A non-partisan explanation of Romney’s comments that reveals his history of a deep commitment to women’s equality

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-life Mitt Romney

I am only vaguely familiar with womensenews.org, but even a cursory glance tells you this is not the kind of blog that ordinarily would be the least bit friendly to Mitt Romney. So when a friend passed along “Romney’s Mention of Binders Should Have Won Points,” written by Wendy Murphy, I read her commentary with great interest.

As you remember, at the second presidential debate, Romney talked about his attempts while governor of Massachusetts to find qualified women to fill jobs in government.  As NRLC President Carol Tobias put it in “An Open Letter to President Obama,” Romney “saw that not many women were in prominent positions so he consciously sought out women for various staff and cabinet positions. He referred to the resumes he was given as ‘binders full of women.’ Amazingly, your supporters wanted us to be insulted. Were we to believe that he actually meant little women were placed in a binder and he opened it to let them out?  Mr. President, do you honestly believe we are that stupid?”

Of course, whether it be the President himself or his supporters, the pretend outrage is of a piece with all the phony-baloney outrage, built on the patronizing assumption that  “women” are not only a monolith but, frankly, stupid.

So why does Ms. Murphy “smile” when she heard Romney’s reference? She writes

“As a nonpartisan advocate for women, I eagerly volunteered to serve on the task force that in 2003 put the binders together in an effort to help more women be appointed to positions of authority in government. And it worked.

“Romney, then the newly elected governor of Massachusetts, gave 42 percent of new leadership jobs to women.

“I expected his comment about the ‘binders,’ made as it was in the bright lights of a nationally televised debate during a cliffhanger election, to call attention to MassGAP and inspire similar projects in other states.

“Reading news accounts the day after the debate though, you’d think Romney had said he’d tied baby kittens to trees. Women’s groups all but accused Romney of wanting to lock women up in cages.”

There was more. Murphy writes

“Critics also accused Romney of taking credit for creating MassGAP by saying he’d ‘reached out’ to women’s groups. In fact, Romney’s comment was an understatement.

“He more than ‘reached out.’ Romney was very proactive in working closely with MassGAP not only to collect binders, but also to strategize about ways of identifying even more female candidates.

“His lieutenant governor at the time, Kerry Healey, attended the meetings at which I was present, and didn’t just sit by and listen, or show up just to make an appearance. She led the meetings and gave us direction and she worked effectively across party lines, inspiring all of us to stay involved in the project no matter our political affiliations.”

There is much more that could be quoted but here is (from our point of view) the bottom line. No matter how laudable Mr. Romney’s prior accomplishments were, or how sincere his outreach today, President Obama, his win-at-all-costs re-election team, and their many, many sycophantic allies in the “mainstream media” will twist and turn until what is good is bad.

Not a pretty picture, but it may help explain why the “gender gap” is shrinking almost daily. All of this ought to give us even more incentive to work non-stop for the next six days.

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