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
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail