Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 29, 2012 6:08PM

Ann Romney May Love Me, but I don't Love Her

Rate: 44 Flag

I spent three hours last night watching the Republican National Convention. Given that I already know whom I’m going to vote for in the general election and given that we all know modern “nominating” conventions are just marathons of pandering and self-congratulation (on the incumbent's part) or blame-laying (on the challenger's), it’s fair to ask why I would put myself through it. It’s painful no matter what your affiliation.

But I watch anyway. I want to know whom I’m voting against, or (more importantly perhaps) who will be taking office if my guy loses. And I also think that making an effort to understand views that conflict with my own is incumbent upon me as a voter.

I was especially interested in hearing from Ann Romney. She has taken a beating for not working outside the home, for having too much money, for having a dressage horse.  I don’t think that’s particularly fair. I’m not going to engage in Mommy War crapola about whether or not it’s work to take care of kids. Women should not be forced to defend their choices or their incomes. Ann Romney has had breast cancer. She has MS. She has raised five kids and has been married 46 years. She has suffered and triumphed and done her best, so let’s lay off on that stuff.

And yet, I wanted to scream during most of her speech last night.

She began with what sounded like an unscripted and genuine acknowledgement that a dangerous storm was brewing, and she praised the first responders who were at the ready. Wouldn’t those first responders be police and firefighters? Scott Walker (the guy who *just* got off the stage) has referred to the cost of paying their salaries as a virus. But thanks to them for being willing to put themselves in harm’s way without pensions or bargaining rights, I guess.

It took me awhile to figure out where she was going with her “love” meme, but soon she hit her stride by talking about Motherhood. Because everyone knows “that it’s the MOMS of this nation who hold this country together.” Then she talked about wives a lot and trotted out all kinds of anecdotes about different parents and their concerns, culminating in a rousing cheer, “I love you women!”  And that’s when I started shouting at the TV. It incenses me when womanhood is reduced to maternity and marital status. But what’s spooky about Ann Romney is that she is utterly sincere. Her view of the women she “loves” is just that narrow. I believe she empathizes with the stories she has heard about struggling families. I even believe she has struggled. But her view of the world -- and modern womanhood in particular -- is chillingly limited, and is echoed profoundly in her party’s rhetoric. Yet she doesn’t even hear what she’s saying.

Take, for example, her empathy with the (married) couple who “would like to have another child, but wonder how they’ll afford it.” But Ann! How will this couple prevent having another child they can’t afford unless they use birth control? And how will they pay for birth control if they don’t have insurance? Or if they have insurance, what if their insurance doesn’t cover it, because they work for an organization that prohibits coverage of birth control?  And if they forgo birth control and have a child anyway (because choosing to end the pregnancy is also illegal) how will they support the child?  Or pay for his/her education?  Will they “shop around” for a bargain on tuition, as her husband suggests?

In acknowledging the blessings that her husband’s success has afforded her family, “good education” was repeated twice. She praised her husband for founding a program in Massachusetts that gives full tuition to the top 25% of high school graduates. What she did not mention is that these scholarships come in the form of state supported undergraduate tuition waivers. Clearly, her husband’s actions show that the government has a role in offering a boost up the ladder.  If those students then go on to be small business owners or entrepreneurs, wouldn’t it be safe to say that they didn’t build that?  When President Obama said, to the delight of Republicans everywhere, the infamous “You didn’t build that,” he was actually referring to exactly this sort of thing. Anyone who has read the phrase in context knows it. It’s just too simple to play the sound bite and ignore the reality that many successful people get where they are with help from government.

Ann Romney appears to empathize with people who face hard decisions, but the fact is she shows absolutely no awareness that the choices made by people who do not have what she has been privileged to have:  enough money, enough insurance, and yes, enough freedom, are limited.

Yes, I said the F word.  The party that preaches freedom -- from taxation, from regulation, from paying for infrastructure and education and safety nets that help people to build something from nothing but sweat and determination -- actually has no idea how limited the freedoms of many Americans already are.  And Ann Romney, as elegant and eloquent and empathetic as she is, has no visceral understanding of this, either.  

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
Spot on. What a terrific essay.

And this:

Wouldn’t those first responders be police and firefighters? Scott Walker (the guy who *just* got off the stage) has referred to the cost of paying their salaries as a virus. But thanks to them for being willing to put themselves in harm’s way without pensions or bargaining rights, I guess.

