That Ann Romney Thing

Photo by Gage Skidmore, via Wikipedia

In which DNC strategist CNN Analyst* Hilary Rosen criticized Ann Romney on CNN because Mrs. Romney was a stay-at-home mother and “has actually never worked a day in her life”:

1. Wow, Ms. Rosen, you must really like the taste of your own toes. Also, if this is you exercising strategy for the Democrats, you sure did a bang-up job, since you obliged the president, a Democrat, to side with Ann Romney, and otherwise derailed the national political conversation for a day. Well done, you.

2. It’s fantastic Mrs. Romney could be a stay-at-home mother. It no doubt helped that she and Mr. Romney both came from highly privileged backgrounds (his father was former CEO of American Motors and then governor of Michigan; her father was an industrialist and mayor of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan) and that Mr. Romney went directly from Harvard into a well-paying consulting gig and later became extraordinarily rich in his own right, with a net worth of something above $200 million. All stay-at-home mothers should have such fortunate circumstances.

Alas, most stay-at-home mothers are not as financially secure as Mrs. Romney has been in her life. Many more mothers who might prefer to stay at home if they could afford it do not have that financial option, and many mothers who choose to work (or have to work) find their work life beset on all sides by challenges, many relating specifically to their gender. What a shame these particular issues, affecting most working mothers, are not being addressed, while our attention is directed at a wealthy political strategist popping off thoughtlessly at someone even more wealthy than she.

* It’s been noted Ms. Rosen is not actually a DNC strategist or associated with the Obama campaign. Which makes her foot-chewing no less chewy, mind you.

160 thoughts on “That Ann Romney Thing

  1. As a disclosure I have been the stay-at-home parent for the entire time my daughter’s been alive, so I generally have little tolerance for people who are dismissive of stay-at-home parents of either sex.

  2. Ann Romney declared she “made a choice” to be a stay-at-home mom. Swell. Many, many more women in this country–perhaps most–don’t have that choice. That should be the dialog in this campaign.

  3. This thing has been driving me spare… there’s actually a very valid point to be made — and let me be clear, Rosen may have been trying to make it but she failed, and served up a tailor-made distraction instead — and it’s that Mitt pointing to Ann as his advisor on women’s economic concerns is bunk because she has never had to worry about money. Her personal economic outlook bears no resemblance at all to the that of 99% of American women, whether they’re stay-at-home moms, working moms, or not moms at all.

    *pfft*

  4. I’m reasonably annoyed that this issue came up AT ALL during this campaign along with all the other women’s issues … IN THE WAY THEY’RE BEING MADE. Yes, there are definitely issues still existing in this country about male-female equality in the workplace, women’s health issues, etc., but the way they are being brought up and handled makes me wonder which particular wormhole we fell through that took us back in time.

  5. What’s truly sad was that there were an infinite number of ways which that could have been handled and instead Rosen went with “she never worked a day in her life”

    I really hope that the dems have a couple smarter people on the job or Romney might have an easy job winning.

    Rosen:
    1) apologize
    2) resign

    Because you are going to, but until you do, you have lost the news cycle.
    Or maybe not.

  6. One thing that needs to be posted. Mormon mothers are encouraged to stay at home with their children when possible. As an LDS member this something that we tried to do in our home. There ere times my wife worked out our home, when I was injured and was out of work for 7 months. When we move from Florida to Indiana for a couple years to establish ourselves. We decided that she would stay home at this point and have a small Daycare. I worked two jobs for 8 years to get two daughters through college. This was her choice and we are both glad she did. Now she is disabled and being retired I take care of most things.
    I am one husband and father who is glad my wife stayed home, because keeping the house going wears me out.

  7. Peter Cibulskis:

    Ms. Rosen’s already apologized. It’s unlikely she will resign, although I suspect that for the duration of the campaign she’ll no longer be allowed to speak on women’s job issues. She has other portfolios, however, where she can be very useful.

  8. @Peter

    Give that she’s not part of any campaign or even the DNC… what is she supposed to resign from? Republicans have been calling her an “Obama advisor” but she isn’t, she’s a pundit. Just another talking head on the teeveebox.

  9. Clearly wrong that a comment like that was made. It is also incorrect imply it takes highly priveleged background in order to pull it off. My wife stayed at home for 18 years before going back to work. We pulled it off on my average income. We did not drive one brand new car in all that time, we did not have the big house or vacation in the gulf of mexico. Our peers were able to do those things but they would usually have both husband and wife work. We made sacrifices, we do without all the “needs” that others could not do without. I was laid off for 8 months during it, during which time my wife got a job at a grocery store to make money so I could stay home and look for a job. It was a choice, one that we felt was worth the sacrifice. A choice that was right for us, but maybe not others.

    That’s not to say that anyone can make that choice and pull it off. According to Obama he and his wife could not afford to the luxury of Michelle staying at home after the girls were born. In 2005 when he bagan serving in the senate their combined total income was $479,062, for them to lose income to stay at home was not possible.

    On one other note, it might be time for the democrats to recall Obama’s response when the GOP starting talking about his wife: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Vote2008/story?id=4881883&page=1#.T4cbfC_Cz8B

  10. As David Weigel points out, Rosen is neither an DNC strategist nor an Obama advisor. She’s one of those people paid to express their opinions on cable news.

    According to Politico, the most connection she has with the DNC is that she might have been asked to provide media advice to their chair a few times. (I’m guessing she won’t be asked back.)

  11. One of the things that made it such a boneheaded comment is exactly because of the point that she probably wanted to make, which is that there are so many women who would like to stay home with their kids, maybe even who aspire to someday stay home with their kids. Women who work outside the home for a paycheck because they have to, who would love to put their full effort towards child-rearing, towards being the one who changes the diapers, who settles sibling squabbles, to having lunch with their own children and cleaning up after them.

    And this “strategist” just basically said that what these women aspire to is “not to work.”

    The obvious corollary to “she [Ann Romney] hasn’t worked a day in her life” is “working mothers come home and sit on their asses the rest of the evening.” The obvious corollary is “Stay at home dads don’t have real jobs.” Neither stay-at-home parents, nor working parents who know what it is like to come home for the “second shift,” nor parents who make great financial sacrifices in order to keep one parent at home, nor especially working mothers who long to be able to stay home with their children, are likely to see Hilary Rosen as on their side. There are a lot of women who will look at this situation and say, “If I had Ann Romney’s money, I would stay home with my kids in a heartbeat.” Just like that, Rosen has basically sneered not only at stay-at-home parenting, but at those who would aspire to it.

    Misspeaking, or betrayal of real values? I rather think that Rosen likely is used to an environment where it is taken for granted that parenting doesn’t count as “real work,” and this is why she so casually said what she said. The question is, is this environment the one that the rest of the Democratic “strategists” work in? Or just the privileged ones?

  12. Mitt is trying desperately to portray himself as pro-women because, well, some of his best friends are women. Right? So how can he be involved in the #gopwaroncaterpillarmetaphors ?

    I’m not going to claim there’s a problem with rich people who stay at home to raise kids, or even just home-make of either gender. I do want to know what Mitt AND Ann Romney happen to think of certain things the GOP been up to in regards to those caterpillar metaphors.

    Or, they can, by all means, keep insisting there’s no war on women, it was OBAMA who’s had the war on women. Please, GOP, keep pounding the drum that you’re not anti-women, and that all of the things listed below dont’ constitute a war on women, and aren’t anti-women. I’m sure you can get Someone to agree with you who’s a woman, and who’ll say pretty much whatever you want

    Meanwhile, The GOP just lost 2/5ths (Snowe and Hutchinson) of your female senate representation who’re retiring in disgust, and two of them are calling their own party out in public for being anti-woman in defunding planned parenthood. (Collins and Murkowski).

    So when I say I want the GOP to please keep repeating themselves, it’s not because I think they stand any chance of saving themselves and turning course, but because this is the worst sort of damage control possible, and I’d like to see them implode much much faster than they are now.

    Best case scenario is they back the hell off and turn course, but we all know that’s not going to happen any more then they’ll even entertain a tax increase ever again. So, while the war on women is real, and has real victims, the spin control on it can only hurt the GOP.

    So, by all means, let’s ask Romney’s spokesperson about the GOP war on women. If he’s asking Ann to be a representative of women for his campaign, we have a responsibility to ask her what she thinks how of the party she’s representing is treating women. At the same time, let’s leave her choice to be a stay-at-home mom alone.

  13. Rosen’s remarks didn’t bother me so much as Ann Romney’s privilege coming through once again. As others have said, Ann had a choice. I’d be interested to find out how much assistance, if any, she had while being a stay-at-home mom (nnies, day care, baby-sitters) and if she appreciates that such are not available to the vast majority of working moms.

    I’m kind of with Rosen on this one, although she could have worded her statements a bit better, but to me, rather than pointing out where Rosen fails, this incident just makes me look askance at Romney Royalty even more.

  14. It is also incorrect imply it takes highly priveleged background in order to pull it off.

    Did someone imply that?

    According to Obama he and his wife could not afford to the luxury of Michelle staying at home after the girls were born. In 2005 when he bagan serving in the senate their combined total income was $479,062, for them to lose income to stay at home was not possible.

    I’m sure that that’s when they made the decision to have Michelle work.

  15. Has anyone asked any of the people who were part of the Romneys’ household staff while they had children for their perspectives on Mrs. Romney’s travails as a stay-at-home mom?

  16. Its kind of funny. Ms. Rosen was trying to make a point that Romney’s only tie to women’s economic issues was his wife, who didn’t have a dog in the fight. That argument, however, could be made for all the politicians running for president that aren’t female. The problem was that she worded it in a way to make Ann Romney come off as a somebody who has never worked, as opposed to a person who chose not to pursue a career.

    Also, my wife and I are expecting our first child. We’ve decided that we can’t afford for her TO work. If my wife goes to work, we’ll actually lose money because of high costs of child care. That shit is highway robbery. Its like four hundred per week around here.

  17. Having one parent stay home is most definitely a choice – and one that my wife and I have made both when I was making 12K/year as well as now when I am making much more than that. I know it isn’t just driven by necessity, because I have been there.

    Even aside from the positive effects associated with having a parent available for, you know, parenting, There are economic benefits associated with having a parent available to be at home and manage the household — and there are economic costs associated with having both parents work.

    Even when putting aside the obvious increased expenses (child care, gas, etc) associated with having the second parent work, there are a host of less-obvious costs associated with having both parents work. People are less likely to comparison shop, eat out more, are more apt to replace things instead of repairing them, and pay higher costs due to inconvenient scheduling of necessary family-related appointments. As a result, having two incomes frequently does not provide the financial boost that people think that it does.

  18. If you have the means, then yes, stay at home if you want. If not, then that’s how it is. To tell the truth, if I couldn’t afford to have kids and have one parent stay home, then I wouldn’t (and didn’t) have kids.

    But, this is just another Romney attempt to make himself and his family “just another average American household”, which it isn’t. Rosen just pointed out the obvious. Not that I think it needed to be pointed out. Even the quaking evangelists who don’t really, really want to vote for Romney but feel that’s all they’ve got sees through his lies and fakery.

    Someone needs to get the GOP a fainting couch, this is such a non-story. There are better ways to show how sick the Romneys are. One of which is when Mitt told a newly single mother that she had shamed the church and should give up the baby.

    These aren’t nice people.

  19. From listening to Rosen’s remarks in context to the question she was asked I think she made a boneheaded reply. She had been asked if her giving advice on women to Mitt was useful since he went on a run saying that the GOP doesn’t have a war on women and that according to his wife’s meetings with other women that their most pressing issue was the economy. The way I read into her reply is that Rosen was trying to say that Ann Romney is as out of touch as her husband because she has lived a privileged life so she hasn’t had to worry about health care and other things that working women have to. My own personal thought is that Ann Romney is speaking at engagements that her husband would speak at which would be filled with people like her, well off, stay at home moms who may not represent the most diverse cross section of women’s opinions.

    It really feels like Rosen had a brain fart when trying to formulate her reply on the fly and didn’t phrase her response correctly.

  20. I’d note that the crux of the comment was more that Mrs. Romney never had to make the choice. She never had to worry about what it would cost her family to stay home or go to work in a financial sense. And that it was kind of deceptive for Mitt to constantly say “Ann tells me all these things about what women *really* want” when she isn’t representative of the average female population.

    It was badly phrased, badly put, but the point was more that she is just as out of touch as he is on relating to the average person due to her wealth and his. It wasn’t a slam on stay at home parents. It was a slam on never having been put on the spot financially and having to weigh finances and family and everything else.

