To: Hilary Rosen
From: Lucy Lloyd
Re: Ann Romney
What the hell were you thinking? You’re supposed to be some sort of political strategist, and you blew it. The Democratic party’s carefully built base of women voters has grown every time a Republican presidential candidate opened his (and briefly, her) mouth. All they’ve had to do was stand on the side and watch gleefully as the Republicans presidential hopes fall apart under their self-created deluge of antiquated and restrictive remarks about women’s rights.
If your enemy wants to jump off the cliff, the smartest thing to do is step aside and wave as they fall.
But nooooooooo, you had to get all smarty pants. You sneered and sniped at Ann Romney for “never working a day in her life.”
Nice job, dumbass. Now you’ve pissed off every mom who has ever stayed home with her children. In case you’re a complete idiot, let me remind you that includes Democratic women.
And if you haven’t been paying attention to the polls, let me spell it out for you: there are plenty of Democratics who are deeply unhappy with our current economic policies and continue to punch the Democratic ticket only because the idea of a right-wing, conservative, religious nut job in the White House who CAMPAIGNS on reversing the hard fought, tentatively won gains in women rights completely freaks us out.
So why didn’t you stick to that? How could you screw it up? But nooooo….you had to go to the one part of the swamp with quicksand. Couldn’t stay on the path. Did I mention the word dumbass yet?
It’s been easy for you to paint the picture of the Romneys as out-of-touch with the economic difficulties of a lot of moms. They are.
If you haven’t worried- and I mean truly worried- about how to pay your electric and gas bill when your kid has outgrown his shoes and you have to pony up for school registration fees and your car has 110,000 miles on it and desperately needs an oil change and at least two new tires, then you don’t get it.
For almost all Americans, it’s not the choice of whether or not you buy your kid a new or two-year old car for his sixteenth birthday or make him work in one of the family businesses during summer and have to pay for his own gas. Most of us aren’t teaching our sons to shop at Jos A Banks or Brooks Brothers during a sale. We’re not trying to figure out how much spending money to give our daughters when they go away to Dartmouth.
What’s our reality? What choices are we making? What are our daily lives like? Let me help you out with a few, better talking points about what too many moms- working or not– are facing.
It’s having to tell your sixteen year old that he’s got to get a job to help pay for his own clothes because otherwise he’s going to have to make do with two pairs of jeans and slightly too short khakis.
It’s giving up your allergy meds for a month so your son can go to the movies with his friends. It’s telling your mother that what you really want for your birthday is some new underwear, because yours is pretty close to indecent.
It’s stripping every luxury out of your life so your children can have the school supplies they need. It’s wearing the same pair of shoes every day to be able to pay for dress shoes your kids need for choir.
That’s what Ann Romney doesn’t understand. She doesn’t understand not being able to get a job after a divorce because a mom gave up all those career years because it was important- her choice– to be a stay-at-home mom. Fortune 500 companies don’t seem to recognize PTA and carpool mom as job titles. Ann Romney’s lived a sheltered life, and the financial realities of the real world are beyond her world.
Ann Romney doesn’t understand deprivation, but she sure as hell understands work.
Not only did she raise five boys- from all accounts, doing a very good job- but she’s also been the wife of a politician. She’s scheduled and juggled priorities, cheered at ball games while trying to figure out how long she could stay before having to attend yet another stupid tea for congressional spouses and managed to keep a marriage together through it all. That’s work, and that’s something to be proud of.
And that’s what Democrats- you know, the party you’re supposed to be strategizing for- are all about. Remember? You’re the party of choice. Of options. Of women’s rights and compassion and inclusiveness.
Here’s where you screwed the pooch, Hilary: You don’t get to choose who to include. If you’re going to be about women, you have to be about ALL women, in all walks of life, who make all sorts of decisions you don’t necessary agree with. You have to be for the poor women, the rich women, and everyone in between- and all of the choices they make as individuals.
Sneering at Ann Romney for having the option to stay at home and work for her family isn’t just stupid, it’s a slap in the face to every woman who’s ever given up personal ambition to be able to be the room mom for her kindergartener. It reignites the guilt and defensiveness mothers have when they work- or don’t- regardless of whether they have to work to put food on the table or because they love their job- and their children.
It’s bad enough women are suddenly having to refight the issues of equality that seemed settled without having to revisit the issues of working moms.
So not only have you pissed off a whole group of your party base, but you’ve forced Democrats to put aside partisanship in an important presidential election to rightly stand up for the wife of the Republican candidate.
So…..could you please just shut the hell up? Or else you’re going to be the one falling off the cliff while Ann Romney waves goodbye.