Admit it. Deep down, although you hate yourself for it, you kind of admire the sheer balls it takes to lie to a room full of reporters like this with a straight face. Not even a hint of sheepishness in his demeanor at playing this dumb, even though the “Hilary B. Rosen” who turns up in the White House logs has the same middle initial and the same unorthodox spelling of “Hilary” (with one L) as our heroine. You earned your pay today, Jay.
Usually I can get a sense of when a full-fledged media shinolastorm is brewing from the amount of early buzz about a story on Twitter, but I didn’t see this one coming. There was some anger about it last night in my timeline after she did her hit on CNN but I figured it’d be a one-hour thing. Sixteen hours later, here we are. I’ve been thinking about that all day: What essential ingredients are needed to turn indignation at a strategist on the other side into a sensation that dominates the day’s news cycle? Obviously there’s genuine offense at the heart of it about stay-at-home moms being demeaned, especially by a sneering Beltway bien-pensant, but that’s not normally page-one news. Other possible ingredients:
— Payback for The One’s moronic “war on women” demagoguery. It’s one thing to see Ann Romney and other moms insulted, it’s another to have it done by Team Hopenchange, whose record on gender equality doesn’t quite justify the amount of finger-wagging it tends to do on this topic. Axelrod and company deserve to have their faces rubbed in this pile of bilge, even if they did run screaming from Rosen on Twitter after her CNN segment.
— Punishment for the left’s perceived disdain for full-time moms. Rosen’s comments match how the right thinks the left — or at least the left’s intelligentsia — actually sees stay-at-home mothers, even though liberals will never admit it. The Political Math guy summed it up in one simple Venn diagram. It’s not really about Rosen, it’s about hammering liberals for trying to hide from her Kinsleyan gaffe simply because it’s politically inconvenient for them to come clean.
— Pushback against media bias. The press would have wet itself had a righty pundit disparaged stay-at-home moms this way — “war on women, war on women!!1!” — so the right’s going to do its best to reduce the double standard by making this story as big a deal as possible. The noisier things get, the more the media has to grit its teeth and spend ink and airtime on a meme that’s unhelpful to their boyfriend.
— It’s a way to unite behind Romney. That’ll be a process, of course, not something that happens overnight, but after a long primary it feels good to come to the defense of a standard-bearer whom many grassroots conservatives still don’t quite trust. Special thanks to Rosen for choosing as her target the single most likable member of the Romney campaign. That made things easy.
Anything else I’m missing? I think the second reason is what’s chiefly driving it, even more so than scoring a point on Obama and making him back off on the “war on women” crap. It’s the suspicion that progressives generally, not just Rosen, look down on women who can afford to work but who choose to stay at home, either because they underestimate the amount of labor involved or because they think full-time motherhood is “unhelpful” to the cause of feminism. Anyway, read Kevin Williamson at NRO for more on that.