Overnight President Obama’s faux “war on women” attack on Mitt Romney blew up in his face. It is fitting that a gimmick should boomerang this quickly and this severely, maybe giving Romney the first big break of the race.
Read Jen Rubin’s interview with Ann Romney
By now you’ve probably heard that Hilary Rosen, a sometime White House adviser and frequent visitor, on CNN attacked the most popular person in the campaign, Ann Romney, with a cartoon version of left-leaning feminism, declaring that the mother of five who has battle multiple sclerosis and cancer “never worked a day in her life.” (Query why the conservative on the panel sat there like a lump on the log. Maybe a few more conservative women on CNN would balance the coverage. He claims to have “missed it.” Indeed.) No, this really happened. Honest. But it didn’t stop. Rosen took to Twitter to dig her hole deeper and deeper, never apologizing. (At this point Republicans should be humming Dayenu.)
But it didn’t end there. Obama political hacks David Axelrod and Jim Messina took to Twitter to condemn the remarks and to call on Rosen to apologize, thereby making Rosen seem closer to the president’s campaign (and the campaign more responsible for her gaffe than might otherwise be the case). And — yup — it didn’t end there. Ann Romney now is on Twitter and got a gazillion followers in just hours. Her first tweet was a keeper: “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”
Needless to say, the “war on women” has taken on a whole new tone. Let’s count the ways this is just awful for Obama and/or Democrats more generally. There are a few, so find a comfortable seat.
First, Obama, as a conservative pundit put it, just went a long way toward solidifying Romney’s base, especially among social conservatives who loathe elites who look down on stay-at-home moms.
Second, it feeds into the cliche that liberals love humanity but hate people. In this case they love womanhood but treat their own employees and conservative women like dirt.
Third, the “war on women” just became Romney’s vehicle for narrowing the gender gap, especially among women with children.
Fourth, this points to the absurdity of Obama’s approach to the campaign — nonstop negativity and gimmicks.When one goes awry, what’s he got to say?
Fifth, there will be a new term in politics: A Rosen. That is a gaffe of epic proportions that is magnified by the gaffer’s own stubbornness and insistence on digging deeper.
Sixth, Hilary Rosen, who makes her living in PR (irony alert), better find other work. She’s really terrible at her job, if this is any indication.
Seventh, Ann Romney becomes an even bigger superstar and asset than she was before. Provided she doesn’t overplay it, she can be truly successful in reaching out to female voters and humanizing her husband.
Eighth, Romney has the chance for one of those revealing human moments that the campaign has generally shied away from. Some righteous anger or a loving defense of his wife, you can bet, is coming up. It’s the equivalent of the Al-Tipper Gore kiss. Americans, if Romney does this well, are about to say, “Wow! He has a pulse.”
Ninth, this is possibly the first Twitter-driven political kerfuffle, playing out in the evening and without much input from either traditional media or blogs. The good news for Republicans is they have learned to master social media. Better news is that the Romney team moved with “lightning speed” to capitalize on this. Team Romney is more nimble than it has been in the past.
Tenth, I suspect not even the left blogosphere is going to save the president on this one. Yes, the bloggers will snort that this is all overplayed (not very credible from those who wrote thousands of words about Etch-a-Sketch). Yes, they will say that even though Messina and Axelrod leapt to condemn Rosen’s remarks, that it is not like Obama spoke these words. (Cue the laughter from Eric Fehrnstrom.) But really this is such a mess, it may be better to cut their losses, condemn Rosen for being idiotic and try to move on. Good luck with that, fellas.
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