Babysitt-AHGH

One thing that’s always bugged the shit out of me is when a man says he has to “babysit” his children. It would annoy me if a woman said that too, but I’ve never actually heard a female use that term in reference to her own progeny.

I bet Mittens would have said it, had the situation ever presented itself. I can imagine a scenario back in the 80s in which the entire Romney Nanny Army was simultaneously stricken with food poisoning while the Missus was astride an Austrian Warmblood at some dressage (fancy horse-dancing) event and the kitchen staff, livery crew and gardeners all pretended not to speak English, leaving poor Mittens to “babysit” all five lads.

As yet another demonstration of his cool, crisis-free management style, Mittens may have simply lashed Snotleigh, Tagamet, Cumberbund, Fontleroy and Snoodle to the roof of his golf cart and kept his tee time with the Marriotts. This is all pure speculation, of course, but the Romneys provided a glimpse into their family life in a recent campaign clip titled, intriguingly, “Family,” and after viewing it, it’s easy to image such a madcap, screwball comedy ensuing.

Ruth Marcus over at Kaplan does a pretty good job of pointing out how the clip, meant to humanize Romney, might backfire with female viewers since it unintentionally portrays Romney as yet another hyperactive brat the long-suffering Missus had to tame between patronizing pats on the head about the importance of Motherhood:

“His consoling words were always the same: Ann, your job is more important than mine.”

This story is supposed to buttress Mitt’s bona fides as a supportive husband, and Ann is, no doubt, a more tolerant spouse than I am. But every time I hear that patronizing line, I imagine responding, “Great. If my job is more important, then you come home and do it and I’ll check into the nice room at the Four Seasons.”

Anyhoo, Marcus goes on to note that the contrast in styles between the Obamas and Romneys would tend to skew the female demographic in the president’s direction. True enough.

The gender gap has widened into a chasm, and because “Game Change” changed exactly nothing — people like Nicolle Wallace and Mark Salter are still running presidential campaigns — it wouldn’t surprise me if Mittens puts someone like Kay Bailey Hutchinson on the ticket. He badly needs an Ambassadress to Planet Vajayjay.

[X-posted at Rumproast]

110 replies
  1. 1
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    I can imagine a scenario back in the 80s in which the entire Romney Nanny Army was simultaneously stricken with food poisoning while the Missus was astride an Austrian Warmblood at some dressage (fancy horse-dancing) event

    There’s an Arnold Schwarzenegger joke lurking in there like a repellent snake in the right-wing grass…

  2. 2
    c u n d gulag says:

    Mitt: “Ann, your job is more important than mine.”

    Ann: ‘Then fork over slightly more than half your f’in paycheck, “Magic underwear” boy!’

  3. 3
    RSA says:

    “His consoling words were always the same: Ann, your job is more important than mine.”

    “Then why don’t I get paid millions of dollars a year to do it?”

    Edit: Damn it! Beaten by two minutes.

  4. 4
    TooManyJens says:

    One thing that’s always bugged the shit out of me is when a man says he has to “babysit” his children.

    Thank FUCK my husband is not one of those men. We would have Words.

  5. 5
    Jamey says:

    I “babysit” my kids. Often. It’s just a term I use. Gotta problem with it?

  6. 6
    Guster says:

    People sometimes ask me if I’m babysitting my kid. I say yeah, I’m trying to save money so I can pay my wife for sex.

  7. 7
    Jamey says:

    @Jamey: ps: The wife uses the expression, too. We both use it somewhat facetiously, as many others do.

  8. 8
    JWL says:

    Kicked this question around on Easter, but no one could remember:

    Circa 1975, a TV commercial was (in)famous for its catch phrase, “My wife- I think I’ll keep her”. Does anyone recall the name of the product being advertised?

  9. 9
    Jamey says:

    @JWL: I think it was Geritol.

  10. 10
    Hunter Gathers says:

    It’s fitting that a candidate that seems transplanted from a corporate board circa 1956 would tell a tale of how he was forced to ‘babysit’ his own fucking children so his hoity-toity wife could go to an equestrian event. The Help is out sick? How horrid!

    Well, my family can’t afford nannies (or Au-Pairs, for that matter), so myself or my wife are forced to ‘babysit’ our child 24-7. No equestrian events, no corporate retreats, no spa treatments at the Four Seasons and definitely no weekend golf outings at the local country club.

    I know my life must sound horrible to the Romney family, but not all of us were smart enough to be sired by the political and corporate elite.

  11. 11

    Ann, your job is more important than mine.

    That’s exactly the kind of patronizing shit you expect when some asshole from the boardroom talks to people on the factory floor.

  12. 12
    efgoldman says:

    @Jamey:

    The wife uses the expression, too. We both use it somewhat facetiously, as many others do.

