Us moms wield a lot of power each day, from deciding what our families eat, to where we go on vacation, to how household finances should be spent. So it is no wonder that the mom vote is a big fish to try to catch this election season. Earlier this month, Barack Obama went straight to moms of the blogging community when he spoke (via sattelite) to the attendees of BlogHer. And now the Romney camp is trying to snag that coveted mom vote with the aid of Mitt Romney’s wife Ann.
The mother of five sons spoke at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night and appealed to the moms in the audience and those watching at home. She talked about a “love so deep only a mother can fathom it — the love we have for our children and our children’s children.” And although she comes from a place of privilege, she went on to discuss how many Americans are going through “difficult times…whose work never seems done.”
She also appealed to the cash-strapped, struggling moms and dads, saying:
“They are here among us tonight in this hall; they are here in neighborhoods across Tampa and all across America. The parents who lie awake at night side by side, wondering how they’ll be able to pay the mortgage or make the rent; the single dad who’s working extra hours tonight, so that his kids can buy some new clothes to go back to school, can take a school trip or play a sport, so his kids can feel… like the other kids. And the working moms who love their jobs but would like to work just a little less to spend more time with the kids, but that’s just out of the question with this economy. Or that couple who would like to have another child, but wonder how will they afford it.”
She went on to address how both mothers and fathers are feeling the pressure. “Sometimes I think that late at night, if we were all silent for just a few moments and listened carefully, we could hear a great collective sigh from the moms and dads across America who made it through another day, and know that they’ll make it through another one tomorrow. But in that end of the day moment, they just aren’t sure how.” But then Mrs. Romney went in to appeal directly to the moms: “And if you listen carefully, you’ll hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men. It’s how it is, isn’t it?” Her mom pep rally continued with, “It’s the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right. It’s the moms of this nation — single, married, widowed — who really hold this country together. We’re the mothers, we’re the wives, we’re the grandmothers, we’re the big sisters, we’re the little sisters, we’re the daughters. You know it’s true, don’t you? You’re the ones who always have to do a little more.”
In an appeal to the feminists in the crowd she reflected on how women “know what it’s like to work a little harder during the day to earn the respect (they) deserve at work and then come home to help with that book report which just has to be done.” She went on to pay tribute to moms who try to do it all. “You know what those late night phone calls with an elderly parent are like and the long weekend drives just to see how they’re doing. You know the fastest route to the local emergency room and which doctors actually answer the phone when you call at night. You know what it’s like to sit in that graduation ceremony and wonder how it was that so many long days turned into years that went by so quickly.”
She finished off her tribute to the moms speaking directly to them and saying, “You are the best of America. You are the hope of America. There would not be an America without you. Tonight, we salute you and sing your praises.”
This was an important speech for the Romney campaign, especially since women voters have – as NPR stated – been “spooked by the Republican Party’s positions on reproductive and workplace rights.”
Full disclosure: I am every inch a democrat with lefty leaning but I must say that having Romney’s wife take the stage was a smart and savvy move by the Republican Party. In her speech she was able to come off as relatable, engaging and did a surprisingly good job at playing down her privilege and conservative stances. But one thing about her appeal to us moms is that it could be said by a Republican, a Democrat, a liberal or a member of the green party. Mrs. Romney stayed clear of the hot button topics that are big dividers between the two major parties. She did not talk reproduction rights, she did not talk about equal rights for women in the workplace, and she certainly did not take on Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments. She played it safe. Perhaps too safe. For a die-hard Democrat like me to think, “oh, what a nice speech,” rather than remembering how their stances on almost all the issues are so different than mine, just illustrates how the Republican party is willing to tone down the rhetoric to win votes is a bit scary, to us Dems at least.
Do you think that her mom-centric speech will make a difference?
Image: Mitt Romney.com