Brilliant. Why don't these people see the huge contradiction there?
Kate, a blog post like this beats shouting at the television any day!
Savvy and well expressed. I watched her, too, with a sort of bizarre fascination. She is clearly not a deep thinker as she leads her severely circumscribed life.
Kate, this is SUCH a good essay. I hope it gets picked up elsewhere. I love it that you scream at the TV (we do also in our house!) and I love how you went through her speech and deflated it bit by bit. I do believe that she is sincere, but like many other women I know here in this red state, she is probably insulated. Great, great piece!
Kate, this is SUCH a good essay. I hope it gets picked up elsewhere. I love it that you scream at the TV (we do also in our house!) and I love how you went through her speech and deflated it bit by bit. I do believe that she is sincere, but like many other women I know here in this red state, she is probably insulated. Great, great piece!
Brilliant! Wish I could rate this more than once, put it on the cover, and see it on the op-ed page of the NYT, the LAT, the Chicago Times, the WSJ, and The Post. Rated.
Time to update an old chestnut;

Patriotism and MOTHERHOOD are now the last refuge of a scoundrel.

P.S. anyone caught throwing this chestnut at TV cameraperson will get no more chestnuts.
Spot on. And to address the motherhood and maternity issues you had with Ann Romney, from the age of 12, I was raised with the single message that I was supposed to become a mother - no other goal, no other aspiration was as important as becoming a wife and a mother. The ideal was to become a stay-at-home mother - anything less was seen as a second-class option. This is a theme that pervades Mormon culture - a lot of my former Mormon friends felt Ann's speech was very familiar in tone to the speeches we heard in church growing up.
As Jeanette said, spot on. ~r
I watched, for the same reasons you did. Mrs. Romney did a fine job as a speaker, much better than her husband ever has. But the Smarm Factor triggered my acid reflux. But I laughed my behind off when the "eloquent" Chris Christie said "Tonight,
we are going to choose respect over love." Just go right ahead and slam Mrs. Mitt, whydoncha, Chris? Priceless.

Well said. Damned well said!
Rock on! I really enjoyed your take on this. Thank you!
This is very powerful stuff. Well deserved EP!
Great essay, and I agree with you except for one tiny part: I don't think she's sincere. I don't think she really empathizes. I think she's a total politician and was carrying out a PR strategy to distance herself from her previous you-people comments which I believe are closer to how she really feels.
If you have ever been to a Mormon Church meeting you would have heard talks very similar to Ann Romney's. Mormon men are the patriarchs, they are all priesthood holders from a young age. Women are the helpers. They have an organization called "Relief Society". The purpose is to help the families in their church neighborhoods, and be the family and societal glue. So yes, it is the second class citizenry of women that hold the country together. Here's the bottom line: No woman can enter the Celestial Kingdom (Mormon for heaven) without being sealed to a Mormon man. Should a wife die first, she will be hanging out until he dies, and then he can call her secret name and "pull her through the veil" (if he chooses). Seriously.
I loved your piece, Kate! @onislandtime, Miles to go....sigh
This to me is an example of a twisted and hateful piece on a woman you acknowledge has been a responsible parent, ridiculed by progressives for being a stay at home Mom, but you just couldn't leave it alone could you? You just had to stick the knife in and twist it because you're a liberal and there's just got to be an axe to grind with anyone who is conservative, stable, and self reliant so what do you do, you accuse her of not supporting any woman's choice to use birth control. I watched that speech Babe and you and I watched 2 different speeches. This disinformation and ridicule at its best, who the hell said Ann Romney was against birth control? For God sake the woman, as you acknowledged, has MS just give up your liberal hatred for half a second, okay? By the way the convention is very much energized and hopeful and is not the self ingratiating process that we see in Democratic witch hunts resplendent with racism, attacking women, and keeping women from the right to kill fetuses God forbid! I can imagine how hateful you would be if you were simply unleashed at a rally!
In a way, this drama over her involvement will make it easier for this growing segment of 'Sit this one out' kind of people, which really disgusts me. She has subscribed to the gender role bit to the point of really being counter productive, as women in her world have another role -- quite unlike the single parent moms, who are, in addition, a minority. She built the emotional undertow which should tell us exactly what we'd expect. But what about women who do not fit her world -- the struggling college student deciding on another $10-18K just to finish college. Or the stay at home mom, who really should be finishing law school and has to feed kids instead. The disconnect resonates down in our marrow.
Thank you for your fine post. R>>>>
Excellent observations and great writing style.

