This morning I was telling my husband about Hilary Rosen’s interview on CNN. I read her comments to him. And we discussed that, maybe, her remarks were overblown.
“With respect to economic issues, I think actually that Mitt Romney is right that ultimately women care more about the economic well-being of their family and the like. But he doesn’t connect on that issue, either. 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 why we worry about their future.”
Then we caught the interview on television. See for yourself. CNN with Hilary Rosen
I am sure what Ms. Rosen meant to say, in her sarcastic tone, was that being married to a rich man Ann Romney could not understand the issues faced by many women trying to balance a day to day budget and thus could not share this information with her husband. Yet, that is not what she said. The condescending tone with which Ms. Rosen spoke took some comments that may have been misspoken and turned it into a true ‘war on women’. Though Rosen later tried to explain herself on HuffPo she clearly hit a nerve. My Twitter timeline exploded with tweets from women, who may have been lukewarm to Mitt but have joined in their support of Ann.
In Rosen’s clarification post she mentions the “wonderful luxury to have the choice” and that it’s a choice not many women have. No doubt there are many who do not have the option to stay home and raise children. But I would invite Ms. Rosen to meet some of my friends. For many it is a financial sacrifice to stay home…but an important choice they make.
As one of the five million stay at home moms I take offense with the idea that women may not understand the ins and outs of budgets and economy. The decision for me to stop working and raise my children was not made lightly. The loss of my salary impacted and changed many of our activities. Managing a household budget, whether a millionaire or a ‘thousandaire’, requires attention, not only to the household needs, but to community and environment around us. While my husband and I work as a team raising our family, managing our assets he does regularly defer to me on financial questions because, yes, I pay the bills and know the day-to-day income and outgo.
It is an insult to insinuate that stay-at-home moms still live in the 1950’s where the ‘husband’ takes care of all the finances. A wealthy woman who does not pay attention to the household expense sheet may find herself in the same position as the celebrity or athlete who allows someone else to misuse his funds.
It is no surprise that Team Obama is distancing itself from Ms. Rosen. The true war on women may be coming from a liberal mindset that does not value traditional choices real women make. There are those who do not believe a ‘non-working’ woman can and is able to provide a good assessment of current economic conditions. So, thank you Hilary Rosen. Your brief comments may have galvanized the conservative base more effectively than anything Mitt Romney could have said.