Somebody needs to take care of the kids, and the Ann Romney working mom debate is evidence that child care is mostly invisible in economic and political discussion – until someone misspeaks.
It's hard not to appreciate the scene in the aftermath of the Ann Romney versus Hilary Rosen mommy wars dustup: Republicans scrambling over themselves to voice shocked feminism, and the Democrats scrambling over themselves to smooth over a gaff that offended women – and then making the assertion that the whole thing doesn’t really matter that much anyhow.
But I also wonder if all sides might be missing a big point.
The Obama camp is sticking up for stay-at-home-mom Ms. Romney, whose husband the president is likely to be running against in November elections: Michelle Obama tweeted yesterday that “Every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected.” President Obama said the comment by Ms. Rosen, a Democratic strategist that Romney had "never worked a day in her life" was "the wrong thing to say." The president's strategist David Axlrod tweeted that he was "disappointed" with Rosen's "inappropriate and offensive" words. Rosen even apologized, saying she was sorry if she had offended people and asking to "declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance."
I don't write much about politics – don't really want to. And sure, in the grand scheme of the presidential landscape (hello North Korean nuclear program!), perhaps Rosen is correct – the mommy wars should not, probably, be given too much weight.
But it’s hard to stomach the idea that this issue doesn’t have substance.
Since we first wrote about this yesterday, I’ve been thinking a lot about one of Rosen’s Tweets – one she wrote before the grand apology. Read it, and see if you catch the missing link: the people behind the women who work out of the home - the childcare providers.