Issues analysis
Bad mommy
Joan Swirsky, RenewAmerica analyst
May 13, 2012

In 1960, as a young wife living with my husband on his Ivy League campus, I had a front-row seat when the Feminist Movement made its debut. I was doing nothing, according to Obama mouthpiece Hilary Rosen, because, after all, caring for our infant son, taking care of our home, and supporting the efforts of my equally hard-working husband Steve, was — ala Rosen's characterization of worthy activity — the very definition of sloth.

After all, if Ann Romney, raising five sons, "never worked a day in her life," as Ms. Rosen recently told a panel of slavering Obama acolytes on CNN, then my friends and I were certainly sleep-walking through our days.

Rosen's remark was as repulsive to me as it was to most people. But it wasn't surprising, any more than, say, watching a rhinoceros at the Bronx Zoo roll around in the mud, or a predatory scorpion spew lethal toxins into its prey. That is simply what those species do, just as the leftist species to which Rosen clearly belongs routinely engages in mean-spirited insults — particularly toward attractive, accomplished, and happily married Republican women. They truly can't help themselves. Like Pavlov's dogs, the Rosen species has a visceral, Tourette's-like response that is usually delivered with a patronizing smirk, the better to conceal the near-hysteria they feel at the threat the Ann Romneys of the world represent to their very being.

But where did this species come from? Rosen is only the latest in a long line of angry lefties who, for the most part, have contaminated the public discourse. You have to go back 50 years to fully grasp the genesis of Rosen's fuming, intolerant, envious brand of leftism.

1960, significantly, was the year that the Food and Drug Administration approved the birth-control pill developed by Harvard's Dr. John Rock. For the first time in human history, women had just about foolproof control over reproduction. In America, this was celebrated by the women who would come to be known as feminists as the opportunity to be as promiscuous as the men they resented but secretly envied.

In 1963, Betty Friedan, a leftist intellectual expecting her second child, published "The Feminist Mystique." She had previously surveyed women about the degree of satisfaction they were experiencing in their lives and written articles about "the problem that had no name." In her best-selling book, she defined "the problem" this way:
    "The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning [that is, a longing] that women suffered in the middle of the 20th century in the United States. Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries ... she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question — 'Is this all?'"
Friedan's book struck a nerve in women who were raised by the Greatest Generation of self-sacrificing men and women, those who had suffered through the Great Depression of 1929 and lived through or served in World War II, and so wanted more than anything to spare their children the hardships they had experienced. Her book gave rise to "consciousness-raising" groups throughout the country, and mobilized lobbying efforts to reform the laws and change the opinions that women felt were hostile to their independence and growth.

I joined a CR group and found it fascinating, but I was too naïve at the time to know that the theme of victimization I was hearing was just boilerplate leftism, a theme that turned my stomach enough to convert me from a conservative Democrat to a conservative Republican and subsequently to a rock-ribbed conservative.

The concept of equal pay for equal work was appealing to me, although I wasn't on anyone's payroll at the time because, again, according to Hilary Rosen, I was doing nothing, which by that time meant raising two children (a third would follow), maintaining a home, and supporting the efforts of my equally hard-working husband as he strove to pay for our mortgage, utilities, healthcare, food — the list goes on. Both Steve and I took great pride in our work and thought that our efforts to make a good life together were complementary and of equal value. If only we had had Hilary Rosen to set us straight!

1963 was also the year President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, but the mourning for his Camelot presidency — which his hagiographers continue to this day — did nothing to dampen the juggernaut that Friedan had spearheaded. While women were tireless in forming political alliances — as well as burning bras and snapping at men who opened car doors for them — the tumultuous and tragic '60s hurtled on.

In 1965, the black Marxist anti-American icon Malcolm X was assassinated.

In 1968, peace-loving-and-preaching Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

In 1968, JFK's brother and Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy, was assassinated.

It was also in the sixties that the Black Power movement surged, and when the Jews who helped found the NAACP and who in large numbers were on the front lines of fighting for equality for blacks — some even sacrificing their lives — learned that they themselves were the direct targets of black anti-Semitism. In fact, the same race-baiters who are fanning the flames of anti-Semitism today — the likes of "Reverend" Al Sharpton and "Reverend" Jesse Jackson and "Reverend" Louis Farrakhan and "Reverend" Jeremiah Wright, to name but a few of this devil-quoting-scripture ilk — were hawking the same divisive racist rants a half century ago.

Then there was the Vietnam War — a noble war fought with the righteous intention of ridding the world of the deadly evil of Communism. But the war went horribly wrong, thanks to the incompetent leadership of Democrat President Lyndon B. Johnson, the treacherous actions of leftist Democrats like Jane Fonda and other American traitors, and of course the burgeoning anti-war movement of pot-smoking, love-is-all-you-need draft-dodgers and malcontents who were — and remain to this day — the very antithesis of the Greatest Generation.