  21. That is just awful. My wife is a teacher and she is a stay at home mom because her salary as a teacher would roughly equal what we would pay for day care for our two kids. Since that doesn’t really make financial sense (and my wife loves being a stay at home mom), she stays at home to watch our kids. Also, she’s taken on a friend of our’s kid so that she can bring in a little extra money.

  22. I’ll just point out that not only rich people choose to have a parent stay at home. Some choose to live more frugally in order for one parent to be with the kids. I speak from personal knowledge.

    From 1975 to 1982 I was making $6000/year serving in the US Air Force. Even for that time that was very little money. We chose for my wife to stay at home while the until the kids were of school age. We lived in a converted chicken coop in Phoenix Az as I was too junior to get base housing. We didn’t qualify for food stamps or any public assistance. Yet we chose to have one non-working parent.

    Just to compare, once I separated from the service in 1980 I doubled my salary as a night-shift computer operator, a job I took so I could attend college full time during the day to complete my engineering degree. With the new salary hike and the GI Bill we were doing much better financially but things were still tight. Remember most of this was during President Carter’s reign of super inflation and economic “malaise”. We had 4 kids so it took awhile for them all to be in school and by that time I was on my way career-wise as a software engineer.

    There are many, even today, who choose to live less affluent ky to have a parent stay at home.

    Sure there are some, especially in single – parent homes, who can not do this, but many who do. And rich or not they should not be disrespected.

    I’ll say one other thing: many times my wife would be looked down on by other women who did work because she wasn’t working. They made her feel less worthy and unimportant because she was a stay at home mom.

    I heard some of that in Ms Rosen’s comments as well.

  23. Just a couple of facts for you. Ann Romney raised five kids while battling both MS and breast cancer. She did, in fact, work while at college with Mitt while raising the first of their children. Both Mitt’s parents and Ann’s insisted that they learn to take care of themselves, which they did, by working their way through college while living in a basement apartment that they paid for themselves.

    Ann Romney stiched free carpet remnants together to make the rug that covered the concrete floor of their apartment. Their kitchen table was a door that they scrounged up somewhere. Just sayin’, the old silver spoon thing only applies if your parents stick it in your mouth. Ann’s parents gave her something more valuable than money, they gave her a moral compass and a work ethic.

  24. I think what’s missing here is that Rosen wasn’t criticizing Ann Romney at all. Yes, her choice of words was unwise – “Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life” sure looks like it’s saying something is wrong with Ann Romney for staying at home and not working. But if you look at what Rosen was actually saying, she was pointing out the inanity of Mitt Romney’s attempt to garner the women’s vote when he said he looks to Ann to give him the scoop on the economic concerns of women in America. In that context, the fact that Mrs. Romney has never worked a day in her life – and therefore has no earthly idea about the economic concerns of women in America – is a valid point to make. It could have been made better, but there was nothing in Rosen’s comment that was an attack on Ann Romney.

    The real problem with Rosen’s comment is that it allowed the right wing noise machine to clutter up the news cycle with more pearl-clutching and faux outrage.

  25. Cool1blue – My wife as well was looked down upon because she did not work. To be fair, there were some stay at home moms who looked down at those who chose to work even thought could have stayed home. They felt they were puting their careers or money above their children.

    dansomeone – the left NEVER makes much ado and whine and cry about crap…. LOL

  26. I’m guessing when Mrs. Romney says that she stayed at home to raise her kids what she really means is that she supervised the raising of her children by the help. In other words, she’s probably never worked a day in her life. Still bad form on Rosen’s part to make it sound like those women who stay home to raise kids without all the benefits a one percenter lifestyle afford don’t have tough jobs.

  27. Something else that doesn’t seem to get mentioned (though it may border upon irrelevance) is that at least according to her Wikipedia article, which may not be the best source of information, she at least briefly was the Director of an inner-city not-for-profit, which may well have entailed some non-homemaker work.

    It is definitely clear that Rosen was replying to Mitt’s statement that Ann was his go-to source for women’s economic concerns. She said so afterwards, and if you look at her Twitter Feed, she said that was what she was going to talk about before she headed off for the interview. Her point is definitely valid, though she phrased it stupidly.

    Ann responded that she hoped America knew that Mitt and her have “compassion” for struggling working mothers. Of course, she attended Harvard as well as Mitt, so the awkwardness of that phrasing could be called into question. Of course she hopes that, but do they, and is compassion enough. (Of course, Conservatives laughed at the concept of ‘empathy’…and she is only claiming sympathy.)

  28. Just a couple of facts for you. Ann Romney raised five kids while battling both MS and breast cancer.

    I believe the breast cancer was diagnosed relatively recently. And the MS was when her youngest was 17.

  29. I have two thoughts on the issue:

    1) It doesn’t matter what Rosen was trying to say or how that’s what people should be talking about. She’s being judged on what she actually said and what she said was incredibly stupid.
    2) Yes, she’s not officially affiliated with the Democratic party or President Obama, but she is a liberal strategist and liberal pundit. Regardless of which side of the political divide, stupid things said by pundits do reflect on the political party they represent.

  30. I’m sorry, but Ann Romney as a stay at home mom is not in the same category as any normal stay at home mom. She doesn’t have to worry about money. She probably has maids, cooks, drivers, groundskeepers, etc at each of her multiple homes. Talking trash about her is not saying anything about REAL stay at home moms.

  31. Mrs. Doc Rocketscience is a SAHM. I’m a public school teacher. We made this choice based on three factors.:

    1. Having two incomes would have meant either never seeing each other, or handing our children off to someone else to raise
    2. It wouldn’t have made a financial difference as one of those incomes would have gone entirely to pay for childcare.
    3. We could live as an “extended family”; i.e. in my parent’s house. If you think this is awesome, try it.

    Also, Billy, cool, get a room, will ya? Sheesh…

  32. @ Billy Quiets:

    Even if that version is true — which would be a hell of an assumption, considering Mitt “Pants On Fire” Romney — there’s a huge difference making it on one’s own and making it on one’s own when you know there’s no way in hell you’ll end up on the street or permanently improverished by medical debts.

  33. It’s easier to ignore the disability in this equation if you haven’t had to live with one. When I got engaged my wife was determined to go to graduate school and become a research scientist so she could study cephalopods. Instead she started showing symptoms of fibromyalgia just before we got married, and ended up losing her on-campus job and dropping out of school. I graduated soon afterwards and worked two jobs for the next eight years, and the only time she worked during that time was for about six months before our first child was born. We didn’t have the luxury of choosing to have my wife stay home with the kids, and I don’t think she would have made that choice willingly. I would still have two jobs, but after losing one of them two years ago she told me she valued the extra time I have for helping out at home more than the extra money.

    This isn’t analogous to the Romneys’ situation, since Ann had her heaviest parenting years behind her when the MS showed up, and has been able to seek out treatments that we haven’t been able to afford. I don’t envy their money, but I also don’t envy her health issues after seeing what a chronic disease can do to a person. It’s something worth keeping in mind.

  34. “I’m guessing when Mrs. Romney says that she stayed at home to raise her kids what she really means is that she supervised the raising of her children by the help. ”

    You’re correct, in that you’re guessing.

    Class-based snootiness goes both ways.

  35. @ Bearpaw, Dude you are absolutely right. Keep up the attack, I think you guys have got hold of a real winner with this issue.

    Although…in 2008, Rosen derided Republican attacks against Michelle Obama as an example of “stupid strategy.”

    “You know essentially, you’ve taken on sort of the most sympathetic person in the candidate’s realm, the wife, who is taking care of the children, supporting the husband, doing everything she can because she loves him,” Rosen said on Anderson Cooper 360 according to a CNN transcript from May 19, 2008.

  36. @ Billy Quiets:

    I agree, a level of dishonesty notably above even the generally high politician average and a blatant obliviousness to working/middle-class economics are definitely areas where Romney is politically vulnerable. Especially given how well both of those things tie into the current Republican Party.

  37. The rest of the quote was: “…she’s never dealt with the kinds of economic issues that the majority of women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them do school and why do we worry…how do we worry about their future?”

    It seemed to me that Rosen wasn’t saying that being a SAHM mom wasn’t work, she wasn’t even addressing Romney’s parenting choices. She was addressing the fact that Ann Romney was born to extreme wealth, that she married someone with extreme wealth, and that she had no idea what almost every other woman in the country is concerned about.

  38. The mistake Rosen made was attacking Ann Romney as a stay-at-home mom. I think that saying that Romney is experientially isolated from the economic struggles and trade-offs faced by less well-off women would have been sufficient. Instead we get this distasteful and ridiculous attempt to reanimate the Mommy Wars.

    Meanwhile the GOP has lost no time getting it out to their faithful that Rosen is not only working mom but also *gasp* a lesbian.

  39. Liz, You’re right of course. Ann Romney never had to struggle with money for the kids like say, Michelle Obama.

    From a Byron York article in 2008,
    Michelle Obama is sitting with a group of six women around a table in the basement playroom of the Zanesville Day Nursery, here in economically troubled central Ohio. . . . . “It’s a constant sense of guilt,” Obama, dressed simply in a blue sweater with a triple strand of pearls, tells the women of her own dilemma as a working mother.
    “I know we’re spending — I added it up for the first time — we spend between the two kids, on extracurriculars outside the classroom, we’re spending about $10,000 a year on piano and dance and sports supplements and so on and so forth,” Mrs. Obama tells the women. “And summer programs. That’s the other huge cost…We don’t complain because we’ve got resources because of our education. We’ve got family structure,” she says. “So I tell people don’t cry for me.”

    I’ll try to keep the tears from welling up.

  40. If you’re wondering where Rosen learned how to be so utterly, cluelessly, tone-deaf:

    She is the former head of the RIAA. She was there during the days when online music downloading became big , and the music industry responded the only way it knew how to… lawsuits and rent-seeking. In other words, her “work” experience consists of ordering lawyers to grandmothers whose grandkids downloaded a few boy band songs on the family computer, and then buying and selling legislators for the benefit of giant corporations (it was the RIAA and MPAA responsible for the execrable DMCA, which was IP megacorporations developing a business model and then literally buying the law to back it up). Compared to Rosen’s sort of cushy crony work – getting a six figure salary for producing absolutely nothing of economic value, and b0rking federal law to boot – Ann Romney is Rosie the goddamn Riveter.

  41. She could have been far more effective in describing Ann Romney as privileged elite. It was her intention to make sure that Romney was never considered a woman’s advocate. But since the vast majority of women struggle in a daily grind that is foreign to Romney, it could have been so very easy to never mention the one thing she has in common with many women and keep focused instead on the many things she has no clue at all about. Instead all of her points to that effect are lost in the one statement that obliterates her others, losing the overall intention -Romney has not experienced life the way most of us do

    I wish we would were not such a gleefully extremist culture. Oh look, many valid points here. But we talk only about the one point that many disagree with and we made it into a national scandal.

    It’s really no wonder we have so many pathetic political leaders. We have the intelligent focus of a chihuahua on crack.

  42. Billy Quiets, et al:

    I think it’s safe to assume that neither the current nor the potential first lady is the best poster child for most working mothers. Let’s not lose sight of the larger discussion, please.

  43. And here is where the problem lies for me. We are now stuck on a side issue – Ann Romney as stay at home mom, which really – yay for her. Seriously. I think anytime either parent has the opportunity and enthusiasm to be a stay at home parent, go for it. But this is such a freaking non-issue in the grand scheme of things, and the media will be discussing it for days. Meanwhile, abortion rights, birth control access and coverage, pay equity, violence against women (and children) all go on the back burner. And we spend days, if not weeks debating stupid stuff; the spin doctors will be rolling out Ms. Obama’s Never Fail Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and scaring up an impassioned speech from a prominant Republican woman on some other domestic issue… It is sheer idiocy. And the fact that we are discussing any of this at all in the context we are discussing it – in 2012? It makes my head hurt.

  44. On the point that Hilary Rosen is not actually a DNC strategist or associated with the Obama campaign may I offer the following rebuttal.
    From the offical White House log, and notwithstanding the eye-rolling claim by Jay Carney that it could have been a bunch of different Hilary Rosens.

