Moms, rockets, and more
April 13, 2012By Dick Polman
So let's see what else is going on...
Presumably, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen has learned a valuable lesson: When your side is winning, leave it alone.
It was stupid, both politically and substantively, to attack Ann Romney. At a time when the Romney campaign was making hapless attempts to connect with women voters, at a time when the Obama campaign was merrily rubbing salt in that Romney wound and highlighting the Republican candidate's gender chasm, Rosen decided on her own to go after the candidate's wife. Someone who happens to be far more popular than Mitt.
Rosen, in her role as a paid CNN analyst, huffed that Ann Romney has "never worked a day in her life." Her remark was politically stupid, because the inevitable cable-Twitter firestorm muddied the Obama message and shifted the focus away from Romney's gender woes. Rosen isn't employed by, nor does she speak for, the Obama campaign, but naturally that distinction was quickly obliterated. And it's always politically stupid for a Democrat to attack stay-at-home moms, because it reinforces the old stereotype about feminists who allegedly sneer at family values. Rosen's remark brought to mind (my mind, anyway) the flap that ensued in 1992 when Hillary Clinton proudly declared herself to be a career woman who never stayed home and "baked cookies."
Moreover, Rosen's sweeping remark was stupid because Ann Romney didn't exactly sit around watching soaps and eating bon-bons. She worked with a number of charities and advocacy organizations in the Boston area. She helped direct a city program for inner-city girls, and volunteered as an instructor at a multicultural middle school.
Granted, that's the kind of work that rich women often do - noblesse oblige, as the saying goes - and she undoubtedly was able to do it because she, unlike many mothers, could afford to hire top-notch nannies to watch the kids. Which was actually the gist of what Rosen was trying to say. But none of this should have been part of the political discourse yesterday. Rosen's initial remark and her subsequent attempts to defend and elaborate, were swiftly condemned by the Obama campaign, and that should help snuff the fire. Presumably, the lesson has been learned. When you're given the gift of a Republican candidate who's saddled with a huge deficit among women voters (that's nothing new for Mitt), there's no need to pile on by talking trash.
How come the remarks of a single Democratic strategist were considered grist for a day of deconstruction - while the McCarthyesque bilge that poured forth this week from the mouth of a duly elected Republican congressman has been virtually ignored? Here was Florida's Allen West, at a public event, opining about some of his fellow congressmen: "I believe there is about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party that are members of the Communist Party." At the very least, the Twittersphere should have paid attention long enough to correct West on his grammar.
It's nice to know that, even in the midst of these transitory Twitter firestorms, there is still one political journalist who spends decades drilling down on one subject, someone who eschews computers entirely, someone who writes multiple drafts of books that can run for 1000 pages...and he writes them on a pad. In longhand. So put your hands together for Robert Caro, whose fourth tome on Lyndon B. Johnson, and the use and misuse of power, is due out May 1. This new Sunday magazine profile is a must-read for political junkies.
Defiant North Korea launched an experimental rocket that blew up after two minutes in flight, but, fear not, that imminent cosmic threat to the American homeland prompted Romney to launch his own rhetorical rocket. Shorthand message: It's all Obama's fault. Romney, whose foreign policy experience consists of knocking on French doors as a young Mormon missionary, issued this statement late yesterday:
"(North Korea's) weapons program poses a clear and growing threat to the United States, one for which President Obama has no effective response...Instead of approaching Pyongyang from a position of strength, President Obama sought to appease the regime with a food-aid deal that proved to be as naive as it was short-lived...This incompetence from the Obama Administration has emboldened the North Korean regime and undermined the security of the United States and our allies."
Yeah, whatever. In rebuttal, I'll just quote this tweet from Ari Fleischer, the former Bush White House press secretary: "North Korea gave its word and broke it to 3 presidents in a row. Instead of blaming any of the 3, we should all blame North Korea."
John Edwards went on trial in federal court yesterday for allegedly using campaign donations to cover up his love-child affair with Rielle Hunter. Guilty or not, he's clearly afflicted with a chronic case of self-pity. A close friend, New Jersey lawyer Glenn Bergenfield, has been hanging out with Edwards (most other friends won't go near the guy anymore), and offered this remark to The Washington Post:
"He knows he made mistakes. But John thinks that the treatment of him is so unflinchingly horrible and that what he did is not so different from what others did - JFK, Clinton, the whole rogues' gallery. We’ve had this conversation about his situation, and I remember he did compare it to Clinton. He said, 'I did a horrendous thing, but I don’t know why I’m getting such an unforgiving treatment when you think of what other people have done.'"
Uh, hello...does Edwards somehow forget that Bill Clinton was impeached and later disbarred? If self-pity was a felony, Edwards would be serving 30 years.
When the news broke that Newt Gingrich had bounced a $500 check, thus preventing him from being listed on the upcoming Republican primary ballot in Utah, it became clear that this guy had once again redefined the word "pathetic." He's starting to remind me of Milton, the basement nut case in Office Space, the worker who couldn't take the hint (and hint and hint) that the company wanted him gone.
Milton, on the phone: "And I said, I don't care if they lay me off either, because I told, I told Bill that if they move my desk one more time, then, then I'm, I'm quitting, I'm going to quit. And, and I told Don too, because they've moved my desk four times already this year, and I used to be over by the window, and I could see the squirrels, and they were married, but then, they switched from the Swingline to the Boston stapler, but I kept my Swingline stapler because it didn't bind up as much, and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler and it's not okay because if they take my stapler then I'll set the building on fire...."
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