    We both used it. No big deal. When did it get to be a forbidden term? When we both went out, we hired a high school girl from across the street or next door. Its just shorthand.

  13. 13
    efgoldman says:

    @JWL: @Jamey:

    I think it was Geritol.

    Google-fu confirms it was. Started in 1971.

  14. 14
    R Johnston says:

    it wouldn’t surprise me if Mittens puts someone like Kay Bailey Hutchinson on the ticket. He badly needs an Ambassadress to Planet Vajayjay.

    I’ve been trying to push the notion of Mittens picking Janice Rogers Brown for a while now. That way he gets Planet Vajajay, Planet I-Was-Born-a-Dirt-Poor-Commie-and-Now-I’m-Wingnuttier-than-Palin, and Planet Derbyshire’s-Darkie-Friend all in the same pick, plus he cows the mainstream press into kindly deferential coverage by picking a Federal Appeals Court judge.

  15. 15
    Mark S. says:

    Are Equestrian Moms the hot new target demographic?

  16. 16
    jibeaux says:

    1) It’s Hutchison, with no “N”.
    2) My understanding is that she’s at least tepidly pro-choice, so if that’s correct, DOA.

  17. 17
    efgoldman says:

    @R Johnston:

    …plus he cows the mainstream press into kindly deferential coverage by picking a Federal Appeals Court judge.

    Except the VP nominee is the one who spends the whole election down-and-dirty, feeding red meat to the already-committed rubes. Caribou Barbie was a natural (although dumb as a rock). A judge? Not so sure.

  18. 18
    Steve says:

    Reminds me of when Chris Christie referred to pre-K as “the government babysitting your kids.”

  19. 19
    Anoniminous says:

    [Mitten’s] consoling words were always the same: Ann, your job is more important than mine.

    No matter how you slice it. No matter how you dice it. Whether it’s plotted in Euclidean Space or a fractal dimension.

    As a human being, Romney is a grotesque FAIL!

  20. 20
    efgoldman says:

    @Mark S.:

    Are Equestrian Moms the hot new target demographic?

    Yup. All 500 of them.

  21. 21
    TR says:

    One thing that’s always bugged the shit out of me is when a man says he has to “babysit” his children.

    I’m a father, and it bugs the shit out of me when people say this. It actually happened this weekend at the dry-cleaners.

    Man: “Oh, babysitting the kids today?”
    Me: “Nope, they’re my own. So it’s called parenting.”

  22. 22
    Pavonis says:

    It’s nice that Ann Romney doesn’t need to hold down a job to support the family. I’m sure the majority of American families would at least want to have that as an option. My fiancee is a temporary worker without benefits and can be laid off any day. For the time being, either I and/or her parents will pay for medical emergencies. With Obama’s reforms, she can at least have health insurance. But Romney doesn’t care. He and Ann have never had to worry about losing health care or getting fired.

  23. 23
    Captain Howdy says:

    I believe the proper title is “Ambassatrix.”

  24. 24
    KG says:

    @jibeaux: in re: point 2, as I recall, that’s why she (and most every other semi-competent choice) got passed over by McCain’s team when they decided to go with a woman.

    @efgoldman: yeah, not sure there’s even precedent for a judge to be on a ticket. She’d probably have to step down from the bench, because I think the Canon of Judicial Ethics forbids overt politicking. And having met Judge Brown, I doubt she would step down. She seems to like the job she has and seems more interested in law than politics (I’ve soured on her jurisprudence, but still think she’s a decent judge).

  25. 25
    PurpleGirl says:

    @JWL: I remember the line but not the ad.

  26. 26

    @JWL: Circa 1975, a TV commercial was (in)famous for its catch phrase, “My wife- I think I’ll keep her”. Does anyone recall the name of the product being advertised?

    See also: Chevy Chase in The Groove Tube. I guarantee you won’t see this particular clip on YouTube.

  27. 27
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @jibeaux: I know the genii at McCain Inc deemed KBH too liberal. With Santorum and a half dozen others counting on Mitt to go belly up, I suspect she’s still to risky. I’m a political junkie and unaware of any pro-choice taken in the last ten years by the alleged moderates from Maine, much less the Senior Senator from Texas, though KBH did speak up for planned parenthood last week.

    One name nobody mentions is Kelly Ayotte. If she can speak two coherent sentences of English, one after the other, she’ll vault over the Palin bar like a Tennesse Walker or a Kentucky High Stepper or Buckinghamshire Bar Leaper in a Steeplechase (prole here, I am unable to relate to Mittens’ dressage-speak– is there really no video of him correcting Hannity’s pronunciation? Dommage!)

  28. 28
    MonkeyBoy says:

    Ann is a “help meet”. Her job is to support Mitt, take care of the children including Mitt, and relieve Mitt from baby sitting so he can concentrate on higher tasks.