    3/11/09 Meeting with White House advisor Valerie Jarrett.
    3/13/09 Meeting with David Axelrod.
    3/30/09 Meeting with top Big Labor operative and political director Patrick Gaspard.
    9/21/09 Meeting w/Natalie Bookey, East Wing aide, and unidentified visitee.
    10/8/09 Meeting with WH senior press lead, Jesse Lewin.
    10/13/09 Meeting with POTUS — President Barack Obama.
    10/22/09 Meeting with Anita Dunn, former WH communications director.
    10/28/09 Meeting with POTUS in the East Room.
    11/25/09 Unidentified East Wing (First Lady Michelle Obama’s office) meeting.
    1/26/10 Rosen visited Dagoberta Vega, White House broadcasting media official and director of surrogate booking.
    2/1/10 Rosen visited top White House official Jim Messina, now Obama’s 2012 campaign manager.
    2/24/10 Rosen visited White House advisor Valerie Jarrett.
    3/24/10 Rosen visited White House advisor Valerie Jarrett.
    7/7/10 Meeting w/Jocelyn Frye, East Wing aide.
    12/10/10 Rosen visited Ellie Schafer, White House Visitors Office director, in the East Wing.
    12/10/10 Meeting with POTUS.
    9/8/11 Meeting with Kristina Schake, East Wing aide.
    12/7/11 Meeting w/POTUS and Marie Aberger, White House press assistant.
    12/7/11 Meeting with Ellie Schafer, White House Visitors Office director.
    1/6/11 Meeting w/Dagoberta Vega, White House broadcasting media official and director of surrogate booking.
    1/21/11 Meeting w/Meredith Carden, an aide to First Lady Michelle Obama, Old Executive Office Building.
    1/24/11 Meeting w/Samuel Wilson, deputy director of broadcast media for the White House office of communications.
    1/28/11 Meeting w/Jason Dempsey, White House fellow.
    2/2/11 Meeting w/Obama bundler and top aide to both POTUS and FLOTUS, Tina Tchen.
    2/24/11 Meeting w/POTUS.
    2/24/11 Meeting at WH Visitors Office.
    2/14/11 Meeting w/Samuel Wilson, deputy director of broadcast media for the White House office of communications.
    3/19/11 Meeting w/Alexader Lasry,strategic engagement aide.
    3/18/11 Two meetings listed with Jeremy Bernard, White House social secretary.
    6/15/11 Meeting w/Dag Vega, WH surrogate booking director.
    8/5/11 Meeting w/Ellie Schafer, WH Visitors Office director.
    Plus: 12/15/09 – 12/15/10 – 12/15/11 — Incomplete entries, no visitee identified.

  45. You know, I don’t really care WHY Michelle Obama worked when her kids were little. Some of us “work outside the home moms” (could someone please invent a better description? please?) could have decided to stay home, and didn’t. Financially, either I or my husband could support our family, provided we were willing to scale back some of our discretionary spending. My husband and I really did have a choice about whether to work or not. As many people upthread have noted, a lot of families do not have that choice.

    I am often asked why I don’t stay home with my kids. I used to try to explain my reasons- which essentially boil down to the fact that I personally am a better mother and a happier person this way- but I always either offended someone or got hit with a load of judgment. So I’ve started telling another side of our truth. I say that I make more money than my husband, so if one of us was going to stay home, it would have made more sense for him to do it. And he didn’t want to. And that always ends the conversation.

    No one ever turns to him and asks him why he didn’t want to stay home. Literally, no one has EVER done this.

    I want everyone to pause for a minute and think about what that means. I have to justify my choices, my husband does not. I have gotten to a place where I can let the judgment that flows my way slide off my back. I’m doing what is right for my family, and anyone other than my husband and my kids who has an opinion on go fly a kite as far as I’m concerned. But a lot of women- A LOT of women- have not gotten to that point, and feel a lot of unnecessary guilt on this topic. And all of us- regardless of our choice on how to mother- get far more judgment and crap than you might realize. I certainly was not prepared for the extent to which everyone and their dog feels justified in commenting on my parenting choices. And again, my husband gets a free pass.

    I agree that Hilary Rosen put her foot in her mouth, and she didn’t really help herself by some of the phrasing in her apology. I don’t agree AT ALL with the assessment that being a stay at home parent isn’t work. Hell, I worked HARD during my maternity leaves. But y’all, really- can’t we cut her some slack? She made a gaffe on live TV. Maybe we should try to focus on the actual point she was trying to make: that Ann Romney isn’t the best advisor on economic issues facing most American families- even relatively well off families like mine. If Mitt Romney wants to know what the average American woman thinks about the economy, he should try to find some average American women to ask. Let’s debate that, not whether or not Michelle Obama “HAD” to work, or whether or not staying home with kids is work. The first of those issues should be irrelevant and the answer to the second is so patently obvious to anyone who has ever cared for a child that I can’t believe we are still arguing about it.

  46. “This is the same Hilary Rosen who was working for the RIAA a few years back.”

    and before that, she was a Death Eater.

  47. My wife was a stay at home mom all the time we were married. That was by her choice. She did work a little at Christmas so that, as she put it, gifts from her were really from her, not from my money. We did not have a nanny, or any other staff, just a babysitter once in a while when it was necessary. For some reason, a lot of women looked down on her, and would make snide comments about being too lazy to get a real job, or wasting her life babysitting. This was a mistake on their part. As for me, when asked if my wife worked, I always said “only at home,” That said both that she did work, but did not have an outside job. Taking care of 5 kids is a job. Anyone who thinks it isn’t (like Ms Rosen) is clearly out of touch with reality..

  48. @Billy Quiets 12:02

    Yes, let’s be disingenuous just a little bit more. First, neither of the Obamas came from any kind of economic privilege. They’ve worked hard to get where they are now financially and had no cushion to fall back on. (Not to mention that Mrs. Obama not once asked for pity or sympathy, and expressly eschewed it. She was illustrating how expensive things are, so way to take it out of context.)

    I know quite well about cushions. My parents, while not ‘elite’, are pretty well off. My father worked hard to get himself to that position – neither of my grandparents were wealthy. My mom was a SAHM. She stopped working two months before I was born in the late ’60s and never went back because she didn’t have to. She also had only a high school education because my grandfather felt that it wasn’t necessary for her (or her older sister) to go to college – only her younger brother who later became a doctor.

    But I digress. I’ve worked pretty hard myself, but I I still make less than $60K a year. There was a time when I was laid off and couldn’t find work for @ two years. During that time, I lived off my savings, but my parents also helped me out because they didn’t want me to deplete my savings and end up with nothing. Additionally, my father made sure I had health insurance, and as a person with a chronic illness, that was a serious necessity.

    My point is, I’ve never really struggled, even when I was unemployed, because my family wouldn’t let me starve or go without without the basic necessities and more. My mother would even buy clothes in my size and leave them for me without my even asking. I know how lucky I am.

    Even if the Romneys lived modestly during their early marriage, they had an even bigger cushion than I did, and that’s not something you can handwave away. The majority of people in this country don’t have that cushion. The illusion of modest living is not even remotely the same thing as the reality of people struggling day to day, with the very real prospect of losing everything looming over their heads. It really isn’t.

    What Hilary Rosen said was stupidly worded, but her underlying point was valid.

  49. Cloud, thank you. I hope that all the folks pointing out instances where their choices were disrespected contemplate how it can be a two way street without overt intention to be disdainful.

    You or your spouse stayed at home? Fantastic. And it is great that folks cared enough to make sacrifices, but that doesn’t mean that we have to have it be just as hard for the next generation of parents. My family tradition has NEVER included a stay at home mom, but i support those with other family structures. My stay at home parenting friends would have more support from society if we had universal access to healthcare (not supported by the Romneys anymore), secure pensions even for women who are out of the workforce a long time and live longer than their spouses (but Romney supports the Ryan plan to hollow out social security protections), the ability for the working spouse to have good benefits and not have to work two jobs or outrageous overtime (but the Romneys dont stand with the unions that help raise everyone’s work environment), recognition of same-sex marriage, and the ability to risk pregnancy without a bunch of yobs pushing their way into my choices and conversations with my doctor. On each policy point that makes a substantive difference in whether there will be supportive structures in place for the families of me and my friends, Mitt Romney choses plutocrats over working parents.

  50. There are currently rumors that someone called into a radio show claiming to be the Romney Nanny who raised the children (and took care of the horses) while the children were growing up. That would reinforce the notion that Ann never really did work a day in her life (except perhaps as Director of a non-profit.) Though right now it is only a rumor, and even if the call was made, there is no verification that the individual really was who she claimed to be.

  51. Speaking as someone who was the at-home parent for many years, and who is now the breadwinner while my husband is the at-home parent:

    The whole “if she works it actually costs money!” thing is fake math, like diet books that say you have negative calorie intake if you chew your celery enough.

    By that, I don’t mean that the math is wrong for your specific family, or that anyone who says “we can’t afford daycare” is lying. I do mean that the kind of math processmechanics suggests – and which is often touted as why it is the Smart Economic Choice for women to give up paid work – is wholly one-sided. It doesn’t look at the actual costs of one parent staying home. To a point, that is because some of those costs are opportunity costs, like loss of salary and job advancement due to being out of the workforce, or a larger risk-fund because a breadwinner is the whole family’s income, and are harder to see and to calculate. But some of those costs are right up front, ranging from utilities (more electricity, water and garbage use when everybody’s at home all day) to covering benefits that a job might otherwise provide (health coverage, life insurance, retirement). A simplistic “we took her salary and subtracted daycare and like whoa!” is not the sum total of the actual cost/benefit analysis, and yet the discussion rather goes beyond that.

    And the reason for that is – as Cloud alluded to – staying at home with kids is not a respected choice. No, it really isn’t. In the US, we value work by how much money it brings in and how high up the socioeconomic ladder it is. Childrearing loses on both those counts, and of course it’s “women’s work”, always a marker for both shitty pay and condescending good-for-you-honey lip service. That is why nobody asks Cloud’s husband why he couldn’t stay home with his kids, and why (even in Liberalbluestateistan) I routinely have people marvel that I “do it all”, because in their mental picture women might be at-home spouses but they don’t have at-home spouses. That’s women’s work, and as Martin Luther said, we have big butts so we can sit around at home raising babies, amirite?

    This is why Rosen put her foot in her mouth. In trying to make the (completely accurate) point that Ann Romney understands average American moms about as well as Marie Antoinette understood commodities pricing, she blurted that same unconscious prejudice that a lot of people carry around: it’s only “work” if someone hands you money to do it, and since rearing your own kids and running a household garners no paycheck, it doesn’t exactly count as work.

    A Wisconsin state senator recently expressed similar views about how women just don’t need the money like the breadwinning mens do. I don’t recall the PvP brigade here getting their boxers in a wad over that one.

  52. Thanks, @mythago.I should point out that I live in liberalbluestatistan, too (coastal California!) and run in pretty liberal circles. And still, not one person ever considered that my husband might stay home with the kids. Except my husband, that is, who thought about it and decided he wanted to keep working.

  53. And see… I just did it, too. It is very easy to do! My husband thought about it and decided he wanted to keep his current job. He would have been working either way.

    Really, someone needs to invent a better word or phrase for all of this.

  54. How about “work at home” and “work outside the home”? Is there any legitimate (i.e. non-bigoted) reason why the work of housekeeping and/or childcaring should be separated from writing great science fiction, or why the proportion of these a stay-at-home parent does should be anyone’s business other than theirs and their spouse’s?

    Does Scalzi do the vacuuming and have dinner on the table for the lovely Mrs. Scalzi when she comes home from slaying all who cross her her day job? None of my fucking business.

  55. @Cloud: When I worked in hospital registration, we phrased it as “are you employed outside your home?”.

    There is not value judgement in the question, and it also includes self-employed people.

  56. Cloud @2:42 in Nora Robert’s In Death books the phrase used for stay-at-home-parents is Professional Homemaker. They got income support, comprehensive healthcare and pensions all in acknowledgement that being a stay-at-home-parent is damn hard work.

  57. @Transdutch: way to spread the rumore. Yes, I know, lots of disclaimers and all that, but still. Here’s what strikes me about that. We never hear this – “Yeah, the guy is VP and all, but hey, he has an assistant. So you know…” Becasue seriously, what’s wrong with having a nanny? Especially when there are five kids! She needed some help, she has MS and she battled cancer. I think hiring a nanny is the responsible thing to do in that situation. And if she can afford to hire a nanny, have at it. This is yet more of that “being a stay at home parent really isn’t all that much work.” Except that I imagine that on top of all that goes into being a parent to five kids, Ms. Romney was also supporting her husband’s CEO and political career by hosting parties, being active in the community, volunteering her time, etc.

  58. I’m struggling for any objectivity.

    My mother was a politically active Left Liberal Democrat. My father was a Wall Street Conservative Republican.