@DocVega - easy big boy. Everything's going to be alright.
Great piece Kate. It was kind of sad to see her trying to be "one of us".
Wonderful essay. You exposed these clowns as the phonies they are. They are 100 per cent for the one per cent.
Fantastic piece, Kate. Brilliant in every way. I wish I could rate it a hundred times.
What does birth control cost?
In fairness, you fail to acknowledge that Mrs. Romney appeals to some women (and their numbers aren't small) who actually do believe that the world is meant to be led by men, that their role is to be the supporter, the relief society, even if many of these same women work outside the home. Whereas, I see this view as you do--"chillingly limited"--that's not to say these women's beliefs are any less valid than your own. This value system has long been the basis of the conservative movement since it's genesis is in, well, Genesis, at least as interpretated by generations of clerics. . .I know, most of them have been men. For her, the system has worked and undoubtedly for many other women, as well. I've had this discussion several times with various friends: are those who are blithely ignorant any less happy than we are? Still, your essay is on target for pointing out that for all her empathy for those sans money and what that brings, she doesn't have much of a clue how to do without.
You read my mind! Congrats on the EP!
It's easy to proclaim "love" for virtual strangers on the podium at the convention--they can't call on her to prove it. And that sort of "love" is worth nothing when the speaker is evidently completely okay with her husband's and his VP's party platform that will make everything far MORE difficult for working women of child-bearing age should we be unwise enough to elect them. That "Collective sigh" at the end of the day will become more like a groan of defeat.

"We don't want easy!" exclaims the rich white lady with two cars and six houses and a number of horses to choose from, and who won't live in fear that her health care is about to be taken away from her. And even her access to timely cancer screenings through Planned Parenthood would be "gotten rid of" by Ann's own husband.

Speak for yourself, millionaire presidential candidate's wife! Nobody truly expects life to be easy, but you're hardly in the state to "identify" with the single working mother who sees her pay check shrink in terms of what it will provide, and lives in the fear that your adorable husband Mitt or someone very like him will ship it over seas and she'll be left with nothing.

Because to your husband, Ann, and to Paul Ryan, women evidently rank a long way below a collection of divided cells that cannot survive independently of her body, and cannot think and feel as she can.

Nobody expects easy. But that's not to say we want your husband to make everything twice as difficult.

I don't love Ann Romney either!

rated for an excellent post, and for having the stomach to listen to the GOP. I couldn't do it for ten minutes before the F-bombs started spraying out of me.
You should bring this on your next couch trip.
Kate, You say what sooooo many women feel. What about the single women who are so valuable and essential to our society. Doesn't she love them? What about the clergy? the teachers? the doctors, the nurses who all help mothers and wives? What happened to the community? I thank you for articulating how so many of us feel so eloquently. All women (all people actually) are essential in this world and each for unique reasons. I was amazed at the Republican National Circus. So disappointing....
Well written and argued.

And to Doc Vega who wrote, "This disinformation and ridicule at its best, who the hell said Ann Romney was against birth control?", first, Kate Geiselman didn't say Romney was against birth control. She said how can families avoid having a child they can't afford if they don't have access to birth control.

You are engaging in the act of disinformation that you falsely charge Geiselman with. Furthermore, the Republican platform explicitly opposes "family planning," which includes birth control.
Kudos. I agree with Steve. You said it for me and saved my vocal chords.
I suspect she wants to appear to have empathy for "you people" but everything other time I have heard her interviewed, empathy does not come through. You would think with MS and breast cancer, and miscarriage and excellent health care, she might have learned to care for those less fortunate. I guess if they are Mormons maybe, but I do not hear it from her. Her words are hollow to me.
Thank you for doing this for me. I can no longer stomach the bullshit coming from the Republicans, and I have vowed not to listen to them any more. The lines have been drawn. I doubt very much than there are many people left in the undecided column, despite the polls. On the contrary, I have a gut level belief that most of the fence sitters are actually already decided....they just don't want to think about what they have to do. The vast majority of the undecideds are going to vote for Obama.....they just don't like the fact that they are going to have to vote for him....but they will because we have a clear choice between an insane religious maniac and an inept do-gooder. I prefer the inept do-gooder to the insane maniac.