    Being a help meet is so very important it means you get no time off through hubby taking a turn though if you are rich enough you can hire help.

  29. 29
    slim's tuna provider says:

    hate to be the downer, but the gender lesson from the obama marriage is not terribly uplifting. two people of at least equal intelligence, drive, good looks, and education. one gets to be president. the other gets to give up having a job for ten years and be stuck with a single issue that is important but is pretty blatantly gendered. yes, barack is obviously the more gifted speaker, and has the more inspirational life story. but the lesson here is, as always, that the one that gets the best job calls the shots, and that someone still usually has dangly bits, in the upper economic regions.

  30. 30
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    I often borrow kleenexes as well.

  31. 31
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @efgoldman: “Babysit” isn’t itself a problem, it’s the idea of calling caring for one’s own children “babysitting” that is, because that suggests that you’re doing it as a temporary basis or a favor, rather than as an inherent part of being a parent of either sex.

  32. 32
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @slim’s tuna provider: FWIW, Michelle had the better job originally.

  33. 33
    jibeaux says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Here’s what the wiki say. Tepid as tap water, but “Roe v. Wade should not be overturned” is clear enough.

    Hutchison supports the legality of abortion and considers herself pro-choice. She has, however, frequently voted for restricting abortion. Her average score from the NRLC between the years of 1997 and 2010 is 93%, with her highest score being 100% and lowest being 75%.[26] NARAL Pro-Choice Texas executive director Sara Cleveland once said, “by our definition, Sen. Hutchison’s voting record does not indicate that she is pro-choice.”[27] She also believes that the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade was appropriate and should not be overturned,[28] but is opposed to the Freedom of Choice Act because it would restrict the right of states to impose restrictions on abortion. In the past years NARAL has given her ratings of 0%, 7%, 20%, and 0%, indicating that her voting record mostly favored enacting proposed abortion restrictions.[29]

  34. 34
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I’m half expecting Romney-Brewer.

  35. 35

    I don’t know whether it was the two year stint as a stay-at-home dad, or that I just don’t think of my children that way, but I always say that I’m watching the kids, or with the kids. And to be honest, I can’t say that I’ve heard another dad say babysit, but I might just not be paying attention.

  36. 36
    Pavonis says:

    @ 29 slim’s tuna provider Says:

    Take heart. Our next president, Hillary Clinton in 2016 should put your concerns to rest. :)

  37. 37
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @FlipYrWhig: That would be tremendous!

  38. 38
    jibeaux says:

    Just wanted to agree that you don’t “babysit” your own kids, and plus there’s so many better expressions available to you. KP, or Kid Patrol. Solo Parenting Night. Ineffective Zone Defense Day. Lone Mayor of Crazytown…..knock yourself out.

  39. 39
    Tone In DC says:

    @Guster:
    LULz. Spitzer-ific, that was.

  40. 40
    Culture of Truth says:

    “If my job is more important, then you come home and do it and I’ll check into the nice room at the Four Seasons.”

    Sorry, it’s too important.

  41. 41
    KG says:

    My guess is that Romney will make an incredibly “safe” pick because, well, he’s shown himself to be a political coward. The pick will probably be someone that can shore up the Tea Party fanatics, but who won’t scare everyone else away because they’ll look “qualified”… so, someone like DeMint.

  42. 42
    Violet says:

    it wouldn’t surprise me if Mittens puts someone like Kay Bailey Hutchinson on the ticket. He badly needs an Ambassadress to Planet Vajayjay.

    Senior citizen white woman who failed in her attempt to become Governor while running against Governor “I can’t remember the third one”. Yeah, she’ll bring the women and younger voters over to Planet Mittens.

  43. 43
    jibeaux says:

    @slim’s tuna provider: Michelle does not seem unhappy to me. I’m sure that Barack’s decision to run for president was jointly made, and that if she didn’t want him to go for it, that he would not have.

  44. 44
    twiffer says:

    @efgoldman: the problem is when dad uses it to mean he is watching his own kids, cause mom is doing something else. it’s not forbidden so much as indicating one is an asshole. you can’t babysit your own child.

  45. 45
    Randy P says:

    @Pavonis:
    I did eventually lean Obama in the ’08 primaries, but it was a hard choice. I think that she’d be amazing. She also has a lot of that laugh-off-the-insanity quality. Remember the Vince Foster stuff she had to deal with?

    On topic, my kids are grown but I honestly can’t remember if I ever used the B word. I certainly might have said “Can’t make it. My wife has a meeting and I’m on kid duty.” I didn’t realize “babysit” was so fraught. I might have said it.

  46. 46
    Culture of Truth says:

    @KG: I think you’re right, about his character and also because of the movie Game Change. But who knows? I’d probably recommend Nikki Haley because he’s just getting killed among women.

