Let’s Do the Time Warp Again

Mrs. Mitt seems like a nice enough person — she comes across as exponentially more human than her husband. Admittedly, that’s a low bar since anyone who seemed less human would be relegated to the cargo hold of a commercial airliner without a notarized document from an anthropologist.

But Mrs. Mitt seems as pleasant as a clueless rich lady could possibly be when she’s trying to sell you an animatronic plutocrat with an anti-99%, anti-woman and anti-gay agenda. Sort of like a defanged Lynne Cheney. So I don’t mean to pick on her. But this passage of a Mothers’ Day op-ed she penned for USA Today struck me as odd:

People often ask me what it was like to raise five boys. I won’t sugarcoat it. There were times I wanted to tear my hair out. I can remember visiting my friends’ houses, seeing their daughters’ manners, the way they helped with the chores. Then I would return home to my boys, hoping only that my house was still intact.

Sweet al dente Flying Spaghetti Monster, is she actually suggesting that daughters are universally better mannered and tidier than boys? I’d disabuse her of that notion by posting a picture of my teenage daughter’s room right now, but that would be invading the kid’s privacy. Trust me, I’d stack that girl’s smart mouth and capacity for generating household-roiling mayhem against all five Little Lord Fontleromneys.

But that’s not all that bugs me about the piece. It illustrates something more broad and disturbing — a weird trapped-in-amber vibe to both Romneys, something that can’t really be explained away as a generational thing. They are about the same age as my parents, and though my parents’ political views differ significantly from the Romneys’ (my dad is way to their right and my mom is way to their left — divorced ages ago, obviously!), you can tell my parents experienced the decades that followed 1959 and took away certain lessons, for good or ill.

The Romneys, not so much. To paraphrase a line from “Field of Dreams,” it seems like they had six helpings of the 1950s and landed in the second decade of the 21st century pretty much unscathed. It will be a weird rolling-back in more ways than one if, FSM forbid, Mittens becomes president.

[X-posted at Rumproast]

145 replies
  1. 1
    gogol's wife says:

    I have to protest against comparing the lovely June Cleaver to Mrs. Romney. Leave It to Beaver was actually a very humane, intelligent program, not the stereotype it’s been painted. The Cleavers do not resemble the Romneys in any way.

  2. 2
    John Dillinger says:

    WardMitt, don’t you think your a little hard on the BeaverTagg last night?

  3. 3
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    It illustrates something more broad and disturbing—a weird trapped-in-amber vibe to both Romneys,

    __
    Oh tosspot! It is hard enough re-programming a human being to fail a Turing Test, without having to keep up with all this modern jive lingo that you younger gals and fellows are apt to use.

  4. 4
    J. says:

    Re Mrs. Romney’s quote, I always say, “Boys will land you in the emergency room, girls in the mental hospital.” And while my little angel is not destructive, I have a feeling she could give your teen a good run for the “Messiest Room” award, Betty.

    Maybe Mitt should be running for mayor of Pleasantville instead….

  5. 5
  6. 6
    chopper says:

    “Then I would return home to my boys, hoping only that my house was still intact. Luckily I had an entire household staff to make sure the place was just fine.”

  7. 7
    BGinCHI says:

    Like Ozzie and Harriet, but without the self-awareness.

  8. 8

    And who was watching over her brood while she was out running around? The hired help? Must be nice.

  9. 9
    shortstop says:

    That was an interesting comment the blessed matron Romney had about her boys not helping with chores. If only there were something parents could do to make that happen, but unfortunately they were helpless in the face of this boy tornado quintupled.

  10. 10
    BGK says:

    The audio-animatronic Obama from Disney’s Hall of Presidents has more humanity than Mitt and Femitt.

    Less weird and creepy, also too.

  11. 11
    flukebucket says:

    Admittedly, that’s a low bar since anyone who seemed less human would be relegated to the cargo hold of a commercial airliner without a notarized document from an anthropologist.

    That is 24 carat GOLD right there !

    And the main problem is that the Romney family has never, ever lived in the regular world and they don’t even realize that because they think that the world they live in is the world everybody lives in.

  12. 12
    EconWatcher says:

    Isn’t that the whole Mormon ethos, though–just a throwback to the 50s? I don’t think it’s specific to the Romneys, just to their religion.

  13. 13
    Nina says:

    God forbid she or Mitt force any of the boys to help with ‘chores’. Wasn’t there another quote where she talked about Mitt getting home and instead of contending with 5 unruly boys suddenly she had 6?

  14. 14
    jl says:

    To some extent, it’s a class thing as well as a 50s trapped in amber thing.

    Half my family can be be described as being ‘hardy peasant stock’ since, more or less, forever, until the current generation.

    The notion of a both spouses having to work, or having a side business to supplement family income, and both spouses having to do significant work around the home (which until current generation was also the farm, or in western parlance ‘ranch’) is not a new thing brought in by women’s lib or 1960s DFH.

    And by class, I mean in the economic sense, not the high brow/low brow sense.

    A saying of some oldsters in my family was “The rich man steps where he wants, and the little people have to get out the way”. I came across that same maxim in egghead college: The strong do as they want, and the poor suffer what they must suffer, from an old dead Greek guy.

  15. 15
    lofgren says:

    Screw your problems. Can you imagine Romney’s shock if he actually got elected? He’ll be all “What’s are latest status report on the Soviets?” and his aides will be like, “You mean al Qaeda?” and he’ll be like, “al Qaeda, Soviets, whatever they’re calling themselves these days. Where are we on the Negro problem?”

  16. 16
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    People often ask me what it was like to raise five boys. I won’t sugarcoat it. There were times I wanted to tear my hair out. I can remember visiting my friends’ houses, seeing their daughters’ manners, the way they helped with the chores. Then I would return home to my boys, hoping only that my house was still intact.

    The most insulting thing about this passage is that Romney is expecting me to believe that she did not have household staff.

    BULLSHIT.

  17. 17
    chopper says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    yeah, i love watching rich people with butlers and nannies and shit bitch about how hard life is.

