Commentary Magazine


The War on Ann Romney

One would think the left would have learned from the Hillary Rosen debacle that attacks on Ann Romney are bound to backfire on the ranks of Obama cheerleaders. But yesterday on MSNBC, liberal columnist Michelle Goldberg appeared to escalate the attacks on the would-be first lady with a bizarre riff on an inoffensive Mother’s Day op-ed published in USA Today. Mrs. Romney’s memoir of her own mother as well as her experience raising her five boys and becoming a grandmother of 18 is about as controversial as apple pie, but her use of the term “crown of motherhood” — which she said is the “most glorious” of hats that women wear — set Goldberg’s teeth on edge.

As the Daily Caller notes, with “Vagina Monologues” playwright Eve Ensler sitting alongside and nodding at her every word, Goldberg claimed the phrase was redolent of the propaganda used by totalitarian regimes to put women in their place.

“I found that phrase ‘the crown of motherhood’ really kind of creepy, not just because of its, like, somewhat you know, I mean, it’s kind of usually really authoritarian societies that give out like ‘The Cross of Motherhood,’ that give awards for big families. You know, Stalin did it, Hitler did it.”

Later on Twitter, Goldberg denied that she had meant to compare Romney to those mass murderers; there’s little question she seemed to imply a commonality between Republican attitudes toward women and those of the Nazis and Communists. The point here isn’t that Goldberg was drawing a direct analogy. The context of her remarks show that what she was trying to say is to bolster the idea that Republicans are waging a “war on women.” And that means that everything, even the most anodyne comments by someone connected with the GOP, must be demonized, even when it is Ann Romney extolling motherhood.

Though Goldberg dismissed the criticisms of her foolish comments as a mere Twitter tempest in a teapot, it actually does tell us a lot about what liberals are thinking and why Ann Romney will be a key figure in the presidential campaign. Because Obama’s re-election hinges, at least in part, on demonizing Mitt Romney and the GOP as enemies of women, that has led some on the left to believe they are going to have to do something about his wife’s popularity.  The only problem is that Ann Romney is such an appealing figure that she is virtually bulletproof. Moreover, every attack on her is bound to backfire on Democrats.

After Rosen’s and Goldberg’s gaffes, Democrats would do well to simply ignore Ann Romney. Every time they mention her name, even to try and besmirch the Republicans, it’s a bonus for her husband’s presidential hopes.