While extolling her own suffering, Ann Romney complained about how You People have demonized the great compassion evinced in The Mitt Romney, and added, “And for people to think that we don’t have empathy just because we’re not suffering like they’re suffering is– is ridiculous. It’s– it’s ridiculous to think that you can’t have empathy for somebody that’s struggling.”
Mrs. Romney did concede that their suffering has not been financial, contrary to the story of tuna on the ironing board told at the RNC. But she is here to tell you that just because they haven’t suffered financially doesn’t mean they haven’t suffered; she has MS. She wants you to believe in their compassion.
Watch here via NBC:
Transcript from NBC (emphasis mine):
MS. ROMNEY: Well, I think the– the thing that I want to communicate to people, and that it’s so important that people understand, is that Mitt and I do recognize that we have not had a financial struggle in our lives. But I want people to believe in their hearts that we know what it is like to struggle. And our struggles have not been financial, but they’ve been with health and with difficulties in– in different things in life. And one thing that I– that I again like to remind people is that multiple sclerosis has been my teacher. It has been at times a cruel teacher. But it has also been a great gift in my life because what it has done it has taught me to be more compassionate and caring for others that are suffering. And I know that people are suffering right now. And for people to think that we don’t have empathy just because we’re not suffering like they’re suffering is– is ridiculous. It’s– it’s ridiculous to think that you can’t have empathy for somebody that’s struggling.
Our life has always been devoted to those that are struggling more than we are and I was grateful for the opportunity that we had at the convention for others to speak up and talk about the kind of lives we’ve led– we’ve led. And in particular for Mitt who really has been demonized in many ways as being heartless. And for people to stand up and say, excuse me, he was there when my son was dying of leukemia. He came to my son’s bedside. He did all of these things for my son. And then another woman saying how Mitt was there for her. So there’re hundreds of those stories that haven’t been told. And it was refreshing to me for the American people to finally be able to see the lens through which I see my husband and the perspective in which I understand how he operates.
She was so close. She started off well. She was open and warm in the beginning. I believe that Ann Romney has suffered due to MS. I’ll bet she’s very understanding about health challenges.
But then Ann let her anger get the best of her, and we got another lecture about how ridiculous it is of us to think they don’t know suffering. Out came the sharp tone, jutting chin of disdain, and the irritated, angry condemnation of the People.
It’s unclear how Mrs. Romney’s suffering translates into policy for the People, as they are planning to repeal ObamaCare and certainly the average American is unable to afford a dressage horse as therapy for MS. Without ObamaCare, many Americans would be thrown off of their insurance once it was discovered that they had MS. What would Mrs. Romney tell them? How would her suffering help them?
We give Mrs. Romney major points in the suffering department, as MS is surely not easy to cope with. However, we hope that she realizes one day that not everyone has the money to get the best healthcare, as she has been fortunate enough to benefit from. Still, it’s rather awkward to have her very real physical suffering thrown in the face of questions about their economic policies.
Our question remains, however, how does this suffering translate to compassionate economic policy? The reason Americans are focused on the fact that the Romneys have never suffered economically is not because they don’t believe it’s possible for wealthy folks to be empathetic; it’s because neither Mitt nor Ann have demonstrated that they really understand the average American’s economic struggles, let alone care to address them via policy.
So, we are given no answers to this question. We are told by Mrs. Romney that these issues are not important. We have no idea if they get it or not, but we do know that Mr. Romney’s tax policies do not show any compassion for the middle class or poor.
As for demonization, Mrs. Romney seems to expect you people to stay silent when you don’t like a policy of her husband. She had help today from David Gregory who wondered aloud if Mormons were getting past a “level of persecution.” Gregory’s compassion is to be applauded, but where was/is it for Muslim Americans and indeed our current President, who is in fact a Christian, but who has been demonized as a Muslim relentlessly by Mr. Romney’s own party.
Does “demonization” include being accused of not loving this country, or not being Anglo-Saxon, or being falsely accused of being the “food stamp President” or falsely accused of taking work out of welfare requirements or having a bunch of ill-informed bigots demand your birth certificate? Apparently not. Being demonized is defined as people asking questions about your policies.
Questions the Romneys will not answer.
Furthermore, Mrs. Romney finds it “ridiculous” for You People to suggest that people who lived off of their father’s stocks in college might not get it. Is she demonizing You People? I don’t think so, because You People can’t be demonized. Demonization is for the elite who deserve better.
It’s disquieting that Mrs. Romney has so much time to focus on her feelings of being demonized and yet no time to work her magic on Mitt in order to awaken him to the reality that real living human beings who are just as deserving as she are suffering and would suffer more under his proposed policies. Thus far, Mr. Romney’s policies do not reflect any knowledge of this fact. It’s in the policy, people. We care about the policies because they impact our lives.
Ann Romney has a bit o’ Palin on her – she finds delicious persecution hiding in every corner and feels entitled to nothing less than worship. Questions are not tolerated. We are – in tone and via her refusal to answer– being told, as we were in actual words by the McCain Palin campaign, that we must show deference.
See, it’s not your suffering that bothers Ann Romney. It’s that you dare to think that she has not suffered.
Mr. Romney told NBC today, “But the reason I’m in this race is to help people. I’m not in this race to slow the rise of the oceans or to heal the planet. I’m in this race to help the American people.” Never mind that climate change hurts people. We get his point. But how is he going to help people? Which people?
The Romneys claim Mitt is running for President because they care about us, and so Ann Romney’s focus on her feelings seems a bit off. In fact, she’s teetering a wee bit too close to the edge of Blood Libel territory with her “it’s all about my feelings” anger. Can we just hear about what the Romneys want to do for us, or must we pay homage to her suffering while stifling our questions about their policies?
It’s time we ask which American people the Romneys care about. Perhaps this has been a great misunderstanding, and while we thought we were to be included in the “American people”, we are actually not a part of “real America”.
In “real America”, we’re told by the Romney campaign, no one cares about the issues. They care about the lies Romney wants to seed regarding Obama. I hope, dear peasants, that this clears things up for You People. Your opinion is nothing but “ridiculous”, and if you want some more of that, vote for Republicans this November.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.