Thomas Jefferson Street Blog–USNews & World Report

On Women’s Issues, Mitt Romney Has Binders Full of Nonsense

October 18, 2012 RSS Feed Print


In the summer of 1960 the Republican Party passed a platform at their convention calling for an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. They also approved  a strong civil rights plank. My, how times change.

Now, we are faced with a political party and a nominee that seem to want to whisper sweet nothings in the ears of women while taking us back not 50 years but closer to 100. They seem to think they can talk their way out of their policy positions. Dream on.

In the debate, Mitt Romney took a detour from the question about equal pay for equal work to talk about “binders full of women.” The new Facebook page with that name had over 300,000 followers in a matter of hours, clearly indicating voters were not happy with his claims about appointing women.

Let’s deal with these issues one at a time. First, Mitt Romney did not ask his aides to put together these “binders.” A bipartisan group of women began to work in the summer before the election to assemble women who could serve in the next gubernatorial administration. These names were to be given to whoever won the election in November. Second, Romney’s number of women appointed decreased in every year of his administration and it was Gov. Deval Patrick who upped the number of women appointees. Third, the women got the lower level appointments not the plum jobs under Mitt Romney. So enough long stories about “binders.”

Next, Romney wanted to leave the impression that “I support contraceptives” when, in fact, he won’t support health coverage for them. Viagra, no problem, but gee whiz we shouldn’t require companies and organizations to have health insurance that covers contraceptives if they have a “religious objection.”  His lieutenant governor, Kerry Healey, told Andrea Mitchell this was a “peripheral issue”—but it’s not peripheral to those who have to pay for it.

But, of course, the crowning glory for Romney in the debate and afterwards was his effort to duck the equal pay for equal work legislation, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Ed Gillespie, his senior adviser, stated that Romney opposed this bill but that, as the governor has said, he would not try and repeal it as president. Oops, then slippery Ed tried to walk it back saying Romney did not take a position on it. Hooey.

This bill passed in January 2009 in the House of Representatives with only three Republicans supporting it. It passed the Senate with only five Republican Senators in favor. It was signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 29, 2009.  It is now a very popular piece of legislation.

Of course, Romney didn’t support it then; the question to ask is whether he supports it now. He will not answer that question. Mitt Romney should stop his dance with women voters and be honest, truthful, up-front. Mitt Romney might want to take a page from the 1960 party platform but then he would have to disavow this year’s platform which does not even have an exception for rape, incest, and life of the mother when it comes to a woman’s right to choose.

Mitt Romney’s record for women is disgraceful, despite his rhetoric.

Even the 1950s look good compared to Mitt Romney.