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Mitt RomneyRepublican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has made quite a bit of money throughout his career, but I wonder if he is missing a significant income-generating opportunity for his family.  Mitt’s wife, Ann, a stay-at-home mom who benefits tremendously from her husband’s success, would probably be a great candidate for the VH-1 TV show, “Basketball Wives.”

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By definition, a Basketball Wife is “a woman with very few (publicly) identifiable skills who lives a pompously extravagant lifestyle based almost solely on the hard work of someone else.   Although she is convinced that she is better than other people, the Basketball Wife is meaningful to society primarily because of who she married, dated, slept with or chose as a sperm donor.  Sometimes they also like to fight.”

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In a recent controversy, Mitt defended his wife valiantly against allegations by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen that Ann Romney has “never worked a day in her life.”  Romney responded boldly (and appropriately) by saying that “all Moms are working Moms,” including those who stay at home with their children.  Romney is absolutely correct: There is no job more important than that of the Mother, for she holds nearly every key to a child’s potential.

But Romney’s tune changes when referencing the children of welfare recipients.

Just two months ago, Romney argued that Mothers on welfare should be required to work so they can learn “personal responsibility.” Apparently, being a stay-at-home mom with a millionaire husband implies that you work harder and have more personal responsibility than stay-at-home Mothers who are less fortunate.

Translation:  Ann’s behavior is fine, but if she were poor, it would be entirely unacceptable.

Sure, we can argue that Ann Romney’s welfare check comes from a private source, while a single Mother in the projects gets her money from the state.   But if Romney’s argument about promoting personal responsibility applies, then it’s hard to state that you are somehow a more responsible human being if you get your welfare by marrying the right man vs. filling out paperwork at a government office.

Either way, if being on welfare means that you lack personal responsibility, then all welfare recipients are created equal.

The bottom line is that Mitt Romney’s double speak about welfare, women’s rights, and child rearing reflects the kind of elitist hypocrisy that we’ve come to expect from the Republican Party.  I applaud Romney’s decision to defend his wife against attacks on her integrity, but to somehow argue that all Mothers aren’t worthy of the same defense is nothing short of disrespectful.

Now that we’ve taught Ann Romney about the personal responsibility that comes with hard work, perhaps she’ll show up for that audition for “Basketball Wives.”  After all, there’s nothing that justifies an elitist double-standard more than sleeping with the right man.


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Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

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