Friday, April 13, 2012

As the Election Campaign Turns

Time will tell whether or not it’s a turning point in the election, as Ann Althouse says, but the firestorm ignited by Hilary Rosen is threatening the Obama re-election campaign.

That’s why the Obama campaign… from the president on down—has strongly denounced Rosen’s contemptuous dismissal of Ann Romney’s work as a stay-at-home mother.

It’s amazing to see a noted Democratic campaign strategist making such an egregious error. It makes you wonder how Rosen got her job.

During the last presidential campaign the public did not seem to care that Democratic strategists and media figures were spraying misogynist vitriol at Sarah Palin. 

Ann Romney is another story. She suffers from a debilitating illness and has overcome a potentially fatal illness.

Yesterday Vicky Ward offered a slightly different perspective on the controversy, one that is well worth weighing. Like Ann Romney, Ward’s sister has multiple sclerosis.

In her words:

Every time I've watched Ann Romney up there on that podium late at night with her husband, all that energy flowing during the Primaries, I am amazed.

Because I know how tough it is for people who suffer from MS to manage their energy. I know that the later in the day it gets, the harder it is for them -- and no matter how rich you are, there is no magic bullet to make you feel better or the weakness go away.

Drugs can help but at the end of the day you have to manage your days and your time so you do not get overtired. Ann Romney has said she copes very well with a mixture of Eastern and Western medicines -- and she looks great. But who knows what the real story is? Recently I was sitting in my office with Scott Johnson, the CEO and founder of the Myelin Repair Foundation -- a non-profit organization looking at alternative treatments for the disease. Johnson has had MS for 36 years and told me "MS is a secret disease. Far more people have it than is documented." In other words they prefer to struggle privately than broadcast it.

Ward continues:

That Ann Romney even appears on the campaign trail with her husband, let alone supported him to run for president -- not once, but twice -- speaks volumes about her courage and utter selflessness. I have also noticed how little she talks about herself, her own battles both with MS and with breast cancer. When she's up there, it's all about Mitt.

I don't care what your politics are, but to attack someone who suffers from a debilitating chronic illness -- and has also battled breast cancer -- because they are rich and unrepresentative of women who work? What is that?

I don’t know anything about Vicky Ward’s politics. It doesn’t matter. Her visceral reaction to Hilary Rosen’s contempt tells us why the Obama campaign is frantically trying to distance itself from her.

There’s another, more profound reason why this might be  a “turning point” in the campaign.

Althouse explained that Rosen had: “let the mask slip.” Which mask might that be? It would be the mask covering the cynical manipulation of voting groups.

She continued:

The Democrats don't really believe anything. They're just working on various voting blocs. They started this "war on women" theme, but it was a means to an end. Women were out there, so numerous, so richly exploitable. The campaign made its move. And then... the slip.

1 comment:

The Ghost said...

My read on this is that the Obama campaign is in search of a theme. I'm certain they have focused group tested all of these issues (war on women, buffet rule, greedy wall street, etc) and have not found a silver bullet to campaign on. So rather than campaign on the issues driving voters they are looking for something else, anything else to make central to the campaign.
These various issues are being test run now, early in the campaign in the hopes that one of these faux issue will gain traction.