I understand, that in some battle of campaign optics, the Romney campaign won today’s battle for the hearts of American women, as our own Dave Weigel noted this morning. But before the day closes, I want one last word on the spectacle. Having just watched an advanced episode of Veep, the upcoming HBO show in which Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays a vice president struggling to keep up with the bogus posturing and maneuvering that is the business of Washington, I don’t need a reminder of how it all works. But that doesn’t mean that we, as journalists, have to participate in that. All the journalists piled on today agreeing that of course Hillary Rosen stepped in it when she said that Ann Romney “has never worked a day in her life.” How insulting! How deeply hurtful to moms!
But merely because a campaign makes a disingenuous attack does not mean we all have to demand our own special apology. It is perfectly obvious, listening to Hilary Rosen, what she meant by “never worked a day in her life.” The sentence that follows is: “She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing.” Hear that one – “economic issues.” And I’m sorry to my friend Ruth Marcus and everyone else – there is no reason why we always have to use the “acceptable” formulation “work outside the home” every time we talk about mothers. We can admit that that’s an awkward phrase, and we can also admit that at this point staying home full time with your children is not only a choice but pretty much a luxury of the elite. And almost by definition makes it hard for you to relate to the average woman.
If we needed any more proof that the Romney campaign was merely jumping on this one to erase Rush Limbaugh from our minds, we can look at Mitt’s preposterous claim that most of the jobs lost under Obama were women’s jobs. In the last recession, three-quarters of the 7.5 million jobs lost were lost by men. It stands to reason that as the recession eases some manufacturing jobs are coming back, so men seem better off in this recovery period than women. But that’s a tiny microscope Romney is looking through, and he must know it. Projecting forward, nearly all of the professions that are predicted to grow over the next decade are dominated by women.