After igniting a three-day firestorm Wednesday by asserting on CNN that Ann Romney has "never worked a day in her life," Democratic National Committee adviser Hilary Rosen has backed out of a scheduled Sunday appearance on NBC's Meet the Press.
"I have said enough and ... I don’t have anything more to say," Rosen wrote in a note posted to the Meet the Press Web page. "I apologized to Mrs. Romney and work-in-home moms for mistakenly giving the impression that I do not think their work is valuable. Of course it is. I will instead spend the weekend trying to explain to my kids the value of admitting a mistake and moving on."
Rosen's "apology" to Mitt Romney's wife was nothing of the sort: "Spare me the faux anger from the right who view the issue of women’s rights and advancement as a way to score political points." Does that sound apologetic to you?
Rosen was criticized by top Obama adviser David Axelrod ("inappropriate and offensive") and by Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina, who said, "Her comments were wrong and family should be off limits." Thus, Rosen -- a lesbian whose former partner is gay-rights activist Elizabeth Birch -- may have brought to an inglorious conclusion the effort of Democrats to portray Republicans as waging a "War on Women."
As I explained last month ("Political Puppet Show," March 6), the starting gun for that effort seems to have been George Stephanopoulos's question to Mitt Romney in a Jan. 7 debate in Manchester, N.H.: "Senator Santorum has been very clear in his belief that the Supreme Court was wrong when it decided that a right to privacy was embedded in the Constitution. And following from that, he believes that states have the right to ban contraception.… Governor Romney, do you believe that states have the right to ban contraception? Or is that trumped by a constitutional right to privacy?" Subsequently, House Democrats staged a Feb. 27 "hearing" about contraception with Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke, which ignited a controversy when radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh called Fluke a "slut."
Whatever political advantage Democrats gained from that was destroyed in the conflagration touched off by Rosen's criticisms of Ann Romney, a mother of five who is a cancer survivor and now afflicted with multiple sclerosis. Toby Harnden of the U.K. Daily Mail writes:
Hilary Rosen's comments were a spectacular own goal by Democrats but also a result of their recent overreach in attacking Republicans for a supposed "war on women" and portraying Rush Limbaugh as the leader of the GOP.
So what can be regarded as the first week of the general election campaign -- with Rick Santorum's Tuesday concession ending the fight for GOP nomination -- must be counted a win for Republicans, thanks to a Democrat who blew herself up with her party's own meme.