Well, Mitt took that ball and as he often does he ran wildly with it, almost blindly. He deemed "mothers," stating the obvious that mothers' "work," and they work hard, as did Ann Romney - raising five sons with not a single sister to cut off the fart jokes. But, of course, that was never an issue. Rosen believed, as anyone should have, that people would understand how she used the word. (I have no answer for the complete Democratic party cave on this. Rosen could easily have been defended, and in doing so, Democratic principle advanced. That, too, is another story.)
Well, it turns out that three months ago Mitt was quite against treating motherhood as a chosen profession, for some mothers and families at least. You see, the federal program Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF) does not accord mothering a favored position. TANF puts mothers in a category that does not celebrate their work as mothers. Here are the primary requirements under TANF:
* With few exceptions, recipients must work as soon as they are job-ready or no later than two years after coming on assistance. To count toward a State’s work participation rate, single parents must participate in work activities for an average of 30 hours per week, or an average of 20 hours per week if they have a child under age six. Two-parent families must participate in work activities for an average of 35 hours a week or, if they receive Federal child care assistance, 55 hours a week.Here's what Romney had to say about that in January of this year at a campaign stop in Manchester, N.H.:
* Failure to participate in work requirements can result in a reduction or termination of a family’s benefits.
“Even if you have a child two years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless,’ and I said ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving daycare to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.’ ”A full throated defense of the status quo that views motherhood as labor but not "work." Three months later we have Romney up on his hind legs defending motherhood as "work," equal to work in the commercial sense.
So, Congressman Pete Stark saw the inconsistency in Romney's positions and linked them to TANF requirements. Taking Romney at his word, Stark wondered about TANF's work requirement. In effect, TANF requires mothers to take another job in the commercial sense, after all, according to Romney, mothers already "work" at the admittedly difficult "job" of motherhood. If it's good for Ann Romney, its good for families in poverty. So Stark proposed H.R. 4379. Here's Stark's comments on its introduction (in Extension of Remarks):
TO RAISE KIDS (WORK) ACT
-- HON. FORTNEY PETE STARK (Extensions of Remarks - April 18, 2012)
HON. FORTNEY PETE STARK
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2012
Mr. STARK. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce legislation that will recognize the hard work that all mothers engage in each day.Romney's situation that emerges from his embarrassing opposite positions is what is called being "hoist on his own petard." His own words blowing up in his face. An honest man would not have been caught in this. Romney's positions are indeed etch a sketch positions; wherever he is he reacts to the crowd that is before him. He's done this on the campaign trail this cycle, he's always done it. He'll do it in the presidential campaign. We have to be ready, like Congressman Stark, to set the record straight and to push our Democratic legislators, often weak kneed, to stand up and shout back.
In the past week, presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney has said that he believes ``all moms are working moms.'' I agree. Unfortunately, if you are a low-income mother, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program punishes you if you decide to stay home to care for your young child. Our laws should reflect the value of care giving work done by all mothers.
Current law does not count low-income stay-at-home parents who are raising young children as meeting the necessary Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) work requirement. Current law also bans States from counting these individuals toward that State's work participation rate, which can result in financial penalties if not met. This effectively bars low-income parents who choose to stay home to raise their young children from access to the financial support of TANF.
The WORK Act would recognize that raising children is, in fact, work. The legislation would amend current TANF law to provide States the option to maintain a safety net for poor parents. Low-income parents could receive job training or search for work, or they could raise their children until they are school-aged without fear of being pushed deeper into poverty. This is the same option that wealthy families enjoy.
I urge all of my colleagues to show that they understand the importance of all mothers and the care they provide by supporting the WORK Act.
The good news is that Romney's extravagantly bad at lying. He rarely thinks, or perhaps he doesn't recall his own most recent positions. Mark Twain said:
If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.To late for Romney.