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“So Much For The Phony Outrage”: Ann Romney Says Rosen’s Attack Was A ‘Gift,’ ‘I Loved It’

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.

Update:
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

April 16, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

April 16, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Just Saying”: Dear Ann Romney, Allow Others The Choice You Made

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

April 16, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012, Equal Rights | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘”The Indignity Of Mitt”: Romney Says “Dignity Of Work” Only Available To Women In The Paid Workforce

Chris Hayes has turned up the video of a speech made by Mitt Romney in New Hampshire this past January where he spoke of his efforts, while serving as governor of Massachusetts, to force all mothers receiving government aid to get out of the house and into the workforce—or lose their benefits.

It wasn’t about the money. Romney calculates that getting these mothers to leave their kids and enter the workforce would actually cost the state more through the increased costs of providing day care for the children of these working mothers.

No, Romney had a higher goal in mind —he wanted these stay-at-home mothers to know the ‘dignity of work‘.

I know. Was it not Governor Romney who spent this past week exhorting the great dignity and hard work done by moms who elect to stay home and raise their kids? How does that square with his speech which touts his long-held view that certain stay-at-home mothers can only learn the dignity of work by getting out of the house and leaving the daytime care of their children to others?

Speaking to the New Hampshire audience, this is what the Governor had to say:

“I wanted to increase the work requirement,” said Romney. “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care 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.’”

I thought that if anything had been established through the eruption caused by CNN pundit Hillary Rosen’s poorly chosen words earlier this week, it was that there is, indeed, immense dignity in the work of stay-at-home moms. So said the President, the First Lady and the one-time First Lady of Massachusetts—Ann Romney.

And, for what it is worth, so say I.

The Governor’s suggestion that there is dignity in the work done by women who stay home to raise their kids (this week’s meme) but, apparently, only when they have sufficient financial resources to do so, completely proves the point Ms. Rosen sought to make—even if her comments were inartfully uttered.

Rosen was not demeaning the importance of full-time parents and everyone knows that. She was, however, pointing out that Mrs. Romney might not have the best perspective when it comes to the difficulties of wanting to be a full-time mother when forced, as a result of financial reality, to enter the workforce.

Where Rosen appears to have gone wrong is in directing her comments toward Mrs. Romney rather than at her husband, the Candidate. I say that because I strongly suspect that Ann Romney ‘gets it’. I strongly suspect that Mrs. Romney does understand the difficulties faced by many women who want to commit themselves to raising their kids but need to earn a living to put a roof over the kids’ heads.

It’s Ann Romney’s husband who appears to not have a solid grip on what he believes in this regard, or is—yet again—simply changing his pitch to fit what he believes to be the winning narrative of the day.

If you believe that women whose families do not earn enough to support their families without government assistance should enter the workforce, that’s fine. And if you believe that women who choose to stay home and be a full-time mother is certainly a difficult and meaningful job—that’s fine too.

If you further believe, as most sensible people do, that being a full time mother is a noble and hugely worthwhile profession that can be disrupted when circumstances require that mom go to work to pay the bills, then welcome to the real world.

None of these options are the point.

The point is that Governor Romney’s desire to have it both ways on virtually any topic appears to be endless. He simply cannot tout the notion that a woman staying home to raise her children is the work equivalent of going to the office each day (which it certainly is) and then, out of the other side of his mouth, argue that stay-at-home moms with small children must get into the workforce as the only means of experiencing the ‘dignity of work.’

Mrs. Romney has it right on this issue. The experience of women who commit their lives to raising their families most certainly know the dignity of hard work. It is her husband who has it wrong. Unfortunately, it is Mrs. Romney’s husband who would like to be President of the United States.

Maybe we should waste this week in the campaign by asking Governor Romney to explain his contradictory perspectives?

 

By: Rick Ungar, Contributor, The Policy Page, Forbes, April 15, 2012

April 16, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Mitt’s Other World”: Mothers Should Be Required To Work Outside Home Or Lose Benefits

Poor women who stay at home to raise their children should be given federal assistance for child care so that they can enter the job market and “have the dignity of work,” Mitt Romney said in January, undercutting the sense of extreme umbrage he showed when Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen quipped last week that Ann Romney had not “worked a day in her life.”

The remark, made to a Manchester, N.H., audience, was unearthed by MSNBC’s “Up w/Chris Hayes,” and aired during the 8 a.m. hour of his show Sunday.

Ann Romney and her husband’s campaign fired back hard at Rosen following her remark. “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work,” Romney said on Twitter.

Mitt Romney, however, judging by his January remark, views stay-at-home moms who are supported by federal assistance much differently than those backed by hundreds of millions in private equity income. Poor women, he said, shouldn’t be given a choice, but instead should be required to work outside the home to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits. “[E]ven if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work,” Romney said of moms on TANF.

Recalling his effort as governor to increase the amount of time women on welfare in Massachusetts were required to work, Romney noted that some had considered his proposal “heartless,” but he argued that the women would be better off having “the dignity of work” — a suggestion Ann Romney would likely take issue with.

“I wanted to increase the work requirement,” said Romney. “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care 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.'”

Regardless of its level of dignity, for Ann Romney, her work raising her children would not have fulfilled her work requirement had she been on TANF benefits. As HuffPost reported Thursday:

As far as Uncle Sam is concerned, if you’re poor, deciding to stay at home and rear your children is not an option. Thanks to welfare reform, recipients of federal benefits must prove to a caseworker that they have performed, over the course of a week, a certain number of hours of “work activity.” That number changes from state to state, and each state has discretion as to how narrowly work is defined, but federal law lists 12 broad categories that are covered. 

Raising children is not among them.

According to a 2006 Congressional Research Service report, the dozen activities that fulfill the work requirement are:

(1) unsubsidized employment
(2) subsidized private sector employment
(3) subsidized public sector employment
(4) work experience
(5) on-the-job training
(6) job search and job readiness assistance
(7) community services programs
(8) vocational educational training
(9) job skills training directly related to employment
(10) education directly related to employment (for those without a high school degree or equivalent)
(11) satisfactory attendance at a secondary school
(12) provision of child care to a participant of a community service program

The only child-care related activity on the list is the last one, which would allow someone to care for someone else’s child if that person were off volunteering. But it does not apply to married couples in some states. Connecticut, for instance, specifically prevents counting as “work” an instance in which one parent watches a child while the other parent volunteers.

The federal government does at least implicitly acknowledge the value of child care, though not for married couples. According to a 2012 Urban Institute study, a single mother is required to work 30 hours a week, but the requirement drops to 20 hours if she has a child under 6. A married woman, such as Romney, would not be entitled to such a reduction in the requirement. If a married couple receives federally funded child care, the work requirement increases by 20 hours, from 35 hours to 55 hours between the two of them, another implicit acknowledgment of the value of stay-at-home work.

Romney’s January view echoes a remark he made in 1994 during his failed Senate campaign. “This is a different world than it was in the 1960s when I was growing up, when you used to have Mom at home and Dad at work,” Romney said, as shown in a video posted by BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski. “Now Mom and Dad both have to work whether they want to or not, and usually one of them has two jobs.”

 

BY: Ryan Grim, The Huffington Post, April 15, 2012

April 15, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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