  18. 18
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    People often ask me what it was like to raise five boys. I won’t sugarcoat it.

    I guess at this point the press is too gun shy to ask, but did the Romneys have domestic help?

  19. 19
    Steve in DC says:

    I don’t think that’s an odd thing to say at all. Girls and boys are different kinds of trouble. My sisters were problematic in their own way, but they weren’t destructive. Me and my brother on the other hand started fires in houses, smashed windows, fireworks all over the place, the gun incident, the list was endless.

    Thinking back about being a kid, boys were certainly more physically destructive, girls were nightmares in their own way though.

  20. 20
    LanceThruster says:

    Maybe the Romnobots were kept in an underground bunker during the cold war?

    http://www.dvdverdict.com/revi.....ompast.php

  21. 21
    Ben Cisco says:

    anyone who seemed less human would be relegated to the cargo hold of a commercial airliner

    That’s GOLD right there.

    It must be driving Mitt crazy – he has what he THINKS is the story of an All-American success, just like the nostalgia-infused FAKE image of the 50s so many on the right want to pass off as truth, but NO ONE is buying it (not even the people who will wind up pulling the lever for him). Biggest “sale” of his life, and he can’t close the deal.

    ETA: flukebucket beat me to it, I see.

  22. 22
    Thor Heyerdahl says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    I have to protest against comparing the lovely June Cleaver to Mrs. Romney.

    I agree – Mrs. Romney would definitely not speak jive.

  23. 23
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    @shortstop: I’m not sure I want a President and First Lady who are incapable of parenting their own children to help out around the house. Maybe they should just settle for appearing on Dr. Phil.

  24. 24
    LanceThruster says:

    As an aside, it occurred to me when Mittens was standing up for the 3000 year old “tradition” of marriage…is there a seemingly more closeted bunch than Mormon males? Between Santorum’s sweater vest and LDS “Oh garsh!” punch and cookies sensibilities, methinks quite a few goppers protest too much.

  25. 25
    WereBear says:

    This always reminds me of the classic Donald E. Westlake line, from Road to Ruin:

    He had been born rich, and never learned how to control his emotions.

    And they don’t have to. They live in a world where there are no real consequences; not for anything they do. At least in Europe they were taught noblesse oblige, but in egalitarian-dream America; they are just like everyone else; but an act that would get a minority teenager ten years is prison is able to be laughed away.

  26. 26
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    People often ask me what it was like to raise five boys. I won’t sugarcoat it. There were times I wanted to tear my hair out.

    Who needs to tear their hair out when Mitt Romney will tackle you and do it for you?

  27. 27
    amk says:

    @chopper: Bingo. That’s the unspoken point here.

  28. 28
    Nina says:

    It would be a lot more believable if Mitt Romney didn’t remind me more of Eddie Haskell than of Ward Cleaver.

    …eeeuw.

  29. 29
    MonkeyBoy says:

    Children of that era were raised differently from each other and from today.

    Girls were strongly brought up to be nice, pretty, docile, respectable, deferential, polite, etc. because their sole way to hold on to or advance their station in life was to marry and be the wife of a powerful/wealthy man.

    While the actual girls may not have been so fully nice no parents would admit or advertise such undesirable behavior. On the other hand it was ok for boys to be somewhat wild which would eventually get fixed by them marrying a nice girl to help civilize them.

    There were many traditions where say it is ok to fart and swear just among men but vulgar to do so when women are present.

  30. 30
    Kay says:

    I think she has to be careful about acting like the First Lady before she’s the First Lady, and this little essay is First Lady-ish.

    IMO, Americans are vicious about cutting in line.

  31. 31
    gogol's wife says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Good one!

  32. 32

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: “did the Romneys have domestic help?”

    Some is mentioned in their 2010 tax returns, but there doesn’t seem to be enough–they own three houses after all–and the pay seems quite low.

  33. 33
    scav says:

    Is this the one where she goes on about no greater crown than that of motherhood? No way am I reading anything that would expose me to that level of highly medicated pseudo-nostalgia.

  34. 34
    merrinc says:

    @Steve in DC:

    My sisters were problematic in their own way, but they weren’t destructive.

    Haha. When my daughter was 4, she found a bottle of red nail polish and used it to paint everything on my husband’s side our bedroom. His pillow, his clock radio, his nightstand, the wall above his side of the bed… When he asked her why she did it, she replied, “Because I wasn’t mad at Mommy.”

    My son, OTOH, got his hands on a gigantor version of a Sharpie around the same age and drew a line his height all the way around the kitchen. When I walked into the kitchen as he was finishing, he burst into tears, apologized, and helped me scrub the walls.

    Not that any of this proves anything. Just pointing out that child rearing is challenging regardless of gender. Also too, Ann Romney creeps me out.

  35. 35
    Roger Moore says:

    @Steve in DC:

    Thinking back about being a kid, boys were certainly more physically destructive, girls were nightmares in their own way though.

    Also, too, children under the watchful eyes of their parents and guests may behave slightly different from ones whose parents are out and about. I know I was always on best behavior when my parents had people over, if only because I knew there was going to be a bigger than normal shitstorm if I put a toe out of line. Of course, my parents also understood the old line about idle hands being the devil’s plaything and made sure I rarely had them.

  36. 36
    lichnor says:

    It’s always fun to reminds conservatives who pine for a return to the golden days of the 1950s that the income tax rate on the top income bracket was north of 90%.

    Their reaction is priceless.

  37. 37
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Kay: It is, after all, their time.

    Once again it illustrates the double standard in our politics(and society). Can you imagine Michelle Obama getting away with writing an op-ed like this or saying it was “our time” to inhabit the White House?

  38. 38
    amk says:

    And this woman was put up in the same class with Michelle Obama by some mothers’ shindig. Covering their asses both bases.

  39. 39

    The very rich have their own subculture. The kind of money the Romneys have can buy quite a lot of insulation from the broader culture.

