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Maureen Dowd's 'Phony' Attack on Ann Romney

1:30 PM, Apr 18, 2012 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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Maureen Dowd weighs in today to decry the "Phony Mommy Wars" over Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen's attack on Ann Romney. I know what you're thinking: If anyone is qualified to call a cancer-survivor "phony" for her decision to stay at home and raise five boys—it's the author of Are Men Necessary? Aside from being nearly a week late weighing in on this controversy, the column seems to miss the mark about as badly as you might imagine: 

But at a fund-raiser at a private home in Palm Beach, Fla., on Sunday, the night before her 63rd birthday, Ann made it clear that she wasn’t really aggrieved. She was feigning aggrievement to milk the moment.

“It was my early birthday present for someone to be critical of me as a mother, and that was really a defining moment, and I loved it,” a gleeful Ann told the backyard full of Florida fat cats, sounding “like a political tactician,” as Garrett Haake, the NBC reporter on the scene, put it.

It’s important when you act the martyr not to overplay your hand. If you admit out loud to a bunch of people — including Haake, who was on the sidewalk enterprisingly eavesdropping — that you’re just pretending to be offended, you risk looking phony, like your husband. (It also doesn’t fly to tell Diane Sawyer that your dog “loved” 12 hours in a crate on top of the car or that it’s “our turn” to be in the White House.)

Aside from the errant and unreliable characterization of a political reporter on the scene, what about what Ann Romney actually said suggests she was 'feigning aggrievement'? Is it not possible to stand up for yourself when your beliefs and life decisions are unjustly attacked and relish the opportunity to defend them? Or is it simply more likely that Maureen Dowd wishes that she hadn't been so effective in standing up for herself against a politically motivated attack?

It also takes a unique brand of chutzpah to complain about the fake outrage over Ann Romney and then gratuitously bring up the fact the Romneys put their dog on the roof of their car for the eleventy-thousandth time. As if that weren't discrediting enough, this is yet another embarrassing example of MoDo missing the zeitgeist—I'd say Obama should eat some crow for making an issue of the Romney family dog, but I hear he prefers terriers.

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