It's pretty typical, during an election, for a candidate's spouse to take up some pet cause that, if her husband is elected, will be her thing. Telling kids to Just Say No. (That sure worked, huh?) Literacy. Fitness. What have you.
It's not supposed to be controversial. The role of the first lady is symbolic (and, you know, a little antiquated), but hey, the missus needs something to keep her occupied for four to eight years, so ...
With the Romneys, however, nothing is simple. Even Ann Romney's intended pet cause—multiple sclerosis—just makes things awkward for Mitt:
MS advocates say that policies Romney now supports would be detrimental for many MS sufferers, and they are actively opposing these proposals. Which means that Mitt Romney is now at odds with the MS community he and his wife have long supported.There's a ringing endorsement. Hey, Romneys, thanks for caring about MS and all, but, uh, your actual policies would be "detrimental" for us.
It's not that MS advocates aren't grateful for the thought:
National MS advocates are appreciative of Ann Romney's efforts to help boost the profile of the disease and raise money for the cause, but they are opposing her husband's campaign health care policy proposals, many of which are mirrors of GOP legislation currently pending in Congress. MS advocates believe many of the proposals would be extremely harmful to most people with multiple sclerosis.Detrimental. Extremely harmful. How does Ann pitch that the next time she's giving a speech to the MS community? Please vote for my husband, whose policies would be detrimental and extremely harmful to you.
Yeah. Good luck with that one.
But in this case, the MS community has good reason to root for the other team. MS advocates could well face the possibility of having to use money the Romneys helped them raise to fight a President Romney's attempts to kill policies and programs they need to survive.Mitt can't even go on a glorified photo-op trip abroad without causing an international incident. Ann Romney can't even give her heartfelt speeches about MS without alienating the MS community. Is there anything these people can do right?