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A Reversal in the ‘War on Women’

by | Apr 14, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Ann and Mitt Romney

As we’ve discussed many, many times at National Right to Life News Today, the “war on women” is one of those imaginary pro-abortion constructs intended to put pro-lifers (and pro-life Republicans) on the defensive. It’s one of those by-definition assaults: if you are pro-life, you are ipso facto “warring” against women just by breathing.

Never mind that more women than men are pro-life or that the legislation so excoriated by anti-life forces, such as ultrasound laws, are both good medicine and vital to ensuring a genuinely informed decision. You’re against the interests of “women” just by refusing to go away.

I’d like to make a few comments about the verbal assault launched Wednesday by Democratic operative Hilary Rosen against Ann Romney, wife of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. Rosen, a frequent CNN contributor, was appearing on Anderson Cooper’s program.  As everyone knows—for reasons only Rosen can explain—she said Ann Romney, who stayed at home to raise five sons and who has battled cancer and MS, “has never worked a day in her life.”

POLITICO headlined one of its stories yesterday, “Dems on defense in war over women.” And that’s true enough, as I’ll discuss in one second. But what’s fascinating is that I have heard or read 50 defenses of Rosen and the common denominator among virtually every response is, “Come on, you know what she [Rosen] meant.”

Two things. First, has that courtesy ever been extended to your average pro-lifer? Not only are our words routinely (and deliberately) misconstrued, the most awful motives are imputed to us without a shred of evidence.

Second, alas for her defenders, we know EXACTLY what Rosen meant–her remarks dripped with condescension and snobbery– which is why the storm of protest was so loud that the Obama Administration and the party apparatus distanced itself ever way imaginable.

That begin with the “we hardly knew you” answer. POLITICO’s Maggie Haberman wrote,

“The DNC [Democratic National Committee] insisted that Rosen has never been an adviser to it, and she is not an Obama ‘adviser.’ Rosen’s firm, SKD Knickerbocker, has worked for the president’s political team, and her colleague Anita Dunn, a former White House communications director, is on retainer with the DNC, officials at the party said.”

My favorite  in this vein was the laugh out loud response of White House press secretary Jay Carney. Yes, it appeared that a “Hilary Rosen” had visited the White House 35 times. But, heck, Carney said, “I know three, personally, women named Hilary Rosen.” 

So, maybe visits by Democratic operative “Hilary Rosen” were mingled in with visits from the other two “Hilary Rosens” Carney said he knew?  How stupid do they think reporters are?

The campaign to minimize the fallout is an amazing two-part ploy which simultaneously explains and excuses. There’s moral equivalency (everybody’s doing it), but somehow Rosen comes out smelling like a rose because she was/is supposedly trying to elevate the discussion.

Thus, according to Haberman,  Rosen’s remark was “careless” and “yet another episode in a season of outrage, real or hyped, that has dominated this cycle. But, Haberman quickly adds, “Rosen herself had alluded to that in her statement, saying, ‘Let’s declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance.’”

But nothing Rosen said in her many and various subsequent comments ever deviated from the phony attack on Gov. Romney. She is still hammering him and (using a slightly different tact) Mrs. Romney. “Substance” had nothing to do with Rosen’s offensive, which is you would expect from someone whose job it is to get Democrats elected to office.

Politically, the damage is, of course, that Democrats have been thrown “off-message”—pilloring Gov. Romney and other Republicans–at least temporarily, and people who may not have been paying a lot of attention may have experienced a surge of sympathy for Mrs. Romney and, by extension, her husband.

In the final analysis, Republican strategist Jeff Berkowitz was spot on when he told Haberman, “Make no mistake, this was a calculated (if poorly-judged) assault on Ann Romney because the Democrats know she is a huge source of strength for Governor Romney.”

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