  40. 40
    sdstarr says:

    From what Ms. Romney wrote you would think she was at home alone with the five boys in a medium sized suburban house. And maybe she was, I haven’t read an investigative report on their domestic situation. However, given their wealth, it seems likely that Ms. Romney had cleaners, nannies, chefs, gardeners, maintenance staff, pool cleaners etc. In which case her article is fairly misleading. It’s hard to be in touch with the average American if you write “The boys would create such a mess that it would exasperate the cleaners and the nanny!”

  41. 41
    WereBear says:

    I used to babysit for my three younger brothers and another family with five boys and while they have high energy levels and no sense at all, they aren’t impossible and if diverted enough with toys and games you’ll get the odd broken limb but no real mayhem.

    What I always gather from Ann Romney’s look backs at motherhood is how much she disliked it.

  42. 42
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Who needs to tear their hair out when Mitt Romney will tackle you and do it for you?

    Zing! Good one.

  43. 43
  44. 44
    aimai says:

    The creepy part about that quote isn’t that she thinks girls are tidier than boys–but that she thinks that girls are naturally raised to be servants in the household while the boys–well, they will just be boys! a ‘whoopin and a’ hollerin’ and a-gay-baitin’ and just foolin’ with the blind hired help (c.f the wa po today on Mitt’s history as a “prankster”).

    aimai

  45. 45
    rlrr says:

    @lichnor:

    They liked the segregation and closeted gays…

  46. 46
    Kay says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    No one should tell them.

    My husband has 4 brothers, he’s one of 5 boys, and they all repeat their favorite mother story. She used to say, bitterly, “dirty rotten kids. Other people got nice kids. I got dirty rotten kids”. She smoked for years, so they do a smokers voice when they tell it. They adore her.

  47. 47
    Mickey says:

    Oh please, enough with the “she seems like a nice enough person” crap. It’s an election and she is a willing participant.

    Do you believe for one second that mega millionaires with multiple houses are gonna raise kids on their own?! Give me a fucking break. She had nannies and maids doing the really nasty stuff. Probably just about everything else too.

  48. 48
    jl says:

    A little off topic, but a lot of the symbolism of politics escapes me.

    I do not care particularly whether Anne Romney has silly stereotypical views about boys and girls. Do not care whether she lived a privileged life.

    It does bother me that she seems oblivious to the fact that her never having held a baby until she had kids might have been related to her economic and social class, and this obliviousness seems to carry over to her arguments in support of her husbands policies.

    Same with Romney. I don;’t care that he may have done stupid bullying stuff in HS. It does bother me that his HS behavior fits a pattern I see in him now.

    I do not for the life of my see what Biden expressing his personal comfort with marriage equality was a big deal, or why Obama said, for felt he had to say, that Biden ‘got a little over his skis’ and that the statements forced his hand on publicly stating his own personal views.

    Biden says a lot of stuff off the cuff. So what? Since when is Biden the President, or his personal views make any difference at all in administration policy?

    To a lesser extent, same with Obama’s statement. It is good that he is on the right side of the issue of equality in terms of his personal views, but it is more import that he work at the federal level to do what he can to ensure equality that should be guaranteed by the Constitution, regardless of his personal views.

    Sometimes I feel like life in the US has become a 24/7 reality show.

  49. 49
    Lynn Dee says:

    Quote: “Sweet al dente Flying Spaghetti Monster, is she actually suggesting that daughters are universally better mannered and tidier than boys?”

    My first response was a little bit different: It was that she clearly thinks you can require girls to be well-mannered and do chores, but you cannot require that of boys.

  50. 50
    rlrr says:

    @Lynn Dee:

    She obviously never had daughters….

  51. 51
    matryoshka says:

    @EconWatcher: Yes, if by the 50s you mean the 1850s.

  52. 52
    Steve in DC says:

    @aimai

    I didn’t get that read at all from what she said. You seem to be infering things to make it seem worse than it was. Girls and boys both have chores, that’s part of being a kid. It’s just boys are expected to be hyperactive and physically destructive little shits because they often are. That’s the entire “boys will be boys” response to everything from fighting, lighting the cat on fire, riding a bike off the roof, totaling the car, or playing baseball inside and breaking the windows.

    Girls cause their own sort of trouble, but they don’t seem to cause swaths of property destruction and physical violence in the manner boys tend to.

    I can certainly relate. My sisters were trouble, but they didn’t have the penchant for physical destruction me and my brother did.

  53. 53
    shortstop says:

    @Nina: Yes, and more than once she’s referred to Mitt as “my most mischievous child.” Women who condescendingly refer to their husbands/boyfriends/lovers as children and try to mother them are double-plus creepy.

  54. 54
    Citizen Alan says:

    @chopper:

    YES! GOD THANK YOU! Will someone please ask the Lady Ann how many servants she had helping her as she raised Lord Romney’s Clone Army?!?

  55. 55
    ThresherK says:

    @BGinCHI: Ozzie was a retrograde influence on TV in the 1950s, from what I’ve read, trying to drag it back to the ’30s.

    Think of that: The 1950s, especially as represented on TV, was too modern for him.

    And (as he was a former bandleader) I don’t mean the Benny Goodman “I’ll hire the best damn musicians, race regardless” kind of ’30s either.

  56. 56
    jl says:

    @Lynn Dee:

    Seems everything the Romneys do is carefully orchestrated posturing for political reasons. That is true to some extent of these kind of public statements of every politician on state and national level.

    But the Romney political operation takes it to a new level. If Romney wins, the art of Kremlinology will be back, even worse than Bush II years. Every public utterance will be oracle like text to carefully parse, decipher and deconstruct.

    From what I have seen, best hope for seeing the truth behind the words and actions is carefully examination of the gaffes and backfires. Which is why it is important to study the Romney himself very closely during the campaign, since he commits a backfire most of the time. If he wins, he will sequestered, except for the most carefully orchestrated ceremonial appearances.

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:

    My mother still talks about the day we discovered that there was a spilled, half-rotting carton of yogurt under my bed that I’d never noticed because it was covered up with so much other crap so it took quite a while to be unearthed. And I’ve been female my whole life.