  47. 47
    slim's tuna provider says:

    @Pavonis: two fictional FLOTUSes who worked that I am aware of were doctors. (Jack Ryan’s wife and Bartlett’s wife) Given the health care idiocy nowadays, even that would be impossible. (She works at a private (county) hospital! Her hospital does (does not do) abortions! She has 3 maplractice settlements! Oy.

  48. 48
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @KG:

    so, someone like DeMint

    Makes sense. even more so if Mitt is seen going down in flames. Senators always seem to be the ones to take it for the team in a losing election.

  49. 49

    You’re talking about a guy who thinks words 2 and 3 of the preamble to the constitution are “The Help”. Historically, most of The Help were. and are, women.

    If you liked W, you’ll loooooooooove the Mittster.

  50. 50
    inkadu says:

    In conversations with me, my father refers to my mother as his wife which I find odd.

    A friend also refers to his wife as “my wife,” despite me knowing her name and knowing them equal amounts of time.

    I think that’s more bizarre than baby sitting your own kids.

    @slim’s tuna provider:

    but the lesson here is, as always, that the one that gets the best job calls the shots, and that someone still usually has dangly bits, in the upper economic regions.

    Speaking of dangly bits, that’s one interesting dangling participle.

  51. 51
    The Fat Kate Middleton says:

    @slim’s tuna provider:

    yes, barack is obviously the more gifted speaker

    I’ve seen both Michelle and her husband speak at the same event twice now – and at one of those Oprah spoke as well. Michelle was waaay better than the Presidential candidate. Heck, she was even better than Oprah (and I speak as a former Speech teacher, coach, and judge).

  52. 52
    scav says:

    @jibeaux: Oddly enough, I hated the term baby-sitting even when applied to technically-not-my-offspring as technically they weren’t babies either. Presto-change to “I’m off to sit on some kids” → “off to squish some kids” → “squishing”, verb, active and aptly descriptive of one essential technique.

  53. 53
    R Johnston says:

    @efgoldman: The role of the VP nominee is not what it once was. These days, given the amount of money involved in campaigns and the number of media outlets and media figures available, it is far better for campaigns to assign attack-dog status to nominally independent members of the media if-and-when they are afraid that an attack would tarnish the Presidential candidate if it came from him.

    Mitt Romney’s attack dogs will be FOX News employees, National Review employees, Mark Halperin, etc.; they won’t be whoever is his V.P. sidekick. If he wants an attack to be associated with his campaign, he’ll make it himself.

    The job of a V.P. nominee at this point is to not be an embarrassment, to avoid having the media question whether the V.P. nominee is qualified and competent to be President, to provide “evidence” of the values held by the Presidential nominee, and to serve as a useful example of how the wannabe President would use his appointment power. That’s why Sarah Palin was such a bad pick.

  54. 54
    jibeaux says:

    The thing about picking a woman to try to shore up women’s votes is bogus, though. McCain had the same foolproof strategery. Any female R nominee, especially for Romney, would have to have sparkling conservative bona fides, including on abortion. Because women are not rock stupid, said candidate would not lure female voters on the strength of her ovaries alone.

  55. 55
    jl says:

    I would like to go back in time too, Ann!

    Can Mitt help me do that? Can he?

    I’ll click my heels, and clap my hands, and… no. Sorry, I can’t vote for the dude. (Edit: am I supposed to say ‘wish upon a star’ or ‘Tinkerbell!’ three times, I forget. Or is it ‘Can Can Caliban, you go big guy!’)

    I think that is the bottom line sales pitch of the piece, to back in time to a mythical ‘nice’ sit com world of the 1950s.

    Ozzie, meet Harriet.

  56. 56

    @TR:

    Man: “Oh, babysitting the kids today?”
    Me: “Nope, they’re my own. So it’s called parenting.”

    Great answer. I’ve fortunately never been asked that question, but if it should ever happen, I now know what I’ll say.

    Or alternatively, “This is my son. He is my pride and joy. He’s a great kid, and a lot of fun to be around. I’m not babysitting him, we’re doing stuff together.”

  57. 57
    Seebach says:

    Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey plans to announce as early as Wednesday afternoon that she is charging neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, according to a law enforcement official close to the investigation.

  58. 58
    hitchhiker says:

    Our kids are in their twenties, and it bugged me way back when to hear my husband, their dad-with-his-own-kids asked if he was baby-sitting. He always said, “nope, parenting.”

    I’m sorry to hear that it’s still out there, this weird construct that says a man with his own kids is filling in for the real parent.

    I cringed at that Mitt/Ann commercial, all the way through it. Her husband was like another boy to take care of? Really? You’d say something like that and expect us to find it charming and not creepy on about 12 levels?

  59. 59
    schrodinger's cat says:

    I wonder where the word baby sit comes from, since you know, it does not actually involve sitting on the baby.

