Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Suzi Parker writes at the Washington Post, Mitt Romney’s ‘binders full of women’:
The minute Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said the phrase, social media exploded.
* * *
“Binders Full Of Women” was certainly an awkward phrase to say and it failed to even work as an answer to the question. Instead, it reminded people of a time when women wore girdles or women in China bound their feet as status symbol that allowed them to marry into money. For some, it sounded like a great idea for a Halloween costume.
And like Big Bird, it became an instant meme.
Romney then went a bit patriarchal, reminding me of the Dabney Coleman character in the 1980s movie, “9 to 5.”
“Now one of the reasons I was able to get so many good women to be part of that team was because of our recruiting effort. But number two, because I recognized that if you’re going to have women in the workforce that sometimes you need to be more flexible. My chief of staff, for instance, had two kids that were still in school.”
He continued, saying that his chief of staff couldn’t work late because she had to be home “making dinner” and “being with them when they get home from school.”
Romney said, “Let’s have a flexible schedule so you can have hours that work for you.”
Do fathers not have to get home and cook dinner? Do they not want to be there for their children when school is out? After all, there are such things as single dads who balance children and work. Mitt Romney has obviously been watching too many episodes of “Leave It To Beaver” on TV Land on the campaign trail. The days of Donna Reed are long over, Mr. Romney.
* * *
[F]ew will remember any of that tomorrow because “binders full of women” already has its own Twitter account.
But it is Paul Krugman at his blog post Chicken Hawk Down that leads to "the rest of the story":
Krugman's link is to a Talking Politics post by David Bernstein at The Phoenix, Mind The Binder:
Hey, I know about that binder! And guess what -- Mitt Romney was lying about it.
* * *
Not a true story.
What actually happened was that in 2002 -- prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration -- a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor.
They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.
I have written about this before, in various contexts; tonight I've checked with several people directly involved in the MassGAP effort who confirm that this history as I've just presented it is correct -- and that Romney's claim tonight, that he asked for such a study, is false.
I will write more about this later, but for tonight let me just make a few quick additional points. First of all, according to MassGAP and MWPC, Romney did appoint 14 women out of his first 33 senior-level appointments, which is a reasonably impressive 42 percent. However, as I have reported before, those were almost all to head departments and agencies that he didn't care about -- and in some cases, that he quite specifically wanted to not really do anything. None of the senior positions Romney cared about -- budget, business development, etc. -- went to women.
Secondly, a UMass-Boston study found that the percentage of senior-level appointed positions held by women actually declined throughout the Romney administration, from 30.0% prior to his taking office, to 29.7% in July 2004, to 27.6% near the end of his term in November 2006. (It then began rapidly rising when Deval Patrick took office.)
Third, note that in Romney's story as he tells it, this man who had led and consulted for businesses for 25 years didn't know any qualified women, or know where to find any qualified women. So what does that say?
So Romney was both patriarchal condescending towards women, and his attempt to "connect" with women with a personal anecdote turns out to be yet another Romney lie.
UPDATE: Greg Sargent at The Plum Line has more on this story. The truth about Romney and those ‘binders’:
The tale isn’t quite how [Romney] told it, according to Liz Levin, the chair of a women’s group that was right in the middle of the story at the time.
In fact, Levin tells me, the groups initiated contact with him and urged him to hire more women — when he was still a candidate — and began creating the binders themselves on their own initiative before he took office. In fairness to Romney, she says, he did agree to work with them.
* * *
In 2002, when Romney was running for governor, Levin, who is now president of a management consulting company in Massachusetts, chaired a group called MassGAP. It was set up that year with the goal of increasing the number of women in government.
Levin, an Obama supporter, says MassGAP and other groups were the ones who first reached out to the gubernatorial candidates to get them to commit to hiring more women. She says Romney signed their pledge — as a candidate — and agreed to work with the groups.
At that time, the groups, on their own, were compiling lists of qualified female candidates for positions in state government, she says. After he was elected governor, in November of 2002, the groups took him a notebook full of those candidates.
“He did not initiate our project,” Levin says. “He was the recipient of a project we put together.”
* * *
At first, their collaboration brought results. “He did increase the percentage of women who were in state government, which we appreciated,” Levin says. However, by the end of his administration, she adds, the level of women in government had slid back down again.
Levin points to a University of Massachusetts study showing that by November of 2006, the level of women as a percentage of senior level positions had dropped to lower than it was when Romney took office.
To paraphrase, "hell hath no fury like a woman lied to" for her vote.
UPDATE: Steve Benen adds more to the story. 'Binders full of women':
Let's quickly set the record straight.
First, Romney's story about seeking women applicants was a lie. Second, during Romney's tenure at Bain Capital, there were exactly zero women partners (not enough binders?). Third, during his one term as governor, he invalidated a half-dozen executive orders establishing affirmative action policies for women.
And this doesn't even touch on the fact that Romney won't endorse the pending Violence Against Women Act; Romney took the coward's way out when Limbaugh targeted Sandra Fluke; Romney has offered support for a "Personhood" measure that's so extreme it would ban some forms of birth control; Romney intends to destroy the Affordable Care Act, which would be a huge setback millions of women; and Romney's running mate has one of the worst voting records on women's issues in Congress.
BindersFullOfWomen.com, which American Bridge put together with blinding speed last night, has more.