Here’s what Mitt Romney really thinks about women and “work” [updated]

The winner of the most-absurd-kerfuffle-so-far award surely goes to the dust-up between previously-almost-completely-unknown Democratic “strategist” Hilary Rosen, who has no affiliation with the Obama campaign or the Democratic party, and the Romney campaign.  In case you missed it, Rosen used some unfortunate language on CNN regarding the fact that Ann Romney has had the luxury of deciding to stay home and raise her kids because her husband was making enough money so that that was an economically viable option.  Rosen said that Mrs. Romney “never worked a day in her life” – a comment upon which the Romney campaign immediately seized in a fit of fauxtrage as evidence of the Democratic “war on mothers.”  How outrageous, they cried, for someone to suggest that raising children isn’t “work”!

And yet, check out this guy saying exactly that, and going further by suggesting that women who stay at home lack “dignity” – apparently, “dignity” for women only comes with making money.

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UPDATE: ThinkProgress has an excellent update on this situation. Here’s Mitt Romney, in his own words:

In some quarters, however, the American work ethic is waning. Some people devote themselves to find ways not to work. Some seem to take a perverse kind of pride in being slipshod or lackadaisical. In many cases, where our work culture has deteriorated, shortsighted government policies share a good part of the blame.

Welfare without work erodes the spirit and the sense of self-worth of the recipient. And it conditions the children of nonworking parents to an indolent and unproductive life. Hardworking parents raise hardworking kids; we should recognize that the opposite is also true. The influence of the work habits of our parents and other adults around us as we grow up has lasting impact.

Put aside the question of what the right policy for welfare is. The question here is whether Mitt Romney’s current line – that raising children constitutes “work” that’s just as valuable as any other – is consistent with what he’s said in the past. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that it’s not; in fact, it’s diametrically opposed. This is yet another Etch-A-Sketch moment for Mitt Romney.

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8 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Romney and opportunities

    Rosen did not talk so much about Ann Romney’s choice to be a stay-at-home mother. She said that Ann Romney wasn’t qualified to be Mitt’s main women’s-issue economic advisory because she has never had a job.

    The Romney campaign turned that around and said “Aha! raising a family is a job, so Democrats don’t value stay-at-home moms!”

    Rosen’s original point was completely lost – that Ann Romney is not a good choice for a woman’s viewpoint of the economy. Here are some quotes from her famous Globe interview in 1994.

    They were not easy years. You have to understand, I was raised in a lovely neighborhood, as was Mitt, and at BYU, we moved into a $62-a-month basement apartment with a cement floor and lived there two years as students with no income. It was tiny. And I didn’t have money to carpet the floor. But you can get remnants, samples, so I glued them together, all different colors. It looked awful, but it was carpeting. We were happy, studying hard. Neither one of us had a job, because Mitt had enough of an investment from stock that we could sell off a little at a time.

    This, of course, came right after the couple honeymooned in Hawaii following their lavish wedding where Gerald Ford attended and they received a congratulatory wire from president Nixon. So they were obviously broke as nails.

    But wait – there’s more:

    We had our first child in that tiny apartment. We couldn’t afford a desk, so we used a door propped on sawhorses in our bedroom. It was a big door, so we could study on it together. And we bought a portable crib, took the legs off and put it on the desk while we studied. I had a baby sitter during class time, but otherwise, I’d hold my son on my lap while I studied.

    So assuming that she had a full load of classes, she received around 20 hours of child care per week so she could attend classes.

    And then this quote about when they moved to the Boston area so that Mitt could attend Harvard:

    Remember, we’d been paying $62 a month rent, but here, rents were $400, and for a dump. This is when we took the now-famous loan that Mitt talks about from his father and bought a $42,000 home in Belmont, and you know? The mortgage payment was less than rent. Mitt saw that the Boston market was behind Chicago, LA and New York. We stayed there seven years and sold it for $90,000, so we not only stayed for free, we made money. As I said, Mitt’s very bright.

    It’s not particularly bright to understand that buying a home with a loan from your father allows you to build up equity for free, and that building equity is better than paying rent. That’s what motivated a lot of people during the housing boom/bust, isn’t it?

    Mitt and Ann both attended private schools. Mitt was able to go to France for volunteer work, no worries about money. The Romneys’ royal wedding was presumably paid for by their parents since neither Mitt nor Ann worked.

    They both attended BYU, again, most likely paid for by their parents. They lived in a basement apartment – paid for by stock sale – they also had a child immediately, the medical costs of which they most likely did not pay for themselves (maybe they paid with stock sales, maybe their parents footed the bill) and had another shortly thereafter.

    Mitt likely got into Harvard via a combination of both his intelligence and his father’s connections. He was accepted at a program where only 25 students are accepted each year. Maybe Nixon or Ford wrote a recommendation for him.

    The Romneys were able to live without either having to hold down jobs for five years – because of the stock that Mitt had, and they were able to buy a home in Belmont due to a loan that George Romney floated them – $42,000, which bought them the equivalent of a $500k house today. That’s just the tip of the iceberg – though Ann Romney would have us think that they were just scraping by, I wonder how many vacations they took? What did they do in their summers off? How did they get from Utah to Detroit and then Boston? Drive? Or fly at a time when only the rich flew?

    This is what is so really offensive about Mitt Romney – that he can so completely ignore the numerous advantages that he got from his parents and then preach Social Darwinism to everyone else.

    Mitt and Ann said that they want people to have equal opportunities. Barack Obama should outline each of those opportunities that the Romneys had, and ask Mitt if he would support making them available to the entire country.

    • Since you mentioned Mitt's father

      I would like to recall that George Romney, unlike Mitt, was a fine, decent and honorable man. He was the sort of Republican that I might have voted for. (he sure would have been a better President than Nixon!) I’ve pointed out before that he must be rolling over in his grave at the behavior of his son.

      George Romney was one of a dying breed – the sort of Republican that we don’t see any more. It is very sad that one of our major parties has been taken over by religious whackos and boosters of the 1% wealthiest Americans who care nothing at all for the other 99%.

  2. I have to say...

    …this is one of those times I consider the comment in question and think, don’t we all know what she meant? One thing I haven’t heard about and would be quite surprised if this weren’t part of the equation in the Romneys’ case is what help was available in the childrearing. Every family gets an occasional babysitter, but I’m thinking more nanny/au pair variety for a family like the Romneys.

  3. previously-almost-completely-unknown Democratic “strategist” Hilary Rosen, who has no affiliation with the Obama campaign or the Democratic party,

    No affiliation with Obama or the Democratic party? Gee I heard on the news her name appeared on the White House visitor log 30 times. I even heard the president’s press secretary explain that by saying he thought there were a few Hilary Rosen’s and it might be a ifferent one. Seems kinda relevant.

    • Sounds totally irrelevant to me

      I don’t care who Hilary Rosen is or to what extent she is connected to the Democratic party. She made a factually accurate but tactically stupid comment – happens all the time.

      To make an issue of who she was or how she’s connected amounts to yet another Republican attempt to distract us from the real issues.

    • "Gee I heard on the news"

      Which FOX News hostess made that claim?

  4. Almost sounds to me...

    …like thombeales was being snarky above.

  5. Actually

    “”Gee I heard on the news”

    Which FOX News hostess made that claim?”

    Actually ABC News, CNN, and the UK paper The Daily Standard. In addittion to Fox News. I try and read multiple sources.

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