It was the snark meant for no other purpose than to polarize: “His wife has actually never worked a day in her life.” I refer, of course, to Hilary Rosen’s nasty reference to Mitt Romney’s stay-at-home wife, Ann.
When Ann Romney’s years of service to her family were so condescendingly dismissed, I’m guessing every housewife in America hit the roof. “Homemakers are the silent majority,” noted Lady Lydia of Home Living blog. “They are peaceful, but it’s not a good idea to offend them.”
“Democrats scrambled to run damage control,” began a Yahoo article, “after Democratic strategist Rosen suggested that Ann Romney is not a fit surrogate to reach out to female voters.”
The entire quote from the videotaped interview is as follows: “Guess what?” asked Rosen. “His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and why we worry about their future.”
I don’t need to explain the absurd implication that stay-at-home moms don’t work. We all know how false that statement is. It does, however, reveal the contempt with which housewives are often viewed in a culture where the only measure of success is a paycheck.
The “economic issues” to which Rosen refers are those of the struggling middle-class women to whom the Obama administration is attempting to reach out. After witnessing the haste with which the Democrats separated themselves from Rosen’s remarks, she bowed to the outrage and offered a stiff apology; but only because it was politically expedient, not because of a change of heart.
Putting aside the fact that the vast majority of working women would far rather be home raising their kids, the decision to stay home is just as much a factor of hard economic reality as it is ideology. Let’s face it – most housewives aren’t married to men with Mitt Romney’s salary; they’re married to men with modest incomes. The truth is that once the costs of a second income (transportation, clothing, child care, convenience foods) are totaled up, take-home pay from a second income often isn’t worth the effort. Women who conclude this know they can have a stronger financial impact on their families by reducing their outside costs and instead managing their husband’s income as prudently as possible.
Faced with their own fiscal caution, it’s no wonder housewives are upset with out-of-control government spending. They know good and well the economic repercussions the insane national debt will have on their own children, the children they’re working so hard to raise.
In contrast to Rosen’s snide remarks, housewives ARE qualified to deal with serious economic issues. In fact, we’re among the most qualified people in this country. We’re right there on the front lines, not peering down from an ivory tower. We’re the ones explaining to our kids why they can’t have the $150 Air Jordans but instead must get the $7 sneakers from Goodwill. We’re the ones making a pot roast last a week through endlessly creative leftover meals. In short, we’re the ones squeezing every dollar until it shrieks in order to make ends meet.
Rosen’s comments and the resulting firestorm are merely the latest in a long line of divide-and-conquer tactics designed to create hostility among Americans. This time it was the housewives they attacked, attempting to paint them as either lazy twits or uneducated beings who aren’t smart enough to enter the workforce.
“Rosen’s remarks, taken together, tell us that like many of today’s leftists, she sees America not as a melting pot, but as a Balkanized land of categorized groups, warring against one another,” notes David Limbaugh.
It’s this Balkanization – this driving of wedges between any and all possible demographics – that is the latest trend to tear our nation apart. In her apology Rosen said, “Let’s stop this faux war on women.” Didn’t she intensify it?
The ultimate goal of leftist policies is to make people more dependent on government solutions, and what better way to accomplish this goal than to imply that women are a victimized class that needs the government to provide day care? “The left’s war on moms exposes their true feelings towards women,” note commentators Teri Christoph and Suzanne Haik Terrell, “– that we are the victims, the proverbial damsels in distress waiting for Washington to come riding in atop its white horse named bureaucracy to fix our families, prescribe our medications and send our children the bill.”
But contrary to what the leftists claim, most stay-at-home moms don’t want the government to ride to their rescue. They want the government to stay the heck out of their lives. Government interference in the marketplace (by forcing monopolies or burying businesses with nitpicky regulations) almost always makes goods and services more expensive and less competitive. Soaring taxes have forced many women into the workforce when they’d far rather be home. Believe me, there is very little behind the trend of middle-class women in the workforce that can’t be attributed to inept or unconstitutional government policies and practices.
Housewives aren’t home because they’re wealthy; they’re home because they’ve made it a priority to do so. But inevitably a stay-at-home parent is seen as a luxury. “It’s a wonderful luxury to have the choice,” said Rosen.
Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: Rosen wasn’t snarking single moms or others who have no choice but to work. Nor was she snarking the professional welfare queens feeding out of the government trough. Rather, she was addressing housewives, who by definition are married, staying home and raising a family on a single income. Oh, and who probably hold traditional values as well, always an easy target.
All of these media and political pundits are tweeting from their ivory towers, unable or unwilling to see what life is like at ground level for hundreds of millions of real Americans. People who sacrifice to keep one parent home with the kids. People who pare their expenses down to the bone in order to live on one salary. People who don’t take vacations, eat out, have a second vehicle (or any vehicle at all), use cloth diapers, cook from scratch, shop in thrift stores and make endless other frugal adjustments to live within a dangerously tottering economy. And the bulk of this frugality falls on the housewife.
It’s not a luxury; it’s a priority.