“His wife actually never worked a day in her life.”
With those few words Democratic strategist and CNN pundit Hilary Rosen unleashed a firestorm that is being played out on the front page of every major newspaper.
Ms. Rosen’s comments were intended to bring into question Ann Romney’s qualifications as an economic advisor to her husband, presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The candidate was quoted as saying that his wife Ann had informed him that women really care about economic issues. Ms. Rosen stated on CNN that Romney should not be relying on his wife for guidance on economic issues that affect women because as a wealthy stay at home mom she lacks credibility.
The Romney campaign wasted no time jumping all over Rosen’s comments. Think shark feeding frenzy. Even Ann Romney got into the act; opening her own twitter account to defend her decision to stay at home and raise five sons.
The Romney campaign’s reaction comes as no surprise. They are facing an 18 point gender gap that seriously imperils their chances of winning the oval office. Hilary Rosen lobbed them a softball and they jumped all over it.
The Democrats shifted into “damage control”. They quickly sent out the heavy hitters to distance themselves from Rosen’s remarks. David Axelrod, Michele Obama and the President himself spoke out in defense of women who make the choice to stay at home.
Women all over this country struggle with the balancing act between stay at home mom and working mother. For some, economics enters into the equation. For others it is simply a matter of personal choice. Regardless of their choice many women face unfair criticism and suffer from overwhelming guilt. Women have the right to make that decision. Their choice should be respected. Neanderthals who believe otherwise should walk a mile in their shoes. The fact that a cable news pundit can bring the twenty four hour news cycle to a grinding halt; sparking a debate that should have been resolved decades ago, is troubling.
But from our prospective there is a bigger news story here; one that stems from the response to Rosen’s comments.
As stated before, the Democrats came out in force against the comments of Hilary Rosen. The President personally articulated his support of Ann Romney and women all over America who make that difficult choice. Perhaps it was just politics; but we got the sense that the President personally felt that Rosen’s comments were wrong and needed to be addressed.
So how did Mitt Romney respond when faced with a similar situation?
Where was Mitt Romney when pundit Rush Limbaugh publically referred to Georgetown coed Sandra Fluke as a “slut” and a “prostitute” for speaking out in favor of women’s rights? Limbaugh’s advertisers fled like rats from a burning building; but where was Romney? Silent!
Now you might argue that Romney does not feel the need to speak out in response to every half baked comment uttered by a pundit. Fair enough! So where was Mitt Romney just two days ago when a duly elected member of his own party, Republican Congressman Adam West, accused 78-81 Democratic members of Congress of being card carrying members of the Communist Party; a party that was responsible for the murder of hundreds of millions of innocent people. Silent!
The President understood that Hilary Rosen, a Democratic supporter, made comments that were offensive not only to his opponent’s wife but to tens of millions of Americans. He understood the sensitivity of those comments and he had the courage and common sense to speak his mind. When faced with similar situations Mitt Romney has chosen a less controversial course of action…
His silence speaks volumes.