    (Turns out I was also ADHD my whole life, which helps explain the Yogurt Incident, among many other messy episodes, but the point still stands.)

  58. 58
    MariedeGournay says:

    @John Dillinger: “A little hard on the beaver” is my favorite double entendre. Yes I’m eight.

  59. 59
    rlrr says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    Even if the help didn’t directly help with raising the children, that still puts Mrs. Romney at an advantage over most households…

  60. 60
    shortstop says:

    @Lynn Dee: Yes, good point.

  61. 61
    ellie says:

    I come from a family of five boys and three girls. My older sister was a hellion. So much so, that my mom wished out loud, on more than one occasion, that she would have only had boys. Thanks a lot mom! (that is sarcasm.)

  62. 62
    Yutsano says:

    Sigh. I kan haz moar peeper stories plz? Kthxbai!

  63. 63
    jl says:

    @Citizen Alan: Exactly, the fact that she so very carefully avoids the subject of her economic status, and the effects that had on her, is the problem.

    Much different than others. How many others? FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Carter.. well, all of them. Sure, they stage managed and controlled how their life stories affected their view points and life experiences.

    Edit: ‘all of them’ includes some good and some bad people, but at least all of them had some intuitive self awareness about what you need to explain to people about your life and how it shaped you, to show you can understand different viewpoints and experiences. The Romneys totally lack that, or they have surrendered their public identities to managers who lack that understanding.

    I guess, the Romneys are just clueless about how to go about it, or are in denial about that aspect of relating to average people, or figure they can just finesse the issue by issuing total soporific tripe and boilerplate.

  64. 64
    Roger Moore says:

    @rlrr:

    They liked the segregation and closeted gays…

    And the Protestant domination, legal subordination of women, and lack of environmental regulations.

  65. 65

    @LanceThruster:

    Yeah, that 3000 years of tradition. Pair bonding has been going on for much, much longer that 3000 years.

    Also, I suspect that he is thinking of the nuclear family which is a fairly recent invention.

  66. 66
    Brachiator says:

    Sweet al dente Flying Spaghetti Monster, is she actually suggesting that daughters are universally better mannered and tidier than boys?

    Yes. A most of the commenters on the story at the USA Today site didn’t seem particularly hacked off by this or by anything else in the largely bland op-ed piece.

    One comment.

    Ann conveys what motherhood means to so many women — myself included. Whether blessed by our own mothers, or someone who has mothered us, we cherish every woman who makes this beautiful sacrifice to put others first. Such blessings continue throughout generations. Motherhood — the greatest of all careers. An excellent family business.

    Is Romney stereotyping boys and girls. Did you miss the part where she talks about her own mother letting her be as wild and as rambunctious as she wanted to be, and not being as “docile” as she appeared?

    She also notes that her own mother had been “a career woman who had never expected to get married.”

    Now it is very likely that this piece was vetted by a campaign staffer, but it still covers all the bases with respect to a bland appeal to a lot of people, and especially to the pro-family crowd. But if you are looking for some especially retrograde sentiments in this thing, you may be trying too hard.

    And no, I am not remotely thinking about voting for Citizen Mitt, but it’s going to be a long campaign, and I don’t see the point in faux controversies and faux outrages. Save it for Fox News.

  67. 67
    aimai says:

    @Steve in DC:
    You lack reading comprehension. She both believes that girls are “less destructive” than boys and believes that girls can and are required to perform chores, which her sons were not.

    aimai

  68. 68
    rlrr says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    Have any of these clowns actually read what the Bible says about marriage?

  69. 69
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Steve in DC:

    That’s the entire “boys will be boys” response to everything from fighting, lighting the cat on fire, riding a bike off the roof, totaling the car, or playing baseball inside and breaking the windows.

    Don’t forget date rape and gay bashing!

  70. 70
    bemused says:

    Even if parents can afford to have help, all kids need to have responsibilities around the home, chores to do and it’s parents’ role to train them to do that. It sounds like Mitt was more interested in playing with them than teaching them responsibilities at home. It doesn’t seem to me that Ann had much of a backbone either. It’s their own faults if the boys didn’t do any chores.

  71. 71
    jl says:

    @rlrr:

    Well, the OT seems fine with concubines and harlots for the guys.

    So, looks like quite a few fundamentalist protty preacher men have read those parts carefully.

  72. 72
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MonkeyBoy:

    Children of that era were raised differently from each other and from today.

    The Romney’s oldest son is a year younger than I am — he was born in 1970. I think you’re thinking of a different era if you think the 1970s was a time when boys and girls were raised in strict gender roles. I must have heard “Free To Be You And Me” 10,000 times before Reagan was elected.

  73. 73
    Jager says:

    @MariedeGournay: and yes, as a 13 year old General Manager of an FM Rock station I laughed so hard I almost tipped my car over on the way to work when my morning show cut up the original “Leave it to Beaver” TV show intro to end “and Barbra Billingsley as the Beaver”

  74. 74
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Read the op-ed. Has a holier-than-thou vibe to it. As if motherhood should be the be all and the end of all of a woman’s existence.

  75. 75
    Steve in DC says:

    @Betty Cracker

    I don’t know anybody who says boys will be boys about rape now. But if you think childish property destruction is the same as rape that’s on you. It makes you crazy, but it’s on you.

  76. 76
    rlrr says:

    @jl:

    Polygamy was OK in the OT. Maybe Romney’s grandfather was the real defender of “traditional” marriage.

  77. 77
    sweaver says:

    “Little Lord Fontleromneys” is my favorite thing I’ve read today.

  78. 78
    Mnemosyne says:

    I will say one thing in Ann Romney’s defense, though — it’s not that unusual for parents who end up with children of all one gender to idealize what a child of the other gender would be like. Parents who have only girls imagine that boys are simpler and less Machiavellian; parents who have only boys imagine that girls are neater and more civilized.

