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Post Partisan
Posted at 12:15 PM ET, 04/12/2012

Selective outrage: Hilary Rosen vs. Allen West


Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) was asked at an event Tuesday what percentage of the American legislature he thought were card-carrying Marxists. A daffy question the equally daffy Tea Partyer gladly entertained. “I believe there is about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party that are members of the Communist Party,” he said. “It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.”

Surely, such a preposterous comment would engender unified condemnation from Republicans, especially the leadership. West’s McCarthy-esque allegation against fellow members of Congress should not go unanswered or unchallenged. Joe Scarborough did call him out on his ridiculous accusation. But I thought for sure others in the GOP, folks actually in the leadership, maybe even its candidate for president, would rain down criticism on West’s retro high-top fade.

Instead, I awoke to a deluge of criticism of Democratic Party adviser Hilary Rosen for her comments on Ann Romney.

With respect to economic issues, I think, actually that Mitt Romney’s right that ultimately women care more about the economic well-being of their family and the like. But he doesn’t connect on that issue, either. What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country, saying, ‘Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.’ Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing, in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school, and why do we worry about their future.

Rosen was not only criticized by Ann Romney, but also by three senior members of the Obama reelection campaign. They all revived the tense working mom versus stay-at-home mom divide. Even Rosen, a single working mother of two great kids, was forced to declare, “I love stay-at-home moms.” But this isn’t the argument she was making.

Let me be upfront. Rosen is a dear friend and doesn’t need me to defend her. She’s doing that just fine on her own. But I would defend her even if I didn’t know her. For she’s being hammered for something she didn’t say.

If you bother to read Rosen’s comments you’d see that her point is that wealthy Ann Romney has been blessed to never have to work outside the home to bring the household additional income to help make ends meet. Rosen wasn’t making a commentary on whether stay-at-home mothers had real jobs. Of course, they do.

What Rosen highlighted was that Ann Romney has never faced the financial strain of holding things together while her paycheck shrinks or she loses her job or the kids need braces and there’s no money in their meager budget to pay for it. How, then, can Ann Romney advise her out-of-touch husband on the specific problems American women face?

It’s a legitimate question since, as Ruth Marcus pointed out yesterday, Mitt has outsourced the job of relating to women to his wife. And I agree 100 percent with Marcus’s pushback on the notion that Ann Romney should be off-limits. “When you enlist your wife for video testimonials, when you repeatedly punt to her on questions about What Women Want,” she wrote, “it seems to me that she is decidedly on-limits.”

More from the Washington Post

Jennifer Rubin: Exclusive interview with Ann Romney

Ruth Marcus: Ann Romney not your typical working woman

Marc Thiessen: Obama has the women problem

James Downie: GOP desperation exposed in Rosen “controversy”

Greg Sargent: Rosen controversy is absurd

By  |  12:15 PM ET, 04/12/2012

Tags:  Election 2012

 
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