    I suspect that my mother would agree with Hilary Rosen, and that my father would agree with Mitt Romney.

    I am the eldest of my father’s 5 children.

    So I have a clue what it means to raise 5 children.

    However, part of why my parewnts split up was on the issue of whether a woman should or should not stay home to raise children, or have a professional career, or do both.

    My mother, after the split, had no choice. She had to work as a “Secretary” — what would now been called Senior Administrative Assistant to the President, of a hardcover book publishing company. After that evaporated, partly from the President failing to credit my Mom as EDITOR of books where she was de facto editor, she had no choice but to take what jobs she could, a long strange list which I omit here, ending with elementary school teacher.

    I feel that Hilary Rosen mis-spoke: raising children is VERY hard work, and is undervalued by the media, and not properly figured in GNP. I feel that Obama should have shut up about this. I feel that Ann Romney may not, without casting stones ate her, merely from lack of experience, understand what the situation is for mothers who WISH that thewy could stay home with the kids, but MUST bring home a paycheck, or do cash work on the side, WHILE full-time chuild raising.

    Does that put me in the Radical Middle of this pseudo-debate?

  59. >> and before that, she was a Death Eater.

    HAHAHA

    >> How about “work at home” and “work outside the home”?

    I think the relevant distinction that people are drawing is ‘employed’, not literally ‘at home’. My aunt and uncle work at home… as travel agent and aerospace engineer. That they have their offices right next to each other ten feet from the bedroom is irrelevant: the number of people who would look down on either of them for that is vanishingly small.

    ~~~~

    So, I heard about this on the radio. Maybe I’m not sufficiently sensitized to this since my mom earned a strong majority of our family income when I was growing up, and my wife earns a less strong majority now, and I’ve spent time taking care of the kids when between jobs, so I know for sure it’s a lot of work (and, oddly, I haven’t caught any flak about it, from anyone – and I do consider that ‘odd’, not a counterargument or anything)…

    … but, hearing this, in her actual voice, even with only a little context, it didn’t even occur to me that Hilary Rosen could have possibly meant that Ann Romney was idle, but rather that she’s never been employed. I read people upthread saying that they have been home parents and it struck them that way (rather than say, an opposing politician searching for a way to twist someone’s language and finding it), and I’m left scratching my head. How much context did you have, there?

    I’m no friend of Mitt Romney, but there are definitely things people pounced on him for – the bet with Newt Gingrich, for instance – where I knew what he meant and didn’t hold it against him in the least. Not even, really, for being ‘out of touch’. So it’s not a partisan thing, here.

  60. Whether or not Ann Romney did or didn’t have a nanny is a distraction. The real problem is that her husband cares so little about issues directly affecting anyone but rich businessman that his attitude is, women’s issues? Oh, honey, you’re a mom and stuff, why don’t you handle that for me. It’s not like that’s important enough for me to bother educating myself about, and anyway, you’re all moms so you all have the same woman stuff in common, right?

  61. There does seem to be an outbreak of foot-in-mouth disease and apparently it’s not just Republicans anymore. What Ms. Rosen said was inexcusable. Why can’t we women just support each other’s choices instead of saying there is one way and one way only to be a good mother? If you can stay at home with your kids, why not? There’s nothing wrong with that. If you have to work like my mother did, that’s fine too. Both choices are a lot of work.

  62. @Xopher, the currently accepted phrases are: work outside the home mom, work at home mom, and stay at home mom, describing mothers who work for pay in offices, mothers who work for pay from their homes (the implication is that they are also watching the kids), and mothers who do not work for pay. They are abbreviated as WOHM, WAHM, and SAHM. Sometimes the “M” is replaced with “P” for parent, and you definitely hear about “SAHDs”. I suspect our host would actually have been a WAHD, since I remember reading that he was writing while home with the baby, but I can’t recall ever coming across someone actually using that term. And no one calls my husband a “WOHD” which was kind of my point. I fear this has become a digression, so I will cut it off here. I think you all get my point.

    The problem is that none of these rolls off the tongue, and the acronyms confuse people who aren’t in the know.So people just say “working mom”. And “where do you work?” when in most people’s lives, the correct answer to that is both the name of their employer and “at home,” at least until someone invents the Dishes Fairies.

    I have often wondered how much of our trouble is down to these linguistic issues. We say “working” to refer to jobs that bring a paycheck AND to doing the work around the house. Rosen’s mistake was using the former linguistic shorthand. As others have pointed out, what she really meant, which was blindingly obvious from the context, was that Ann Romney has never worked for a paycheck. If she had just added that clarification, then we would be arguing about some other stupid thing someone said.

  63. I’ve unfortunately found that staying at home is frequently disparaged, most often by men but also by women. It’s generally seen as “lazy at home eating bonbons watching soaps” (or worse “lazy at home spending my paycheck”, typically voiced by men) or an envious and naive “taking care of the kids and cleaning house would be so easy!” The latter is often followed by the even more disparaging “And I would do it so much better than her!”, because men are apparently superior at everything, even “women’s work.”

    I also think Rosen meant to label Romney as never employed vs never worked, but she failed and is now paying the consequences. .

  64. “but, hearing this, in her actual voice, even with only a little context, it didn’t even occur to me that Hilary Rosen could have possibly meant that Ann Romney was idle, but rather that she’s never been employed.”

    ^^^This is EXACTLY how I heard it. I have been a stay at home mom for 2.5 years. It was a choice, and I am grateful that I got to make that choice. I am flabbergasted at how quickly this thing blew up on each side. Rosen did not say “She has never done a thing in her life” or “She has never taken care of anything in her life” or “She doesn’t have a job, she just stays home and takes care of her kids” She said “worked”. And during a time when WORK AND/OR EMPLYOMENT OF THE SORT that you expect other people to pay you with money for doing is such a huge issue for many Americans…yeah. It made sense to me.

  65. These comments are unfortunate, because they overshadow the larger issue of just how in touch someone like Mitt Romney (never-mind his wife, she’s not running unless I’ve missed something) is with what 99% of Americans deal with. I suspect his answer to that would be “What’s a grocery store?”

    Does it matter that Ann Romney was a wealthy stay at home mom, not really? Does it matter that, from where I’m standing, Mitt Romney’s fortune is largely owed to his privileged upbringing and connections to the narrowest, wealthiest special interests this country has ever had the misfortune to be controlled by? Yeah. A little bit.

  66. Two thoughts. Billy’s description of the humble raising of the Romney children makes me hear the song “Common People” in the back of my head. I have no idea what their upbringing was like, but the phrase “If you called your Dad, he could stop it all.” Shatner version, of course.

    Second: My wife worked for several years, including when I was unemployed. When I got a high-paying job and it was costing more than she made for daycare, we discussed it and she became a SAHM. She has ventured back in the workforce since then, but only for short stints. Her being home to raise the kids and manage our household affairs is a BIG task and I’m thankful all the time that she can be there.

    Or, to loosely quote Bill Cosby: “I’m not the boss of my house…but I’ve seen the Boss’s Job..AND I DON’T WANT IT.

  67. I neglected to mention… a better response would have been:

    “He wants to know what women think, so he asks his wife. It’s mindboggling that this could even be thought as a significant beginning towards understanding these issues. Like… I really need to know what men think. Hey, Dave. What do you think? Great! Thanks, Dave. Now I know what men think.”

  68. From Cloud:
    “I’m doing what is right for my family, and anyone other than my husband and my kids who has an opinion on go fly a kite as far as I’m concerned. I certainly was not prepared for the extent to which everyone and their dog feels justified in commenting on my parenting choices. And again, my husband gets a free pass.”

    Yes, so much this. The TL;DR of this discussion is “My choices are holy writ, your choices make you a bad parent/woman/human.” Not only do I get a free pass over my wife on these issues, my bar for approval is basically my interest in making any choices about my family at all. When I was unemployed, it was “Hey, great that you can stay home with your family to spend time with them.” (Which I found crass, even as they meant it to be positive) When I’m employed “Hey, great that you make tough choices and sacrifices to look out for your family. That is Important.” Every line of questioning my wife gets on the subject is negative. Justify this choice or that choice. Why *don’t* you do this?

    This is very much a part of the whole mess of crap that I don’t get as a man. In much the same way that financial math is very rarely used as a tool to argue that I not consider my life after my children leave the house. That does NOT mean, as has been said, that anyone suggesting their personal finances don’t line up that way are liars. There’s a difference between making a personal decision based on the facts of your life and arguing that “women” should stay at home because day care is expensive.

    From Mythago:

    “Whether or not Ann Romney did or didn’t have a nanny is a distraction.”

    Indeed. Whether the Romney’s had a nanny is completely irrelevant to the politics at hand. But, I’d add that the commentary on the value of the choice to employ a nanny has been incredibly out of line. Whether Ann Romney stayed home and did absolutely nothing but love her children or whether she stayed home and did everything for them – or some mix in between – does not merit one bit of judgment from anyone else. That is their house. And, if I have to have an opinion on their choices, it’s essentially, well, it seems to be working for them. And as long as they feel that way, they should keep on keepin’ on.

    “The real problem is that her husband cares so little about issues directly affecting anyone but rich businessman that his attitude is, women’s issues?”

    I do think it’s perfectly in line to examine the politics of people who are running for public office by considering the personal experiences they’ve had – and not had – and the choices they’ve made – or haven’t had to make -. And it’s fair to say, that you know, not having to make certain choices or overcome certain hardships in your life that directly affect me leave me somewhat concerned about how seriously you take them. And, I was kind of surprised that the Professional Speaker of Political Words has been so vocal that he’s got women’s concerns covered because, basically, he’s married.

    I think that Rosen, whose job it is to be smart and clever about these talking points, should have done a better job avoiding the ad hominem side, or even the remote implication of it, on an issue with so much inherent charge.

  69. Lol, I enjoyed watching Hilary Rosen munch on her toes. We truly live in a digital age. But honestly I do not like identity politics, they are often ugly and divisive; it basically comes down to saying, ‘you are not us and there for you can not identify with us or sympathies with us’ and that is what Hilary Rosen was trying to say, by pointing out differences that are mostly irrelevant in the greater scheme of things, but that is the political reality we live in today; its only going to get worse too.

  70. Of course the point Rosen should have made is a perfectly valid one. Anyone who thinks Ann Romney will be staying at home while her husband waggles his finger at “selfish” working class and poor women on the campaign trail is delusional.

    The Romney’s have never had to face the brutal calculus of having to both work to pay for luxuries like rent, heat, health insurance and food on the table. And there’s nothing wrong with that; they’re damn lucky and I wish more people were in their position.

    And I very much suspect that this campaign season, when Mitt and Ann are doing campaign appearances, finding — let along paying for — high quality childcare is a problem they’re never going to have. It’s a shame that despite all the rhetoric about caring about hardworking American families, the GOP keeps failing to walk the talk.

  71. Cloud, my point was that the distinction between a mom who is a homemaker and a mom who works from her home office is one we shouldn’t be making or asking about. But perhaps that’s naïve, and instead of elevating the homemaker (who generally works pretty damn hard, at least in my class), the home-office mom will just be tarred with the stigma of “not working.”

  72. @Cranapia

    Please explain to me the differences between GOP millionaires and DEM millionaires? They both write laws and than exempt themselves from being effected by those same laws or they have no idea what is actually in those laws, or what the consequences of those laws will be.

    Look at the current President, he has just as few shared experiences/problems as the rest of us and yet this was not “a problem”, and he has said just as many stupid things as any other president or candidate.

  73. What the hell? Paul, you can’t expect us to take seriously the idea that Obama has “as few shared experiences/problems as the rest of us” and the implication that he and Romney are the same on that? Romney was from privilege from the beginning; Obama was very much not. And I don’t just mean white privilege; I mean they come from entirely different economic strata.

  74. So now the Democrats get to play around on the misogynist side of the Republican War Against Women. They’re not anywhere near as nasty as the shriller right-wingers, but they’re getting to say “See, we’re not scary, we’re good old boys too!” (I realize that didn’t seem to be Hilary Rosen’s intent, and that she was really trying to make a “Romneys are rich elitists” argument, but she’s been a lobbyist for RIAA and other disreputable groups long enough that her foot and mouth are no strangers to each other, if not as well-acquainted as, say, Joe Biden’s.)

    And the Republicans are really happy to have the Democrats look like they’re badmouthing motherhood and hoping they’ll beat up apple pie next, because it’s taking some of the heat off of their far more egregious positions and players.

  75. I think America still has quite a lot of “Puritan Work Ethic” ingrained in our culture, so anyone not “working” by the stereotypical definition of work, has a good chance of getting at least a raised eyebrow for it. I assume that was at least part of what spurred this comment by the former Death Eater.

    As for Mr. Romney, I don’t think a picture of him in a monocle and top hat will ever get old, but that’s just me.

  76. Please explain to me the differences between GOP millionaires and DEM millionaires?

    Oh, you mean the “DEM millionaires” who are NOT their party’s presumptive nominee for the Presidency this year? I’ll err on the side of generosity and assume that’s a serious question and not the opening to a round of false equivalence bullshit bingo.

    For all the flaws of the Democrats (and they are legion) the party doesn’t seem quite so institutionally determined to never miss a chance to shit on middle-class and working poor women for whom being “stay-at home Moms” isn’t really an option.

    Hilary Rosen took a cheap shot at Ann Romney and is quite properly getting slapped over the knuckles for it. But please… spare me the righteous indignation from the theo-con right and the faux-fiscal conservatives whose austerity never quite seems to trickle up from the working poor to corporate welfare queens and the tragically over-taxed millionaires of the world.

    Finally, I think it’s a very good think Mrs Ronmey is a stay-at home Mom. Perhaps she can teach her children not to tell fibs about other people, because her husband and his surrogates don’t seem to have quite grasped the notion where Ms. Rosen’s employment history is concerned.

  77. Xopher: Absolutely. When much of the patient population is retired or has never worked or have a few cattle out on the ranch, you never know who will say what in response!

  78. Not only do I think Rosen put her foot in her mouth, I don’t agree with her overall point, either. Being born into privilege doesn’t necessarily make you clueless to the plight of working-class people. Saying “Romney can’t understand what working-class people are going through, because he’s so rich he hasn’t ever needed his wife to earn a paycheck” is not a valid argument. That’s like saying a cisgender heterosexual can’t be an ally to the LGBT community. It’s letting Romney off the hook. We should focus more on Romney’s proposed policies and less on his lifetime of wealth.

    Billy Quiets @ 12:53 pm: That’s an interesting list you have there, but none of it indicates that Hilary Rosen is currently on the DNC or the Obama campaign payroll. If you read the link I posted above, it says that CNN analysts are not allowed to work for the party or campaigns. When she was talking on CNN, she wasn’t speaking as an official spokesperson for either the DNC or the Obama campaign.

  79. I recommend all watch the alternate beginning to The Incredibles. It is very apropos and might help explain why SAHMs have gotten a little worked up about the comment. It’s hard to make a choice to stay home with your kids, forgo many luxuries, constantly work on tightening your belt, and then have other women look down on you for it. There are SAHM in all economic brackets – and not punching a time clock doesn’t mean that we don’t or can’t understand economic conditions, politics, philosophy or other topics. We’re NOT stupid, slow or lazy!

  80. Conservative Mom:

    It’s hard to make a choice to stay home with your kids, forgo many luxuries, constantly work on tightening your belt, and then have other women look down on you for it.

    And with all due and sincere respect, I suspect many many working mothers would say “Right back at you, hon’!” It’s very easy to look down on working mothers as spoilt liberal elitists who are more interested in gratifying their own egos than taking care of their families. And there’s a very long history of right-wing women quite happy to run around trashing “selfish” working mothers on cable news and talk radio, but God help anyone who had the gall to ask who’s minding their kids. I guess nannies and child care centers are two other things that are only bad when Democrats use ‘em. :)

  81. Cloud said: “But y’all, really- can’t we cut her some slack? She made a gaffe on live TV. Maybe we should try to focus on the actual point she was trying to make.”

    Because forgiving gaffes and concentrating on the real points made by Republicans happens so frequently, I know.

    Wait a minute.

  82. Cranapia –

    I do think some of the commentary in response to this is a deliberately overdramatic imitation of righteous indignation. But, no side in the How To Properly Care for and Raise Your Children Debates are exactly underrepresented when it comes to the offensive.

    Being called out for the way you’ve chosen to raise, or not raise, your kids and being *told* the reasons you made the choices you made isn’t bound to leave anyone feeling particularly like conversing. So, maybe at every single point that we can, we consciously choose to not allow personal choices in child rearing into political commentary. And when somebody says, I personally was called out and criticized for my choices, we can just agree that that’s fucked up regardless of who said it or the actual choices.

    It’s very easy to have righteously strong opinions about the choices you’ve made in your life regarding kids. Because, procreation, or choosing not to, is kind of a big deal. And I think it’s easy to confuse the choices you’ve made in your life – that have defined your life – as appropriate rules for others. And I think a lot of people fuck up the expression of that by passing damning judgment in off hand comments about a choice someone agonized over making. Meaning, it’s really easy for a conversation about how to raise kids to explode into a massive fight. Really easy. So, maybe we avoid judging others kid raising strategies where ever we can when it really doesn’t have anything to do with the topic at hand.

    Because even the point that Rosen says she was making didn’t have a damn thing to do with child rearing. For that matter, neither Ann Romney nor child rearing have anything to do with the argument that just because Romney’s conceit is that his experience is the quintessential American experience doesn’t mean it is. And that a white rich guy that went to Harvard attacking a black man whose attendance at Harvard has made him “elitist” because of it has plenty to explain without having to go after any of his family’s decisions regarding the raising of their children. If the political argument is that Romney does not represent that average, or even really the ideal – because ideally not everyone is a hundred millionaire-, American experience, why on earth does Ann Romney and how she raised her kids come into it?

    The Romney’s have never had to make a choice about whether to keep the heat on or eat. They’ve never worried about being able to pay for a sudden medical crisis and get the best care possible. There are plenty of ways to discuss Mitt Romney’s general misunderstanding of the average American experience without talking about how he and his wife raised their children.

    That Rosen couldn’t articulate this without damning a huge percentage of the American population currently raising children leaves up for debate only her future employment.

  83. Cranapia – As an addendum, I should have broken out the first two paragraphs as a response to your previous comment. I should have put a break break there to denote a switch to a general response for the last four paragraphs.

  84. Jonathan Vos Post:

    I feel that Hilary Rosen mis-spoke: raising children is VERY hard work, and is undervalued by the media, and not properly figured in GNP. I feel that Obama should have shut up about this.

    What? Why? He pretty much said exactly what you said. Why do you get to have an opinion in public, and when he *agrees* with you, you want him to shut up? He says:

    “There’s no tougher job than being a mom. Anybody who would argue otherwise, I think, probably needs to rethink their statement.”

    That’s almost exactly what you said. And he condemned Rosen specifically.

    Does that put me in the Radical Middle of this pseudo-debate?

    It puts you in the radical not making any sense part. You usually make sense. What’s up?

  85. Sorry, Billy Quiets, but Ann didn’t “battle” breast cancer. She had a NON-INVASIVE form likely wouldn’t have been diagnosed until after her death from old age if it weren’t for modern detection methods.

    I also have to quote her own words about her alleged poverty while she and her husband were in college, back when her husband was trying to beat Ted Kennedy in 1994 by claiming to be a pro-choice, pro-LGBT rights moderate:

    “We know what it’s like to be poor. When Mitt was in law school, we had to sell some of our stock.”

    It’s a shame that she has MS, but seriously? She comes across as privileged and clueless, and always has. And her kids were either adults or ready to leave for college when she was diagnosed with MS.

    Sorry.

  86. Shamelessly stealing this point from Slacktivist, but now that we’ve all agreed that raising children is real work, can we revoke the 1996 welfare reforms?

  87. I*really* don’t recommend watching the original opening to The Incredibles. It’s wince-inducingly preachy, over-the-top, and the fact that the writer was not a SAHM but breadwinner husband of one carries more than a whiff of Tom Sawyer’s fence about it. “Wow, that is such a respected, important, amazing job, honey! Gosh, I sure wish I didn’t have to do this well-paying prestigious job thing while you’re at home doing the very important work.”

    @Carrie Slager: I think you answered your own question there. If a mom (and only a mom) ‘can’ stay home? If she ‘has to’ work? Imagine switching those around – “I think it’s great if a woman can work outside the home, but if she has to stay home there’s nothing wrong with that” – or telling a male co-worker “I don’t think there’s anything at all wrong with you having to work outside the home.” People would think you were trying to make a political point by way of major sarcasm.

    @CLP: Your analogy is more than a bit off. Imagine a cisgender heterosexual explaining that he really gets the concerns and challenges LGBT people face, because he has gay friends and somebody in high school called him a queer once. It’s certainly possible for somebody who’s been wealthy and privileged their whole life to educate themselves about what it’s like not to have those luxuries. Romney shows no signs whatsoever that his opinion of the less-fortunate rises much above “contempt”.

  88. Don’t be sorry ellid. It’s Ann Romney that should be sorry that she hasn’t suffered enough to earn your respect.

  89. @Dwight, I generally make it a practice of ignoring gaffes and focusing on the intended point, regardless of the speaker’s politics. It seems the reasonable thing to do if what you’re interested in is figuring out which person has ideas you agree with the most.

    Maybe if we all tried it, we could have actual useful debates on issues, instead of these weird mud slinging matches.

    Surely we all learned in Kindergarten that “he did it first!” is not an acceptable defense for bad behavior?

    And yes, I argued the same thing when George Bush was in office. Even out here in liberalbluestateistan.

  90. “Don’t be sorry ellid. It’s Ann Romney that should be sorry that she hasn’t suffered enough to earn your respect.”

    Respect, sir.

  91. Anybody want to talk about this rift between women who hold jobs and women whose primary work is parenting? (and btw “stay-at-home-mom” sounds to me like a euphemism for “stick-in-the-mud.) Women with jobs think women w/o jobs are lazy, privileged, and too inept to do the work any smart gal could do in her spare evenings. Women who are at home think women with jobs are self-centered, egotistic, materialistic, and don’t care about their families. Then the job-holders say, “Oh, I’d do that if I could AFFORD to, but I’m not privileged like YOU are!” And now I hear that families who think keeping a parent in the home is the best economic choice are really just not doing the math right. wtf? Can we just get over the judgement and resentment? Do ALL of us feel so cheated that we can’t get past resenting those who are different? Or can we only accept those who have exactly the same life and make all the same choices as ourselves?

  92. Don’t be sorry ellid. It’s Ann Romney that should be sorry that she hasn’t suffered enough to earn your respect.

    Hey, Billy – I have enormous respect for people like Ann Romney and Karen Santorum. It must be a hell of a job teaching your children that it’s not OK to tell fibs like Daddy, and that if you stay in school and work really hard one day you might be able to formulate policy for the GOP that doesn’t smell like it’s been freshly pulled out of someone’s arse.

  93. And now I hear that families who think keeping a parent in the home is the best economic choice are really just not doing the math right.

    You do? Then you’re not listening carefully. Please read for comprehension, and not ‘how can I jam this into a lecture at everyone else for not being the Reasonable Middle’. Ross Douthat has that paid gig sewn up, FYI.

    To explain, again, so you’ll have to expend more effort in missing the point: Bad math is saying that the proper measure of “should one parent stay home full-time” is to take the wife’s salary, subtract daycare and work-related costs like commuting, and if it’s not a large enough number, voila, it “makes economic sense” for her to reduce or eliminate her paid job. It is saying “Given choices A, B and C, let’s only calculate the cost of A to decide which one is best.”

    Of course, there are plenty of families where the cost isn’t the real issue, and that’s fine. But I find it very telling that women feel compelled to justify their choices by way of economics.

  94. Hilary Rosen is as much associated with Obama and the Democratic Party as Rush Limbaugh is with the GOP. Just sayin’.

  95. Actually, more so since she’s an activist for many of their causes while Rush is just an independent entertainer.

  96. And it’s karma kicking Obama and the democrats in the teeth for diverting us for weeks with the false “GOP War on women” while millions of Americans go unemployed while not being counted as such.

  97. It’s not karma, it’s standard GOP practice: Smear your opponent with your weakness. Given how effectively it has worked for them in the past I’m not surprised they leapt at the opportunity to smear a liberal who has vaguely liberally connections as being an ‘Obama adviser’ when she stuck her foot in her mouth making a valid point in a particularly inarticulate manner. The GOP are waging a war again women’s rights, they just rolled back equal pay, they continue to restrict abortion, they deny them adequate healthcare, and in general create restrictions and rules that disproportionately impact women in general, poor women in specific, and those who provide care for their children (typically women). It’s not imaginary any more than the GOP’s ‘War’ on people with high melanin levels is. The legislators consistently propose or pass laws that target and harm women, and visible minorities even when doing so serves no legitimate purpose and they advocate even more extreme measures when running for office or fundraising. I don’t care how they try to cloak or justify their behaviour, the pattern is clear and it is inexcusable.

