Saturday, April 14, 2012

Out of touch? Who are these media drips kidding?

Last Wednesday, Democrat strategist Hilary Rosen ignited a bit of a flame war with her comments on CNN about Ann Romney. Ms. Rosen stated that Ann had "never worked a day in her life," which of course is nonsense, given that she had raised five children, maintained a household, and acted as First Lady to a Governor. Really though, it was the first--raising children as a stay-at-home mom--that was seized upon as the issue that made Rosen's comments so insulting, the suggestion that such activity did not qualify as "work."

This was--for years--a major talking point for feminists and women's groups: that raising a family was work and was every bit as valuable as having a career, even if it had no direct monetary compensation. In fact, many argued that this made it an even more laudable kind of work.

Regardless, Rosen was forced to offer a kind of an apology, mealy-mouthed though it was. And Democrats joined in the criticism of her statement, as did most pundits and media figures. Yet, some hedged their comments, trying to insist that there was still a notable difference to point to, that Ann Romney enjoyed the luxury of choice unavailable to other women, to most women.

And in that regard, many claim--as they did with Cindy McCain in 2008--Ann Romney is "out of touch" with the choices women face. Judith Warner at Time provides an excellent example of this twist, in a piece cleverly titled Hilary Rosen Was Right: Ann Romney Is Out of Touch with Most Women. She says:
Why did Democrats feel such an urgent need to distance themselves from a comment that was 1) accurate — Romney doesn’t exactly have much in common with the 75% of women who now work for a living — and 2) frankly inoffensive? (I happen to agree with the Washington Post‘s Ruth Marcus that Rosen’s only real fault, in the Anderson Cooper exchange, lay in forgetting to use the politically correct phrase “work outside the home” instead of the politically toxic word work to describe the remunerative activity Romney didn’t have to engage in.)
And that leads, I think, to a very valid question: who is in touch? Warner says Rosen's comment was accurate, saying that there is some 75% of women whom she can't possibly relate to, but that's based on what? I can't help but wonder if Rosen is suggesting that a career outside the home is a requirement to understand issues women face, because that's what it looks like. Warner is defending Rosen's comments in full, including this bit, which she cites:
“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 why do we worry about their future,” Rosen said.
Who is this "we" Rosen speaks of? Herself? Judith Warner? Are they somehow "in touch," by virtue of their careers? These two "working moms" (I don't even know if Rosen has children, to be honest) live the life of the DC cocktail party circuit. Rosen is the former CEO of the RIAA and a paid lobbyist. Warner and her husband both have successful media careers. What do they have in common with a--to use Rosen's example from her apology--"waitress at a diner someplace in Nevada who has two kids"? So, what does Rosen know about that? What does Warner know about such a life? Zilch, nada, squat.

And this is just as true for every other claim about this person or that person being "out of touch." Recall 2008 again. As I noted,  then it was McCain's wife who was out of touch. Oddly, I don't remember the same sorts of complaints from the same sorts of people with regard to John Kerry's wife in 2004, though.

But the point is, the whole "out of touch" meme is utter crap. And it's being offered almost exclusively by people who live in the DC-media bubble, who live in the most prestigious neighborhoods in the nation. It would be sad if it weren't so funny.

Cheers, all.

2 comments:

  1. Out of touch may well be true, but the joke is, as you pointed out, the pots here are calling the kettle black. Which is pretty damn funny and not at all unexpected.

    There were a few slams against Teresa Kerry, as I recall, but most of them had to do more with her claiming to be the first potential "African American First Lady," rather than anything about her being out of touch. Most of the comments regarding Teresa that I remember had more to do with John Kerry's constant "marrying up." There were tons of comments about him being out of touch, of course.

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  2. Kerry was genuinely "out of touch." He appeared on the steps of the state Capitol here in Missouri and started expounding on the Latin mottoes on many of the nearby buldings. He tried to impress the locals with his Latin knowledge from his prep-school days. Crickets. Lost the crowd and lost the election, thank goodness.

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