Another piece for the Times criticized Planned Parenthood for a weak legislative strategy that I felt was putting its federal funding at risk. I support funding for Planned Parenthood. Gov. Romney does not, so I didn’t think my husband’s role on his campaign warranted disclosure. But what followed was another round of attacks on my disclosure lapse, with Planned Parenthood, its supporters and many of my friends demanding to know why I hadn’t stated that I am “married to a Romney guy.” My mistake this time was not recognizing that during campaign season, you are never allowed to criticize those you support lest you give the other side ammunition to use against them. My bad.
Most recently an op-ed I wrote for the Wall Street Journal was critical of New York teachers unions for supporting a policy that makes it very hard to fire teachers who engage in inappropriate sexual behavior with children. In this case, I failed twice. The teachers union immediately pointed to my Romney tie (apparently in their view only a Romney supporter would oppose sexual predators in school?). They then rightly asserted that my husband serves on the board of StudentsFirst—New York, an education reform group that advocates for charter schools. He receives no money from the organization, yet the teachers unions blasted me for hiding this connection, and falsely accused me of a financial conflict of interest. Here I failed to disclose because I stupidly did not connect the teachers’ unions’ opposition to charter schools to their support for a system that protects teachers who engage in sexual misconduct. My sincerest apologies to the teachers unions for not fully appreciating how wrong they are on not one but two issues.
As you may have guessed, I am not feeling very apologetic. These pieces represent my opinion and mine alone. If you want a different answer, ask a different girl. I have, however, gone back and forth on the disclosure question many times with a journalist friend. She believes the only way to go is to overshare, because as long as you are a Romney wife, there are certain people who will always believe that you are somehow doing his bidding. (Thank you, Twitter, for allowing me to engage with those people each and every day.)
So in the interest of full disclosure, let me share a few more potential conflicts (that are mostly with my husband). Hopefully this will satisfy those who believe I am his ideological twin. For the deeply offended, contact info below.
Dan likes the Jets. But we all know that Eli Manning is inimitable. (Jets fans can reach me at @campbell_brown via Twitter. Tom Brady fans, you can look up inimitable on dictionary.com).
Dan works in finance. I think the financial industry is EVIL, with the exception of my husband. (Goldman Sachs—see above Twitter handle.)
I support Simpson-Bowles. Dan is opposed to tax increases during an economic downturn. But we are working on this one in couples counseling. (Grover Norquist, please call Dan directly. He has some influence with me except when he doesn’t.)
Dan wants to try for a girl. I think two boys are enough. (See couples counseling.)
Dan is obviously voting for Romney. I supported Obama in 2008. This year I am voting for…
Some things we should be able to keep to ourselves.