  60. 60
    Culture of Truth says:

    @scav: Yes I’ve never that word either, for some reason, and wouldn’t use even for neices and nephews.

  61. 61
    Culture of Truth says:

    charge watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin

    I wonder how she figured it who did it.

  62. 62
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    O/T Angela Corey is charging George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin shooting. Breaking.

  63. 63
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Culture of Truth: MSNBC reporting criminal charges to be filed.

  64. 64
    Mnemosyne says:

    @slim’s tuna provider:

    hate to be the downer, but the gender lesson from the obama marriage is not terribly uplifting.

    Given that Michelle Obama always had her own job before Obama was elected president (and IIRC was the primary breadwinner for much of the marriage), I think the problem is with the job of President of the United States, not with their marriage prior to 2008.

    The point with the Romney marriage is that it has always been arranged this way, not that the arrangement will change after the election as it did with the Obamas.

  65. 65
    samara morgan says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans:

    while the Missus was astride an Austrian Warmblood at some dressage (fancy horse-dancing) event

    she doesn’t ride….she OWNS and pays a pro to ride. Jan Ebling i think….who is a MAN.

    @Betty

    because “Game Change” changed exactly nothing—

    oh, it changed everything for Sarah.
    stick a fork in her cuz she is politically done now. Game Change is how she will be remembered in the history books, and next year Oxygen and Lifetime will run Game Change on true story thursday and the History channel will make a documentary of her failed run.

  66. 66
    slim's tuna provider says:

    @inkadu: I giggled after i read it over.

  67. 67
    amk says:

    @R Johnston: This janice brown ?

    Brown has said that when she was young, she was so liberal in her politics that she was almost Maoist, although she is now conservative

  68. 68
    ornery_curmudgeon says:

    Would you PLEASE leave off the derogatory framing of the ancient art/science of horsemanship. Sounds like an Ugly American. It’s ignorant.

    Dressage was advanced by the ancient Greeks, it was one of the founding arts of the Renaissance, it represents unity of man and horse in partnership.

    Dressage is how mankind quit brutalizing horses and learned rudiments of empathy. It is a civilizing influence.

    Any horse can be trained in dressage … it does not require fancy ‘dancing’ horses. Dressage is the foundation of empathetic riding. So what if rich women take it up, it was a cavalry science before, it’s a wonderful and humane sport/art/hobby/pastime and you’d love it. Go take some lessons, it’s not as expensive as golf lol. The real ‘elitists’ are those who look down on something without knowing what it really is.

  69. 69
    chopper says:

    i can’t rationally use the word ‘babysit’ to describe taking care of my kid. then again i’m her primary caretaker, so it wouldn’t make any fucking sense anyways.

  70. 70
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Culture of Truth: The good news is, Zimmerman is going to be charged. I hope there’ll be more good news: federal charges for him as well, a DOJ report outlining who dropped the ball on the original investigation, a review of Sanford PD that leads to some real reforms, some action towards a national campaign for repeal of the crazy Stand Your Ground laws.

  71. 71
    samara morgan says:

    @ornery_curmudgeon: agreed….dressage is WORK.
    and again…Ann Romney is not a rider, she is an owner. She PAYS people to ride her horses.

    Dressage is how mankind quit brutalizing horses and learned rudiments of empathy. It is a civilizing influence.

    oh please.
    its how horses were trained for WAR.

  72. 72
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @ornery_curmudgeon: Ornery curmudgeon is ornery.

  73. 73
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    In fact, the dogwhistle in that commercial may be that Ann Romney has always known her proper place, unlike that uppity … woman Michelle Obama with her law degree and fancy career.

  74. 74
    chopper says:

    @ornery_curmudgeon:

    mankind quit brutalizing horses

    we did?

  75. 75
    R Johnston says:

    @KG: The lack of precedent for picking a judge for the V.P. slot really doesn’t matter. It’s not as though the pick of Janice Rogers Brown would be panned for being a judge rather than a politician, or that there will be a serious effort to portray her experience as a judge as somehow less qualifying for the office than is experience as a legislator.

    The issue with the plausibility of the pick is more the other one that you raise: she probably wouldn’t want it. It’s not the issue of resignation that would matter–she’d take a leave of absence, resignation contingent on the results of the election, which wouldn’t particularly interfere with the functioning of the court she actually sits on, and if the Democrats tried to make an ethical issue of that then that would be political gold for the Romney campaign–but the fact that the political aspects of running for and being V.P., as opposed to the policy making and other governmental aspects of being part of a Romney administration, likely don’t appeal to her.

    If Romney’s creative enough to think of the possibility of a judge as a running mate there’s no reason for him not to inquire about whether Brown might be interested. She may say no, and Romney may decide that a whiter and more testosterone bearing pick is in order, but even just leaking the news that Brown was being vetted would probably be good politics for Romney.

