Ann Romney Wears the Political Pants


On the cover of TIME Magazine’s online convention daily coverage, Ann Romney was pictured in a lovely plum-colored blouse and a pair of jeans. Or, should I say, she’s wearing the pants.

How apt.

I’m convinced that Ann Romney wears the pants in her household, both when it comes to their family and when it comes to their political lives. Mitt Romney is already on the record saying that Ann is the one who tells him what women are thinking and what voters are saying is important to them. She’s the one who was peeved about Clint Eastwood and the empty chair schtick, while Mitt laughed it off as all planned in advance (which it wasn’t). Ann has talked about why “we’re” running for the White House. She revs up the crowds at campaign stops and it’s clear that she’s enjoying every minute of it.

Even though Ann was infamously declared to be a woman who “never worked a day in her life,” Ann has made it clear through her actions and words on the campaign trail that she is the one who wants the White House more than her husband.

But what happens to her if Mitt is elected and she’s no longer the driving force behind the man? She might want to ask Michelle Obama — the woman who went from being the main breadwinner in that household and who single-handedly kept her family running so Barack could pursue his political ambitions. Once he was elected, she had to morph into the “mom-in-chief” publicly to be acceptable to so many Americans.

I’m sure Ann won’t mind taking on that title, but it doesn’t take a lot of body language expertise or personality analysis to see that if, as most First Ladies are, she gets cut off from the real decision making if her husband becomes president, this mom of five and grandma of 18 won’t be too pleased that she’s no longer wearing the pants in the family.

Watch and listen when they’re together before adoring Republicans. He’s the man whose laugh never sounds natural and actually seems relieved when he can hand over the campaign duties to Ann, a woman who seems to connect naturally, who appears energized even though she says the stress of the campaign trail makes her multiple sclerosis worse.

Romney is the Al Gore of the GOP — supposedly funny in private but can’t quite seem to get that comic timing in public. The uncomfortable laugh. The poorly-fitted dad jeans. The jokes gone bad. He’s got the business experience many voters are looking for, but when it comes to connecting in that “I want to have a beer (or iced tea, since he doesn’t drink) with him” kind of way, it’s up to his most high profile surrogate to convince the crowds that he’s the who can fix the economy and that he had no option but to run and be the political savior.

Ann Romney is the one who’s been delivering those kinds of comments with real passion and zeal — something the Mitt-ster can’t seem to do. And even when questions are addressed to him, she takes over to get across his message:

I’m all for women being the ones to “wear the pants.”  But maybe Ann Romney should have been honest about who she is and what she wants and run for president herself. I personally hope it doesn’t happen, but if the Romneys move into the White House, Ann is in for a pretty rude awakening when her pants get replaced with a skirt and an apron.

Image via TIME Magazine

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8 Responses to “Ann Romney Wears the Political Pants”

  1. Diana Says:

    I don’t even know where to begin. I suppose, picking myself up off the floor after having read those last few words here would be as good a start as any.

    Who says she’ll have to turn in her “pants” for a “skirt and apron”? Have we really so quickly forgotten the names Hillary earned while her husband was President? The literal nut crackers made in her likeness? Perhaps we should spend more time encouraging all women to be strong and outspoken and less time buying into outdated ideas about what a “First Lady” — or any “lady” — should and will have to be. Every single time we promote the idea that a secondary role is more feminine and the primary role more masculine — whether it’s in running a country, or a company, or a family — we hurt *all* women.

    I’m with you on Ann seemingly being more energized about this campaign than Mitt — though to what extent that is personality we’ll never know — but this rhetoric surrounding that is just degrading to women in general and that’s incredibly disappointing.

  2. PunditMom Says:

    Diana, I’m not slamming Ann Romney with the last paragraph. Sadly, I think that is exactly what happened to Michelle Obama, as well — an accomplished, smart woman now must portray herself as “just a mom” to be accepted. As Ann Romney has found a passionate voice in this campaign, if her husband wins the election, I think it’s safe to say she’ll find herself in that same position because we’re still a society that is uncomfortable with powerful women. Hillary wasn’t able to hold on to any actual power or influence in the White House. She tried and had to back off pretty quickly.

    I’m not promoting a secondary role, I’m lamenting it.

  3. Suzie Says Says:

    Three cheers for Diana!! I agree wholeheartedly. PunditMom it is you who is outdated. Get up to speed.

  4. Cherry Says:

    I agree with Diana too. Punditmom what are you talking about? How do you know Ann wears the pants in her family. She has a different personality. Their relationship may not be what it appears. You sound very negative, about women. Ann wears skirts now. I run our family basically, but would be proud to take a step back to let my husband take the spotlight, and be president. Behind every successful man is a good and supportive wife. I actually don’t believe Michelle did change roles and put on a dress and apron in the white house. Obama has not been successful as president.

  5. Yvonne DiVita Says:

    I wholeheartedly DISAGREE with this. Ann is a tool. Do not be swayed by Mitt’s words – he flip flops on a daily basis. SHE is the Mom (and proudly so – I am one, also), she became a Mormon for Mitt. She is smart, don’t get me wrong, but…the “pants” in the family, as if she calls the shots? Not by a long shot. She lives in a male dominated society – fairly if not totally removed from real Americans – and she loves it! I don’t fault her for that. I do fault her for thinking the rest of us should tow the line as she does. Every time she says “you people” or supports her husbands conservative views, she’s echoing him and his policies. I do not agree with your premise on that.

    By the way, the wife of the president, regardless of who she is, isn’t diminished by ‘his’ role. Wow. She’s a strong person of influence – and I expect Ann to be so, if Romney is elected. Personally, I would expect Ann to accomplish a LOT of great things for women and children, as most First Wives do. To see that as taking a secondary role is… sad. From a purely woman’s focus, I applaud the women who take on that role – they’re achievers. If they stepped back to give their husbands a chance to gain the Presidency, so what? Would the husbands do the same, in reverse roles – I think Obama would and I actually think Romney would.

  6. Mary Says:

    It is apparent to me that you certainly are lamenting the fact that in power couples, the woman often takes the back seat. It is a fact that women’s roles are not equivalent to men’s in our society as a whole. This is evident that when women utter such statements as being proud to take a backseat to their husbands. Ugh. I agree with you whole heartedly, Joanne. Ann demonstrates a very assertive personality and doesn’t seem to be aware of the kinds of sacrifices she would be asked to make as First Lady.

  7. Linda Says:

    Joanne, as usual you hit the nail on the head. Anyone who’s done any level of investigation into Ann Romney’s past (and I’ve done plenty) can see that she’s incredibly strong-willed and self-directed. From the first moment he declared his interest in her to his first proposal of marriage following his senior prom, Mitt has been worried about his hold on Ann which indicates she’s the dominant force in the family. When he went off on his Mormon mission he was the one fretting that she’d dump him. She continues to wear the pants in the relationship and has been very influential in his life. Like Michelle Obama, she *will* be pushed into the background if he is elected… a position she’ll enjoy at some levels and endure with grace (and quiet frustration) at others. I have no doubt that after a while the role will be chafing since Ann Romney is no pushover.

  8. Arthur Says:

    Mrs Romney has been yardboss for a few years pushing her sons and her horses into doing more than just graze from the easy field of green that Governor Romney has built for them. I doubt…. I REALLY doubt that her character will change simply because she moves into more austere quarters!

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