FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Being Ann Romney

by MICHAEL TRACEY

Ann Romney addressed an all-white crowd on Tuesday afternoon in Littleton, CO. Literally — I did not see a single person of color there, except for Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff, a candidate for the Colorado House of Representatives and one of the featured speakers, who introduced herself as a “proud Hispanic conservative woman.” But other than Clarice, unless I missed something, this was a uniformly white affair. (As a “Women for Mitt” production, it was also quite mom-heavy.)

Most of the ladies were friendly and very willing to chat, so I asked Nada Graves, 78, of nearby Englewood, to comment on what she perceived as the key differences between Ann Romney and Michelle Obama. “Well, I don’t know if I should say the obvious thing,” Graves replied. “And what would that be?” I inquired.

“One is black and one is white.”

“Well… yes,” I said. Graves did not appear to make this (technically true…) observation out of racial animus. “Ann is a seasoned, wise human being,” she continued. “Michelle is young — she hasn’t had a chance to have much wisdom.” Graves also remarked on Michelle’s “immaturity,” best exemplified by the lavish “date nights” she has taken with Barack to Broadway shows in New York City.

I mentioned that while Michelle Obama held prominent jobs before becoming First Lady — law firm associate, vice president at a major Chicago hospital, and so forth — Ann has, for the most part, spent her life in the home. To Graves, in fact, this was a primary source of Mrs. Romney’s “wisdom.” And while Graves might find Michelle distasteful in certain respects, she does not dislike her on a personal level — just strongly prefers the Romney clan. “She’s had breast cancer, MS,” Graves said of Ann, “many ups-and-downs in her life.” (It seems Ann Romney’s triumph over various “health challenges” is one of her most oft-cited accomplishments.)

On Michelle, Graves added: “If she were really serious about public education, she should send her children to public school.”

Introducing Ann was a woman named Angela Lawson, who appeared to be chosen for no other reason other than that she voted for Obama in 2008, but now enthusiastically backs Mitt Romney. Lawson seemed nervous, fumbling over words. The president has “put our troops in danger,” she said, on account of the upcoming sequestration cuts to the defense budget. (Cuts which, of course, were demanded by the House GOP in a deal to avert a default on the country’s debt in July 2011)

“I’m toasty hot!” proclaimed a very unhappy young boy who was lying on the grass at the rally. He was wearing an American flag bandana.

Ann herself invoked themes familiar to those who watched her speech at the Republican National Convention. Her grandparents immigrated from Wales, we were again informed, and her grandfather started working in the coalmines at age six — demonstrating his self-reliance and drive. Another major theme was Family; three Romney grandchildren, looking extremely bored, flanked Ann onstage. “We know that everything is on the line in this election,” she declared, with traditional American values most in jeopardy “probably since the founding of this Nation.”

“Win the debate!” somebody in the crowd shouted. Ann was in town because Mitt had set up shop in the Denver area to prepare for tonight’s big event. “Let’s celebrate the fact that we’re all Americans!” she exhorted.

Ellen Roller, a volunteer for the Romney campaign (phone-banking, etc) told me she felt Ann better embodies American values than Michelle: “Ann Romney has lived through what Mitt put together, the businesses that he built,” she said, while by contrast, “Obama has never had a job; he doesn’t know about payroll, hiring and firing…”

Roller and her husband are small business owners themselves — real estate management — and have been shaken by the anti-business climate imposed by Obama. “People are scared,” she said. “We need to open up the regulations, so people can get ahead.” This was the first time the couple ever attended a presidential-level political rally in person, due to their fear that their seven grandchildren will suffer from over-regulation.

Among some ladies, a main objection to Michelle is that her wardrobe is unbecoming of the White House. “Ann is a real lady, and Michelle isn’t,” said Valerie Nixon of Littleton, a regular Romney campaign volunteer. “Ann has class and style,” remarked Dianne C. of Colorado Springs (her husband ordered her not to provide a surname). “I don’t think Michelle dresses classily.”

“She looks like somebody going out to the beach on a Sunday afternoon,” Dianne added.

An elderly lady named Alice told me she respected Ann for being “a good mother, a family woman,” but harbored no antipathy for Michelle. “I think they have a good family,” she said of the Obamas. “I don’t hate people.”

Michael Tracey writes  for Salon and The American Conservative.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
David Swanson
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Randy Shields
Tom Regan: The Life of the Animal Rights Party
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mike Garrity
Why Should We Pay Billionaires to Destroy Our Public Lands? 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Ezra Kronfeld
Joe Manchin: a Senate Republicrat to Dispute and Challenge
Clancy Sigal
The Nazis Called It a “Rafle”
Louis Proyect
Socialism Betrayed? Inside the Ukrainian Holodomor
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
David Yearsley
Founding Father of American Song
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail