It’s Time to Let Momgate Die a Natural Death

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Our story so far: Last week Hilary Rosen said Ann Romney had “never worked a day in her life.” Republicans erupted in faux outrage. Being a mother is work! Rosen apologized. The outrage continued. Then Chris Hayes dug up a video of Mitt Romney saying that mothers on welfare needed to get out of the house: “Even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work….It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.” Hah! So Republicans think that raising kids is only work for wealthy housewives, not for poor single mothers. Heartless bastards.

So now we have this:

A handful of House Democrats, encouraged by the recent bipartisan agreement that stay-at-home moms should be considered just as hard working as anyone in the workforce, will introduce legislation to apply that standard to mothers on welfare as well.

Under current law, raising children does not count toward the required “work activity” that must be performed by recipients of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, the federal program that emerged from the 1996 welfare reform….The Women’s Option to Raise Kids (WORK) Act, a copy of which was provided to HuffPost in advance of its introduction, would allow mothers with children ages 3 and under to stay at home with their children and continue receiving benefits.

I’m no expert on political theater, but this sure sounds dumb to me. Like it or not, my guess is that a substantial majority of Americans support the idea of work requirements for welfare recipients. And America’s stay-at-home moms — many of them persuadable Democratic voters — do not like the idea of being compared to single mothers getting welfare checks. Not one bit.

Maybe this is fair, maybe it isn’t. It doesn’t matter. Politically it’s tone deaf. Liberals would do well to let this whole idiotic affair die a natural death.


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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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