Last night, I realized that God invented Twitter specifically so that political conventions would be entertaining to watch. Listening to the speeches last night while watching my Twitter feed was like watching it with a ballroom full of snarky friends, all rolling their eyes and emitting their one-liners.
For instance, how very inspiring it was last night to hear that Ann Romney loves women! My corner of the Twitterverse was waiting for her to announce that everyone should look under their seats—everyone was going to get a Cadillac! Tweeters exploded yet again when she noted that she and Mitt started their married lives in a basement apartment—which, she didn’t mention, just happened to be paid for by the sale of stock options. (Even Juan Williams didn’t buy her tale of hardship, saying on Fox News that she looked “like a corporate wife.”)
But seriously, folks, my favorite part of her talk was when she explained that she and Mitt didn’t have a storybook marriage—they have a “real marriage.”
Ah, and there’s the poke! said my wife.
So that would make mine an unreal marriage? I Twitted.
Dan Savage, who tweets from @fakedansavage (you have to love the sense of humor), picked up the same note and called for all us tweeting homos to send @AnnDRomney some info about our personal #unrealmarriage, as he did in this tweet:
Terry & I have been together 18 years and our son D.J., adopted at birth, is 14. Not bad for a couple of fags in an #unrealmarriage, huh?
I don’t actually think her speechwriters’ main intention was to poke at same-sex marriage; that was probably a casual benefit of the line. Rather, they were trying to counter the image of her husband as a Ken doll whose hand has been raised inside his plastic-wrap box, insulated from the regular universe by all those stock options and tax loopholes. If anything offended me—and I have trouble taking these Las Vegas shows seriously enough to be offended—it was the way her speech reduced women to our family roles as wives, mothers, and daughters. Look, I am all of those things (at least while I’m in Massachusetts). But to use that as the platform from which to appeal to women smells unpleasantly retro to me, something that should have been hauled out with last decade’s trash. Ann Romney’s positioning as a nice 1950s girl who got walked home from the dance by the politest boy in the room—the very nice boy who made her parents proud, the boy who was the opposite of anyone you’d see in Grease—does that actually appeal to anyone any more? Doesn’t she realize that even the female Republican delegates are Ayn Randians, the main heros in their own storylines? My sense is that those stiff-haired women aren’t identified primarily as moms making dinner, waiting for their man to drag home the meat; they’re out kicking butt on their own. I haven’t seen any reporting from the RNC floor about whether they felt Ann’s stay-at-home privilege (and check out the census data: stay-at-home motherhood is an ever-rarer privilege) was out of touch with their own working lives. Could someone head out with a microphone and let us know, please?
Which brings me to the most head-spinning line from Chris Christie’s speech: that Romney wouldn’t put a bureaucrat “between an American citizen and her doctor.” (Emphasis mine.) Say what? Lady tweeters went crazy: Was a Republican really saying that the government shouldn’t get between a woman and her doctor? Except, maybe, with an ultrasound wand? Or by mandating that the doctor should read her lies about how abortion could lead to suicide? (Seriously. Last month the Eighth Circuit upheld this Orwellian South Dakota law. It’s darker out there than you might realize.) Or insisting that she must pay and pay and pay if she’s going to have sex, either for her own contraception or by raising that baby, even—especially!—if she’s raped (which, says our buddy Todd Akin, is just like having a baby while unmarried)?
Over at Forbes, Bryce Covert gave us a keen analysis of what the Republican platform would really mean for women—for women’s bodies, for poor women, old women, working women, and single women. The main point, gals: Ain’t no one gonna walk you home from the dance.