Opinion: Wait, Mitt Romney Really Didn't Know any Smart Women?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - 03:12 PM

In case any conservatives out there are wondering why everyone is upset, appalled or falling on the ground laughing over the “Binder Full of Women” quote, it’s because it sounded like this: It's January of 2003, and newly-elected Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney faced one of the toughest questions in his entire political career: Where were all the smart, qualified women in New England?

Where in the name of Wellesley, Mount Holyoke, or Smith could they have possibly been? You would have had to have been a graduate of Harvard, Yale, or Brown to even know where to begin to find women in the Northeast qualified enough to serve on the governor’s staff There was some discussion about contacting someone over at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the hopes that they could come up with some sort of algorithm to help find capable and talented females, but that technology appeared to be decades away.

Fortunately for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Governor Romney discovered a “women’s group,” and he ordered them to scour the entire state for the handful of women smart enough to do the job. After a long search, this “women’s group” then presented Governor Romney with “The Binder,” which allowed him to staff half of his cabinet with females, thus preventing the Romney Cabinet from being a cadre of interchangeable, middle-aged white men, which is something the Republican Party simply cannot abide.

It’s nice that Romney felt that it was important to hire women for his cabinet, and it is equally nice that he actually did. But what a lot of people are absolutely failing to comprehend is the idea that he didn’t know who any of these qualified women could possibly be. In all of his years at Bain Capital, did he never run across any women lawyers, CEO’s, bankers or administrators? In all his years in Massachusetts, did he never come across any of the ridiculously sharp brains coming out of the Ivy League or Seven Sister colleges?

Or did he just assume all those gals were majoring in “Womyn’s Studies” and didn’t bother to meet any? In all of his campaigning across Massachusetts, in all of the fundraisers he attended, in all of the policy planning meetings, in all of the debate preparations, did nothing of note done by somebody with XX chromosomes come across his radar?

By now, the facts of the case are well established. There was a “binder full of women” given to him by “women’s groups,” but the binder was waiting for him on his desk well before he was sworn in, and the binder wasn’t waiting for him because he asked for it. A group called MassGAP had been reaching out to every candidate in the race in order to lobby for more female appointments to government posts. To his credit, Romney agreed to take their suggestions seriously, and that should have been enough.

All Mitt Romney had to do was say “Half of my cabinet were women,” and it would have been the truth, and he could have used that fact as Kevlar against a lot of the other justifiable concerns that many women voters have with him as a candidate in particular and the entire Republican Party in general. But it appears that Romney wanted to portray himself as a hero.

He wanted us to believe that he walked into his office on his first day as governor, saw nothing but a row of dudes looking back at him, and then immediately marched over to “Smart Women Supply Company” and placed an order.

It says something about the guy and his attitude towards women when you consider that even his self-generated, wishful-thinking scenarios seem completely outdated. If Romney’s dad had marched into the Michigan governor’s office and demanded that more women be found for more government positions, that would have definitely have been radical and heroic, but that would have been because his dad was governor in 1963.

George Romney very well might have had to approach some “women’s group” somewhere to find qualified candidates, if only because the idea of women serving in cabinet positions back then was practically unheard of. Transplanting that same “let’s get some women in here, where are they” scenario to 2003 simply doesn’t work. Women have had way too much skin in the game for way too long for any American politician to pretend he needs outside help to find the qualified ones.


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Comments [12]


Do you consider the GOP's use of the filibuster to be un-democratic or a valid method for preserving the Constitution? If you think the latter, go back and read the Constitution. It's not their job, it's the court's job to determine what is constitutional.

How about signing a pledge to Grover Norquist not to raise taxes? Is that patriotic or a violation of their oaths of office. Holding any pledge above their Constitutional prescribed duty is treason. Lucky for them Obama has not put them in jail.

I find the GOP's predilection to delay, deny and obstruct the people's business to be dishonest and unpatriotic. They should not have sworn to "preserve, protect and defend" the Constitution and then duck out of so many up or down votes on appointments, confirmations and legislative action.

Will Democrats use similar tactics if/when the shoe is on the other foot? Maybe, but my opinion on the patriotism of such behavior will not change.