  98. mayhaps bad form, but I got to about 2/3 through and saw the exact same things being said over and over

    1) “Choosing” to work from home. Yes, she still chose. Even though she had piles of money. Many many many women who have the choice to stay home because they would still have enough still chose to work. The point is, Ann Romney decided being at home was more important than being at work.

    2) “No cushion” So what? She had a cushion. She wasn’t going to starve. Great. So we don’t have the sympathy. Not the point. She still DID the economic process of living on her own. Therefore, she understands it.

    3) Because of #2 Ms. Rosen still loses points even if her point was that Ms. Romney has never been gainfully employed outside of the home. Rosen says that being a SAHM makes you out of touch. This is insipid.

    4) If you must bring the Obamas’ response into it, his remarks still weren’t very smart. Ms. Obama still didn’t quit work out of the home when she did have the choice. This is neither good nor evil unless you have specific opinions on what women “should” do. But it does mean, at the very least, that saying you didn’t have the “luxury” of that decision is misleading.

    5) On a personal note, pretty sick and tired of a lot of people who think they don’t have the economic resources to have one parent at home when they subscribe to several magazines, cable TV, Netflix, etc. Yes, they’re all small things (though actually, what I just listed there can easily add up to a couple hundred a month, which may even be enough for many of those who don’t have the “luxury” of having one parent at home). But they add up and they betray an unwillingness to make the sacrifice necessary.

  99. scorpius says: “Hilary Rosen is as much associated with Obama and the Democratic Party as Rush Limbaugh is with the GOP. Just sayin’. … Actually, more so since she’s an activist for many of their causes while Rush is just an independent entertainer.”

    Delusional. Remember the last time a republican got away with criticising Rush?

  100. On a personal note, pretty sick and tired of a lot of people who think they don’t have the economic resources to have one parent at home when they subscribe to several magazines, cable TV, Netflix, etc.

    Oh, and you were doing so well with the pretense of ‘neutral respect for other’s choices’ right up until that last. Pity. You know how it is with these things; you can do a fabulous routine, but if you don’t stick the landing it’s all for naught.

    Here’s a tip for the next time you and your buddies want to sit around putting a 21st-century economic gloss on 1970s-era sneering about “career girls”: sometimes, ‘we can’t afford it’ is a social lie. It means that the family has made a decision that, for them, it is best not to have one parent at home full-time, and the reasons are really none of your fucking business, but they understand ‘we can’t afford to’ is considered an appropriate excuse.

  101. mythago@ 12:14 am:

    Imagine a cisgender heterosexual explaining that he really gets the concerns and challenges LGBT people face, because he has gay friends and somebody in high school called him a queer once.

    Such a person would rightfully be subject to ridicule. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that a cisgender heterosexual can’t educate themselves about the issues and become an ally. The fact that cisgender heterosexuals haven’t had direct firsthand experience being discriminated against or subject to homophobia or transphobia doesn’t excuse them from being homophobic or transphobic–or, if they are running for public office, enacting polices that further homophobia or transphobia.

    It’s certainly possible for somebody who’s been wealthy and privileged their whole life to educate themselves about what it’s like not to have those luxuries. Romney shows no signs whatsoever that his opinion of the less-fortunate rises much above “contempt”.

    That’s my point. It’s incorrect to say “Romney doesn’t understand the plight of lower-income people because he’s rich.” That implies it’s acceptable and inevitable to be ignorant about working-class concerns just because you haven’t experienced those concerns firsthand. He could have, if he wanted to, educated himself to those issues. He’s made a deliberate decision to be callous about those concerns. That should be the point the left needs to make, not “He can’t grok this stuff because he’s rich.” That basically gives him an excuse.

    scorpius @ 4:09 am, et seq.:

    Hilary Rosen is as much associated with Obama and the Democratic Party as Rush Limbaugh is with the GOP. Just sayin’.

    You’re moving the goalposts. Nobody disputes that Rosen is a Democrat, associates with Democrats, or that her statement hurts the Democrats. My point is that she doesn’t currently work for the DNC or the Obama campaign. As in, she doesn’t collect a friggin’ paycheck from them, and that she wasn’t speaking as their representative when she was talking on CNN. Your argument, and the Romney campaign’s argument, that she’s some sort of representative of Obama, and that this gaffe represents the Obama campaign’s attitude toward stay-at-hom moms, is an absurdity based on falsehood.

    Actually, more so since she’s an activist for many of their causes while Rush is just an independent entertainer.

    Rush doesn’t push conservative causes? That’s news to me. Newsflash: if you go on the radio and influence what they think about politicians, and what they think about policy, then you are engaging in activism. But, just to clarify, I don’t believe anyone should vote against Romney because Rush Limbaugh is a loudmouth jerk. Sorry to burst your false equivalence bubble.

    And it’s karma kicking Obama and the democrats in the teeth for diverting us for weeks with the false “GOP War on women” while millions of Americans go unemployed while not being counted as such.

    Wow, you really are loving the false equivalences today! On one had, we have some cable news talking head saying something dumb about Ann Romney. On the other hand, we have all the major GOP presidential candidates promising that they will (a) defund the organization that millions of women depend on for critical health services (b) do whatever in their power to take away a key part of women’s bodily autonomy and (c) stand back while some employers use religious grounds to block women’s access to contraception.

    If you don’t think these issues have economic ramifications–if you think unintended pregnancy doesn’t pose an economic risk to women and their families–then you are completely mistaken. Just because the economy should be the top issue doesn’t mean these other issues are unimportant.

    By the way, the reason the economy is still in the toilet is because the GOP has fought tooth and nail to prevent the president from doing what needs to be done to fix it.

  102. Nobody disputes that Rosen is a Democrat, associates with Democrats, or that her statement hurts the Democrats. My point is that she doesn’t currently work for the DNC or the Obama campaign.

    BS. Her “communications” firm SKDKnickerbocker receives money from, coordinates with and has people on its board from the Obama campaign. Rosen has also visited the White House 35 times and those visits weren’t with the tour nor were they for dinner and drinks. Most of those times to meet with the office of media surrogates, you know coordinating the messaging. In contrast, when Rush visited the White House he did go for dinner and stayed over night as you would expect an entertainer who the President enjoys to do.

    By the way, the reason the economy is still in the toilet is because the GOP has fought tooth and nail to prevent the president from doing what needs to be done to fix it.

    A point. Harry Reid’s Senate hasn’t produced a budget in over 1000 days. And what are these things those meddling Republicans are fighting “tooth and nail” to prevent? The Stimulus? That went over well with unemployment going from < 8% to over 10%. Look, the President doesn't have much power to effect the economy, what power he does have is mostly to harm it as he did by illegally banning drilling in the gulf and fighting "tooth and nail" the Keystone Pipeline (and decreasing drilling permits issued on public lands).

    So what things has Obama proposed that you're so convinced will magically heal the economy? Unicorn dust? Sorry, that didn't cause the "seas to stop rising" as he promised in '08.

    But I'm sure the President and his Wall Street-funded billion dollar campaign is happy to see the saps eating up all the expensive propaganda and talking points they bought.

  103. Whoops, that second paragraph should not be italizied. Those were my comments.

    So,

    BS. Her “communications” firm SKDKnickerbocker receives money from, coordinates with and has people on its board from the Obama campaign. Rosen has also visited the White House 35 times and those visits weren’t with the tour nor were they for dinner and drinks. Most of those times to meet with the office of media surrogates, you know coordinating the messaging. In contrast, when Rush visited the White House he did go for dinner and stayed over night as you would expect an entertainer who the President enjoys to do.

  104. Oh, and this is complete Bullshit: “stand back while some employers use religious grounds to block women’s access to contraception.”

    Sorry, but that’s employers not providing contraception which can easily be obtained for free at many clinics, schools, etc or could be paid for with a nominal fee ($10). There is absolutely no “blocking women’s access to contraception” going on. That’s just propaganda. Nice that you’re falling for it.

  105. ha. Awesome. mythago. You only have one point of criticism, and it’s the one that has the least to do with my point. I’m not sure where you got “sneering.”
    “they understand ‘we can’t afford to’ is considered an appropriate excuse.”
    Not when you’re making a political statement trying to identify with “the common man” and you put it in terms of how you “couldn’t afford” the luxury. At that point, it’s pretty much bullshit.

    People tell me all the time how they can’t afford to do x or y. Then they talk about their new car and their new smartphone. It’s bullshit for those of us who actually do give up “luxuries” that others take as given for a “common” lifestyle. Seriously, if you “can’t afford” something, respect my intelligence enough to not then flaunt wealth.

    AND THEN you decide you know a) what my point of view is and b) what my situation is. You’re hilarious. I’m the one who doesn’t have a neutral frame? Please try again. It feels very much like your only point was to find someone/something to attack.

    Note that I never said it was bad to choose to have both parents at work. I specifically, in fact, stated that it was not good or bad. However, that “social lie” is a bullshit lie and it do not fly, hoss.

    I’m not putting any judgement on anyone. But if you tell me you can’t afford something, I’ll call you on your lie, because it’s a disrespectful lie. And no, it’s not appropriate if it’s not true.

  106. Scorpius:

    Aggregate your posts, please.

    Also, the argument that access to birth control isn’t blocked because it is cheap is a really interesting one. Leaving aside that you appear to be eliding the fact that the dollar sum you list is a recurring cost as opposed to a one-time purchase (i.e., roughly twelve times more expensive on an annual basis than you wish to note) and that not every woman who needs contraception will not be well-served by merely the cheapest available contraception — because, strangely enough, not all contraception is alike and neither are all women’s needs — are you willing to extend your “it’s cheap” argument to every prescription drug that falls below a certain arbitrary dollar amount you deem trivial each time a prescription needs to be filled? Because, after all, most prescription drugs are readily available at any pharmacy, and if, say, I am a Christian Scientist, I could have a reasonable religious objection to funding these prescriptions. If you’re not willing to make that argument, I find the argument you are making unconvincing, to say the least.

    Incidentally, the cost of a pregnancy in the United States, according to the US Department of Health, is $7,600, or, by your metric, 63 years worth of monthly birth control. Now, imagine you are an accountant for the insurance industry. You have the option for paying for birth control, or you have the option for paying for the cost of a pregnancy. From an actuarial point of view, which would you prefer? Were I an insurance company, I’m not entirely sure I would extend plans to companies who have a religious objection to paying for birth control.

  107. scorpius @ 2:56 pm, et seq.:

    BS. Her “communications” firm SKDKnickerbocker receives money from, coordinates with and has people on its board from the Obama campaign.

    That’s because one of the other people at that firm has a contract with the DNC. She doesn’t. That’s like saying that every editor at Tor is Scalzi’s editor because Scalzi’s editor works there.

    Rosen has also visited the White House 35 times and those visits weren’t with the tour nor were they for dinner and drinks.

    Meeting with White House officials does not mean you work for them. Lobbyists and consultants for interest groups meet with government officials all the time.

    You have presented NO evidence that when Rosen was talking to CNN, she was authorized to speak on behalf of the DNC or the Obama campaign. You have no evidence that she was personally paid by the DNC or the Obama campaign, or that any payment to the firm that employs her was for her work. Please stop making things up: It’s embarrassing, it’s unethical, and it’s not nice.

    Sorry, but that’s employers not providing contraception which can easily be obtained for free at many clinics, schools, etc or could be paid for with a nominal fee ($10). There is absolutely no “blocking women’s access to contraception” going on. That’s just propaganda. Nice that you’re falling for it.

    In addition to the very good point made by Scalzi above–I know women who have paid quite a bit more than $10/month for birth control pills–many of those clinics, schools, etc. are offering oral contraception at a reduced rate because of federal and state grants, which Republicans have been trying to end. (And by “Republicans”, I mean the elected officials and people running for office, including the Republicans running for president, not just talking heads on CNN.) Mitt Romney, in particular, has pledged to end all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the organization that operates many of those clinics you are talking about.

  108. Apologies for the double post, but I realize that my suggestion that Scorpius “Please stop making things up” might be taken as an attempt to police the content of the comments of this blog, which of course would not be appropriate on my part. I should have instead said “You’re making things up again,” and left it at that.

