Praise flowed for Ann Romney even before she delivered her speech at the Republican National Convention last night. Hours earlier, Republicans nominated Mitt Romney for president. But Romney, polls indicate, is having trouble with women and minority voters. And it was on Ann Romney's shoulders to help recast his image in an effort to endear him to women.
In many respects, she delivered. She spoke lovingly about her husband. And she seemed remarkably at ease, considering she doesn't often give speeches in front of such large crowds.
But her love boat ran ashore for me when she talked about her struggles with MS and breast cancer, and her husband's support during her illnesses. This is admittedly a touchy and nuanced area for criticism. But I have to wonder whether many women listening to her at home could confront these problems with the same level of confidence.
And do the Romneys understand this?
The Romneys can readily afford the best medical care available. They can afford the screenings for early detections, the cost of drugs that are not typically low-priced generic brands, and the cost of co-pays for multiple office visits to help her fight her illnesses. The Romneys also have the resources to turn to the specialists they trust and counter challenges from their insurance company.
But millions of women, particularly women of limited means, would not have Ann Romney's advantages.
That doesn't mean that she is a bad person or that her struggles with life-threatening illnesses were somehow less significant. It doesn't diminish her role as a wife or mother, either.
But her husband claims that he will overturn the Affordable Care Act on his first day in office if he is elected.
If Ann Romney is going to talk about her illnesses and her husband's dependability during those stressful times, it's also incumbent on her to be straight with women. If her husband has his way, many will not be nearly as equipped to face such formidable odds.