  76. 76
    jl says:

    This is a partial repeat from a short diatribe issued when this topic came up a few weeks ago. I will try to dress it up with pointyheaded Marxist talk. Congressmen West has outed Democrats as Communists(!), so what the hell? Why not let it hang out.

    In the artificial hothouse world of the 1950s middle class suburbs, the unequal economic power relations between sexes was artificially extended and forced on people by creating sterile and very artificial inhuman suburban tracts where the little ladies taking care of very stereotypical ladylike chores around little family pretend play farms, and had no economic power.

    The man was away all day, and brought home all the money. The little lady tended the ladylike ‘inside’ jobs of keeping house and raising the kids. The suburbs were designed maybe as cheap housing, but their design dictated vast tracts where very little entrepreneurial activity was possible for those who stayed home, and prevented the little ladies any outlet or variety, prevented the kids from seeing half of what life is about.

    So, you have an artificial and total male economic supremacy, and and artificial denigration of the role of women, and not only that, of home life and raising kids.

    Sorrow and madness, and sick hilarity of the modern ‘burbs ensued.

    I hate them damn suburbs with block after block of nothing but look alike houses, gardens with nothing going on in them, no stores, no people in the streets, quiet as a graveyard. Even the inscriptions one reads are less interesting than in a graveyard, since they are just numbers stenciled on curbsides.

    It was only nice if you had an adequate income and ‘capital’. and everyone was satisfied to play very rigid gender roles that had started eroding over 50 years earlier. Most people do not have the requisite income, do not have a requisite ‘capital’, and only minority (maybe, 27 percent, heh?) can live satisfying fulfilling lives playing such rigid gender roles.

  77. 77
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Mnemosyne: That’s going to go down really well with women who work, either because they want
    to or have to. Its seems like the GOP wants to build a bridge to the 18th century.

  78. 78
    Catsy says:

    One thing that’s always bugged the shit out of me is when a man says he has to “babysit” his children. It would annoy me if a woman said that too, but I’ve never actually heard a female use that term in reference to her own progeny.

    I don’t get this. It’s a common enough usage. My spouse and I use it when we’re talking about one of us watching the boy while the other goes out and does something fun. He’s 11 years old so it’s sort of tongue in cheek anyway.

  79. 79
    Culture of Truth says:

    Romney / Zimmerman 2012 NO APOLOGY TOUR

  80. 80
    R Johnston says:

    @amk: Wingnuts absolutely adore good conversion stories, and Brown at this point has a more than long enough history of being a hardcore wingnuttier-than-thou hack to allay any wingnut doubts over her current beliefs. That she claims to have been a radical lefty in her youth only makes he more attractive to the far right.

  81. 81
    Culture of Truth says:

    If we repealed oppressive child labor laws we wouldn’t have to have this discussion in the first place.

  82. 82
    bemused says:

    @inkadu:

    That’s a lot better than “my old lady” which I used to hear often years ago. Thankfully, rarely now, usually from some old fart who still believes man is head of the house.

  83. 83
    Phoenix_rising says:

    @jibeaux: HMIC (head mom in charge), denotes that this is a baton we pass between us as-needed; ranking officer; driving the bus/riding the bus; court of last resort (denotes a topic on which one of us has significant expertise and therefore gets the final word).

    But as I explained to my sister last weekend, we have many fewer “moments of zen” (kid is swinging from the rafters while two apparently capable adults attempt to out-wait one another about who is going to engage the enemy) than our total 3 sisters average–each of whom is married to man who thinks he’s a great dad, not like his father who never did anything to help mom.

    The problem is, each of these total of 3 otherwise intelligent brothers in law–12 years of post-grad education, 1 JD, 1 MA, 1 PhD in chemistry–thinks he’s helping his wife. Because their kids are her job.

  84. 84
    Martin says:

    I don’t babysit my kids. It’s more like boot camp.

    Babysitting is what you do with other people’s non-ambulatory life forms – at which point I stop calling them ‘babies’ in any context. Everything else gets classified by what the dominant activity will be – as if they were adults.

    Internally, I’m usually asked if I would ‘keep an eye on the kids’ if Ms Martin has something to go to. That’s partially accurate. My son does not need monitoring as he’s a rule follower. My daughter, however, is deserving of her own squadron of aerial drones.

  85. 85
    Daize says:

    @Jamey: It was on the air when I was about 9 or 10. Drove my Mom up the fucking wall. Along with some sappy song with the chorus, “The everyday housewife who gave up the good life for me.”

  86. 86
    Phoenix_rising says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I wonder where the word baby sit comes from, since you know, it does not actually involve sitting on the baby.

    Dunno, but when I was about 4 and my sister was 5, we had this neighbor lady who “watched the kids”.

