For a guy who thinks being a mom is the hardest job in the world, and no one has worked harder than his wife, Mitt Romney sure has a funny attitude when it comes to other nonworking mothers who aren’t married to multimillionaires. As Mitt wrote in his book:
In some quarters, however, the American work ethic is waning. Some people devote themselves to find ways not to work.Some seem to take a perverse kind of pride in being slipshod or lackadaisical. In many cases, where our work culture has deteriorated, shortsighted government policies share a good part of the blame.Welfare without work erodes the spirit and the sense of self-worth of the recipient. And it conditions the children of nonworking parents to an indolent and unproductive life. Hardworking parents raise hardworking kids; we should recognize that the opposite is also true. The influence of the work habits of our parents and other adults around us as we grow up has lasting impact.
Not only does Mitt think poor mothers “need to go to work” so they’ll have “dignity,” and not only does he think that drug testing poor mothers is “an excellent idea,” but he also thinks that nonworking parents raise rotten children. Except, of course, for Ann Romney, the hardest working nonworking parent ever.
By: Kaili Joy Gray, Daily Kos, April 16, 2012
While the Romney campaign’s outrage machine was cranking on all cylinders last week over CNN contributor Hilary Rosen’s comments on Ann Romney’s wealth, the victim of Rosen’s barb doesn’t seem too offended — in fact, she’s thrilled. At a closed-door fundraiser last night, Ann Romney revealed that she saw the jab as a political “gift,” NBC News’ Garrett Haake reports:
Mrs. Romney acknowledged Republicans’ deficit at present with female voters, and urged the women in attendance to talk to their friends, particularly about the economy. She also discussed the criticism she faced this week, and her pride in her role as a mother.
“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,” Mrs. Romney said.
In case the phoniness of the Romney campaign’s response to “Rosen-gate” wasn’t obvious enough already, Ann Romney’s glib political calculation should make it clear.
Behind closed doors, Rosen’s comments were a “gift.” In public, Ann and her allies were deeply offended by the slight from Rosen (who is on the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s board). “Now that does bother me,” Ann said in a Fox News interview responding to the jab. On a conference call organized by the Romney campaign, female Republican lawmakers tried to outdo each other in expressing their offense and outraged at Rosen’s comments.
Discussing Ann Romney’s comment this morning, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien remarked, “It made it sound like it was about strategy and not about ‘what a great opportunity’ to talk about my family. It was more like, ‘Wow, I was able to score political points on an issue that could help my husband win.’”
By: Alex Seitz-Ward, Think Progress, April 16, 2012
“I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go,” Romney said. “Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later. But I’m not going to actually go through these one by one. What I can tell you is, we’ve got far too many bureaucrats. I will send a lot of what happens in Washington back to the states.”
“I’m going to probably eliminate for high income people the second home mortgage deduction,” he continued, adding that he would also support eliminating deductions for state income and property taxes.
Till now, Romney has been very specific about his intention to be very vague. Back in March, he told the conservative Weekly Standard, “one of the things I found in a short campaign against Ted Kennedy was that when I said, for instance, that I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, that was used to suggest I don’t care about education…So will there be some that get eliminated or combined? The answer is yes, but I’m not going to give you a list right now.”
Sunday’s comments, however, were “overheard by reporters on a sidewalk below.” Romney thought he was speaking privately to a group of conservative donors. And so they offer, in theory, a look behind the curtain. The only problem is there’s not much there.
Romney’s tax plan — which extends all the Bush tax cuts and then cuts taxes even further — will cost the Treasury trillions of dollars in lost revenue. You can’t make that up by capping a few deductions for high-income taxpayers. And while it sounds very tough to talk about closing agencies, it doesn’t save you much money unless you’re also willing to cut the services they provide.
To make his numbers add up, Romney needs to close the largest and most popular deductions in the tax code and cut huge swaths of government social spending. And as of now, he’s not willing to talk about doing that. Not even in private.
By: Ezra Klein, Wonkblog, The Washington Post, April 16, 2012
GOP “Manufactured Controversies”: Editors And Reporters, There’s No Excuse For Taking This Stuff At Face Value.
Greg already flagged a brutally bad New York Times story about the Hilary Rosen flap earlier this morning, pointing out that the Times totally butchered Rosen’s (non-) involvement in Barack Obama’s campaign. He’s right — but that only scrapes the surface of what a bad job this story does with the phony controversy that broke out when Rosen said something stupid on CNN on Wednesday.
Let’s start with the headline: “Collision Over Roles of Women Sets Off Combative Debate Along the Trail.” Huh? That never happened. There was no “collision over roles of women,” and especially not “along the trail,” which is to say, in the context of the campaign. What actually happened is that one TV talking head, to be sure someone there to represent the Democrats, said something foolish which was immediately pounced on by Mitt Romney’s campaign…and by the Obama campaign as well. No collision. No debate.
The article took the entire “controversy” (as framed by Republicans) at face value:
The campaign for the White House spilled into the politics of motherhood on Thursday as a combative back-and-forth involving a Democratic strategist and Mitt Romney’s wife quickly revived a deeper, decades-old cultural debate about the roles of women in and out of the workplace.
Again: that never happened, at least not within the campaign’s context. Did some people use Rosen’s words as an excuse to wallow in a “decades-old cultural debate”? Sure. But no one who speaks for the Obama campaign or the Democratic Party in any meaningful capacity took the “objectionable” side of that debate. No officials from the Obama campaign or the Democratic Party said anything about stay-at-home moms that attracted criticism. And when one lone Democrat did say something, the Obama campaign and the larger Democratic Party network condemned it and said exactly the same things that the Romney campaign said. There was no campaign disagreement. Anyone who only read the Times story would have come away believing that there was an actual presidential campaign dispute over stay-at-home moms.
Here’s the bottom line. We’re going to have these manufactured controversies throughout the campaign. Both sides know how to take an awkward remark and turn it into a huge flap, regardless of whether there’s anything real behind it. Hey, editors and reporters: don’t fall for it! No one is really offended; there’s no there there, and you shouldn’t be afraid to say so. It’s fine to report what the campaigns are up to, but whether it’s Etch-a-Sketch or this one or the next dozen that are going to follow, there’s absolutely no excuse for taking this stuff at face value.
By: Jonathan Bernstein, The Washington Post Plum Line, April 13, 2012
I am a proud progressive, both socially and economically. My heart bleeds just as much for economic justice as it does for full equality for women and the LGBT community. As a progressive, as a liberal, the primary objective for which I fight is the right to self-determination: people, regardless of race, class, gender, orientation or any other fortuitous circumstance of birth, should have the ability to pursue their dreams. My liberal identity comes from the belief that government must take a proactive role in ensuring that those whose origins were more humble than others are free from discrimination and at least have a ladder to climb, instead of being forced to watch helplessly as the more fortunate dance on the top rung.
Because of that, I highly respect the decision of Ann Romney to stay at home and raise their five children. It goes without saying that being extremely wealthy makes that decision much easier: the ability to hire nannies and housekeepers when necessary certainly alleviates some of the stresses commonly associated with stay-at-home parenthood. But that isn’t the point: parents who choose to stay at home and raise children willingly risk forgoing the potential social prestige and economic benefits associated with developing an external career. My father, for instance, forsook a promising academic career to raise and home-school my brother and myself. Partly owing to personal experience, I feel that parents who feel that raising children is their calling should be highly respected for their choice: we, as progressives, should no more be in the business of telling parents, especially women, that they should work than the Catholic League should be in the business of telling them that they should sacrifice their ambitions to stay home with their children. What we as progressives must be in the business of doing is making sure that everyone has the ability to make that choice.
Here, however, is where my respect for Ann Romney ends. Once again, it is my job as a progressive to ensure that everyone has access to follow their dreams. Ann Romney, however, supports policies that will ensure that only people of her station will be able to make such sacrifices.
Back in 2003, current Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren co-authored a book called The Two-Income Trap. The main thesis was that even a decade ago, it took two incomes to maintain the same standard of living as one income could provide generations ago. The main culprits were the rising cost of education and the rising cost of insurance. Anyone who has been paying attention knows that these problems have only gotten more aggravated with the passage of time, further limiting the options of parents who might otherwise wish to stay home with children, but cannot spare the income, or in many cases forcing young people who just cannot figure out a way to get ahead of the game to delay marriage and child-rearing, waiting for an era of comfort and job security that may come far later than they expect, if ever.
Ann Romney wishes to be respected for her choice. Fair enough. But the fastest way for her to earn respect for her choice is to make sure such a choice is not the province of her class alone, and that idea is in direct contrast to the policies that her husband Mitt espouses. So here’s a simple message to Ann Romney:
If you care about making sure that parents can afford to stay home with their children, then you don’t support Scott Walker’s efforts to destroy the middle class. You don’t support Paul Ryan’s budget that destroys Medicare and Medicaid. You examine the fact that public education is becoming increasingly expensive, and you support efforts to fund it, rather than continue to watch it spiral out of control and ensure that it takes two incomes to afford any sort of higher education.
You support student loan reform so that new graduates don’t have to work their entire lives to pay off their debt. You don’t “get rid of” Planned Parenthood, which provides vital medical services and helps ensure that women are able to raise healthy children to begin with. You don’t let Detroit go bankrupt so that vulture capitalists like the one you married can sell off its scrap for investor profits. You don’t accelerate foreclosures and kick children out of their homes so that those same investors can make more money from their rental fiefdoms. You do everything you can to ensure that health insurance is not tied to employment (to be fair, Mitt deserves some credit on this).
You support the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act to ensure that women who do choose to stay home are guaranteed some sort of recourse against partners who turn bad, instead of being forced into a devil’s choice of being stuck in a violent relationship or out on the streets. You support increases in the minimum wage so that those who do work don’t have to work multiple jobs just to put food on the table. You strengthen social security and its associated death benefit so that widows (or widowers) who chose to stay home have something left to live on in the worst case, instead of privatizing it so that (stop me if this sounds familiar) investors like your husband can figure out how to make even more money off of a program that’s doing just fine as it is.
You support investing in America again through stimulus and public works so that both men and women have good-paying jobs and a much more livable transportation system. And most importantly, you support tax reforms that require the super-wealthy (like your husband) and the gigantic corporations they run to pay their fair share in taxes so that all of these other things can happen.
If you were serious, Ann, these are just some of the things that you’d do. Otherwise, you’re just another spoiled Republican telling people that as long as you can do what you want, then everyone else can go to hell.
By: Dante Atkins, Daily Kos, April 15, 2012