Sunday, May 6, 2012

Annie's Song

Another story to distract us from the real issues of the 2012 Presidential campaign, or was it really? I'm talking about what is certain to go down in historical annals as The Affair of Ann Romney's Blouse.

What made headlines last week was Willard's wife appearing with him on a morning talk-show wearing a Krakoff original designer blouse worth a whopping $990! Dan Zak, writing in The Washington Post, isn't at all phased by this and doesn't think the public should be either.

Does the blouse prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Romneys are out of touch with the people?
 Or does the blouse merely prove that Ann Romney is — like many other wives in politics — a presentable, upper-class woman who purchased it because she liked it and could afford it, and that we should focus instead on matters that truly affect the United States of America?

Well, maybe he has a point. Most political wives - specifically, most wives of politicians who make it to the tip of the iceberg and aspire to the Oval Office - aren't going to wear clothing bought off-the-rack at the local department store. In fact, I doubt any First Lady in recent years has done that, except, maybe Rosalyn Carter.

We also know Michelle Obama has taken plenty of flak for the fact that she wears designer gear as well, especially when turning up to "shop" at Target. Of course, that criticism has mostly come from people on the Right, who - knowing the First Lady's background (amongst other things) - have a singular penchant for seeing Mrs Obama "know her place."

Mrs Romney, on the other hand, was born to designer gear. Her background is similar to Willard's. She went to the girls' counterpart of the exclusive private school he attended. She was from a wealthy background also.

Rather than Dan Zak's dismissal of this issue, I tend to agree with Jonathan Capehart's assessment - that it really was a faux pas of - maybe - not the best taste for the wife of a Presidential candidate to wear such an item of clothing during a time, still, of economic hardship - especially, when her husband is trying to establish a believeable rapport with the middle and working classes. In that instance, it's really not mete for the wife to show up sporting an article of clothing which costs more money than some people make in a month.

Clothes on the campaign trail say a lot about the person wearing them. And the message they communicate to voters can be as important as the actual words coming out the candidate’s or surrogate’s mouth, whether they like it or not. Meghan McCain believes Ann Romney made a mistake wearing that Krakoff T-shirt. “She needs to be a little more cognizant of the message she’s trying to put out, just given the economic recession that we’re in and everything that’s going on,” she said last night on “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell.”
This is true, especially for the Romneys. From the $10,000 bet to “Ann has a couple of Cadillacs, actually,” the candidate is seen as being out of touch with anyone not in the 1 percent. As a result, folks are looking for any and every sign that Mitt and Ann aren’t like the rest of us. 

(Of course, that's rich - pun intended - coming from Meghan, considering her mother, at the Republican National Convention in 2008, appeared in a frock which was, reportedly, worth five figures).

This blouse incident isn't the first unintended error scored by Mrs Romney on the campaign trail. Remember at the very outset, the PR story put about emphasized her shyness, and how she was the humanising aspect or the Romney Robot, how normal she is. Well, she's anything but normal. If we're talking about normality, I'd say she's as normal as the next rich, entitled sorority girl who knows how to score points by playing the victim.

The problem with girls like that, as I recall from being a girl myself, being in a sorority and - well, being the occasional bitch - is that, quite often in the next sentence, the girl reveals herself as a fraud.

Example? The Hilary Rosen Mommy Wars controversy. Without opening her mouth, people from both sides of the political spectrum - most notably, the Democrats - rushed to distance themselves from Rosen and hastened to emphasize the importance of stay-at-home moms and what hard jobs they have. A few days later, Ann's referring to that moment as a "little birthday present," as if to say, "Screw you, peones. Who came out of that one smelling like roses?"

Then, there was the Diane Sawyer interview on ABC, where not only did candidate Romney issue a peremptory demand that the President "start packing," but also Ann put her tuppence in by insisting that it was "their" turn now for the White House. (In other words, we've let the nigras have a shot at four years, now let's get the white folk back in the White House.)

The whole aura she conveys, like her husband, is one where they are both tremendously out of touch with the people they are trying to reach. The sad reality is that that demographic will most likely vote for Romney because of the colour of his skin as opposed to the current incumbent, who's done more to better their lot than any Republican President would ever do and, indeed, any Democratic President has done since Lyndon Johnson.

What we see with the Romneys - with their car elevator, Ann's two Cadillacs and, indeed, Ann's expensive designer blouse - is a grand sense of entitlement.

If there were to be a theme song for Ann Romney during this campaign, a tune to be blared out over loudspeakers whenever she's scheduled to make a speaking appearance, I'd suggest something form the musical Evita.

Evita Peron resonates strongly with the War on Women waged by the Republicans today. Evita came from the wrong side of the tracks and slept worked her way to the top, or almost the top, of the Argentinian political heap. Before there was Maggie Thatcher, there was Evita; and before there was Jackie O, there was Evita. Combine the tenacious political acumen Thatcher with the fashion sense of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and you have Evita Peron, who never broke the glass ceiling to become an actual leader of a country, but who became the real power behind the man Juan Domingo Peron, that when she died, his autocracy crumbled without her sheer persona (however phony it might be) to hold it all together -and she achieved all of this when (until the very end) women, in Argentina, were not allowed to vote.

Who knows what she may have achieved had not that most feminine of cancers, the cervical type, not killed her?

Still, for the duration of the Romney campaign, I nominate this little ditty to be designated as "Annie's Song:"
Take it away, Madonna ... -

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