CHICAGO, April 14, 2012 — Hilary Rosen lost a huge chunk of credibility with her implication that stay-at-home mothers are not concerned with the economy, and that’s a shame.
The point Rosen was trying to make is that Mrs. Romney has never had to worry about having enough money to put food on her children’s plates or whether or not they will be able to afford college, and that because of this, she is not in touch with the majority of women in the country.
All of the outrage over Ms. Rosen’s comments is diverting attention from another underlying message in Mitt Romney’s remarks that his wife serves as his advisor on women’s issues.
Leaders use advisors to teach and inform them. Leaders choose these advisors based on their knowledge and expertise. However, Romney’s choice of advisor on women’s issues is a woman who does not understand the issues facing the majority of women in this country.
Mitt Romney is using, as his sole advisor, a person who is unfamiliar with where the country as a whole stands on her given field of expertise.
Yes, Mrs. Romney is a woman. She is a woman whose entire education is from elite private schools. She is a woman with a lakefront home in New Hampshire and an oceanfront home in La Jolla, California. She’s a woman who owns and competes with several dressage horses, which often cost in excess of $1 million.
But is there anything in her background that implies that she truly understands the struggles facing the average American woman? Is there anything that implies that she understands that she is not the average American woman?
This country would be a very different place without First Ladies such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Abigail Adams, and, yes, Hillary Clinton. Thinking that a President will not be influenced by his spouse is naive. Thinking that one’s spouse can speak for the entire country by virtue of her gender is also naive.
A quick scan for other Romney advisors on women’s concerns comes up blank. It could be that Romney lumps men’s and women’s concerns together. It could also be that he is not concerned with women’s concerns. Perhaps he is not aware that while men and women have much in common, some of their concerns differ. Many women could not care less whether Viagra is covered by insurance.
One hopes Mr. Romney’s advisor has pointed out to him the fact that these differences are very real. Unfortunately, Mrs. Romney has been known to keep things from Mitt that he might find disagreeable. When asked how many dressage horses she owns, she once replied “Mitt doesn’t even know the answer to that! I’m not going to tell you!”
Romney has chosen an advisor who was already part of his inner circle and who has limited expertise in her field. He makes no apparent effort to consult others. And he wants to be our Commander in Chief. He wants the authority to decide when our troops are deployed. He wants to be in charge of our economic situation. And apparently he wants advisors he is comfortable with, whether or not they are qualified for the job.
What we want, or what we should want, as a country is a leader who will choose advisors who have a better understanding of the world outside of the country club gates.
So while we continue shaking our fists at Hilary Rosen’s insensitivity, let’s not lose sight of Mitt Romney’s. Ms. Rosen’s remarks offended stay-at-home moms across the country. Mitt Romney’s advisor selection process should scare us all.
To contact Julia Goralka,see above.
For further reading on Hilary Rosen/Ann Romney:
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