Bear this in mind. Mitt Romney is a Bishop in the Mormon Church. Does that sit well with you? Electing a cleric to the presidency.
beautifully written- in ann's defense how could she know? Of course she could if she had any interest in knowing but facts are inconvenient so she just has faith in the men in her life. I thought it was just Mama Grizzly in a tiarra.
Nice to see that the green movement is alive and well with the lovelier ladies of OS.
At last! A sane Vega. But don't worry about the knives, Doc. From this crowd, the "knives" have all the probing value of a piece of overcooked spaghetti.
And it incenses me when womanhood is reduced to sexuality alone - which much of the left does. Even you couple women with birth control. Sorry, but women are more than their vaginas and we who grew up in poverty have news for you, we really can figure this s__t out without you or the racist late Maggie Singer's help.

Ann Romney may be narrow in outlook to you, but the Left certainly is no better, different but not better, when it comes to the stereotyping of women.

And, purely anecdotally, I have spent years of time with devout Mormons, although I am not one, and from food selection to, yes alcohol to, yes smoking, to, yes birth control, to yes, education, etc, etc., have fiend them more tolerant of the individya
And it incenses me when womanhood is reduced to sexuality alone - which much of the left does. Even you couple women with birth control. Sorry, but women are more than their vaginas and we who grew up in poverty have news for you, we really can figure this s__t out without you or the racist late Maggie Singer's help.

Ann Romney may be narrow in outlook to you, but the Left certainly is no better, different but not better, when it comes to the stereotyping of women.

And, purely anecdotally, I have spent years of time with devout Mormons, although I am not one, and from food selection to, yes alcohol to, yes smoking, to, yes birth control, to yes, education, etc, etc., have fiend them more tolerant of the indiv
Thank you all for your comments. I guess we can't know if her empathy is sincere. I think she thinks it is, if that makes any sense at all. Just like she thinks she loves women when she has no grasp of modern womanhood other than what she's read about.

The fact that the two dissenters called me "Babe" and a "lovely lady" pretty much prove my point, so a special shout out to them.
Sorry, hit post with an errant finger..... Have found them to be more tolerant of an individual's freedom to do what they like with THEIR body and mind and life than any Leftist. The exceptions are gay marriage - which most Democrats don't favor either, and abortion.

Want freedom on nearly everything else? Vote for the party that most closely embraces classical liberalism: the Republicans.
Yes, we're criticizing Ann Romney because she' so pretty! It has nothing to do with what she stands for!
Barbara: I do not believe that talking about birth control as central to womanhood places me on the far left. Yes, we are more than our sexuality and our reproductive organs (which is why I object to AR's insistent mentions of motherhood). But the vast majority of women, unless they are infertile, celibate or exclusively homosexual (a sin in the eyes of this party) must contend with birth control as a reality of biology. And even those groups may find health benefits from some forms: the pill for endometriosis, migraine treatment, etc. Birth control should not be political. It is a part of comprehensive women's health care, period.

And I'd be interested to know exactly how the left stereotypes women, in your view.
Sorry Erik, the Republican platform is not against "family planning". It is for a ban on abortion - which it has been for thirty years- and against government paying for women's birth control.
Kate, the Left stereotypes women every time it speaks of opposition to taxpayer-funded birth control as a "war on women". Women are more than their vaginas and some women care about other issues a lot more than they do about "free" birth control or access to abortion. Every frigging time women are mentioned politically as primarily about "birth control" the writer is stereotyping. I am more interested in war and peace, freedom to travel, freedom to practice religion, freedom to do as I want in my personal life, etc etc than I am in birth control which, and I know this is a shock to the left which assumes poor women are morons, I can figure out how to handle and even pay for, myself. Quit thinking I am just about birth control. And, by the way, every time a moronic feminist "celebrates" "The Vagina Dialogs" or whatever the f**k that idiotic piece of crap is called, she IS stereotyping women.
Good luck and take care.
Doc, how has calling women Babe worked out for you? Life is really sad without their love, isn't it?
Barbara Joanne, Ann Romney reduces women to their uteruses when she talks incessantly about being a mom and how moms hold the world together, or whatever mom-nonsense she is spouting.
"The fact that the two dissenters called me "Babe" and a "lovely lady" pretty much prove my point, so a special shout out to them."

Watch that subject-verb agreement, KG.

@JdM As far as I can tell the only person who has used the word "pretty" was our original poster in the ungrammatical quote above. Do I sense some sensitivity to the concept on your part?

Whatever his private practices may be, and surely they are not the business of the voyeurs around here, Mitt Romney stated his public position clearly during the primary debates: "Contraception is fine; leave it alone." The only real issue is whether some Sandra with a phophetic surname should ask the public to pay for the dirt-cheap devices that can effectively stem the tsunami-like semenal (sic) tides that are flowing her way.
Not at all, Gordon. I think you're very pretty.
Ah yes, "The Vagina Monologs" . Awesome! The depth! The romance! The philosophical questions! God help us. With this as an example of sisterhood, I'll stick with my brothers and women who can talk about a few other things!
I left a comment yesterday that has been ignored. How staggeringly expensive is birth control? I am heading to the drugstore now, and don't want to be blindsided. I gather from the author and others that a couple has no choice but to have a steady stream of babies unless birth control is paid for by someone else. Enlighten me, please.
The dress and every word in her speech was a throwback to the fifties. There was no acknowledgement that there are single people out there, even though they now make up the majority of households. There was nothing in her Hallmark cliche that bore any resemblance to most women's reality. How does her happy marriage help the country?
Pam Malone, What precious things do we have now that we didn't have in the fifties? Let me guess: A massive drug problem, disintegration of the family, AIDS. Yeah we wouldn't want to give those up.
@Gordon Osmond: The Grammar Police hat is cute, but I'm having trouble with one of the words in your comment. Is, "phophetic" supposed to mean "prophetic?" Just trying to touch base.
If Womanhood isn’t Motherhood and Marital Status, then what is it? What are the criterion? What differentiates a girl from a woman from a female? Is it Age? Self sufficiency? What, exactly? Or do you think every female over a certain age is, inherently, a woman?

I know many forty year old males whom I would call boys, not men. The characteristics are easy to spot: immaturity, an unwillingness to commit to a serious relationship and a very self-focused life. He gives his time to no one else and spends his days in shallow reverie.

Why would my criteria for a female be different?

Being directly responsible for someone else's happiness (marriage) or directly responsible for someone else's life (parent) seems like a good criterion for a Man or a Woman.
Seriously, Modern Capital?

Being responsible for another adult’s happiness is co-dependence, not marriage. And by (what seems to be) your definition, people who are not fertile can never be adults. Moreover, being able to procreate, and having the responsibility of a child does *not* make someone an adult…unless you want to suggest that a 13 year old who generates a child out of a back seat dalliance is an adult. A woman who is self-sufficient with neither man nor child in her life is, most certainly, an adult. If you can’t see that, you’re merely an advertisement for the continued existence of sexism, and the continued need for feminism (you know, “the radical idea that women are people.”)
You could be right, about the point of being responsible for another person's happiness being co-dependence. I'm not particularly interested in arguing about it, just pointing out how I define the terms I'm using. You say co-dependent like depending upon others is a) unhealthy or b) not the norm. My girlfriend's asleep in my bed right now - is it co-dependent that that makes me happy? That someone I care about also cares about me and that I'm able to attract and keep her ... that's a bad thing?

I did not say that people who are not fertile cannot be adults. That's a word you introduced and then gave me credit for using.

I did not say that people who are not fertile cannot be women, either. I was specific. I said being responsible for someone else's life and there are a lot of ways to get yourself into that situation and those who do, and who do even moderatly well at it, are demonstrably better than those who don't.

Yes, you become an adult at 18. You become a Man, or a Woman, by your actions.

I don't appreciate the slams but I'm sure you think you are justified. Because you're arguing some sad little script in your head. You're not reading me, you're not thinking. Try it.

Of course females are people and yes some females are adults and some are not. This seems a bit semantical but, to use your example - would you say that a 13 year old mother is more or less matured, humbled, and developed by the act of making a new life? I like how you insult her a little "a back seat dalliance" without considering the 9 months of growing up she had to after it.
SO liberal.

"It's good when a person depends upon the state. It's bad when they depend upon each other."

As if using the government to provide basic human connectivity is the ideal.
i'm glad you made your mind up before you watched. i'm sure you are old enough to know that everyone, and i mean everyone regardless of their status has something either personally or in their family they have to deal with. even the romney's. you don't know shit. your post prove's it.
***correction...proves it.
Thanks for the correction, Michael Light.
@Arthur Louis, the fifties had segregation, gentleman's agreement, homosexuals locked in the closet, and women locked in the kitchen. Now we are much more free to be you and me. Since I was commenting on the dress, it represents a time when all women had to look feminine and wear dresses. They were not free to wear pants to school, work, or fancy restaurants. I say this as a woman who loves to wear dresses, I love pink and ruffles, But that is my choice and not something I am forced to do. That dress was not typical of the way Ann Romney usually dresses, and therefore was scripted as part of the back to the America "we owned" in the fifties, when certain people were still in their place. Luckily that "place" has been cracked wide open. May it forever be so!
Great post, thank you. You eloquently expressed so much of the frustration and rage I felt watching Ann Romney's speech. At times, I found her somewhat genuine and charming, in spite of myself. At other times, I thought I was watching Amy Poehler in a SNL sketch.

But I also found her hypocrisy to be utterly offensive. I would give
anything to see an interviewer ask her what she would have done if
she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and had then been declined
coverage for a pre-existing condition. What if she couldn't
have afforded her treatment at all?

These are the harsh realities for millions of the women Ann Romney supposedly "loves". But Ann either doesn't have a clue or doesn't give
a sh*t.

Sorry, Ann. Love is not enough.
I can't believe all these comments and congratulations on your EP, and not ONE has told you that the text posted under this title on the front page is incorrect.

Is it just my computer?
Well done. Ann Romney enjoys the relative sanctuary that goes from being in a political demilitarized zone where it is bad form to criticize her. And yet I had the same instinct that she is not as nice a person as she lets on, while feeling that she was speaking for the very limited GOP demographic that this three day convention was designed to celebrate.

The basic storyline at this convention, which speech after speech emphasized, was: This is who we are as Republicans, and aren't we terrific. Aren't things in America terrible and hasn't President Obama made a hash of things. And shouldn't you choose us and our proposals to make things better, sight unseen, because we are not about to tell you about them because we know you will not like what you see. So you will just have to trust us.

That basically, is how the GOP plans to try to win this election, which does not bode well for the way they will govern America if they win. Mrs. Romney is not as thuggish as a Senator Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions III of Alabama who directly attacked the very idea of "empathy" in the Sotomayor hearings because it meant stepping into the shoes of those outside the white Christian tribe, and thus undermining group solidarity. But Mrs. Romney still showed the same inability to be empathetic to those outside her limited tribe.
@Barbara Joanne,

I might agree with you about the "intolerance" of the left if liberals were still denigrating those women who choose a more traditional role in the home, or to live according to the strict strictures of their religion. There was a lot of that to be sure in the early days of the women's liberation movement as women were trying to break free of those stereotypes. But there is far less of that now as women have general freedom to pursue other lifestyles.

If anything, the intolerant demands for conformity are coming from the right -- and not just in America but from traditionalist, anti-modern movements across the globe, particularly in Israel where the growing influence of Orthodox Jewish groups threatens to reconsign women to second class status within Israeli society. This is one reason, by the way, that the Christian Right has been able to overcome its historic anti-Semitism and become the most passionate supporters of Israel instead.

The birth control nonsense is the perfect example of right wing traditionalists once again trying to control women and refit them for the more traditional, subordinate roles they think appropriate by controlling their sex lives and with it their freedom.
This is splendid. I've been wanting to read it for several days but wasn't sure what to expect - and I wasn't in the mood for mudslinging even if I don't particularly care for the woman.

But you were fair and thorough of your analysis of Ann Romney, and by extension, the Republican party. Other people here have made made the same points I'd like to, only better, so I won't repeat them. The things that most hit home are the the many contradictions in what she and her party are preaching. Like the "F" word. There's another "F" word that comes to my mind: Fake. There's something fake about her and the whole party's message.

But the thing that comes through loudest and clearest is an underlying meanness. Or maybe hard-heartedness is a better term. For most of them they're probably not even aware of it and I'm sure she and her husband are nice, genuine people. But it's a mean agenda they've got and a mean vision and just because she had cancer and suffers from MS doesn't matter. Lots of people become seriously ill or suffer from chronic conditions and it doesn't change them.