    When I referred to my mother above, I actually meant my stepmother, who came to the marriage with three boys and was very excited to have a daughter. I think she was a little disappointed that I wasn’t the girly girl that she’d imagined she would have, but she got over it and loved me anyway. :-)

  79. 79
    Chyron HR says:

    @Steve in DC:

    Girls cause their own sort of trouble,

    Like causing economic disparity through their obsession with abortion rights, amirite?

  80. 80
    jl says:

    @Mnemosyne: Good point. The gender stereotyping in that one statement does not bother me so much, as commenter above notes Romney gave counterbalance to that kind of stereotyping.

    What bothers me is the either careful avoidance or complete unawareness of how her economic status affected her life experiences and possibly, her viewpoints.

    Kind of like Mitt assumed that parents would have 20 grand to give to their kids to get them started after HS.

    So, suppose three kids, then sure, the old folks have a spare 60K to spread around. Right, sure they do.

  81. 81
    jl says:

    @Chyron HR: And then there is the dowry to think about.

    /snark tag here

  82. 82
    Steve in DC says:

    @Chyron HR

    I have no idea what you are talking about. But when it comes to children, girls and boys tend to bring different problems to the table. My sisters could be vindictive and sullen, and they were certainly as stubborn as me and my brother. If not more so in some ways. They drove my parents up the wall and caused them far more worry than I ever did.

    They just didn’t have a penchant for rampant destruction.

    Growing up, I never knew anybody that was worried their daughter was going to play baseball inside the house, play around with firecrackers and make bombs, or steal the car. I know several boys that actively engaged in those sort of things.

    Kids are trouble in general, but “I wonder if the house will be standing when I get home” is usually a saying about hyper active little boys love of fire and property destruction. Hell bombing mailboxes is almost a farther son ritual.

  83. 83
    ericblair says:

    @jl:

    What bothers me is the either careful avoidance or complete unawareness of how her economic status affected her life experiences and possibly, her viewpoints.

    Yes, and whether she actually had domestic help or not is rather immaterial. She was rich. If she didn’t have nannies and maids, that’s because she chose not to. Not because she couldn’t afford it, or even because she didn’t have the status to get away with such a thing. And if she ever wanted help, she could have gotten it in hours. She had a choice, and other people don’t, and conservatives are very very bad at understanding the distinction.

  84. 84
    Roger Moore says:

    @ericblair:

    She had a choice, and other people don’t, and conservatives are very very bad at understanding the distinction.

    Oh, I think they understand the distinction between making a choice and having the choice made for you just fine. They just want to confuse the issue when people want the right to decide for themselves but the Conservatives want to make it for them.

  85. 85
    Keith G says:

    Good god……please let’s not psychoanalyse the Romneys through a fluff piece written by the candidate’s spouse. This is silly. Please lets focus on Mitt’s policies and behavior.

  86. 86
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Steve in DC: Actually, there are plenty of people who excuse date rape and gay bashing as “boys will be boys.” I believe one of them has a nationally syndicated radio show even. Also too:

    Growing up, I never knew anybody that was worried their daughter was going to play baseball inside the house, play around with firecrackers and make bombs, or steal the car. I know several boys that actively engaged in those sort of things.

    Sometimes on a blog, I’ll encounter a person who believes his own personal experience is representative of the sum total of all human experience, in all its gorgeous diversity. I call them “nitwits.” Hello, nitwit!

  87. 87
    John Dillinger says:

    @MariedeGournay:

    Barbara Billingsley was asked about June Cleaver’s remark,

    “Ward, don’t you think you were a little hard on the Beaver last night?”

    The TV mom replied, “I don’t remember saying it, but I must have, I”ve seen it on t-shirts.”

    http://www.urbandictionary.com.....st%20night!

  88. 88
    trollhattan says:

    @Nina:

    It would be a lot more believable if Mitt Romney didn’t remind me more of Eddie Haskell than of Ward Cleaver.

    Willard is totally Eddie Haskell.

    “Good afternoon Mrs. Cleaver, and a tip of the hat to the spouse. My, those are lovely pearls you’re wearing, is Wallace about?”

    “Hey Wally, whaddarya doing? Beat it, squirt, before I pound you.”

  89. 89
    pattyp says:

    No one else seems to have picked up on what I think is the most important issue – that apparently it was common practice for Mrs. Romney to leave her kids at home while she went out and visited her friends. I’d love to know how old her kids were at the time. If they were so young that they hadn’t yet learned not to destroy a house, that’s child abandonment. If they were old enough to be left home alone, then they should also have been old enough to know they should behave, which means their parents obviously never instilled any sense of responsibility in them. Finally, if she left them in the care of her husband/nanny/babysitter or some other presumably mature adult, why the hell didn’t that person stop the kids from wrecking the place to begin with?

  90. 90
    amk says:

    @Betty Cracker: smack down.

  91. 91
    David in NY says:

    @EconWatcher: Right. It’s the Mormonism.

    In Ann Romney’s slight defense, and as the father of two boys, I’ve had the reaction she describes, “How well-socialized these girl creatures are!” Of course, the girls were on show, and were usually on the younger side. I’ve also seen that socialization, vis-a-vis their parents anyway, disintegrate sharply between ages 10 and 13.

  92. 92
    trollhattan says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Since she’s converted to, married to and, uh, bred Mormon, it comes with the territory. Part of the LDS bidnez plan is encouraging lots and LOTS of kids. Grow the brand from within and from without.

  93. 93
    trollhattan says:

    @amk:

    I and the Romanian judge both give it a 9.9–she stuck the landing.

  94. 94
    Original Lee says:

    @pattyp: This. Plus the very careful avoidance of saying anything about their financial status whatsoever and giving the appearance of being a typical middle-class matron. Pat Nixon’s Republican cloth coat has nothing on this.