Oct. 19 2012 01:59 PM
Concerned Woman Voter from Florida

Mitt Romney has insulted and ignored the rights of women, during this entire presidential race. Here are a few of my observations
(1) Equal Pay for Equal Work for Women – Mitt deliberately ignored this question, because he does not have women’s issues at the heart of his campaign. He responded by stating he requested a “BINDER FULL OF WOMEN’” to seek qualified women for cabinet positions. Most politicians have worked with colleagues that would come to mind, if their intent was to hire a woman for a position.
(2) Gun Control - He blamed the existence of one parent families on violence committed by assault weapons, rather than addressing legislation that would outline control of the purchase of these weapons for other than purposes of war.
(3) Healthcare – Romney’s idea of healthcare reform is allowing employers to decide on whether a woman would have access to life saving test that could catch catastrophic diseases at the early stages.
(4) Early Childhood Education: Eliminating programs like Sesame Street, means that young children of parents that could not afford to send them to pre-schools, would not have opportunity to early childhood learning.
(5) Disrespect for the Highest Office of the Land - This week, when his son Tagg, made a threatening remark about “Swinging on the President” This remark is criminal and should be treated as such. Romney blamed violence on single parent families, how does he explain the actions of Tagg, which supposedly come from a two parent family?
Mitt Romney is a fraud that will lie to anyone, anytime and anywhere to get the votes he needs to get into the White House. If this behavior is being displayed now, can you imagine what would go on, if he was elected?
Get to the polls and vote and be sure to take as many people with you as you can.

Oct. 18 2012 11:01 PM
Adam dawson from Arlington va

I'm afraid I have no earthly idea what you are talking about.

Oct. 18 2012 06:14 PM

If the President and his friends in Congress are serious about this issue (which they are not this election year) then call for a formal repeal of the religious clause of the First Amendment which takes super majorities in the US Congress and most of the states.
They scoff at this of course because it displays their frustration with the Constitution that most of them swore on a Bible to defend and besides, it is much easier to ignore the Constitution and demagogue and demonize those who call them out on their unconstitutional actions.

Is that really the path we want our Republic to take?

Oct. 18 2012 12:16 PM
Adam Dawson from Arlington, VA

Hell, listener, that's just barely a draw. Religious institutions get to be pleased with textbooks in multiple states that claim the earth is 6000 years old, and in return they have to shell out an extra $9 on their health care policies so their receptionist doesn't get knocked up. In terms of who has more of an effect on how America is going to go for the next five decades or so, I think the churches have the upper hand.

And relax about your precious, precious, precious guns, dude. You can now actually take your gun into a national park nowadays. And absolutely zero federal gun laws have been rescinded since Obama took office. You have more 2nd amendment rights right now then you did under W. Imagine that!

Oct. 18 2012 01:20 AM

"Which $17 trillion would you like to cut?"

If only the famously undecided would ask the President that 17 trillion dollar question? Of course that unserious inquiry takes a backseat to making religious institutions provide contraceptives and changing gun laws which just so happens to involve the First and Second Amendment to the US Constitution that he took an oath to preserve which may also include something about providing a budget.

Oct. 18 2012 12:48 AM
Adam Dawson from Arlington, VA

Maybe. Which $17 trillion would you like to cut?

Oct. 18 2012 12:14 AM

Those nonpartisans ask great questions that don't at all amplify a political narrative about totally unmanufactured issues that are vetted by a genuinely impartial moderator.

BTW...did we hit 17 trillion dollars in debt yet?

Oct. 17 2012 10:36 PM
Adam Dawson from Arlington, VA

CLB, as long as the unofficial motto of the GOP is "We'll stay out of your wallet but set up headquarters in your pants," and as long as your party continues to elect wrinkled old ignoramuses who are entirely too concerned with what women are doing with their genitals because Bible, I think the Dems have the female vote pretty much handled.

With regards to your predictions, well, we'll see. That's why they have the elections.

Oct. 17 2012 07:45 PM
Adam Dawson from Arlington, VA

Scott, I know. I heard that part of the debate. And I mentioned as much in the piece. The point is that after twenty years of being in business and politics in Massachusetts, in a state and region with some of the best colleges and universities, law schools and business schools in the nation (a few of which are women only,) he still had to ask for help finding qualified women because he didn't know any. No women CEO's, no women mayors, no women attorneys, no women who were making noise in academia, policy, finance, anything.

It's admirable that he had his people go out and get him some. But to me it shows a disconnect that I would refer to as "big-assed."

Oct. 17 2012 07:32 PM
clb2012now from Laurel, MD

Women at the Whitehouse make 77% of what men make and Obama is the "woman's" choice?

I'd rather have Romney's work flexibility than Obama's Russia flexibility any day.

Oct. 17 2012 06:56 PM

@ Adam .... your turn to "read the transcript"....Romney's first meeting with advisers to sort through candidates for his Cabinet did not have one woman on the list....He then asked them to recruit interested women candidates for consideration because he wanted a well-rounded, er excuse me, a diverse Cabinet of qualified individuals he could team with to get the job done in a hostile political environment. And he did, as his record shows. Unlike the guy we now have in our White House who pretends to be a President. Thank goodness the lame duck's goose is about to get cooked.

Oct. 17 2012 05:44 PM

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