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posted: 4/18/2012 1:00 AM

Truth a casualty in 'Mommy Wars'

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Virtually everything said and done in a presidential election year distorts the truth, much like concave and convex mirrors in a carnival attraction alter one's true reflection.

That kind of distortion occurred in the recent dust-up over whether women who choose to stay at home can completely understand the economic challenges and personal struggles faced by women who choose, or need, to work outside the home while raising children.

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There is no question that professional women receive much more societal validation than "stay-at-home moms." Few magazine covers at the checkout line or full-page ads promoting events and awards to "successful" women, laud mothers who stay home to raise their children. There aren't a lot of television shows today like "Ozzie and Harriett," "Leave It to Beaver" or "Father Knows Best."

The view expressed by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen that Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, has "never worked a day in her life" and thus can't relate to struggling families is bogus. Can a politician who has never held a job in the private sector relate to those who work there, or are searching for a job there? I'm thinking of the former community organizer, now president, Barack Obama. Can a career politician like Vice President Joe Biden identify with someone who doesn't have the perks -- planes, limousines, high pay and discounted, or free health care -- he has enjoyed for most of his career?

Former Vice President Dan Quayle's wife, Marilyn, who is an attorney, said it best at the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston: " ... having a profession is not incompatible with being a good mother or a good wife. ... Women's lives are different from men's lives. We make different trade-offs. We make different sacrifices. And we get different rewards."

If a woman "chooses" to work at home (and aren't politically liberal women supposed to support a woman's career choice?) and if she feels adequately compensated, shouldn't her choice be affirmed, not only by her husband or partner, if she has one, but also by society?

Similarly, if a woman wants to work, or must work outside her home, shouldn't she be equally supported by society and not made to feel added guilt and pressure? Reasonable people ought to be able to answer, "yes," to both questions.

Still, all of this is a distraction. Even if Ann Romney had chosen to work outside her home (and she did perform a great deal of volunteer work while battling breast cancer and multiple sclerosis), and even if she then could -- in Rosen's mind -- relate to other women who made that same decision, how would that make anyone else's life better? Would such a choice by Romney have improved the economy so that women who want to work outside the home, but can't find jobs, get one? Would it have allowed women to stay home if they were afforded that "luxury?"

This is what politics has become. It's about feelings and image, not substance and ideas that work. Because of skyrocketing debt, high unemployment and the failed policies they have promoted, Democrats cling to feelings and focus on one's ability to relate. But it's a fiction to believe that the only women's issues of importance are those promoted by the left.

Liberal women are attempting to dominate women who share a different political and moral worldview. It's all a house of mirrors; nothing more than a distortion of reality in an election year. Expect to see more of the same between now and November.

2012 Tribune Media Services

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