  95. 95
    satby says:

    Well, I had 2 biological sons, and 25 additional foster / throwaway kids, 19 of them boys, for varying lengths of time (usually 4-5 kids at a time in the house). And though I was a single mom, who often had to work 2 jobs, everyone had chores and everyone was expected to maintain a reasonable level of behavior and consideration for others (for some of them a real stretch, and the first time they were exposed to that expectation). And though I agree that in general boys can be a bit more rough and tumble, the girls gave them a run for their money lots of times.
    Ms. Romney’s little ode to motherhood was grating to me both because of the gender stereotyping and because of the omission of how much easier it was for her to be in an economically stable family. Know what makes motherhood extra hard? Not enough food, or not being able to afford health care for one of your rambunctious crew if they fall out of the tree they’re climbing, or no electricity when you can’t pay the bill.

    Edited to add: Stevein DC, which Romney are you anyway? Tagg?

  96. 96
    Steve in DC says:

    @Betty Cracker

    Except I never claimed that my experience was the same as everyone else’s. You made that up or jumped to an assumption there. I can simply say that I totally understand where “the boys will burn the house down came from”. Which I do, I heard that all the time.

    Of course I don’t understand how “boys will be boys” applies to date rape since I never ran into that. So maybe you should not assume that everyone has had your life experience. Because applying “boys will be boys to date rape” sure as hell isn’t representative of my life experience.

    But let me guess, you’re one of those “do as I say, not as I do types”.

    Also personal attacks and insults, surely the mark of a mature adult confident in their argument.

  97. 97
    jl says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I dunno, I still have ‘daddy issues’ because (sob!) my old man never took me mailbox bombing. Just that playing catch, hiking, and fishing nonsense.

    Mitt, Dub, I know where you guys are coming from, with your daddy issues. Can you imagine HW taking little GW mailbox bombing?

    And as for girls not being so rambunctious as to wreck the place, I have a certain cousin in AK that is a very definite, and persistent, counterexample. Put that gal (Edit: and teenager, and young adult, and mom) on a snow machine, and watch out!

    Edit: and it is not a ‘women driver’ issue. She is good, very good, And willing to where no one else is willing to go, and fast.

  98. 98
    Brachiator says:

    @ericblair:

    Yes, and whether she actually had domestic help or not is rather immaterial. She was rich. If she didn’t have nannies and maids, that’s because she chose not to. Not because she couldn’t afford it, or even because she didn’t have the status to get away with such a thing. And if she ever wanted help, she could have gotten it in hours. She had a choice, and other people don’t, and conservatives are very very bad at understanding the distinction.

    So, what is she supposed to say about it?

  99. 99

    You telling’ me they didn’t have a staff to take care of the kids while she was off visiting with friends?

    And Balloon Juice front pagers…look into Bachmans duel citizenship. Someone with a top secret clearance cannot have duel citizenship. She’s on the intelligence committee right?

    Also too wondering if she intends to transfer her wealth there so it won’t be taxed.

  100. 100
    eemom says:

    @Kay:

    IMO, Americans are vicious about cutting in line

    But it’s their turn!

  101. 101
    Keith G says:

    @Brachiator: I think they want her to surrender. Too bad her name isn’t Dorothy.

  102. 102
    amk says:

    @Brachiator: What do you think she should have said ? You’re taking this I’ll be the contrarian thingy too seriously ?

  103. 103
    jl says:

    @Brachiator:

    If you can’t think of anything she should say about it, you should not run for elective office. You will end up coming off like Romney, no matter what your politics.

    IMHO, she, and her husband, should acknowledge their advantages and discuss how that might affect their view points, and that can affect their ideas on policies that might have a huge impact on the lives of other people.

    Like, for instance, kids who want to go to college or trade school, or want to start a business, might not be able to rely on their parents throwing them $20k.

  104. 104
    beltane says:

    @Steve in DC: You are really speaking from a position of entitlement here. I have five sons and have never dealt with property damage, perhaps because we do not have an abundance of money and the boys know that any property they damage would not be immediately replaced or fixed. The same thing goes for their friends, none of whom are privileged enough to enjoy the luxury of wanton destruction. It’s not a matter of gender as much as it is about the values you raise your kids with.

    Maybe I’m just a b*tch, but my sons, all of whom are under the age of 18, are expected to do household chores because I am not their maid. My main source of grief regarding my kids is that they will have to go into debt to pay for college. That sucks a million times worse than a messy room. Since Ann Romney never had to worry about real problems, she gets worked up over nonsense like “OMG, little Tagg once spilled chocolate milk on his school uniform. Can you imagine how awful that was?”

  105. 105
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: I was going to say the same thing. I was born in 1971. The scene of boyish mayhem Ann Romney is describing would have taken place in the late ’70s or early ’80s. That may have been a backwards era on sexual identity, but not on gender expression. “it’s all right to cry,” “William wants a doll” and all that.

  106. 106
    beltane says:

    Ann Romney would be more likable if she talked about other people’s problems rather than her own, because other than the inevitable discomfort associated with having a physical body, this coddled and cossetted creature has no awareness of what it is to deal with adversity in any way, shape or form. Queen Elizabeth doesn’t whine about her struggles and neither should Queen Ann-Toinette.

  107. 107
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Steve in DC:

    But let me guess, you’re one of those “do as I say, not as I do types”.

    Unfortunate in your conjectures, sir. I’m actually one of those “go choke on a bag of Cajun-fried dicks, you tedious motherfucker!” types.

  108. 108
    satby says:

    @beltane: You said that better than I did. And mine are now in their 20s to late 30s.

    Nothing cures destructive behavior like having to pay to replace it or go without. And any other consequences that come with it. Which did happen, but seldom.
    It’s the expectations and accountability that are so off-key about the RMoney family.

  109. 109
    the fugitive uterus says:

    that attitude is really quite similar to that of rich, white privileged southern women, to this day.

  110. 110
    JenJen says:

    “Little Lord Fontleromneys”

    LOL LOL!

  111. 111
    Skerry says:

    @jl:
    To put it in perspective, via Ann Romney’s “blind trust”, the Romneys gave $10million to their son Tagg to begin his first business.

    $20k is for proles.

  112. 112
    khead says:

    Growing up, I never knew anybody that was worried their daughter was going to play baseball inside the house, play around with firecrackers and make bombs, or steal the car. I know several boys that actively engaged in those sort of things.

