I, like dozens of my friends around the country, set my clock to 5:45 AM (PT) Saturday to watch Mitt Romney announce his VP choice from Norfolk, VA. As of late Friday night the AP was reporting the pick would be Paul Ryan, a “leak” which prompted thousands of excited tweets and elevated expectations.
Romney had a pretty deep bench for Veep picks, several of whom would have filled the VPOTUS shoes very well, especially contrasted with the current man wearing those shoes. The 1st and 2nd tier candidates included Gov. Bobby Jindal, OH Senator Rob Portman, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Senator Marco Rubio, Gov. Chris Christie and Congressman Paul Ryan–all credible and serious contenders, each adding different pluses to the ticket if chosen. Ryan, however, was my favorite from the beginning.
Saturday morning was so exciting: my faith in Mitt Romney’s mindset and commitment to fight for the win was renewed. With the selection of Paul Ryan, Romney brought the campaign spotlight back on the big issues: jobs, the economy and the national debt. In addition, Ryan is a pro-life man of faith, a known family man and rock-solid Conservative who espouses the Tea Party core beliefs.
Then I heard Andrea Mitchell, covering the event for MSNBC, state, “This is a base election. This is not a pick for suburban moms, this is not a pick for women.” I immediately wondered how Andrea discerned this judgement. By all accounts, Paul Ryan’s family was close-knit, and even more so following his father’s fatal heart attack when Paul was 16. Ryan reassured Bob Schieffer during a 60 Minutes interview, “My mom is a Medicare senior in Florida. Our point is we need to preserve their benefits, because government made promises to them that they’ve organized their retirements around.” So Paul is concerned about the welfare of his mother–that doesn’t ring of “anti-women fervor”.
Paul’s wife, Janna, a Wellesley graduate and George Washington Law School educated lawyer, is a bright and beautiful woman who has chosen, at least for a season, to be a stay at home mom. Her choice reminds me of Barbara Bush’s words in her 2001 Wake Forest Commencement address, “As important as your obligations as a teacher, a doctor, a lawyer or a business leader will be, your connections with spouses, with children, and with friends are the most important investments that you will ever make. There’s a big difference between having a career, and having a life. Be sure not to confuse the two.” Mrs. Bush emphasized the point, “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, or a parent.”
The fact that Janna has chosen to invest her heart and intellect into the lives of those she loves most, her children and husband, exhibits great wisdom and strength of convictions. My own mother, though not a lawyer, made the same decision and sacrifice and not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for the choice she made. One friend of the couple, Gloria Dittus, says of the Ryans, “She is rocket smart and he’s rocket smart. Big brains, small town values.” Perhaps Andrea Mitchell’s assessment deems stay at home moms as an “anti-woman” choice?
Further, as the Ryans live in Janesville (Paul is fifth generation native of Janesville), a small city in southern Wisconsin, it would seem Janna Ryan is indeed a suburban mom. Perhaps Andrea Mitchell misspoke in saying, “…This is not a pick for suburban moms”? I can only deduce one conclusion from Andrea’s pronouncement: Ms. Mitchell was judging the Ryans’ worldview, not their actions.
Paul and Janna Ryan are both devout, practicing Catholics; which faith includes adherence to pro-life practice and principles. In fact, Representative Ryan has accrued a 100% pro-life voting record over his years of service! Paul Ryan’s love of his wife and family is evident as he sleeps on the couch in his DC congressional office and hurries home every weekend to be with his wife and kids. So it would seem Mr. Ryan is pro-woman, pro-life, pro-child and pro-mom.
Andrea Mitchell’s statement, offered as a journalist’s assessment of a fact, supports the pre-suppositions with which Main Stream Media is tainted. To blatantly declare the Ryan pick as “…not a pick for suburban moms, this is not a pick for women.”, is to ascribe a monolithic, pro-choice world-view to all women in America. Even the 2012 Gallop poll shows the percentage of pro-life adults greater than the percentage of “pro-choice” adults. Thus, Andrea may be the person who is out of step with women and moms in America, not Paul Ryan. Andrea’s assumptions should alert all of us watching the race: the MSM will skew and color their reporting and we must be ever-diligent to glean the truth from these supposed objective journalists. We must know the facts and make them known. And we must refute those Media elite who would presume to speak for us.