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PORTSIDE  April 2012, Week 2

PORTSIDE April 2012, Week 2

Subject:

Hilary Rosen/Ann Romney: Two Takes

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

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Date:

Fri, 13 Apr 2012 22:43:08 -0400

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1 Does Hilary Rosen Sell Corporate Access to the White 
  House?
2 Ann Romney Should Apologize!

=====
11111

The Real Hilary Rosen Scandal: Does Her Firm Sell Access
to the White House to Powerful Corporations?

By Lee Fang 
posted Apr 13th 2012
http://www.republicreport.org/2012/real-hilary-rosen-scandal/

Hilary Rosen, a Democratic lobbyist and pundit for CNN,
found herself caught up in 24-hour news cycle
controversy after she made some inflammatory comments
about Ann Romney's work as stay-at-home mom. Rosen has
apologized for her off-the-cuff comments. But the entire
story may set off a greater, more substantive inquiry
about the nature of Rosen's consulting firm,
SKDKnickerbocker, an unregistered lobbying firm that has
become one of the biggest names in the influence
business by using its ties to President Obama and
leaders in Congress.

Predictably, Republicans have noticed that Rosen is a
frequent visitor to the White House. While Democrats are
arguing that Rosen is not an advisor to the Democratic
Party or President Obama's reelection campaign, then
what are the meetings about? Today in the Politico's
"Morning Money," reporter Ben White flags a deeper
concern:

    Per a senior Dem: "Serious Dem operatives are aghast
    at Hilary Rosen's misguided attack on Ann Romney's
    work history. She and others at PR firm SKD
    Knickerbocker have represented many clients that
    have raised hackles with senior White House staff.
    It's an open secret in the Dem consultant community
    that SKD has been signing up clients based on
    `perceived White House access' tied to prior
    relationships and employment."

As we've reported, SKDKnickerbocker is led by a team of
former Democratic operatives and key White House
figures. But instead of promoting a progressive agenda,
or even an Obama agenda, these consultants score huge
contracts by helping corporate interests lobby for
policies that are not in line with the public interest.
Many SKDKnickerbocker employees, including Anita Dunn, a
former White House communications director, are also
frequent White House visitors.

We've compiled a partial list of SKDKnickerbocker's
clients. Since the firm refuses to register as an
ordinary lobbying firm, we don't know their full roster
of clients:

 -- SKDKnickerbocker was hired by Kaplan Education to
    block Obama's reforms on for-profit college
    companies, an industry plagued by low quality
    education, false promises to students, and
    fraudulent business practices.

 -- SKDKnickerbocker was hired to push for billions
    in tax breaks for already profitable corporations.
    As Bloomberg reported, SKDKnickerbocker manages a
    lobbying campaign called "Win America," an effort by
    companies like Google and Pfizer to receive hundreds
    of billions in tax breaks on profits made overseas.

 -- SKDKnickerbocker was hired by a coalition of food
    manufacturers to fight the Obama administration's
    proposals on food nutrition standards. As the
    Washington Post reported, the firms paying Dunn
    include General Mills and PepsiCo.

 -- SKDKnickerbocker represents consulting for
    Students First, a lobbying group aimed at destroying
    collective bargaining, and replacing public
    education with a mix of charters, private schools,
    and online learning companies. According to
    documents revealed the blog At The Chalk Face,
    Students First helped craft bills in Michigan to
    break teachers unions by severely limiting
    collective bargaining.

 -- SKDKnickerbocker previously worked with the
    Association of American Railroads, a group
    representing large railroad companies. When the
    railroad industry was in a pitched battle with their
    respective labor unions, SKDKnickberbocker produced
    ads for the railroad lobby.

A proposal leaked two months ago showed that a group of
political consultants, including SKDKnickerbocker's
Anita Dunn, worked up an effort to find hedge funds to
pay them to kill efforts to enact the "Buffett Rule." In
the memo, Dunn clearly advertised her ties to the White
House.

Earlier this year, I asked Hilary Rosen's partner, Anita
Dunn: "You have a lot of access to the President, from
advising his campaign to regular visits to the White
House. Do you think its a little bit disingenuous that
you're simultaneously being paid by a lot of
corporations to lobby against his reforms?" Dunn scoffed
at my question, and replied that she works for "some
corporations" because "people have a right to be heard."
But the evidence suggests Dunn isn't just giving voice
to these multinational corporations. She's also peddling
their interests before government, all without
registering any of her employees as lobbyists.

We would like to know more about who is paying Dunn,
especially since she has the president's ear. However,
like Newt Gingrich and Ed Gillespie, she exploits
weaknesses in current lobbying registration law to avoid
revealing her clients.


=====
22222

Ann Romney Should Apologize!

    Imagining the reaction to her "I know what it
    means to struggle" remark if Democrats acted
    like Republicans

By Joan Walsh 
Salon 
March 12, 2012
http://www.salon.com/2012/04/12/ann_romney_should_apologize/

Nicely played, GOP.

Mitt Romney's "I know you are, but what am I?" strategy,
declaring President Obama the real perpetrator of a "war
on women," got an assist from CNN Democratic analyst
Hilary Rosen Wednesday, when she questioned whether
Romney should use his wife, Ann, as his expert on
women's issues when she "never worked a day in her
life." As feminists have known thanks to the silly Mommy
Wars over the last 20 years, every mother is a working
mother. Rosen, who is herself a mom who also works
outside the home, has now apologized, as has every
prominent Democrat from President Obama to Debbie
Wasserman Schultz to David Axelrod (and probably FDR,
from the grave).

But Republicans still won't shut up about it. An
aggrieved Ann Romney even told Fox News, "I will tell
you that Mitt said to me more times than I can imagine,
Ann, your job is more important than mine," and added
that as the mother of five grown boys, "I know what
it's like to struggle."

Well, I'd like to demand that Ann Romney apologize to
all women for equating the "struggle" of a wealthy
mother who had full-time household help to that of a
poor or working-class job-holding mother, who must
choose between her job and her children when a child
gets sick. How dare you, madam? Have you no shame? I'd
like to demand that Mitt Romney apologize for his
wife's remarks, too. I'd like to hear every prominent
Republican denounce Ann Romney for her heinous
insensitivity to non-wealthy mothers who must work
outside the home.

Wait. Ann Romney's not a Democrat, and I'm not a

Republican, so that's not how the world works. Sorry
about that. I apologize.

No, Ann Romney doesn't need to apologize - but in a
grown-up world, Hilary Rosen wouldn't have had to
either. The point Rosen was making was, and is, valid:

Mitt Romney repeatedly refers to his wife, Ann, in
lordly terms, "reporting" to him what matters to women.
Reporting to him, like she's an employee, or maybe a
translator. It's valid to suggest that he ought to talk
about what women believe from his own experiences, or
what he learns from women colleagues, co-workers,
campaign staff. He should stop referring to his wife's
"reports" about women's issues, sounding like Thurston
Howell III.

And the fact is, Ann Romney's experiences are not the
average woman's. She is a woman of great privilege.
Most mothers don't have the "choice" to stay home full
time with their kids; they need a paycheck. Meanwhile,
her husband supports the Paul Ryan budget, which cuts
nutrition programs for pregnant women and new moms and
their kids. It cuts Medicaid for poor women and
children. It slashes food stamp funding, when women and
children make up two-thirds of the people who get food
stamps. He wants to get rid of Planned Parenthood,
which provides not just contraception but breast cancer
and cervical cancer screenings for millions of low-
income women.

In blasting the Obama campaign for the remarks of a
Democrat unrelated to his campaign, Concerned Women for
America called motherhood "the most important job there
is." Except when poor women do it, that is. Republicans
crusaded to kill Aid to Families With Dependent
Children (supported eventually by Bill Clinton and
other Democrats) to make sure that poor women joined
the workforce. Motherhood is "the most important job
there is" unless your children are poor. What a bunch
of hypocrites.

I'm sure Ann Romney knows what it's like to struggle.
We all do; it's the nature of being human. But in the
political arena we really ought to be able to
distinguish between personal struggles, and struggles
that have social and political causes and implications.
It reminded me of when Bill O'Reilly told Rev. Al
Sharpton's National Action Network, "I'm not black so I
don't know your struggle and you don't know my struggle
because you're not white." Nobody knows the troubles
Bill's seen, growing up on the mean streets of Old
Westbury. I'm not saying that white people can't face
injustice, but to equate the black and white
"struggles" is just ridiculous. Ann Romney is smart
enough to distinguish between her own "struggles" and
those of women who work at low-wage jobs and struggle
to raise their children safely.

I debated the faux-controversy over Rosen's remarks on
"Hardball" today with Michael Steele:
http://video.msnbc.msn.com/hardball/47034680#47034680


_____________

Joan Walsh is Salon's editor at large.

___________________________________________

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