Sunday, April 15, 2012

The help, help!

Updated 4/16/2012
Updated 4/17/2012

Frank Bruni's heart bleeds for Mrs. Romney, who was so grievously insulted by Hilary Rosen, who said she'd never worked a day in her life, because of his own dear mom, who raised four kids without venturing into the cash economy, and clearly worked her ass off.

I would be remiss in my duty to my own mother, who brought up five of us in the same way back when that was a normal thing to do, and to the one of my three sisters who has had the opportunity and inclination to do the same, with four, if I did not stop here to say, No, Frank, your mom is not the same as Mrs. Romney. [jump]

La Jolla, California. The one that's only half the size it needs to be. From Celebrity Networth.

Not to say that she never did any work; Rosen's complaint was unartfully worded, to say the least. I have no reason to doubt young Ben Romney:
“Growing up, we never had a nanny or a ‘mommy’s helper.’ Never went to daycare,” Ben wrote. “I was just one out of five, but always felt like I was the most important thing in her life.
“When I left for school in the morning (after she had made me breakfast), she was there. When I came home at the end of the day, she was there. She drove me to HOURS of my sports lessons and competitions (baseball, tennis, basketball, etc), and was my #1 fan in the stands. She encouraged my musical interests, and cheered me on at my piano recitals and high school band concerts. I could go on and on.”
But the nanny and the day care center are for moms who need to go to an office somewhere (and Disney Poppins moms, out demonstrating for women's suffrage, the wicked things, but of course Poppins will teach them better), and they're taking on the fun part of the job. What about the other servants?

Which is where the story starts, as Romney stories tend to do, getting a little weird. Huffington Post reports:
IRS forms released Tuesday by Mitt Romney's presidential campaign show that despite reporting income of $21.7 million, the couple paid only $20,603 in taxable wages for household help in 2010. This figure was divided among four women: Rosania Costa ($4,808), Kelli Harrison ($8,667), Susan Moore ($2,238) and Valerie Cravens Anae ($4,890).
(Harrison, said to have functioned in a personal assistant–type role, was an employee of Romney's Free and Strong America PAC as well in 2010.)
Lake Winnepesaukee, New Hampshire. Photo by Battle Architects.
That's a total amount that would barely pay a half-time housekeeper for a 2000–sq.ft. townhouse in the Boston area, not to mention the
5,400 sq. ft. lake house on 11 acres in Wolfeboro, N.H., and a beach house in La Jolla, Calif., that is undergoing renovations to double its size.
Do Willard and the boys and their wives and children do a really fantastic job of cleaning up after themselves over all this territory? Do the Romneys employ a cleaning service to take care of the New Hampshire place? (It wouldn't have to be mentioned in the tax returns, since the service is the employer liable for taxes.) Was there really no cook, with all the entertaining people in that class need to do? Did the four women mentioned work in parallel, coming in every so often special occasions, or a couple of hours here and there, or did they work in serial, each replacing the previous one after she proved unsatisfactory?
Tagg's place in Belmont, Mass. From Parade.
And is that really the whole story? Quite sure there wasn't anybody who was maybe not getting her FICA paid, who was maybe not carrying the right sort of residency permission or none at all, who was maybe sent off in the middle of the year, just as happened with the Guatemalan groundskeepers in 2008 ("I'm running for office, for Pete's sake!").

Whatever the case, you can bet Mrs. Romney had lots more help than Mrs. Bruni, or Mrs. Yastreblyansky for that matter, and that's not the important thing anyway. The point is that Romney has designated his wife as his principal (unpaid) advisor on women's issues—you're not supposed to suspect him of not knowing anything about women's issues because he can always just ask Ann—but what evidence is there that she knows any more about them than he does?

Update 4/16
Meanwhile, Willard is still saying that poor women need to be forced to take jobs,  even if they have two-year-olds at home. "It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work."

But you just said staying at home with the children was... Wait a minute!

Update 4/17
I know, rich ladies who stay at home with their kids are different from poor ones because they're job creators. Think of them as small businesses primarily active in identifying tax-shelter options for their dad-partners.
Recycled from comments at Whiskey Fire.

Update 7/21
The vacation home of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney rests beside Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, N.H. The 13-acre estate features a six-bedroom house, a horse stable with guest apartments above it, a $630,000 boat house, tennis and volleyball courts and a shoreline stretching 768 feet — more than double the length of a football field — according to public property records. Romney and his wife, Ann, purchased the home in 1997 for $2.5 million and later bought adjoining land. This year, records show, the estate was assessed at $8 million.  (Washington Post 7/2/2012 )
From CBS News.


  1. Your a douchebag. It was VERY disrespectful to ALL women when Hilary made that comment - even Michelle Obama said so! Michelle Obama said that Hilary was "very wrong" and that "all women deserve respect" ... what bullshit. (and I am a Democrat/Independent) Besides I don't know why you have a problem w/ Romney's wealth alone (Kerry was wealthy) if you don't like the way he made it that's one thing - but it is no crime to be wealthy! Besides if you want to highlight his wealth show a different picture , that first NH pic is no big deal - that house isn't fancy at all ... it's just a (albeit kinda ugly) little country house.

    1. Look, Ms. Rosen is correctly blamed for not knowing how much work it is to raise five kids on a single income. What I can say and Ms. Obama cannot (since she has to be exquisitely polite 24 hours a day) is that Ms. Romney doesn't know either, because she has enough income for a whole village. It's not the wealth I object to, honest, or even the way it was sucked out of the economy (it wasn't illegal). I object to the way wealthy conservatives think they deserve it, the way they think they earned it without any government assistance, the smugness and certitude. Kerry got his the old fashioned way (marrying a Republican) but always understands he has to give something back—in blood, sweat, tears, and income tax. He's a noble liberal rich guy.

      The country house isn't meant to be pretty, but it's not little. I've added a new picture.