Ann Romney. Janna Ryan. In the last couple of days, we've heard the hopeful first ladies of the GOP give Republican National Convention speeches in support of their men. Ann's was rousing and widely lauded, even by those who don't support Mitt Romney. She humanized Mitt (a tough order) by calling him "this boy I met at a high-school dance" who "made me laugh," and went on to pander for the female vote by talking about voting moms and couples who can't afford more children (also tough, since she grew up so friggin' privileged). Janna, on the other hand, got a case of the nerves, causing some bloggers to want to give her a hug. Poor sweetheart! You should be nervous, you're married to an incurable liar and Ayn Rand-lover.
But they both, blonde* and slender, stood by their men just as they were expected to, continuing that proud tradition of smiling, slightly plastic GOP wives. Which brings us to an interesting question ... Do these women actually believe everything they're so eagerly supporting? How much of a relationship between a couple like Mitt and Ann Romney is about love, the kind that thrives outside of political views, and how much stems from sharing dare-we-say intellectual ideas, values and beliefs? After all, Ann Romney is pro-choice and the Republican platform couldn't be clearer about their anti-woman stance on abortion. Do their dinner conversations just never "go there"? We know Barack and Michelle bonded partly because they supported the same causes — but of course not all political couples are the same.
Interestingly, and not at all in tandem with our experience, some surveys suggest that Republicans actually care more about their partner's political party. According to the 2011 Singles in America study from Match.com, "Republican and Democratic singles seek dramatically different traits in a partner. Liberal Democrats are more likely to search for someone with a sense of humor, similar lifestyle to their own, a sense of independence and someone whom they consider to be their equal. Republicans really are conservative when it comes to choosing a partner; they're searching for someone with the same background and political party as their own who is interested in marriage." Maybe Republicans care more about actual political party for status reasons, while Democrats just want someone they can relate and talk to, regardless of labels?
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