    Do I know you? Have we met? In my defense, southern WV could get pretty boring at times.

    Also, too, remind me to never piss off Betty or Sarah.

  113. 113
    Skerry says:

    @Brachiator:

    Nothing.

    She would be fine saying nothing about it or anything else, for that matter. No need to pen op-eds. She opens herself up to criticism.

  114. 114
    trollhattan says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Darn you all to heck! [Shakes fist and reaches for screen wipes.]

  115. 115
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    Romney Friend Stu White Says Campaign Wants Him to Counter Prank Accusations, ABC News:

    One of Mitt Romney’s closest friends and a high school classmate has been asked by the Romney campaign to come out and offer “supporting remarks” in defense of the candidate following a Washington Post article that described pranks at the Cranbrook School in the 1960s that focused on a student who was “presumed” to be gay…
    __
    White, in an interview with ABC News, said that he is “still debating” whether he will help the campaign.

    Feel the Mitt-love!

    .

  116. 116
    aimai says:

    I think the thing everyone is missing here is that the entire line about girls v. boys is a form of “humblebragging.” There is no way that anyone can reverse that line and have it make sense. If she’d had five girls she never would have said “I would come home from visits with my friend’s boys and wish that my little hellion, sluts, would be more like the disciplined, quiet, monks I’d seen at my friend’s houses.” The whole point of the remark is to brag about the manly, uncontrollable, virility of her sons. She’s bragging, and using a faux tone of self deprecation to do it.

    aimai

  117. 117
    ericblair says:

    @mikefromArlington:

    And Balloon Juice front pagers…look into Bachmans duel citizenship. Someone with a top secret clearance cannot have duel citizenship. She’s on the intelligence committee right?

    It’s more complicated than that, but if she actively acquired foreign citizenship like it seems, then her security clearance should be immediately suspended and she certainly shouldn’t be sitting on the intell committee. If none of this has happened, a good question is why the fuck not.

  118. 118
    Yutsano says:

    @mikefromArlington: She took the dual citizenship to keep watch over Willard’s accounts for him while he gets to Presidentin’. And yes this should jeopardize her security clearance. Shoulda gotten that Israeli citizenship there Shelly.

  119. 119
    Egg Berry says:

    @ericblair:

    If none of this has happened, a good question is why the fuck not.

    Acronym. Begins with I and ends with R. OKIYA in the middle.

  120. 120
    Canadian Shield says:

    Louis CK on raising Boys v.s. Girls:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTrCBcrFMCI

  121. 121
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @aimai: That was a huge part of the original working-mom quip too, which I remember pointing out at Pandagon. Ann Romney was specifically saying that being a stay-at-home mother TO BOYS is hard work.

  122. 122
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Brachiator: Actually make a statement that “I’d did/did not have hired help during the [whatever] years.” Acknowledge that she had no financial difficulties and much security. She’s been open to saying that when they first got married neither Mitt nor she worked while going to school… he sold some stock to pay the rent on the cheap apartment they had.

  123. 123
    Rathskeller says:

    @chopper: absolutely. I have a young child nmyself, and that’s the part that sent me flying, not the inane gender stuff.

    Now I want to know household staff sizes. Thanks for the heads up, Anne.

  124. 124
    rea says:

    @Thor Heyerdahl: On the other hand, Mitt is a lot like Eddie Haskell, and he always had a thing for Wally’s and the Beaver’s mother.

  125. 125
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Brachiator:

    Something like, “Oh, Mitt and I were so incredibly lucky to not have to worry about how we were going to feed or clothe our boys, but we understand that not all Americans are that lucky.”

    But they can’t use “lucky” or any word resembling it because they don’t actually think that. They think that they deserve everything they have and that they worked hard for it. They don’t understand why everyone doesn’t live like they do, except of course because those other people are stupid/lazy/non-Mormon.

    It’s like I remember reading about W in college — he literally couldn’t understand why people were poor because he’d been lazy his whole life and look where he was at! Clearly it wasn’t that hard to be rich!

    It’s very hard to get fortunate people to understand that they were lucky, not that they were smarter than everyone else.

  126. 126
    Ash Can says:

    @Kay:

    I think she has to be careful about acting like the First Lady before she’s the First Lady, and this little essay is First Lady-ish.

    Actually, I don’t think it’s First Lady-ish enough.

    Despite its anachronisms and glaring lack of rich-person context (as in, count me among those who don’t believe for a moment that she did this without plenty of domestic help) it’s a harmless little piece of fluff. But for something written by someone who wants to be FLOTUS, it’s way off.

    Reading through it, three words are repeated over and over: “me,” “I,” and “my.” Someone shooting for the gig of FLOTUS should be able to recognize the opportunity she’s been given to do some real campaigning when she’s writing a Mother’s Day article that’s going to be published in USA Today. The way one does that is to change those recurring words to “you” and “your.” Even if USA Today had told her to specifically write about her experience as a mother, she — if she were a good campaigner, with any talent at all for selling herself (and by extension her husband) to the great unwashed — would have been able to work a theme of empathy into her article, saluting all the different moms in all kinds of different circumstances, and maybe even those folks who may not be actual mothers but who have performed motherly duties in their lives. See, Ann? Inclusion! Now you’ve brought everyone on board!

    But she doesn’t have this skill. All she has is the same sense of entitlement her husband has. “Let me tell you about me, everyone, and how difficult it was for me at times, and how I feel about motherhood in general.” That’s nice, Ann. Now pass the finger sandwiches.

  127. 127
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    So, what is she supposed to say about it?

    @Brachiator: Maybe she should shut the fuck up about how hard her life has been.

  128. 128
    Brachiator says:

    @amk:

    What do you think she should have said ? You’re taking this I’ll be the contrarian thingy too seriously ?

    Actually, no. I like the Balloon Juice atmosphere, and generally respect the opinions posted and the often witty way that they are expressed.

    But I think that people are trying too hard with phony criticisms and faux outrage. It happens now and then. People can’t step back and chill. It’s unfortunate.

