The PJ Tatler

So, How's That War on Moms Working Out for Ya?

The week began with a shake-up in the GOP primary, when Rick Santorum announced that he was suspending his campaign. That left Mitt Romney with a lock on the nomination. The Obama White House/campaign signaled going into the holiday weekend that it intended to make Mitt Romney’s wealth a centerpiece of its messaging, and on Monday the president made good on that and started a major push to support the Buffett Rule. That rule is essentially a surtax on millionaires, and the point of highlighting it was to point out that Romney is rich and to drive up resentment against him. The Buffett Rule serves no other purpose; by Democrats’ own admission it will not meaningfully reduce the deficit. It punishes success and sound investment.

The president and vice president hit the trail to promote the Buffett Rule and needle Mitt Romney for being rich. Obama adviser, Democrat strategist and frequent White House visitor Hilary Rosen (35 visits in three years) did her part, taking to CNN to quip that Ann Romney, mother of five and survivor of cancer and MS, “never worked a day in her life.” It was a blatant attack on stay-at-home mothers and the families who are blessed to have them. When she faced criticism, Rosen doubled down on Twitter and in a column for the left-wing Huffington Post. Ann Romney took to Twitter to defend herself. Democrats who were not in on the attack got nervous. The White House/campaign stood silent. Criticism mounted. Rosen apologized. But let’s take a second look at that apology and note the highlighted parts.

Let’s put the faux “war against stay at home moms” to rest once and for all. As a mom I know that raising children is the hardest job there is. As a pundit, I know my words on CNN last night were poorly chosen. In response to Mitt Romney on the campaign trail referring to his wife as a better person to answer questions about women than he is, I was discussing his lack of a record on the plight of women’s financial struggles. Here is my more fulsome view of the issues. As a partner in a firm full of women who work outside of the home as well as stay at home mothers, all with plenty of children, gender equality is not a talking point for me. It is an issue I live every day. I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended. Let’s declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance.

Whom is this apology really about? How many sincere apologies have you ever heard that began and ended with attacks, and were filled with me and I and me and I? Is such an apology intended to heal, or to justify?

The White House/campaign tried re-badging the Buffett Rule the “Romney Rule,” making explicit the political nature of what should be a policy discussion. A Third Way poll suggests that there’s some benefit for them in this discussion, but it’s marginal and not decisive. Punishing the wealthy will not buy Obama another four years. By the end of the week, what was supposed to have been a withering barrage to hammer Romney and his family on riches and taxes ends with the president playing his bit part and the vice president of the United States taking whatever he can get, even policy cues from a crying baby.

“That’s another trillion dollars in tax cuts over the next ten years going to the top 1% of American taxpayers. [baby crying] I don’t blame her for crying. She is going to inherit it. She’s going to pay for it. That’s one smart baby,” Vice President Joe Biden said at a campaign event [Thursday].

Pathetic, but revealing. Politicians are known for kissing babies, but hijacking them to make a lame political point? Why can’t Democrats just leave people’s families alone?

America heads into another weekend, with a Fox poll showing that the president lost ground and is two points back of Mitt Romney. That Third Way poll says that the White House/campaign spent this week focused on an issue that hardly anyone cares about, and ended up losing some ground with Hilary Rosen’s ill-considered flank attack on Ann Romney.

When families across the country gather around grills and soccer games, what will we be talking about? All kinds of things: the start of the baseball season,  summer plans, how’d your kids’ grades come out? Hey, where’d you get those new cleats your daughter’s wearing? The price of gas and the weak economy nearly always come up: I spent $75 filling up my truck the other day and ended up burning half of it between practices, rehearsals and church. It’s killing me. Most won’t be talking about the vote on the Buffett Rule or whatever the Democrats want to call it. It’s too obscure and irrelevant to our lives out here in white knuckle America. It’s the kind of thing only an activist base really cares about. A new subject will probably come up here and there: Can you believe what that woman said about stay-at-home moms? Who do these people think they are?

This past week won’t be decisive in November, but it was a week badly wasted by the flailing campaigner in chief.