The Lap of Luxury
“Once Michelle and I had our girls, she gave it her all to balance raising a family and pursuing a career–and something that could be very difficult on her, because I was gone a lot, and we didn’t have the luxury for her not to work.”
Despite how I might occasionally sound to some of my more liberal-minded friends, I really do strive for balance, politically. I have defended the President when a lot of the conservative hacks were mincing up his words and making unfair issues out of minor errors and mistakes. This, however, is no minor mistake or miss-speak.
The President actually said this: “we couldn’t afford the luxury for her not to work.”
Where to even start with this…
Really, Mr. President? On the salary of a Harvard professor and lawyer, you weren’t able to “afford” the “luxury” of your wife staying home with her children?
You couldn’t– (ahem!) AFFORD it? The LUXURY?
(Get ahold of yourself Geo… deep breath).
I am not a wealthy man. In fact, there have been more than a few occasions over the past several years when we have lived month-to-month, when we didn’t know for sure where next month’s mortgage payment would be coming from. We’ve always managed to make it work, somehow. You see, when we had our kids, we made a choice. My wife quit her corporate job in order to devote herself full time to them. It was a hard choice– one that had quite an impact on our finances. But we both agreed to it, and have never looked back. My kids have never had to go to day care. I am proud of the sacrifices we have made to be there for them, to be with them during their most formative years. But it was HARD.
I won’t put this in amusing or elegant words. The truth about this is pretty bald: for the President to claim he and his wife “could not afford the luxury” of her not to work is so insulting, so arrogant, so breathtakingly condescending that it truly inspires me to rage.
Does he really– literally– mean to say that they couldn’t “afford” for her not to work? Seriously?? If so, the inescapable conclusion is that Barack Obama is the most hopelessly inept money manager on earth. And if this is the case, then it is criminally insane for him to be put in charge of the finances of this country.
Of course, he may just be lying.
Let’s be perfectly frank here: of COURSE they could have afforded for Michelle to stay home with their daughters. They made a very conscious, very deliberate choice for her to NOT stay home. For reasons that are perfectly reasonable, they chose to continue maintaining dual incomes. It was important to both Mr. and Mrs. Obama to continue their separate careers. This is the same choice that many, if not most, Americans make.
But Mr. President, really– seriously– don’t insult us by pretending that you simply could not afford it.
And amazingly, that’s not even the worst of it. Now, we are being told by the venerable DNC operative Hilary Rosen that women who stay home to raise their own children (or “have never worked a day” in her words) have no right to an opinion about the economy. She would have us believe that she would applaud Mitt Romney if, when advised by his wife about the concerns of American women, he had said to her, “Who the hell are you? What do you know? You haven’t worked a day in your life! I’ma go talk to some real women.”
And still… incredibly… the gall doesn’t stop there.
After all this– after the President’s condescending and blithe comments about how nice it would have been if he and Michelle could have afforded the luxury of something that me and my wife– on a teensy percentage of his income-– were able to achieve; after Hilary Rosen’s continued belittling attitude about women who sacrifice to stay home with their children… after all of this, it is supposedly conservatives like me that are conducting a “war on women”. The internet is peppered today with snarky, self-righteous ads about how Mitt Romney– not Barack Obama or Hillary Rosen, who tacitly disdain and dismiss a huge percentage of American women– should call off his “war on women”.
I am a cynic. And even I am nearly speechless.
But you know, maybe there’s some truth to it. When I go to put my kids to bed and see them snuggled up with their Mama– the woman who sacrificed so much, both in time and money, who gave so very much of herself over the past nine years– when I see my kids crammed lovingly onto her lap for goodnights, I think: Barack Obama is right.
He just misunderstands luxury.
He and Michelle truly couldn’t afford this kind of luxury. Getting ahead was too important to them. Making a few more hundred thousand dollars was more important. And I suppose I should feel sorry for him.
I don’t. I am too damn pissed off about his condescending attitude and blithe twisting of the truth. He and Michelle chose not to have this. They could’ve– the truth is, a lot, LOT more people could have it if they were willing to live with a bit less. But for the Obamas, career meant more. Fine. But he really is missing out.
Because when I see my kids crammed onto their Mama’s lap, I realize he is right.
That is very much the lap of luxury.