    I’ll never forget the look on my dad’s face when my parents walked in from a date and we had piled all the cushions from 100% of the furniture, including outdoor, in the living room and were jumping from this tower to the (naked fold-out-bed exposed springwork) couch. She was watching the kids, all right. Watching us do whatever we thought up…

    After that we had college kids “babysit” or “sit”, which seemed to mean that we’d do some super active stuff and then fall over exhausted while the babysitter sat and studied. As a kid I thought that was the origin.

  87. 87
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    In 2008 it was excellent news for John McCain when he couldn’t remember how many houses he owned. At the rate we are going this year, pretty soon it will be excellent news for Mitt Romney when he can’t remember how many kids he has.

  88. 88
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Martin: Boot camp for you or for the kids?
    @Phoenix_rising: Well you should be glad that the baby-sitter didn’t bring a dingo the next time she babysat you.

  89. 89
    LAC says:

    @efgoldman:

    I think it used in a patronizing way by this silver-spoon tool. Look, babysitting is a job, being a parent is a full-time, around the clock occupation. You men are taking care of your kids, not sitting around on a couch for a couple of hours, texting your BFF and chewing gum, while junior watches “SpongeBob Squarepants”. We women do not use that term when it comes to our children.(maybe your wives do, but most of us do not.) It implies that a man’s role with his kids is just as a stand-in, and that the only role a woman has is as a mother. Given the epic center of the earth size hole the GOP has dug itself in with women in this country, it would behoove Rommney to take some of that money of his and buy himself a big fucking clue.

  90. 90
    Nutella says:

    @Daize:

    Those of us who have been reading Doonesbury a long time remember that that line was the last straw for Joanie Caucus. When her husband said ‘my wife, I think I’ll keep her’ she broke his nose, walked out, and caught a ride out of town on Mike Doonesbury’s motorcycle, eventually ending up at the campus commune.

  91. 91
    Betty Cracker says:

    @ornery_curmudgeon: JeZUS, chill out man, I merely called it “fancy horse-dancing;” I didn’t propose guillotines for horses or riders. I actually have a friend who does it (she’s loaded, BTW), and you know how she describes it? “Fancy horse-dancing.”
    http://www.mostwatchedtoday.com/tag/rap-dressage/

  92. 92
    JCJ says:

    @slim’s tuna provider:

    Yeah, this is complete bullshit. One of my partners in my medical group works full time while her husband quit working when she moved to start her residency training. I could point to several other female physicians where the female has the main job and her spouse has made adjustments. Perhaps in the business world this is not so, but in medicine it does not seem unusual.

  93. 93
    gene108 says:

    Romney’s 65 years old.

    I don’t think I’d dis on him because he wasn’t as domesticated as your modern 30 year old first time dad, with a 6 month old baby.

    There’s been a pretty significant shift between Mitt’s generation and his kids about how house work gets divided up.

    From all accounts Mitt’s been a good family man.

    His kids aren’t getting into the Neil Bush type felony convictions or are leaning on daddy’s contacts to bail them out of failed business dealings, like Bush, Jr. did.

    There things I don’t agree with Mitt about, but I don’t think how he’s handled his kids and marriage are really shortcomings for him.

  94. 94
    Tim in SF says:

    Mormons don’t use the word babysit, they instead use the word tend: Example: I have to tend the children today. or I’m tending the children. It’s just one of those weird Utah things I noticed when living there for a decade. They also have special words for rubber bands (“elastics”), felt-tip pens (always “magic markers” no matter the brand), all streams are “cricks” regardless of size, and a few others that escape me.

  95. 95
    Betty Cracker says:

    @gene108: Romney is about the same age as my parents. My dad is kind of caveman-like, but plenty in his age cohort aren’t. I don’t think a Boomer like Romney gets to use the codger excuse; he didn’t raise his kids in the Mad Men era.

    Usually I wouldn’t give a flying crap how couples manage their domestic lives, but if they try to cram it down my throat as the ideal, I feel emboldened to weigh in.

    @Tim in SF: I lived in Boston briefly, and they also called rubber bands “elastics.” WTF?

  96. 96
    gene108 says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Betty, I don’t think Romney’s parenting skills are an issue. His kids seem to be doing well and aren’t getting into the sort of trouble Bush, Sr.’s kids got into.

    Attacking Romney as a father and a husband is about as tasteless as people going after Obama and Michelle for their parenting skills, when there’s no evidence the two are not good parents.

    This is the sort of politics of personal destruction, we deplore the Right for using by trying to destroy your opponent as an individual and not merely point out differences in policy and the like.

    Until someone shows me, where Mitt Romney did something abusive and neglectful as a parent, cheated on his wife or if his kids have somehow done something really bad, then I don’t see the point in jumping on him as a father and husband.

    Like the Obama’s, there’s no evidence Mitt’s a bad family man.

