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:
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Honduras Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sandes Must Demand Answers
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Gilbert Mercier
Donald Trump: Caligula of the Lowest Common Denominator Empire?
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Robert Dodge
On President Obama’s Hiroshima Visit
Andrew Moss
Bridge to Wellbeing?
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
May 26, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts
The Looting Stage of Capitalism: Germany’s Assault on the IMF
Pepe Escobar
Hillary Clinton: A Major Gold-Digging Liability
Sam Pizzigati
America’s Cosmic Tax Gap
Ramzy Baroud
Time to End the ‘Hasbara’: Palestinian Media and the Search for a Common Story
José L. Flores
Wall Street’s New Man in Brazil: The Forces Behind Dilma Rousseff’s Impeachment
Patrick Cockburn
The Battle of Fallujah: ISIS Unleashes Its Death Squads
John Feffer
The Coming Drone Blowback
Alex Ray
The Death Toll in Syria: What Do the Numbers Really Say?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail