This is a great find, but I don't think it's going to reverse the trajectory of the "war on women" story as decisively as a lot of people probably think it will:
Romney and allies cried that Democrats had declared "war on moms" after a Democratic strategist said Romney's wife hadn't worked a day in her life....
But ... this morning, MSNBC's Chris Hayes dug up a video of Romney from just January in which the Republican presidential candidate said he wanted to require women who receive welfare to work outside the home, even if their children are very young. He told a New Hampshire audience:
"I wanted to increase the work requirement," said Romney. "I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 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 day care 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."
Here's the problem: Too many Americans agree that, ideally, women with children shouldn't work outside the home. Too many women with children agree with that -- they think their own lives are arranged wrong. And then, simultaneously, they agree that welfare mothers should work outside the home, even if their children are very young (and even if -- perhaps especially if -- they have five kids just like Ann Romney).
A lot of people think of themselves are failures if they're not Mitt and Ann Romney -- except that many of them think they're going to be Mitt and Ann Romney someday. (A disproportionate percentage of Americans think that someday they'll be rich.)
People on welfare? Well, the just-world theory kicks in: if they've sunk that low, they must have deserved to. To some extent that's a racist belief, but I think far too many Americans think white people on welfare are all "white trash." See, all those people should just pick themselves up and do something for themselves, because this is America, and you can be whatever you want to be if you just put your mind to it.
I dunno -- maybe you've sensed that average Americans have a different set of beliefs, but that's how it looks to me. So the Romney clip won't automatically seem, to most Americans, as if it's revealing any hypocrisy. Ordinary Americans don't seem themselves as being like welfare mothers. They see themselves as being like Ann Romney. (Or at least they think they should be like her.)
But that clip (and the other one that came to light today, in which 1994-vintage Romney says that things aren't the way they were in the old days because "now Mom and Dad both have to work whether they want to or not, and usually one of them has two jobs") might at least inspire the press to ask whether Romney is maintaining one standard for rich people and one for everyone else. If the question gets asked, our discussions of these issues might change somewhat. At the very least, we might talk about something other than how Mitt understands Real America and icky liberals don't. Just ending that conversation would make the release of these clips beneficial.