    “Usually I wouldn’t give a flying crap how couples manage their domestic lives, but if they try to cram it down my throat as the ideal, I feel emboldened to weigh in.”

    Edit: I may not be paying attention closely enough, but when did Romney say he had the ideal marriage? You get people, who believe a long term monogamous marriage is good, but that’s not really beyond the pale in our society.

  97. 97
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gene108:

    People aren’t attacking Mitt for the heck of it. We’re attacking him based on what he’s showing us in this commercial.

    If we’re not allowed to criticize political ads because criticizing their commercial is a personal attack on the candidate, we may as well just pack it in now.

  98. 98
    rikryah says:

    GLAD I’m not the only one irked by a man babysitting HIS OWN DAMN CHILDREN.

  99. 99
    samara morgan says:

    Betty, there are a LOT of good middle class people that make a living riding, training and breeding horses in colorado….and there are a lot of us that do it for sport and recreation. Trail riding or hacking out on horse back is hella better than ripping up the forest with dirt bikes and atvs. its organic too.
    Most ranchers around here still use horses to work cattle.
    im sick of you class-envy idiots sneering at my sport.
    Good dressage is HARD WORK.
    Ann Romney doesn’t do it….she pays someone else to.
    Horse sports are good for kids too, Pony Club, Little Britches and 4-H.

  100. 100
    samara morgan says:

    @Betty Cracker: dressage is not “horse dancing”.
    it means simply, training.
    its based on the military tests for warhorses.
    it is a test for obedience, strength and endurance.

    my dressage trainer always says that which is forced can never be beautiful. dressage is a partnership with the horse.

  101. 101
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @gene108: I just saw the ad prompted by your comment. My observations

    1. Ann Romney has a face full of botox and her teeth are blindingly white.
    2. The ad seems condescending, and yes it does seem to promote the idea that being a wife and mother should be the be all and end of all of a woman’s existence.

  102. 102
    gene108 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Maybe I read too much into the up-thread comments at work. Somehow I associated them with a negative view of Mitt as father and husband.

  103. 103
    gene108 says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Agree with the Botox and teeth whitening.

    I just saw those ads as an attempt to portray Mitt as human and not RomneyBot-2012.

    I just haven’t seen anything negative about Mitt’s family to make me think I need to object to them as people and this includes Ann’s beliefs about being a stay-at-home mom. YMMV.

  104. 104
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @gene108: She can have her beliefs but her party wants to also decide what’s best for me, that I don’t like.

  105. 105
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gene108:

    I just haven’t seen anything negative about Mitt’s family to make me think I need to object to them as people and this includes Ann’s beliefs about being a stay-at-home mom. YMMV.

    When you create political ads presenting yourselves as an ideal family, you open yourselves up to criticism of that portrayal, especially given the fact that Republicans present their vision of family as the only possible vision and spend a whole lot of time trying to stomp on other types of families, like single moms, gay parents, working moms, etc. etc. etc.

    So if the Romneys are going to try to claim in political ads that they’re the ideal family, they’re going to get criticized for it. If they didn’t want their family life criticized, they shouldn’t have presented it to the public.

  106. 106
    Betty Cracker says:

    @gene108: I’m not saying Romney is a “bad” husband and father, just that I caught a major whiff of condescension and patriarchy in the video that is supposed to appeal to voters like myself, i.e., women. It really, really doesn’t.

    Bush II’s kids’ may have had a few under-age drinking incidents, but they seem to have turned out pretty well, and their father was the worst president in the history of the US. If I had to spend an evening the Romney Stepford spawn or the Bush twins, I’d have to go with the girls. At least we could have a margarita.

  107. 107
    Betty Cracker says:

    @samara morgan:

    dressage is not “horse dancing”.

    Sorry, I’m gonna have to go with my lyin’ eyes on this one.

  108. 108
    Frivolous says:

    Planet Vajayjay: I kind of miss Grey’s Anatomy. I believe that’s where the term vajayjay was first used, yes?

    But it got into a lot of OOC drama and melodrama, and I hate that kind of stuff. It’s one thing for characters to hate each other, it’s quite another for their actors to hate each other, too.

  109. 109
    Concerned Citizen says:

    I said this once and my wife went nuts. Quite honestly, it’s just how I thought about things at the time.

    The best part is, I was talking to my neighbor and telling him why I couldn’t go to the strip clubs with him.

    At the time I had 2 kids, now I have five. It goes without saying my perspective has changed.

    My point is I can understand why it would piss you off, but I’m not sure the person committing the crime is necessarily evil. They’re probably just young and ignorant.

  110. 110
    LAC says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Plus, like marriage, your spouse comes with family and baggage. And Rommney, no matter how decent a father and husband he is, has the GOP and its grotesque 16th century views on women as a part of his baggage. No thanks…

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