an issue. But now technology has brought the issue before us as a society.

    Normally, in such cases I come down on the side of freedom from government force. However, I must admit that I am “torn” in this instance. Of course the problem could be solved over time IF we implemented automatic DNA sampling at birth for every child born in America. I suspect “someday” that might become the case.

    I recall that when I became a substitute teacher in Joplin I was fingerprinted. Of course my “prints” had been gathered long ago when I entered the military but many teachers probably had never been so “searched”. Wonder why we do not collect DNA as a matter of employment for “sensitive” jobs, like teachers, today?

    But for me at least, matters such as this one go back to establishing responsibility and then accountability. As far as I know my own DNA has never been collected but I for one would submit to such a “search” simply as a matter of citizen responsibility. Would you?

    Anson

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