Joining them as ideological soul mates were leftists like Bill and Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, Dick Durbin, Christopher Dodd, Barney Frank, Henry Waxman, Nancy Pelosi, and countless others who supported far-left presidential candidates like the defeated George McGovern and the elected Jimmy Carter. Carter, of course, is to this day the embodiment of anti-Americanism, only to be outdone by the America-loathing Barack Obama. But I digress.

Today, a good number of the above-mentioned radicals make up the 70-or-more members of the Socialist Party of America, many of whom now "occupy" Congress, along with the current Secretary of State, Clinton, who wrote her thesis at Wellesley on her favorite Marxist radical Saul Alinsky; and Secretary of Defense Panetta, who has not only gutted our military but recently told Congress that any future military actions would depend on the "permission" he would seek from the corrupt cesspool on 1st Avenue in New York City known as the United Nations.

According to writer Mychal S. Massie, National Chairman of the conservative Black think tank Project 21, "The majority of Americans never understood that the antiwar demonstrators of the late 60s were not just college students...they were hardcore Marxists whose goals take over colleges and universities by becoming administrators and tenured professors."

"Ask yourself," Massie adds, "how terrorists and avowed Marxists like Angela Davis, Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Ward Churchill, and other members of the most violent domestic terrorist groups end up as tenured professors and chairmen of their departments."

The result of the 1960's tsunami-like social upheaval — especially in the leftist bastions on the East and West Coasts where European nanny-state socialism was as irresistible then as it is to leftists today — were children raised on the permissive childrearing philosophy of pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock, "educated" by teachers who strangely thought that feelings trumped academic discipline, and indulged by parents who were never indulged themselves. These ingredients — and the relentless drive of Communists and Socialists to topple America's dazzlingly successful experiment in republican democracy — created the fertile environment for the decadent and violent decade of the sixties to flourish.

Numbers helped. Between 1960 and 1969, 70 million "baby boom" children became teenagers and young adults. When the females of this group learned about "The Pill" and read Friedan's book, many were eager to abandon what they considered the staid and boringly traditional 1950s and embrace "change." Sound familiar?

In 1971, writers Gloria Steinem and Letty Cottin Pogrebin co-founded Ms. Magazine, naming the publication after the neutral way in which they wanted women to be identified so they wouldn't be subjected to the biases then extant in the workplace, when it was perfectly legal to ask a prospective female employee if and when she planned to have children, among other questions designed to limit a women's opportunity to crash the "glass ceiling" of male workplace dominance.

I "got" that concept, but other feminist ideas eluded me completely. Whenever a man would flirt with me, or send me a wolf whistle from a high scaffold, or even proposition me, I knew it was a compliment. He was simply saying that he thought I was attractive. I always responded by saying: "I'm not in the market, but thank you!" The result was that I never had an unpleasant encounter with a man, even when I worked nights as an R.N. in a high-tension hospital environment or dealt with tough editors at The New York Times.

Ultimately, women won the men-being-men battle, to the degree that today men are afraid to smile at a woman for fear of being sued! They also won the workplace-dominance battle — today more than 50 percent of women in the workplace are now doctors and lawyers and even in the military.

But they didn't win the pay-disparity battle. According to a Time magazine article by Laura Fitzpatrick, "U.S. women still earned only 77 cents on the male dollar in 2008," a number that dropped to 68 percent for African-American women and 58 percent for Latinas. And according to Commentary magazine, "female employees in the Obama White House make considerably less than their male colleagues... about 18 percent less than the median salary for male employees."

And they also lost the marriage battle, since more than 50 percent of marriages now end in divorce, and most of those women who stay married are not what anyone would describe as happy. This is partly explained by the degree to which The Pill allowed women to defer marriage and motherhood in favor of a career and how difficult it is to live three or more decades thinking solely about oneself and one's needs and desires, only to marry to beat the ticking time clock of fertility and shift one's heretofore single-minded self-absorption to a husband and baby.

In 1973, the Holy Grail that continued to elude American feminists arrived when the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v Wade that abortion would be legal throughout the country. For feminists, it was not enough that The Pill practically insured protection against pregnancy. Many women were afraid of this form of birth control because it contained hormones; others cited instances of it failing, yet others couldn't be bothered, not only with The Pill but with any form of birth control. The "me" mentality of the sixties had taught them that instant gratification was "where it was at" and that the little "blob of tissue" in their wombs was not a baby at all.

In those years, sonograms had just entered the high-tech scene and this method of visualizing in utero life was not routine, as it is today. So when "experts" said that the result of conception was simply "an undifferentiated mass of tissue," women believed it and proceeded to have abortions in huge numbers, some as a form of birth control — not once but in some cases six and seven and eight times! It is supremely ironic that the very woman who aborted so many babies found herself in her thirties or forties yearning for a baby and then holding up the sonogram pictures of her in-utero "blob of tissue," only this time bragging, "Look at my baby!"

