Every now and then I say to myself "politics couldn't possibly get any stupider" and then bam, I'm forced to eat my words. The latest imbroglio was brought to you by pro-Obama Democratic pundit Hilary Rosen--I'm not sure why she's famous and I'm not bothering to Google her. Rosen was on the Anderson Cooper show--and don't get me started on this, but Anderson Cooper sort of proves my theory about people with a last name for a first name, as did Jackson Pollack--and commented about Mitt Romney's wife Ann having "never worked a day in her life."
Before we get into the issues of whether staying home and raising kids counts as "work", I'll note that I'm not particularly comfortable with a bunch of rich jerkwad pundits and politicians debating who has ever done "real work". I'm sure millions of Americans who spend the day in coal dust and come home sore and smelling of grease and covered in pig blood (let's hope no one has experienced ALL of this in the same job!) would get a kick out of anyone sitting at a desk all day talking about "real work." Face it--you're not going to be President or First Family if you're an "average" American--in recent years, the Obamas were the closest to that, and they were still pretty rich when they got in. Being a part of that elite necessarily means not having done "real work" except maybe in their distant youth.
But Rosen's comments were just politically stupid--the Romneys exploited them quickly, arguing that Ann had raised five kids and being a "stay at home mom" is indeed hard work. Obama and his team also acted quickly, disavowing what Rosen said just as they would if she had suggested opening Stalinist gulags in the Rockies and killing Freemasons for sport. While Rosen may have had a point--that being a "stay at home mom" when your husband brings home several million dollars each year is not the experience that most families go through when they have to watch the price of gas and decide whether they can afford beef for their dinners--she opened up a door for the "housewife vs. working woman" debate. 25 years after Melanie Griffith empowered women with the film "Working Girl" and we're still doing this???
Of course any liberals sneering about how crass the Romneys are to exploit this big nothing would have to admit that if a Romney supporter had made a similar comment about Michelle Obama they'd be pouncing just as ravenously. Meanwhile, the federal deficit is still frighteningly huge, tens of thousands of American troops are still deployed in battle zones, and unemployment is stubbornly high more than four years after the start of the recession. But let's talk about whether Ann Romney is a pampered rich woman or an innocent victim of a nasty smear.
This year's campaign promises to not just be nasty, but to reach a level of weapons grade stupid.