    @Mnemosyne:

    Something like, “Oh, Mitt and I were so incredibly lucky to not have to worry about how we were going to feed or clothe our boys, but we understand that not all Americans are that lucky.”

    Which might be fine in other circumstances, but is positively dumbass in an op-ed piece about Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day. Not Born Lucky and Need to Publically Apologize for the Silver Spoon Day.

    The Hillary Rosen Gambit has already failed. It’s just weird that people want to try to keep it alive, because it simply is not resonating with any average voters.

    @PurpleGirl:

    Actually make a statement that “I’d did/did not have hired help during the [whatever] years.”

    And why should she do this? Will it make you feel better or superior or allow you to judge her more as a mother? Should this be a requirement of all spouses of political officials?

    I’ve lived on both coasts. I know a lot of affluent liberals with nannies, housekeepers, au pairs. Some of them push their kids off on the help so fast that you would swear that the first words their kids learned were, “Dada, nanny, Maria.”

    But they are not better or worse liberals because they have hired help, nor are they good or better liberals whether or not they acknowledge how “lucky” they are. To the contrary, they can act as entitled as any other privileged piece of shit, or be as humble as any working class hero.

    The litmus test that people are trying to invoke with respect to Mrs Romney just doesn’t work. So far, she has not done nearly as much to paint herself as an entitlement queen as someone like, say, Barbara Bush. You have to be able to draw better distinctions, and not blindly try to fit everyone into a false template.

  129. 129
    liz says:

    @Steve in DC:

    bombing mailboxes is almost a farther son ritual.

    Where hell did you grow up?

  130. 130
    shortstop says:

    @Brachiator:

    Actually, no. I like the Balloon Juice atmosphere, and generally respect the opinions posted and the often witty way that they are expressed.

    Excellent; we’ll look forward to seeing the first evidence of that. The “phony complaints” and “faux outrage” you reference seem much more applicable to your reflexive contrarianism in most threads than to whatever you’re clumsily dismissing this time.

  131. 131
    amk says:

    @Brachiator: Well, she opened that particular can of worms by writing that cutesy, ‘heart tugging’ stay-at-home mama story. So people are gonna to take a shot at her. Whether they are over the top or spot on, only time will tell. If you think she should not be criticized at all, especially in blogs, then you are not thinking straight.

  132. 132
    amk says:

    @Brachiator: Well, she opened that particular can of worms by writing that cutesy, ‘heart tugging’ stay-at-home mama story. So people are gonna to take a shot at her. Whether they are over the top or spot on, only time will tell. If you think she should not be criticized at all, especially in blogs, then you are not thinking straight.

  133. 133
    Brachiator says:

    @shortstop:

    Excellent; we’ll look forward to seeing the first evidence of that. The “phony complaints” and “faux outrage” you reference seem much more applicable to your reflexive contrarianism in most threads than to whatever you’re clumsily dismissing this time.

    Yawn.

    We? The only person you can speak for is yourself. And if you can’t distinguish between “reflexive contranianism” and a difference of opinion, then you don’t even have much worth saying.

    Bottom line is that there is not much indication (e.g., the USA comments) that the average reader of Romney’s op ed piece is as upset about it as posters here. So, perhaps you are especially subtle at ferreting out the secret meaning behind her words, or you just have an ax to grind and are looking for a congenial band of axholes to reinforce your feelings. I’m betting on the latter.

  134. 134
    xian says:

    I thought Mitt promised to never apologize for nothin’?

  135. 135
    Soonergrunt says:

    @xian,
    Well, he still hasn’t done that.

  136. 136
    amk says:

    @Brachiator: usa today is a rw haven. Of course, they will love their annbot.

  137. 137
    MariedeGournay says:

    @John Dillinger: hah! That’s hilarious. Always loved her.

  138. 138
    JGabriel says:

    @WereBear:

    They live in a world where there are no real consequences; not for anything they do. At least in Europe they were taught noblesse oblige, but in egalitarian-dream America; they are just like everyone else …

    I think there was some sense of noblesse oblige in America at one time — FDR comes to mind. But once Ayn Rand’s asshole training manuals became de rigueur reading for young conservatives, the concept of noblesse oblige was replaced by greed is good and übermensch über alles on the right.

    .

  139. 139
    Brachiator says:

    @amk:

    usa today is a rw haven. Of course, they will love their annbot.

    Good point. Didn’t realize that it was a rw haven. I looked through more of the comments. This one stands out.

    ah! touching words from our favorite stay-at-throne mom…

    Damn annbots.

  140. 140
    muddy says:

    @aimai:

    I think the thing everyone is missing here is that the entire line about girls v. boys is a form of “humblebragging.” There is no way that anyone can reverse that line and have it make sense. If she’d had five girls she never would have said “I would come home from visits with my friend’s boys and wish that my little hellion, sluts, would be more like the disciplined, quiet, monks I’d seen at my friend’s houses.” The whole point of the remark is to brag about the manly, uncontrollable, virility of her sons. She’s bragging, and using a faux tone of self deprecation to do it.

    You are right on with this. “He’s all boy!” was the way I used to hear it.

  141. 141
    asiangrrlMN says:

    Louis C.K. on raising boys versus raising girls. Hilarious and terrifyingly apt.

    @aimai: Yep. Pretty much that. “My boys are soooo maaaaanly.”

  142. 142
    amk says:

    @Brachiator: Right. She is your queen. Got it.

  143. 143
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Canadian Shield: Shoulda read the thread first! You winz.

  144. 144
    John Weiss says:

    Mitt Romney is not a nice person. Any way you slice it, he’s a turd.

  145. 145
    jefft452 says:

    “People often ask me what it was like to raise five boys. I won’t sugarcoat it. There were times I wanted to tear my hair out. I can remember visiting my friends’ houses, seeing their daughters’ manners, the way they helped with the chores. Then I would return home to my boys, hoping only that my house was still intact.”

    Maybe, just maybe,
    Lady Ann’s friends were good parents,
    and Lady Ann was a bad parent

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