Ann Romney And Hilary Rosen Carry Out What The West Wing Predicted In 2002
On Wednesday, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen sparked controversy when she said Ann Romney “has never worked a day in her life.” And I’d just like to point out that Aaron Sorkin predicted this a decade ago.
In the 2002 episode “20 Hours in America, Part 1″, of his brilliant series The West Wing, Sorkin describes fictional First Lady Abby Bartlett creating a furor when she remarks during a campaign interview that, when she is not working, she is “just a wife and mother.” Some take this to mean “merely a wife and mother.”
Protesters turn out at her events brandishing rolling pins and aprons to show that they don’t think there is anything “mere” about motherhood and wifery. Conservative pundits call her a “liberal elitist feminist.” And her Republican counterpart, the wife of the Republican presidential candidate, says, “Being a wife and a mother are the most rewarding roles I’ve ever played.”
The president’s chief campaign strategist in the show (Bruno Gianelli) smirks, “I love it when the women get involved.” An indignant female press secretary (C.J.) demands to know what he means:
I’m talking about the women, the voters continuing their unbroken streak. The biggest nonsense issue in the campaign will belong to the women. Does Abbey Bartlet love her children? Next week, Grandpa: friend or foe?
This is not a woman’s issue. This is dumb woman’s issue.
I think anybody who’s got a five-point majority and still doesn’t control the agenda, might be spending a little to much time reading about how to get a man to get over his fear of commitment.
Fast forward to 2012. Rick Santorum has just suspended his campaign, essentially crowning Mitt Romney as the nominee. And the first major “issue” to hit the news cycle is: Does Ann Romney understand working mothers? Do Democrats hate stay-at-home moms?
But this time, it isn’t just female voters who are to blame: it’s a 24-hr news cycle desperate for manufactured drama, a two-party system that’s descended into little more than a constant game of “gotcha,” and voters of either gender and any political affiliation who love to dehumanize their opponents.
To quote Bruno once again, “In the scheme of things? It took them about five minutes.”