Linda Hirshman’s defense of Hilary Rosen [“Hilary Rosen was right,” Outlook, April 15] quickly ran aground on messy logic. Ann Romney is traveling the country as part of her work on her husband’s campaign, and she is undoubtedly hearing people, including women, complain about the economy. Her work record (hardworking mother of five) does not put her at any disadvantage in listening to the concerns of women who work inside or outside of the home.
This sentence from Ms. Hirshman was particularly disrespectful: “Women who work in the home do not have the same interest in the recovery of the formal job market as women who have to work for pay.” Yes, they do. They have partners who suffer from the economic downturn, their job (raising kids) requires money — presumably coming from some person in the job market — and they have an interest in the world that precludes them from enjoying the devastation of high unemployment.
Households with one income faced particular peril in the recession. Some stay-at-home moms had to go back to work. Women who worked part-time found themselves working more than full-time hours for fear of losing their jobs. Families’ economic choices are far more complex than Ms. Hirshman’s piece suggested.
Jane Savoca, Richmond
Can we stop horsewhipping Hilary Rosen? Ms. Rosen’s comments were spot-on. And everyone knows full well that her critique was aimed at Ann Romney in particular, not women in general. The GOP’s faux outrage and subsequent Democratic damage control is cheap spin and counterspin.
Martin Lawson, Fort Valley, Va.
The point that to take from Hilary Rosen’s “working women” comment, I should think, is simple: Ms. Romney did not have to work. Ms. Rosen was saying that having to work and raise any number of children is vastly different than raising children without having to work. Can those fortunate ones who don’t have to work really understand the difference?
Randall Miller, Ocean View, Del.
Linda Hirshman concluded that Mitt Romney “mistakenly assumes that all women are fungible” because he listens to his wife about women’s economic issues. How ironic to read those words in a newspaper. Are we to think that Edward Cody is French and Chico Harlan is Japanese? If not, why can we trust the international news they report in The Post?
Maybe Mr. Romney assumes that his wife, like those journalists, can talk to a swath of employed women in America and accurately tell him what they’ve said. Maybe what Mr. Romney really assumes — which Ms. Hirshman seems not to — is that all women, regardless of where they stand on the employment divide, have the capacity to be compassionate, smart and educable.
Barbara Cornell, Washington
It seems patently obvious to me, given the context of her full comments, that Hilary Rosen meant (but admittedly did not state explicitly) that Ann Romney has not worked “outside the home.” Yes, Ms. Rosen left out that qualification, but it’s 2012, folks. Archie Bunker would not have interpreted her remarks the way the media and both parties have. Get a calendar.
Bruce Bieber, Bethesda