  109. Latest damage control meme …

    “All mothers know that motherhood involves a lot of hard work, but let’s stop pretending that that’s the same as working for a living”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/13/the-myth-of-the-stay-at-home-mommy-job.html

    Appears to me tahttoes are just the appetizer – they just can’t resist moving into ankle biting

    I have seen this from personal experience. My wife earned her undergrad degree and doctorate from elite universities and was one of the lead researchers in multiple patent awards related to semiconductor chip process design. When we had our first child, she chose to stay home and focus on raising our child (later children). A few months after this, we attended the holiday dinner for my new company and she was treated by all present (of both genders) as a clueless idiot who could not have any thing relevant thoughts since she was a “stay at home” mom.

    The un-examined concept that “stay at home” mothers are “less than” is; I think, one of the reasons that the democratic party alienates so many “traditional”women and why this has struck a chord in the electorate that is surprising to them.

  110. Billy – I’d have a lot more respect for Ann Romney if she showed any sign that she understands that not everyone has stock to sell to tide them over the hard times.

  111. @CLP: Plenty of candidates who are rich tout their poor childhoods or their long hard lives of bootstrapping (*cough* John Edwards *cough*). The criticism of Romney is not simply that he’s rich, but that he was born rich AND that he’s never personally experienced any other way of being. I don’t see how that implies that the privileged cannot become allies of the less-fortunate or that they are excused from being clueless; an explanation is not an excuse.

    @Maskedplatypus: Your points have been largely addressed already earlier in the thread (for example, the “they did too work for a living” and “Rosen hates SAHMs” have already been discussed, at length). Your final point was that you believe that people who have, to quote you, “several magazines, cable TV, Netflix, etc.” are lying or stupid when they claim they cannot afford to have one parent stay home and that such people really piss you off; in your later post you suggest that they are “flaunting” wealth that you apparently lack. I don’t know or care what your own situation is, but are you really sure you don’t understand why your post comes across very much as critical of those people not simply for bad budgeting, but for making a particular family choice?

    For one thing, ‘can’t afford’ can have a much broader meaning than you seem to credit. A family’s financial goals may include putting aside money into college funds, care for a disabled child or elder, retirement, medical needs, or a house, to name a few. Those goals may also include “avoiding financial disaster”, since generally in a one-breadwinner household a loss of a job means loss of 100% of the family’s income (and often other benefits like health insurance). So even if they cancel their Netflix and that frivolous subscription to House Beautiful they still would not have enough income, in a one-breadwinner family, to meet their family’s financial needs. They’re absolutely accurate when they say they ‘can’t afford’ to have Mom quit her job.

    And, as I said, they may simply be saying “we can’t afford it” because they’re far too polite to say “You know, it’s really nobody’s fucking business how we arrange our family lives.”

  112. What is this $10/month for birth control pills? When I used to pay the retail price for them, it was $25-30/month, and that was for a generic, not a name brand, several years ago. Then Washington state passed a low requiring health insurance plans to cover birth control pills (which I take for a medical condition, by the way, not for birth control), so now I pay a $10 co-pay. Yay Washington state! But $10/mon is not the retail price.

  113. Yea, $10 was my copay, too, with the first lot of pills my doctor and I tried for treating a medical condition ($130 a year). The second lot had a $25 copay ($325 a year). God help me if I need to use the $75 copay pills ($975 a year). That would be a huge chunk out of my budget and I have what passes for good health insurance now-a-days and a decent paying job. Darned tiers!

  114. Scorpius: Sorry, but that’s employers not providing contraception which can easily be obtained for free at many clinics, schools, etc

    Are there no prisons? No union workhouses?

  115. The last time I was on the pill, it was $45/month. I had to drop it because I was working part-time and simply didn’t have the money.

  116. Well, it looks like we have the opportunity to do an experiment into the conservative mindset: Since we’ve had a lot of commentators pointing out that that contraception might cost more in reality than the $10 Scorpius claimed, let’s see if having some of the assumptions that they base their opinions on shown to be wrong causes any of the right-wing commenters here to change their mind… Or do we have to remember that to a conservative, reality is just what they are told it is by Limbaugh and Hannity? Maybe that’s why to conservatives (and most of the media) that fire-bombing clinics and shooting doctors do not count as a ‘war’, and why one CNN journalist making a poorly worded comment is equivalent to passing laws that strip women’s rights or make it more likely that they will die.
    Oh, and to John, the $7600 figure seems to be from 2007. If our experiences were typical, then it is a LOT more than that now.

  117. Let me help you with your experiment on the conservative mindset. Conservatives have no interest in limiting your access to birth control. Help yourself. 99% of us don’t give two shits about it. It’s a manufactured issue by the administration to keep everyone’s attention off of the dismal economy. Even the much maligned Rick Santorum has said that while he doesn’t believe in using it, he has no interest in legislating against it.

    ellid posts that she had to pay $45 /month for the pill and quit because she couldn’t afford it. Does that mean I should have to buy it for her? Is it my responsibility to pay for her contraception? How about her internet access? She obviously still has that. Am I paying for it? Should I be? It’s her choice, right? I pay $49/ month for internet access, just sayin’. We all make choices.

    The conservative mindset is, “take responsibility for your own decisions.”

    The way I see it, the liberal mindset on the issue is, “Stay out of my womb, except when I need you to pay for my abortion or birth control.”

    Please tell me how I’m wrong about this. Seriously, try and do it without name-calling, I’m not a troll. If you have any real interest in understanding the opposing viewpoint, I’m happy to oblige.

  118. This is the kind of non-issue that leaves me profoundly depressed about the state of American politics. Here we have an obvious partisan, who is at best tangentially connected to one of the candidates, making making derisive comments–not about the other candidate, let alone about that candidate’s stand on any number of important issues, but about that candidate’s wife, her (very) personal lifestyle choices and her employment history. What’s more, said obvious partisan is a paid professional who’s sole reason for having a job is not to expand our knowledge of the issues at stake in 2012, but to make the loud, controversial and attention-grabbing commentary at and alongside obvious partisans for the other side, who are paid for the exact same service.

    Access to birth control is a real womens’ issue. Equal pay for women and men is a real womens’ issue. Whether Ann Romney has worked or stayed at home to raise her kids is not. At all. In any theoretical universe I can imagine.

  119. Please tell me how I’m wrong about this.

    Wrong about what? Your caricature of liberals? Your assumption that anyone posting on the Internet is paying out of pocket for a high-speed connection? Your distortion of Santorum’s position? Your belief that people who are upset about the cost of contraceptives want the government to pay for them?

    To be fair, Andy walked right into it with the incorrect assumption that there is a single conservative mindset, so at that it almost seems pointless to laugh at your “99% of us” figure – something I doubt even you believe, given the experiences you’ve described before in the organized pro-life movement.

  120. Billy Quietus, if you’re right, then why the big push to PREVENT birth control from being covered by insurance policies? That doesn’t sound like 99% of you not caring.

  121. Conservatives have no interest in limiting your access to birth control. Help yourself. 99% of us don’t give two shits about it. It’s a manufactured issue by the administration to keep everyone’s attention off of the dismal economy.

    Yeah, I love the way those Obamadroids can bend people like Santorum and Archbishop Dolan to their eeevil will by forcing them to talk about “manufactured” issues… Come on, Billy, right-wing radicals like Santorum (I do not consider the GOP a conservative party in any meaningful sense) love to dog-whistle on “social issues” to the base. They don’t to cry foul when others ask what the hell is going on.

  122. Romney has always believed that staying home with children is work, and we have always been at war with Eastasia:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-romneys-past-views-unearthed-on-working-women-stayathome-moms-20120415,0,611519.story

    Now of course, this was in the context of Romney supporting taxpayer-funded daycare for employed mothers – a program I’m sure “take responsibility for your own choices” conservatives would decry – but one does wonder, as long as he was pushing those liberal programs, why he didn’t think taxpayers should instead fund “the dignity of being able to stay home and raise your own children”. I guess being a SAH parent is only dignified work if a rich husband is paying for it.

  123. Exactly–if conservatives don’t care about birth control, then why not just let it be covered by health insurance? It’s the GOP that pitched a big fight over this. It’s not like we’re asking YOU to pay for it. Just our health insurance, which most of us pay for out of pocket, or our employers pay for. I write a big fat check to my health insurance company every month. That isn’t your money paying for my birth control pills. It’s mine.

  124. Of course I recognize that there’s a range of conservative opinions, but so often the mindset is the same, be it climate change denial, evolution denial, or trying to enforce their own view of morality on others. No, my comment on the conservative mindset is that their side of the argument was based on a particular assumption that was shown to be false; so does that affect the argument? Do they say, “oh, I was wrong” or do they just switch tack?
    I would disagree with the “99%” figure Billy claims. Do you have a source for that or is it something else that’s just made up? Many conservatives do want to limit access to birth control; just listen to many of Santorum’s quotes on this subject.
    Alpha Lyra makes a good point (and puts it so much better than I did!): No one wants you to pay for someone else’s contraception. What we don’t want is for you to have veto power over what is in our health care. Liberals don’t want the Catholic church coming between you and your doctor; and the constitution is pretty clear on this point too.
    Also the controversy was “manufactured” by Repubs rather than Dems: Don’t you remember the hearings where they invited many men from different faiths but refused to let any women speak; and when the Dems got a woman to speak to them, she was labeled a “slut”?

  125. Alpha Lyra –

    “That isn’t your money paying for my birth control pills. It’s mine.”

    Well, but that isn’t how health insurance works. Everyone with your policy pays into a pool that is used to pay for claims on that health insurance. So, it isn’t just your money paying for your claims.

  126. Billy Quiets @1:07 pm: Did you not pick up on ellid’s use of the past tense? Read what she wrote again: “The last time I was on the pill, it was $45/month. I had to drop it because I was working part-time and simply didn’t have the money.”

    It’s also worth pointing out that not only do oral contraceptives themselves cost money, you need to go to the doctor every year to get a prescription for them. Seeing a doctor without health insurance can be very expensive. If you don’t have health insurance, the only affordable option is often a clinic like Planned Parenthood, which partly depends on government grants to see those patients–you know, the grants Republicans are always promising to cut.

  127. @Andy: Some don’t care about birth control at all. Some think it is evil and should be banned. Some think that states should be able to ban it, if they want to, but don’t have to. Some are fine with birth control as long as no taxpayer dollars pay for it. Some object to anyone who finds birth control immoral having to pay for it.

    The decision which underlies Roe v. Wade had to do with contraception, so it’s frequently not so much ‘the government should be able to ban it’ as ‘well, I really want Roe to get ditched, and there’s no legally defensible way to do that without ditching Eisenstadt and Griswold, so, okay, let’s do it; all that means is that some states might try to ban the Pill, and that’s an acceptable casualty.”

    @Other Bill: Everyone pays into a pool, but that doesn’t mean you *will* pay for me, in the sense you mean. If we both put $1000 per year into the pool, and all I use is birth-control pills while you have a quadruple bypass operation, I’ve ‘paid for you’. But really, the point is that anti-contraception types are deliberately conflating private insurance with government funding.

  128. Well, but that isn’t how health insurance works. Everyone with your policy pays into a pool that is used to pay for claims on that health insurance. So, it isn’t just your money paying for your claims.

    Half a point there, Other Bill. Yes, my insurance premiums go into a pool that is used to pay for claims. But you know what, I don’t really excercise myself with the notion that other policy holders may well be making “lifestyle choices” I do not approve of. Using right-wing radical logic, why the hell should I be “forced” to “pay for” the medications and surgeries of people who are finally paying the karmic bill for their lives of drunken gluttony? It’s socialism gone wild I tell you!

  129. Since it’s allegedly about being forced to pay for things, let’s take this to its (absurd) conclusion:

    Why should I be forced to pay for [thing I don't like] with my tax money? War, for instance, or the interstate system, or the police? Why can’t I live in my libertarian paradise where the Free Market (peace be upon it) automatically takes care of everything?

  130. Cranapia –

    I agree. Just making the point that one doesn’t have to argue in the libertarian framework to make a quality point. It doesn’t matter that it’s shared money. In fact, shared burden is how we pay for any healthcare. Even those who don’t have insurance.

    Point being, it’s silly to argue that some things shouldn’t be covered by shared money because of random persons religious or financial inclinations when everything thing else in that insurance sector is paid for in that way. And more to it, that insurance isn’t shared money is a failing argument because it very much is. that’s how insurance works. Which is also why healthy people shouldn’t be able to opt out of comprehensive coverage until they start needing it. Which is why we need to figure out how to cover everyone.

  131. Apologies for the non-aggregated response. I just saw I overlooked Mythago’s response.

    Mythago – Agree, and that you said it more artfully than I did.

