Laundry vs. Politics: Don't Worry Your Pretty Little Heads!Joanne Bamberger
Just when you think politicians have figured out how to avoid stepping in it with women voters, a new gaffe comes along to remind us that maybe they just can’t help themselves, even in an election year when both parties tried to turn their conventions, at least in part, into mamapaloozas. So this week’s throwback comments on the GOP campaign trail in Ohio caught many women by surprise.
Ohio is a really important swing state for President Obama and Mitt Romney. It’s pretty much impossible to win the White House without Ohio’s 18 electoral votes, and no Republican candidate has ever won the presidency without Ohio.
So Romney and his team are certainly cringing today after Ohio Governor John Kasich, who’s supposed to be convincing the voters of his state that Romney should be their guy, probably should have thought a little bit more before reducing the wives and moms of political husbands to 21st century June Cleavers. Exactly what did Kasich say that he can’t shake off?
That’s right. Republican political wives aren’t out on the campaign trail with them because they’re just too darn busy folding sheets and towels, and then running after the kids. Kasich’s implicit message was that GOP women-folk know their place when it comes to who should be lifting the laundry basket vs. who should be doing the political heavy lifting of stump speeches.
(I’m not sure who was doing the Kasich family laundry when his wife was a working professional. For 20 years).
But just when I was ready to make this a conservative vs. progressive issue, I found out about one Democratic leader who’s just as guilty. The head of the Massachusetts Democratic party proclaimed that U.S. Senator Scott Brown, a Republican from that state, was trying to be an “honorary girl” as he was shown folding the family’s load of whites in a recent campaign ad.
Seriously, dudes? This is getting old on both sides of the aisle. We know that some of you think that we ladies with children do nothing all day other than make sure we have the brightest whites and then tie on that pink gingham apron to bake either our chocolate chip cookies or the oatmeal treats with M&M’s. You’re lucky if your wives have the luxury of not worrying about bringing home a paycheck and can stay focused on ironing your shirts. But I can assure you, none of you are going to get the all-important “suburban mom” vote if you keep assuming that we’re also not juggling full-time jobs while managing the family responsibilities, too.
Talk down to women voters about the laundry, and assume they’re not more concerned about the economy and health care, at your peril.
And as for that basket of unfolded laundry at the bottom of the steps? I’m hoping that Mrs. Kasich leaves it there until her husband takes a lesson from Scott Brown.
Read more from me at my place PunditMom and in my Amazon best-selling book, Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America (A great pre-2012 election read!)
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