WASHINGTON -- For reasons that don't interest me much, "girl fights" have always had a particular tug on our imaginations.
Thus, when consultant/pundit/Democrat Hilary Rosen commented on CNN that Ann Romney had never held a job (and therefore was ill-suited to advise her husband on women's employment concerns), the body politic convulsed in paroxysms of outrage.
Oh, the elitist slander. How dare she! Being a full-time, stay-at-home mom is a job!
And off they went.
Stay-at-home moms (SAHMs) allegedly were insulted. Working mothers who allegedly envy SAHMs recoiled from the blinding truth of Rosen's observation. Single moms with mouths to feed and no jobs allegedly were furious at the Romneys' apparent cluelessness.
Regular folks, meanwhile, who know better than to argue about "women issues" when the political masses are engaged, somehow managed to get through another night without pondering whether the gender gap can ever be bridged.
Not so the pundit class, now fully deployed and dizzy with the ramifications of such troubling questions as: Has the (alleged) Republican "war on women" resurrected the alleged "mommy wars" of 20 years ago?
It should go without saying that this faux battle is silly and utterly off-point, not so much a clash of ideas as a peashooter contest in the Twitter Lounge. Yet, rather than treat it as such, everyone from the president of the United States to the Catholic League to the GOP and the DNC has felt compelled to inveigh.
President Obama, reminding folks that he was raised by a single mom, noted that women who stay home with children are doing hard work and that anyone who argues otherwise should "rethink their statement." Rosen quickly rethunk and apologized for saying something true, which is never allowed in politics -- but the heat is still high.
The fact is, Ann Romney has never held a job outside the home and, inarguably, doesn't have the same experience as those scrapping to feed their families. But this has no bearing whatsoever on her ability to empathize with the challenges of others or whether she is attuned to women's concerns.
Copyright 2012 Washington Post Writers Group