  132. BQ: “The way I see it, the liberal mindset on the issue is, “Stay out of my womb, except when I need you to pay for my abortion or birth control.” Please tell me how I’m wrong about this. Seriously”

    Wow. You’re wrong. Seriously.

    How you’re wrong is simply this: When you said “Stay out of my womb”, you’re totally ignoring the fight that it is directed at, the war by conservatives to overturn Roe Versus Wade. There are conservatives who are this very moment fighting to overturn Roe Versus Wade. There are right wingers who think murdering abortion doctors and murdering women who have gotten abortions is OK. Stay out of my womb is directed at the right wing extremists in that war.

    Now, you can pretend that those right wingers don’t exist, and you can pretend that “stay out of my womb” is only directed at some cherry-picked model of upstanding moral citizenry just trying to do the right thing in the face of wasteful lefty, liberal spendaholics. But the only people who believe that are you and the folks singing next to you in your choir.

    Once anyone gets that “stay out of my womb” is directed at real threats to control women’s bodies, you’re argument collapses.

    BUT, just because you asked so nicely, I’ll explain why you’re also wrong in teh second part of your argument, the part where you say “except when I need you to pay for my abortion or birth control”.

    You’re wrong because getting pregnant is a medical condition, like lung cancer is a medical condition. Now, there are things you can choose to do that will increase your odds of getting pregnant (having sex), just like there are things you can do to increase your chance of getting lung cancer (smoking cigarettes).

    What you are arguing is that a medical condition shouldn’t be covered if the reason the patient got it was through actions they chose. If they had sex and got pregnant, no abortion for you.

    If you think I’m wrong, then riddle me this: Would you oppose that insurance should cover the cost of an abortion in teh case of a rape or incest case? Or in the case of a pregnancy where the life of the mother is at risk is she attempts to carry to term?

    So, what you’re arguing is that you don’t want to pay for an abortion because the mother CHOSE to have sex and she should suffer the consequences of getting pregnant. If she is raped, then you’ll allow insurance coverage.

    Which is no different than arguing that anyone who gets lung cancer should be tested and if it can be shown that the cancer was caused by the patient’s choices to smoke, then insurance should not have to pay. If the driver of a car was over the speed limit, and that speed caused the crash, then insurance should not have to cover them. Anything that a patient chooses that causes their medical condition should be exempt from insurance coverage.

    I’m sure if we had a chance to look at all the details of your life, we could find some choices that you are making that could result in medical conditions that are quite expensive. If you want to argue that insurance coverage for THOSE conditions should not be required coverage, then at least you’ll avoid being a hypocrit. Few people will agree with your position once they see it will require they give up coverage for THEIR medical conditions. But at least you won’t be a hypocrit for asking women to give up coverage of medical conditions resulting from their choices, but demanding YOU get coverage for medical conditions that resulted from YOUR choices.

  133. Looks like it’s Romney’s turn to stuff a foot or two into his mouth regarding SAHMs and work:

    “I wanted to increase the work requirement,” said Romney. “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.'”

  134. Greg, Thank you for the thoughtful answer. First let me respond to those who seriously think that Republicans want to limit their access to birth control. That is just absolutely, categorically not true. I don’t know a single person who wants to do this. Not one, and I am as politically plugged in to the conservative movement as anyone you will ever meet.

    We don’t want to pay for your contraception. That’s all. If your insurance provider makes a decision to pay for it, that’s fine.

    Greg, you may want to equate birth control with abortion, but for me, and the vast majority of conservatives, they are two completely different matters.

    You see pregnancy as a “medical condition” and view abortion as a medical treatment. I do not.

    Once a woman is pregnant, whether she chose to be or not, I believe that there is a little human body inside that woman’s body. For me, it’s not a medical condition, it is a living baby. So, naturally, I don’t think it should be aborted. I’m not anti-woman. I don’t disregard the woman’s body, I just place a higher value on the child’s body.

    You don’t agree with me that it is a living baby. I understand that. I personally don’t think that makes you anti-baby. I don’t think you would knowingly go out and kill babies. Ok? I think you are wrong. Misinformed. Incorrect. Mistaken. But I don’t think you are evil. This is where the conversation so often breaks down between liberals and conservatives. I’m not evil just because I disagree with you. There isn’t some nefarious cabal of right wing loons that wants to tell women what to do with their bodies. There are just a bunch of people who believe that the baby’s body is not a “medical condition”, it is a human being.

  135. BQ: First let me respond to those who seriously think that Republicans want to limit their access to birth control. That is just absolutely, categorically not true.

    If you define “Republican” to mean “Republican people Billy knows personally”, then OK.

    Once a woman is pregnant, whether she chose to be or not, I believe that there is a little human body inside that woman’s body.

    Two questions:

    (1) You’re saying a single fertilized egg is a “little human”? And abortion of even a fertilized egg is some form of “murder”?

    (2) If a women gets pregnant from rape/incest, you’re saying that woman should carry the pregnancy to term? Because you don’t get to define “little human” based on how it was created. If its a “little human” as a single fertilized egg, then it’s a “little human” whether that egg was fertilized in the back of a ’57 chevy, in a lab in a fertilization clinic, or through rape.

    There isn’t some nefarious cabal of right wing loons that wants to tell women what to do with their bodies.

    You’re strawmanning again. There doesn’t have to be a “cabal” for there to be a realistic threat on abortion doctors, abortion clinic workers, and women who have had an abortion. People don’t have to meet in secret rooms with secret handshakes and secret hierarchies. There doesn’t have to be a cabal for there to be EVIL. And people murdering abortion doctors and blowing up abortion clinics are EVIL people. It doesn’t have to be “organized”. It just has to exist as a sufficient threat (even nondirected threat) that it affects people’s lives.

  136. [i]I don’t disregard the woman’s body, I just place a higher value on the child’s body.[/i]

    Did you just say you value the child (by which I assume you really mean fertilized egg, zygote, embryo, or fetus, because I can’t imagine any uterus large enough to carry an actual child) MORE than the woman? Because that’s what it looks like you said.

  137. First let me respond to those who seriously think that Republicans want to limit their access to birth control. That is just absolutely, categorically not true. I don’t know a single person who wants to do this. Not one, and I am as politically plugged in to the conservative movement as anyone you will ever meet.

    Then, please, explain to me what Darrell Issa was on about with those hearings? And why is he not calling for hearings about blood pressure medications, or anti-psychotics, or erectile dysfunction drugs? Why are birth control pills the only issue?

  138. Ooh, abortion! Red, red meat! (No pun intended, if one lies therein). Let’s see..
    Greg: “You’re saying a single fertilized egg is a “little human”? And abortion of even a fertilized egg is some form of “murder”?”
    That is indeed exactly what I believe, and not on account of any religious doctrine mind you. Bear in mind I’m a moderately strong agnostic (Actually I got into a rather heated debate once with an abortion protest leader how invoking God, Jesus, the Bible et al automatically alienated anyone who’s not already a Christian from considering his POV . The fact he had also been denouncing homosexuality and Islam I guess shoulda clued me in to the fact that I was basically talking to a brick wall).
    Look, the crux of this issue, so far as I can see, is just that: whether or not a conceptus is an individual human being. This is something that both sides of the debate often tend to dance around. If it’s not, then it doesn’t matter how or when a pregnancy is terminated. (I’ve met pro-choicers who maintain that so long as there’s a single foot inside the mother’s body, it should be her choice to do what she will with it. This is a position that I can respect as being consistent, albeit one that I obviously disagree with). If, on the other hand, it *is* a human being, then an abortion is something that affects two peoples’ bodies, not just the woman’s.
    From a strictly rational perspective, the *least* arbitrary line I can think of that can be drawn between “human being” and “non-human being” is the moment of fertilization, when you have an individual human organism with that which distinguishes every human from another: 46 chromosomes consisting of a unique genetic code equally derived from equally from each of its parents. So yeah, a conceptus is a “little human”. I don’t see what else it can be; it’s not a frog, it’s not a fish, it’s not a kangaroo. It’s a Homo sapiens sapiens.

  139. Amitava: “46 chromosomes consisting of a unique genetic code equally derived from equally from each of its parents. So yeah, a conceptus is a “little human”. I don’t see what else it can be”

    If I prick my finger and spill a drop of blood, those cells have chromosomes that came from both my parents. Is spilling a drop of blood and letting those cells die, murder?

    The thing is, most “single cell is LIFE!” folks are religious people because they generally view it as some magical mystical “soul” enters that single cell immediately after conception and killing the cell is killing the soul. But it doesn’t require the person be religious.

    But it DOES require that the person essentially commit the fallacy of reification, that “life” is some physical objective thing, without any regard for the subjective experience. There is no subjective experience of being alive in a single cell organism. Just like there is no subjective experience of being alive in a single blood cell in my body. If you define “life” to be as little as one cell with 46 chromosomes, then how many times do I commit murder when I nick myself shaving?

    What you’re about to answer is going to be little more than simply refining your objective definition of “life”. And if that’s all you’ve got, then please stop. Because, at some point, you have to explain in non-handwavey terms, what is different between what you’re doing and someone anthropomorphising an inanimate object.

    From a strictly rational perspective, the *least* arbitrary line I can think of that can be drawn between “human being” and “non-human being” is the moment of fertilization

    Ah, well, there you go. Your problem is that you’re trying to answer one of the questions that has confounded philosophers and religious leaders and common people for all of known history: What is it to be human? And rather than come up with the “right” answer, you chose the answer that satisfied your own requirement that it be the “least arbitrary”.

    Life is subjective. You’re going to have to deal with that. If you want mechanistic rules for how to live, then you’re looking at libertarians saying “the only morally defensible laws are laws against physical violence, everything else is arbitrary and potentiall mob rule”. Life is complicated. Laws are complicated. Morality is complicated. Society is complicated. You don’t get to simplify the complexities of life just because you don’t want to deal with it.

    You don’t get to define life as a single fertilized cell simply because you think it is the “least arbitrary”. Least arbitrary has nothing to do with whether it is the RIGHT definition. Least arbitrary, when taken to an extreme, is also known as “mechanical”. And to quote one of the more famous recent philosophers, Wwe’re not computers, sebastian. We’re people”.

  140. Greg: I’d very much like to carry on, save for Mr. Scalzi’s request above. If you have an email or some other forum in which I may respond, feel free to let me know.

  141. Greg: Liked the quote you dropped at the end there, btw. Just out of curiosity, did you deliberately alter it to render it all the more ironically germane to the discussion at hand?

  142. I understand what Rosen was trying to say. She just said it VERY BADLY! I think what she meant to say was that Mitt’s political strategy of showing the people that he involves and incorporates his wife’s views on political & economic issues is just a cheap PR stunt. He’s trying to suck up to women voters by showing that he values his wife’s opinion on economic matters. And the point Rosen was trying to make (and failed) is that Ann Romney is hardly the go-to person to get a feel for what the average American woman thinks and feels about the economy. The fact that she’s “never worked a day in her life” was not meant to belittle her role as a stay-at-home mom (which is the most important job on the planet). What Rosen probably meant was that a wealthy woman, who comes from a privileged background, and who chose to stay home to raise her kids because SHE COULD AFFORD TO is probably not the best poster child for how women in general view the economy. It’s not the fact that Ann Romeney never worked a day in her life that renders her opinions useless. It’s the fact that she’s never felt the burden of having to leave her children and go work full time in order to help support the family. And I’ll bet as a stay at home mom, she probably had all kinds of nannies & maids. I don’t resent her for that. I’m just sayin’ she’s out of touch. That’s probably what Rosen was trying to say. And should have said.

  143. As I recall, didn’t she recently say something along the lines of that she does too understand what it’s like to be poor; why, once she and Mittens were even so badly off they had to sell some of their stocks just to get by.

    As infuriatingly clueless and thoughtlessly condescending remarks go, that one ranks right up there with Marie Antoinette’s “Then why don’t they eat cake?”

    (DISCLAIMER: I’m not advocating a similar response. The French Revolution didn’t end well for anyone involved, rich or poor alike…)

  144. One wonders if Ms. Rosen’s own mother was an at home mother, and if she would ever have the temerity to make such comments about her?
    Perhaps her mother wasn’t around enough to teach her better manners?

  145. At the risk of not ‘heeding…words,’ I’d like to point out that for those of us who’ve been pregnant, considered getting pregnant, or don’t want to be pregnant, pregnancy IS and always WILL BE a medical condition – and so are the 250 or so conditions which can result from pregnancy; several of which are life-threatening, and many of which are permanent. If you need the list, google ‘complications of pregnancy’ – there are several sites which can provide a comprehensive list.

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