On Super Tuesday evening, as the primary results came in and Ann Romney took to the microphone with her accustomed professionalism to warm up the crowd for her husband Mitt, there was a fresh emphasis to her message.
“I have something to say about some of the women I’m hearing from,” she began. “We’ve been all across this country. Do you know what women care about? Women care about jobs. Women care about the economy. They care about their children, and they care about the debt.”
These election-night effusions are not improvised. There was a script here and behind the script a political team. Someone was saying: Let’s move the argument away from where we’re getting stuck — on issues such as abortion and women’s access to contraception. Republicans are beginning to look obsessive, not to say intrusive and coercive, talking (in Virginia) about demanding that women be subjected to transvaginal probes before undergoing an abortion. The language alone is repulsive. Let’s make our central issues into women’s issues.
Republicans can only benefit by giving someone such as Ann Romney somewhat more sensible lines to pursue, central points to make. … She is not an entirely gaffe-free zone. She seemed to hand her enemies a gift the other day, when she was quoted as saying: “I don’t even consider myself wealthy.” …
But the point she was making in context was not stupid. She was talking about suffering from multiple sclerosis and having been through breast cancer.
What she was perhaps trying to say — but couldn’t quite express — was that gloating over your wealth doesn’t help when you are seriously sick. You have other priorities.
But someone might just point out to her that her husband’s fiscal plans are due to benefit the rich and penalize the poor. Sickness has made her more compassionate, no doubt.
Could she please share a little of that compassion with her highly tax-efficient husband?
London Evening Standard (March 15)