In 1976, to its credit, Ms Magazine was the first publication to feature, as a cover story, the issue of battered women and domestic violence. But abortion remained the most impassioned issue of their writers, as it is to this day — abortion and the utter folly of the nuclear family, meaning Mom and Dad and their children.

And this is why the left became so apoplectic over Sarah Palin. Yes, they hated her conservatism and her knowledge about and support of domestic energy independence. They loathed her longtime happy marriage to — pardon the expression — a man! They were clearly envious of her physical beauty, her athleticism, her articulateness (without a teleprompter!), on and on, and even her military son and three gorgeous daughters. But to leftists everywhere, Palin's truly deeply unforgiveable mortal sin was her failure to abort a child she knew in advance would be born with Down syndrome, her baby Trig. In a nutshell, abortion is what feminism is all about. Sarah Palin repudiated this abomination and in so doing went a long way in sending feminism to its graveyard.

You see, leftists revile traditional families, preferring instead all manner of non-traditional "unions" and, of course, having the State and the UN control everyone's life from cradle to grave. This is why they so resent and revile religion, because the State is their god.

Nowhere is this clearer than in Barack Obama's new composite girlfriend, featured on his campaign website in 'The Life of Julia.' From birth to a head-start program to her teenage and sexually active years (including abortions) to her job prospects to her Social Security benefits, the seemingly unmarried Julia — who needs a husband when you've got the Obama Nanny State?! — is dependent on other people's money to get her through life. As Wall St. Journal columnist James Taranto says: "'The Life of Julia' is an insidious attack on the institution of the family...."

And writer Arnold Ahlert adds that the video omits some "inconvenient facts," such as "the fact that Head Start has demonstrated no useful improvement in a child's educational future; our public schools have become an international embarrassment; Obamacare may be declared unconstitutional; or the fact that this administration has a miserable record of job creation — or the fact that funds underwriting Julia's retirement and medical expenses won't be there because the trajectory of the Obama administration's current spending habits leads inexorably to national bankruptcy."

How cruel of Mr. Obama to recommend a life of such abject dependency, but how predictable given the left's contempt — admixed with envy — for the family and for marriage. Journalist Star Parker cites a 2010 Census Bureau report which stated that while 17.8 percent of American families with children under 18 lived in poverty, in households with children headed by a single mother, 39.6 percent lived in poverty, but in households with children that had married parents, only 8.4 percent lived in poverty. "The evidence is powerful that getting educated and getting married dramatically reduces the prospects for living in poverty," Parker says.

Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly — lawyer, author of 20 books, founder of the Eagle Forum, mother of six, and the woman who single-handedly defeated the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s when she proved that the ERA would, among other negatives, deprive women of Social Security benefits — weighed in on Hilary Rosen's bad behavior.

Schlafly told her readers that "Rosen's gaffe was no mistake. It is what the feminists really think about any mother who would say, as Ann Romney said, 'My career choice was to be a mother.'"

I'm so glad that New York-based political activist Beth Gilinsky decided to address the "faux war" that leftists claim Republicans are waging against women. I, for one, had a hard time trying to figure out why Sandra Fluke wanted me and every other American taxpayer to finance her hyperactive sex life. I really didn't get it. But then a number of leftist talking heads explained to me that the issue was not about Fluke's sex life but about "women's health." Mind-boggling, isn't it?

Here is something that more than boggles the mind. "Women account for 92.3 percent of the jobs — 858,000 jobs — lost under President Obama," Gilinsky writes. "This is a frightening statistic, and there is nothing 'faux' about it."

Gilinsky says she knows many women like Ms. Rosen. "They are in a perpetual war against the Ann Romney-type of American woman. They are jealous and bitter, harboring a seething hatred of what the Romneys represent: a wholesome, sincere, traditional American family."

American women, she adds, "are taking back their traditional femininity" and not allowing "Obama operatives to frame the entire panoply of women's issues merely in terms of our reproductive organs. Our concerns include the destruction of our educational system, threats to our homeland security, the rise of jihadist Islam in America, and adopting sane healthcare reform that will work and not plunge our nation into debt for generations."

Most egregious is that Rosen's attack on Ann Romney was orchestrated at the highest levels in the White House, according to Tad Cronn at "Rosen visited the White House at least 35 times since 2009," Cronn writes, "visiting with top-level communications and political strategists including the likes of Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod and the president himself. There's no way someone that well-connected is going to step out on her own with her opinions...The same goes for her phony 'apology'...."

There you have it, the sordid tale of how reasonable and decent liberals like Congressman and Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson were displaced by the angry, entitled, largely corrupt leftists of today, including paid attack dogs like Hilary Rosen. If American Spectator founder and editor in chief Emmett Tyrrell is correct when he says that in five years liberals will be extinct, I predict the biggest avalanche of confetti in history!

© Joan Swirsky

RenewAmerica analyst Joan Swirsky also writes a column for RenewAmerica.


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They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. —Isaiah 40:31