This New York Times article has a good summary of the firestorm that was set off recently by Democratic strategist Hillary Rosen suggesting that Ann Romney, Mitt's wife, couldn't relate to many American mothers because she'd "never worked a day in her life."
There's no doubt that Rosen's words were ill-chosen. Raising a family is certainly hard work. But at the same time, Mrs. Romney's response underscores exactly the out-of-touch attitude that Rosen was getting at. Mrs Romney said Ms. Rosen, "should have come to my house when those five boys were causing so much truble. It wasn't so easy...My career choice was to be a mother."
And while no one is denying that being a mother is hard work, the point is about women who aren't a part of obscenely wealthy families: women who are trying to raise those same five boys, but without the luxury of being able to take off work, and without being able to afford to send those children to a variety of private lessons, extracurricular activities, or simply leave them at home with a nanny. It's about women who choose to be mothers, but for whom being a good mother includes working two jobs so that their kids can eat and have a roof over their heads. It's about the vast number of women who can't make the choice between a career and a family, because they don't have the hundreds of millions of dollars that act as the Romney family's personal safety net.
So, Mrs. Romney, get over yourself. You may not have had it easy, but at least have the decency to admit that many people have it much, much worse.
UPDATE: Rick Garnett at Mirror of Justice correctly denounces the Catholic League for firing back at Hillary Rosen for being a lesbian who "had to adopt" children instead of "raising her own." But as might be expected, he felt the need to throw in this line: "The nastiness and stupidity of Rosen's revealing comments were clear enough to most people without the CL's help."
Rosen's original words were poorly chosen. But they weren't nasty or stupid. As a longer transcript makes clear, Rosen wasn't attacking Mrs. Romney for being a stay-at-home mom, she was mocking the suggestion that a woman of privilege understands the economic concerns of mothers who lack her incredible financial security (in response to what she characterized, at least, as an appeal by Mitt to his wife's authority based solely on her "womanness").
What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues. And when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.
Guess what, his wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we — why do we worry about their future?