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Romney's Binders of Women Reveal Dangerous Blind Spots

By October 18, 2012

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Mitt Romney's use of the shallow phrase "binders full of women" was unfortunate for him, but revealing for us, the U.S. electorate. It revealed a certain truth: that Gov. Romney was seeking token women for his administration. Period. Their main qualification would be gender, apparently to appease some public appearance quota. Precisely as is protocol for selecting blue-chip corporate boards of directors.

Had Mr. Romney uttered a more respectful phrase,... say, "binders of resumes from highly qualified women"... he would have reflected a more thoughtful mindset of seriously seeking out and giving voice to a group woefully underrepresented in his inner circle.

I find it disturbing enough that at age 56, after three decades in the highest echelons of American life, Mitt Romney knew of absolutely no qualified women with political aspirations.

That Mr. Romney's surrogates would select a handful of potential women candidates out of fat beauty-contest-like binders "full of women" based on God-only-knows-what criteria... well, it's condescending. Superficial. Treats women like a commodity to be acquired, not like important leaders who represent more than 50% of U.S. citizens.

Mr. Romney's quaint, 1950's-style callousness towards issues uniquely affecting women contrasts starkly with President Obama's innate understanding and support of women in 2012.

As a result, Mr. Romney's presidential chances should be hurt in certain battleground states, including:

  • Pennsylvania and North Carolina, both where women comprise a whopping 51.3% of state populations
  • Ohio, where women are 51.2% of the population
  • New Mexico, where women are 50.6% of the population
  • Iowa, where women are 50.5% of the population
  • Wisconsin, where women are 50.4% of the population

Hearing of Gov. Romney resorting to "binders full of women" to identify potential cabinet and judicial candidates from among more than 50% of the population causes me to wonder...

  • Did he also use binders to identify qualified Hispanics?
  • Qualified African-Americans? Asians?
  • Qualified gay Americans?
  • Were those binders also "full"?
  • Did he ignore those binders, concluding that their respective portions of the population were too small to warrant token representation?

There's nothing inherently wrong with a presidential candidate being surrounded with advisers of his or her choice, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.

It's wrong and disrespectful, though, when a presidential candidate regards those unlike him as mere tokens, appointed to appease an "other" quota.

It's also wrong for the United States to elect as president a person who has no understanding of, curiosity about, or compassion for the majority of our country's richly diverse population. Who, instead, blithely stereotypes 47% of U.S. citizens as takers and moochers who are "unwilling to take responsibility for their lives."

Indeed, Mr. Romney's use of the phrase "binders full of women" was revealing for the American electorate. It revealed, once again, a presidential candidate with a dangerous blind spot of gigantic sinkhole proportions for the importance of anyone other than wealthy, white men, who are but a tiny minority sliver of the U.S. population in 2012.


October 18, 2012 at 8:16 pm
(1) John Ballard says:

A study by the University of Massachusetts Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy showed that 42% of Mr. Romney’s senior-level appointments were women during his first two years in office, and that percentage dropped to 25% in his final two years.

That’s from the good old WSJ, folks.

Two of the 10 highest-paid members of Mitt Romney’s gubernatorial staff were women in 2003, his first year as Massachusetts governor, and on average full-time women staffers earned 25% less than male staffers that year, according to data from the Massachusetts Comptroller’s office.

Any questions???

October 24, 2012 at 10:54 am
(2) Anne Caroline Drake says:

Mitt Romney was reared in privilege. Pres. Obama, on the other hand, lived in diverse cultures around the world. Our perspectives are shaped by what we experience, and Mr. Romney’s experiences have been limited to the 1%.

He has no clue what it takes to achieve the American dream because he was born on third base. His daddy paved the way for him.

Pres. Obama’s daddy was absent. He witnessed his mother’s struggles. She didn’t give him material wealth, but she certainly gave him a wealth of experiences that shaped his view of the world.

October 26, 2012 at 10:40 am
(3) Dr. Jan Beauregard says:

Dear Linda,
I am sorry but I think the “binder” remark is petty. I collect resumes for people who want to join my practice and put them in a three ringed notebook which in Romney’s day technically would be called a binder. What is true however is that Obama talks the talk like he will help women and blacks and disadvantaged groups yet he doesn’t have women or minorities represented in his cabinet either and has had 4 years to do so. They just toss in a few token crumbs and women flock to him like geese. We need a total makeover with government – with equal ethnic and gender representative. They can apply now and I COULD CARE LESS if we organize their resumes in binders.
Dr. J. Beauregard

October 31, 2012 at 10:47 pm
(4) kristinelark says:

A minor correction Romney is 65, not 56. More importantly, his mindset is robber baron age.

October 31, 2012 at 10:48 pm
(5) kristinelark says:

A minor correction — Romney is 65, not 56. More importantly, his mindset is robber baron age.

November 2, 2012 at 11:00 am
(6) Deborah White says:

Kristine, indeed, Mitt Romney is cut from the robber-baron mold.

About his age, Romney was 56 years old when he was making decisions about appointments to his new gubernatorial administration in 2003, nine years ago. Today, he is 65 years old.

November 7, 2012 at 8:55 am
(7) Judy Hamby says:

I know I should never talk to a liberal. So you think Obama is a good president and that Mitt Romney is a jerk? Think again. Obama is a liar and thief, He’s the worse thing that ever happened to this country. In another four years our country will be broke – everything will come from China. Thank God my state of North Carolina election a Republican governor. Hope is not lost. Only put on hold.

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