At the outset, I understand and acknowledge that I am a biased reviewer of all the speeches given at the RNC. Tues night the much anticipated speech given by Ann Romney might best be described as ‘insulting and contrived.” Chris Christie was inspirational.
The first 80% of the speech was about wanting a better future for the country and only the last 20% related in any way to Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. The message was unmistakable. Christie demanded bipartisan support of politicians to solve the economic problems facing the country. He relied upon his experience as Governor of New Jersey to illustrate his point which was that it was possible to fix our economy, but we would all have to make sacrifices. The most moving part of his speech was his story about his deceased mother. Comparing the life of their family to a car, he explained that his father was a passenger, and his mother was the driver. ‘It is better to be respected than loved,” is the message she conveyed to him about life, and that he found to be a philosophy that worked in government. At the end of the speech I wished that Christie would be appointed to Obama’s cabinet as a person who might generate bi-partisan support for the change we need to see in our country.
Then there was Ann’s much anticipated speech. ‘Contrived’ is the word that comes to mind to describe her speech. As I watched the speech I tried to have an open mind and consider the response of the crowd to gauge their reaction, instead of relying on my visceral response to this mother of 5, and grandmother of 18, who spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on horses, has an elevator
in her vacation home for her Cadillacs, and is worth an estimated $250 million dollars. She said she loved Mitt. That was believable. Yet it doesn’t qualify as a reason to vote for him. What was not believable were her comments about what working moms want. Ann has never worked outside the home. When she attempted to connect to the audience by talking about the “price at the pump” and the cost of groceries, I was appalled that the speech writers would have her say that. Thoughts of a chauffeur, driving her car to the pump, to fill it up before Ann even appeared in the car, filled my mind. Maybe she doesn’t have a chauffeur, but she could. Maybe she pumps her own gas, but I doubt it, and if she does, does anyone believe that she goes to the station with the lowest price? Does she buy groceries, or does her chef? If she goes to the store, does anyone think she notices that the price of a gallon of milk has become prohibitive for some families?
She spoke of God, and identified herself as Episcopalian when she met Mitt. She failed to mention that she converted to Mormonism while she was a teen and about to marry Mitt. Ann probably just ran out of time to describe the wedding that her parents couldn’t attend in the LDS Church because they weren’t Mormon. The worst thing she said was:
The message was that women are too dumb to solve the problems of the country, but we are smart enough to pick the right man who could. Ann doesn’t get it. The Republicans don’t get it.
Ann also insulted the fathers in the country. In her zeal to reach women, Ann said;
I want to talk to you (women) about that love so deep, only a mother can fathom it. The love that we have for our children and our children’s children.
The unmistakable message was that fathers can’t love their children as much as the mother. Ann is just out of touch. In some families the father stays home with the children, and the wife works. In many families the mother and father share responsibilities of both child care and financial support for the family. To suggest that those fathers don’t love their children and grandchildren as much as the mother is insensitive and wrong!
It is O.K. that Ann never worked outside the home. It is not O.k. to suggest that she is in tune with the average American family where both spouses work outside the home. Ann lost this battle in the Republican’s war on women.
It was interesting to hear the pundits after the speech give their reaction to Ann’s speech. They praised her, and thought it was a very powerful speech. Perhaps I was too jaded by all that I have learned about Ann Romney. Or, perhaps they were simply afraid to say anything negative about this poor woman who has faced breast cancer, ms, and a miscarriage. I’ll say it. She had all of her long blond hair, so the women fighting cancer wearing scarves to cover their bald heads probably weren’t too sympathetic. She was standing and talking fluently, so the MS people in wheelchairs and unable to articulate their thoughts probably weren’t too sympathetic. Ann has five children, and 18 grandchildren, so the women who couldn’t carry a baby to term were probably not too sympathetic about her single miscarriage.
Finally, I would be remiss not to mention the signs in the audience. Hundreds of women held signs that appeared to be home-made that said; “We (heart symbol) Ann.” They were all held by women, they were all red white and blue, and they all used the same words and incorporated the heart symbol for the word ‘love”. All of the women holding these signs also had the signs for Mitt that were clearly printed campaign signs. We weren’t fooled. These signs were manufactured by the campaign, and passed out to the women in an attempt to reach women voters.
If only the Republican Party would realize that women want our reproductive freedom, not signs praising the wealthy would-be first lady. Breast cancer in Ann’s case was caught and treated early enough to save her life. We want other women to be given the same chance that Ann was given. For many women their breast cancer will not be caught early enough if they previously relied on Planned Parenthood. It was the Republicans who cut the funding for their mammograms. That MS which was managed for Ann Romney so well that she could stand and give a speech, wouldn’t be managed for a multitude of other patients if Romney should be elected and the Republicans repealed national health care.
Ann concluded her remarks by saying ‘this man will not fail.’ Mitt Romney has clearly not failed his family over the last 40 years. By destroying jobs of hundreds of Americans at Bain Capitol, he made millions for his family. It is inconsequential to his children if they are unemployed as they have trust funds to support them. Mitt did not fail them. If he should be elected and lower taxes for the wealthiest Americans, he would fail the middle class. If he increased military spending to build more ships, the soldiers who were hurt in battle may feel he failed them by not spending that money to teach them to walk. The four children of the mother whose life was threatened by blood clots might have felt he failed them by telling their mother she should not have the abortion that was vital to sustain her life. Mitt may not have failed his family, but he might fail our country.