by Max Brantley
As I drove to New Orleans yesterday and listened to radio news, I almost exploded on more than one occasion over evidence that mainstream news reporters continue to be easy marks for the Republican message machine.
Situation: A little-known public relations consultant who's a Democrat opined on CNN that Mitt Romney's wife had never worked a day in her life. She hasn't had to earn a regular paycheck and her life has undoubtedly been easier in the mundane affairs of domestic science thanks to her family fortune. But it was an insensitive thing to say and unsurprisingly seen by many as demeaning to those who both choose — and are able (Rosen's point, I think) — to stay at home rather than enter the workforce.
Let us all pound Hilary Rosen.
But Hilary Rosen is NOT the Democratic Party. She doesn't speak for the Democratic Party or the president (who has repudiated her remarks). She is by no stretch a fair representation of a party that has a solid record on gender equality. But there we were yesterday and apparently remain today.
Suddenly, one loudmouth's crack on a cable channel had been brought to parity with a party actively working today to roll back employment protection legislation for women, to defeat efforts to revive the ERA, against readily available contraception and family planning help, against legal abortion, which opposed the family and medical leave act, which is working to rip up the rock-solid safety nets of Social Security and Medicare except for those who can afford to save their money to pay for them.
This New York Times story is a good example, though not quite as offensive as the Washington Post's empty-headed Melinda Henneberger yesterday on NPR.
I'd hope women voters realize there's a difference between a party whose voters include Hillary Rosen but whose legislative achievements include pro-family and pro-women initiatives and that of a party where a multi-millionaire's wife with a luxury car for every mansion is somehow representative of the noble and often difficult roles assumed by stay-at-home moms.
If one person's quote can be messaged into a victory for the Republicans on women's rights, could somebody call Melinda Henneberger and the New York Times about Republican State Rep. Loy Mauch and his views on the traitorous Abraham Lincoln? Or better yet, get one of them to turn a tape recorder on the Republican Party's own Mad Man, state Rep. Jon Hubbard.