Is it possible to take a different, reasoned review of the Ann Romney/stay-at-home-mom kerfuffle? I think I need to jump in on this before it goes away or the GOP manages to screw up an interesting campaign diversion.
First, let me state that there is nothing harder, or more important, than raising children. Sacrificing “work” to stay at home is hard. Going off to “work” and leaving the children in daycare or with a family member is hard and the social battle over the choice between those two has been going on for generations.
Let's consider the reasonable possibility that Ms. Rosen, without stating the policy of Obama, the DNC, or women in general, fired a personal, glib, off-hand shot across the bow of Ann Romney. Is it not equally possible to consider that it was not a comment on “working” moms vs stay-at-home moms any more than accusing Obama of being an illegal alien, terrorist, Nigerian Muslim is an attack on those groups? Rosen's ill chosen comments can't be linked to Obama or his campaign. It doesn't matter in a news cycle hungry for the issue of the day. In the internet society it it will soon be posted as though these words came from the president's mouth during the State of the Union Address.
Let's assume that the word “work” had the common meaning of income-producing and tax-withholding efforts. Truth is an absolute defense in most libel and slander actions. So, let's start there. What “work” has Ann Romney ever had since marrying Mitt? I've gone to a number of bios and have been unable to find any. So, using “work” as commonly understood and reasonably intended by Ms. Rosen in the content of her comment, it is fair to say that Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life.
I can assure you, if this story has legs, that the RNC or Romney campaign will not find a job for her even if she worked for a couple of years as a longshoreman with a kid in one of those backpack things. They won't because the stay-at-home mom issue is Christmas-come-early for the campaign. Unlike Mitt Romney's actual position on women's issues, or his failure to disavow the more absurd positions of his fellow candidates, this strawman has possibilities that require Mitt to do nothing but "support" motherhood.
I agree with the president that families should be off-limits in this campaign. It won't happen. Newt's “ex” came after him and Santorum used his wife's failed pregnancy as a campaign issue. In the internet age candidate's families will always be the source of comment and all it takes is a click on “share” to make the story viral.
Sarah Palin's family issues were widely dissected and became the staples of late-night comics. Michelle Obama has been accused of “grocery socialism” for adopting children's diets, school lunches and exercise as personal issues. There are serious issues facing this country; is this really how we want to start the campaign cycle?