The latest Romneyism to set the political world awitter, “binders full of women,” has reiginited the battle for female voters, with President Obama and his campaign casting Governor Romney as an out-of-touch barbarian set on bringing women back to the 1950s.
Romney uttered this now infamous phrase during the second presidential debate in response to a female voter’s question on pay equity. Faced with a dearth of female candidates for cabinet positions during his time as governor of Massachusetts, Romney asked women’s groups to find him qualified applicants, resulting in “binders full of women” from which to choose. Lost in this convoluted and in-artfully worded story was the essential point- the Romney administration at one time had more women in senior leadership position’s than any other state in America.
Of course, President Obama and his sympathizers have neglected this detail as they have trumpeted the binders phrase. “We don’t have to collect a bunch of binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women ready to learn and teach in these fields right now,” the president said at a campaign stop when discussing his plan to hire more math and science teachers. CNN’s Jessica Yellin said that Romney’s comment made it sound like he thinks “women are some mail-order product you can order out of colored binders” and MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski called the remarks “insulting.”
Some have also taken Romney to task for highlighting the flexibility he offered his former chief of staff so that she could be home to make dinner for her children. In this line of thinking, Romney’s anecdote is viewed as evidence that he thinks women belong in the kitchen above all else.
Only in the backwards world of politically correct liberals is Romney’s desire to hire more women and to accommodate their requests evidence of sexism.
But lost in the hysteria surrounding Romney’s phrase is the president’s own record on women. It has been widely reported that women in the Obama administration were paid significantly less than their male counterparts. Not only was there an $11,000 gap between men and women’s median pay, but of the top 20 earners in the administration only six were women. Furthermore, former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said that the Obama White House “fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women.”
Beyond the Obama administration’s treatment of its own female employees are the realities of the rest of the women in America. Since the recession hit, jobs have come back more strongly for men than woman. As a result, the unemployment rate for women is higher than it was when President Obama took office, standing at 7% in September 2012.
So while the Obama campaign can push the binders line from now until November 6, in the end, nothing can distract from the president’s dismal economic record. And women, who are much smarter than the Obama campaign gives them credit for, recognize this, as evidenced by a significant narrowing of the “gender gap.”
Governor Romney may have found his female employees in a binder, but unlike President Obama, he actually has a plan to get the economy going. That, more than anything else, makes him the better candidate for women and the nation, binders and all.