Ann Romney loses the plot.

I am of the “leave the spouse out of it” school of electioneering, but if the spouse puts him/herself right in the thick of It, what can I do?

I present to you the words of one Ann Romney, speaking in an interview and addressing those in the GOP who have criticized her husband this past week:

Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring. This is hard and, you know, it’s an important thing that we’re doing right now and it’s an important election and it is time for all Americans to realize how significant this election is and how lucky we are to have someone with Mitt’s qualifications and experience and know-how to be able to have the opportunity to run this country.

Seventy-four words.

That quote is 74 words long, and has about 112 things wrong with it. I want to start at the very end with the notion that the President runs the country, but then I see “have the opportunity” — he doesn’t have the opportunity, we’ll find out on November 6 if the American people want him to have that opportunity — and then I see that we’re supposed to feel lucky that her husband decided to do this, and then I get to them doing an important thing, and then I get alllll the way to the start where she is scolding people (again) and I just – what is this I can’t even.

Sigh. As my pal BJonthegird put it:

h/t TPM

Dear America: Are you effing kidding me with this?

Thanks to Twitter and Matt Duss (National Security Policy Analyst for the Center for American Progress) I now know this, and now you have to know it too:

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You know what, I’m sure that both Michelle Obama and Ann Romney are terrific bakers. Unparalleled, maybe. It’s possible that their life-partners are as well — I hear tell that the menfolk have lately studied the map and found both pantry and oven in these topsy-turvy modern times — and lord knows, I am all about a nice cookie. I happen to favor chocolate chips over M&Ms in this area, but I have no great love for the abomination that is “white chocolate,” so I’ll probably stick with my own recipe, thankyouverymuch. Also? I like a nice, chewy oatmeal-raisin.

But oh my God. Oh my God! Are we really still doing this? In the 21st century? Are we really still acting like the wives of candidates need to play the role of Harriet to the candidates’ Ozzie? That America needs to believe that the First Lady is our mom? That all Humans In Possession Of Ovaries are, by-definition, Good In The Kitchen?

I don’t know a lot about Ann Romney, but according to her husband’s campaign website, she’s been pretty heavily involved in some pretty good charities: “As First Lady of MA, she continued her work on behalf of disadvantaged women and children in her community and abroad… has volunteered much of her time to raise awareness of [Multiple Sclerosis] as a Board Member of the New England Chapter of the MS Society… One of her priorities within the United Way has been as initiator, co-chair and now member of the Faith & Action Comte, a coalition that provides funding to urban church programs designed to serve at-risk youth….” So on and so forth.

And Michelle Obama? Such a good lawyer that she’s the one they picked to train the newbie who would become her husband and ultimately our President.

I would suggest that rather than pit these two accomplished women against each other in a benighted bake-off that we conduct a series of interviews with them, together and apart, to learn their thoughts on matters such as at-risk youth and intellectual property law (one of Ms. Obama’s areas) — or, we could just, you know: Stop pretending the spouses have anything to do with it.

I AM AN AMERICAN VOTER, HEAR ME ROAR: I vote not for a family, not for a pretend mommy, not for a dog gamboling about the lawn (however cute Bo may be), and not for whoever manages to best meet some outmoded, useless, and ultimately damaging set of cultural expectations of female-vs-male behaviors. I VOTE FOR THE GORRAM CANDIDATE.

Honest to God, America. Cut it the fuck out.

Yes, Ann Romney – parenting is hard. For everyone.

Being a mom is hard.

Being any kind of parent is hard — or, at least, it’s hard if you’re engaged with the process. No matter your status in the child’s life (biological parent, adoptive, mom, dad, something-else-that-doesn’t-have-a-name-but-still-counts) or your socio-economic position (rich, poor, somewhere in between), if you’re parenting a child: It’s hard.

It’s hard because it matters — it really, really matters — and it’s just so complicated. Children get sick, they get frightened, they fight you on the craziest things, they have needs that you cannot begin to understand — indeed, they are nothing but Need. It starts the instant they wake up and it only abates when their eyes close, and I say “abates” rather than “stops” because you can never, ever know that the Need won’t rear its head in the middle of the night. In all the bedrooms. At once. You just cannot know.

The toll it takes on your heart is hard, too. You ache for your kids in ways you never knew existed before they were in your life. You want to hold them in your arms and engulf them in bubble wrap, and you can do neither. They will piss you off; they will push you away; they will get hurt. If you’re lucky, they will also give you joy, and pull you back, and heal. But your heart is there for every bump and bounce.

It’s even hard on your body, even if you’re not the one who produced the children. Years of sleep-deprivation, years of carrying small people and large belongings, years of not having enough time to care for yourself in the way you might need to, and — for far too many — years of not having the money to do so, either.

It’s just: Hard.

The grand lie is that if you have help, it’s easy. It’s certainly easier — but easy? Nope. Not unless you’re genuinely checked out. Years ago, I was a nanny for twins, a round-faced boy and round-faced girl, the healthy children of wealthy parents in a spacious and well-tended home. I’m sure other nannies saw other kinds of parents, but I’ll tell you what: I was an assistant. I did not take the body-blows. That mom and dad did the hard work, and I went home at night.

As a society — across the board, in all corners and on all levels — we need to develop a greater respect for the work that is parenting. We need to value children more, we need to carve out time and opportunity for parents to be available to their children, and we need to understand, in our bones, that raising children is a job for all of society, not just those with kids in the house, and certainly not just for women.

So when Ann Romney says that staying at home with her boys was hard work (that she was glad to do), and that she understand’s women’s struggles, I’m inclined to believe her. Parents who choose to be stay-at-home are making a choice to do what they believe is best for their families, and as a feminist, how can I not support that?

Moreover, I’m no more inclined to bash women simply for being rich than I am to bash them simply for being poor. I believe you, Ann Romney: It was hard work, you were glad to do it, and you understand women’s struggles — or, at the very least, the struggles inherent to being a mother.

But here’s the thing.

Just as I am not inclined to bash you for staying home with your kids, neither am I inclined to bash poor moms (or dads) who choose to do the same.

Either we value motherhood (parenting), or we don’t. Either we support parents who choose to be at home with their kids, or we don’t. Either we value families, or we don’t.

You can’t ask me to respect your right to be home with your kids, but expect me to not notice that your candidate husband doesn’t respect the same right for poor women. Your kids had no more right to an at-home parent simply because you’re wealthy; kids on welfare have no less right to an at-home parent simply because they’re poor.

I won’t bash Ann Romney. She made a choice that was right for her and her family, and as a parent, I guarantee you: Her choice involved hard work.

But I will bash policies and positions, and the party that pushes them, that afford Ann Romney more respect and greater human dignity for her choices, simply because she’s a millionaire.

And I will do everything I can to keep those people — most especially Ann Romney’s husband — out of office.

But Michelle Obama’s the one with the anger management issues.

So apparently Ann Romney, wanna-be First Lady, said this about the media:

[It’s] getting harder and harder to be cheerful…. I am so mad at the press [that] I could just strangle them! And, you know, I think I’ve decided there are going to be some people invited on the bus and some people just aren’t going to be invited on the bus.

As Mother Jones’s Adam Serwer rightly pointed out on Twitter yesterday: Imagine what would happen if Michelle Obama had said anything even remotely similar, adding:

You know, for such an angry black woman, I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard Michelle Obama talk about strangling anyone.

But she does like to encourage kids to exercise, and we all know that’s straight-up Kenyan Communism, mirite?!!1!?

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