Mitt’s Misogyny On Full Display During Debate

Almost as soon as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney uttered the words “binders full of women” the internet lit up. The phrase and near-instantaneous meme was in response to a question from a young woman in the audience who wanted to know what each candidate would do to address the gender pay gap. Romney told her he considered hiring a woman once but had trouble finding qualified candidates so he had colleagues go bring him “binders full of women” to consider for the job. For real.

I’m sure Romney didn’t intend to make the case for affirmative action in his answer to pay discrimination but he did. And I’m also pretty sure he meant the story to humanize him on middle-class economic issues and in a way that would resonate with women. It’s safe to say it did not.

Instead, Romney’s answer succinctly categorized the seething misogyny that has come to define the modern-day Republican party. Not only did Romney’s “binders full of women” objectify women, it framed the issue of equal pay not as a matter of right or economic necessity but one of male generosity. Romney was so concerned about equal pay that he considered hiring a woman once, ladies so never-mind the fact his running mate voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Act and opposes paycheck fairness.

And just like Romney framed pay discrimination as something to be remedied by benevolent male bosses he framed flex time as “help” for women juggling work and families. Romney bragged his female employees were allowed to work flexible schedules and used this as proof that his administration would “understand” and “take care” of the women in the workforce. After all, when Mitt Romney was the boss he let his female workers “go home and fix dinner” for their kids.

Yes, women benefit from flex time, but so do men. And this fact is totally missing in Romney’s world. By tying flextime to his female workforce Romney simply reinforced the idea that women are the only ones who must juggle these demands, that dads don’t cook dinner, and that female employees are first-and-foremost either mothers or potential mothers. Consider one giant nod to the patriarchy.

More importantly, absent from Romney’s answer was the role the government serves in eradicating employment discrimination. Most American women are not so lucky as to have a boss that would just grant them flex time, nor absent a legal mandate go out and seek qualified female candidates for leadership positions. In Romney’s world, the private sector remedies pay discrimination and we should trust it will do the right thing. Of course, we have decades of proof that the private sector has done just the opposite.

Of course, only some working women are deserving of Romney’s generosity, and those are working women who also happen to be married. Single mothers, well they’re to blame for gun violence according to Romney. Not unregulated online ammunition sales or a wash of assault weapons on the street thanks to Republicans and the National Rifle Association. Single moms. So there’s that.

Finally, Romney’s interactions with moderator Candy Crowley made it clear that the man has no experience leading with women, let alone answering to one. Crowley’s refusal to be railroaded by Romney and the temerity she showed fact-checking him made Romney visibly angry. When it got to be just too much for Crowley he ignored her outright and spoke over her, which is exactly what we can expect a President Romney to do to any woman with the audacity to approach him as an equal, or more shockingly, as his superior.


Related Stories:

Top 10 #BinderFullofWomen Responses

Top 5 Obama Haymakers From Debate

Does It Matter If the Debates Ignore Women?


Photo from DonkeyHotey via flickr.


Michael M.
Michael T.4 years ago

Mary L. It is a sad thing to see. And more worrisome because they are deluded about what that really means, and angry at the rest of us because we just don't get it and are standing in their way.

Mary L.
Mary L.4 years ago

Michael M, you asked "Now who really wants to go backwards?"

Lots of deluded people who yearn for a time that never existed.

Michael M.
Michael T.4 years ago

And just in case Dan that you are ignorant of the election process, it is the electoral votes that decide the election. In 4 cases, and the one including that complete ass nicknamed Dubya the Ignorant, presidents have been elected while losing the popular vote.

So vote all you want for that slimy character you keep propping up as a candidate whose plan will add 7 trillion to the mess by enacting a revenue neutral tax and spending plan which will do nothing to ease your pain and suffering and actually make things worse while adding more horsies and bayonets and toyboats for the generals and admirals to play with.

Michael M.
Michael T.4 years ago

And if 1%-2% doesn’t seem like much, consider that Romney’s huge surge following the first debate was 2%, at most.

From this perspective, it’s a bit odd to see commentary out there suggesting that Romney should be favored, or that quantitative, poll-based analyses showing Obama ahead are somehow flawed, or biased, or not to be believed.

It’s especially amusing to see the target of this criticism be the New York Times’ Nate Silver, whose FiveThirtyEight blog has been, if anything, unusually generous to Romney’s chances all along.

Right now, his model gives Romney as much as a 30% probability of winning, even if the election were held today.

Nevertheless, The Daily Caller, Commentary Magazine, and especially the National Review Online have all run articles lately accusing Silver of being in the tank for the president.

Of all the possible objections to Silver’s modeling approach, this certainly isn’t one that comes to my mind.

I can only hope those guys don’t stumble across my little corner of the Internet.

Michael M.
Michael T.4 years ago

And just in case you are too lazy to look it up Dan O

With the debates complete, and just two weeks left in the campaign, there’s enough state-level polling to know pretty clearly where the candidates currently stand. If the polls are right, Obama is solidly ahead in 18 states (and DC), totaling 237 electoral votes. Romney is ahead in 23 states, worth 191 electoral votes. Among the remaining battleground states, Romney leads in North Carolina (15 EV); Obama leads in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Wisconsin (44 EV); and Florida, Virginia, and Colorado (51 EV) are essentially tied. Even if Romney takes all of these tossups, Obama would still win the election, 281-257.

The reality in the states – regardless of how close the national polls may make the election seem – is that Obama is in the lead. At the Huffington Post, Simon Jackman notes “Obama’s Electoral College count lies almost entirely to the right of 270.” Sam Wang of the Princeton Election Consortium recently put the election odds “at about nine to one for Obama.” The DeSart and Holbrook election forecast, which also looks at the current polls, places Obama’s re-election probability at over 85%. Romney would need to move opinion by another 1%-2% to win – but voter preferences have been very stable for the past two weeks.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown4 years ago

Dan O. Are you going to take this comedy act of yours on the road? Read the scientific polling and weep.

Michael M.
Michael T.4 years ago

Remember in November

Voting is just like driving a car.

When you want the car to move forward
simply put the shift into D for Drive and go forward.

If you want to go backwards use R for Reverse.

Now who really wants to go backwards?

dan o.
dan o.4 years ago

Better get used to saying President Romney. Impeach Obama before it's too Late.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown4 years ago

Bill R. - Your obsession with turning the tragic deaths of four brave Americans into a political issue is both disingenuous and disgusting.

Michael M.
Michael T.4 years ago

Really Bill?

That's fascinating.

You have all of us, Kevin and I, and occasionally Lee absolutely rapt with attention to hear what is going to come out of you next. LOL.

We just can't get over the stuff you believe you are reporting. How those long winter evenings in Oregon must just fly by for you.