John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Pundit’s Peril

Posted on April 13, 2012


            I like Hillary Rosen, although I rarely if ever have agreed with her politically.

 

She is a canny political operative, a smart strategist and she is plenty tough when she needs to be.

 

Hillary has found herself in an unenviable position.  She has become the news rather than being somebody who merely comments on the news.  And she is being Sister Souljah’d by her own allies.

 

For those who don’t know, Hillary made regrettable comments about Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s wife on a cable news network the other day.

 

She said that Ann Romney hasn’t worked a day in her life.

 

Anybody who spends any amount of time around kids knows that raising 5 kids is a bunch of work.  Hard, back-breaking, and frequently emotionally taxing work.  I know plenty of women (and most men) who see the “workplace” a much easier place to deal with than the home place.

 

And there have been plenty of studies that show that for all of the work that mothers do, they don’t really get well compensated.  But, of course, it isn’t about the financial benefits these days (although it certainly would be nice if the kids, when they grow up, can get out of the house, get a job, contribute to the Social Security System, and maybe pick up a dinner or two long the way).  It’s about the feeling of fulfillment that comes from being a mother and a father.

 

Hillary Rosen is a mother, so she should get all of that.  And I guess I understand what she was trying to say, although I think she underestimates Ann Romney’s role in Mitt Romney’s success.  I actually think that the wife is a much better candidate than the husband, much more authentic, a better speaker and a more accessible personality.

 

What is interesting to me is how both the Romney and Obama campaigns used Rosen’s comments for their own devices, all in an effort to attract the vitally important married women vote.   Romney’s campaign, who is behind in this demographic, had obvious reasons to take on Hillary, and they did so quickly.  David Axelrod and Michele Obama –followed in short order by the President himself –the quickly responded by throwing Rosen under the bus and then backing it up and back until the CNN pundit was flat on her back.

 

If you take a wider view, nobody should really care what Hillary Rosen said about Ann Romney. She is a pundit, not a candidate herself.  She doesn’t work for the campaign, although it has been noted that she had been a frequent visitor to the White House, in her role as a non-lobbying lobbyist.

 

God knows, and you all know, that I have said or written my fair share of stupid things on this blog and on television on occasion.  Pundits are asked to comment on a wide variety of things, and sometimes they know what they are talking about and sometimes they have no clue.  And sometimes they sound really smart and sometimes, as is the case with this Hillary Rosen whopper, they sound really not so smart.

 

It is now the pundit’s peril, in this super-heated campaign, that everything they say can and will be used against them, especially if it fits into the campaign strategies of Team Romney and Team Obama.