The speed with which Internet memes are created continues to amaze me. As soon as the debate was over there was already a Tumblr site with images that were being shared all over Facebook relative to Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” comments when discussing equal pay for equal work:
There are several things about this particular debate exchange that are going to haunt Romney. We’ve already covered the troubling way in which Mitt frames the issue by saying “if you’re going to have women in the workforce that sometimes you need to be more flexible.” It sounds like a phrase that may have been used in the 50’s. There is no “if”. Women are there and they deserve to be paid equally for the same work and the same qualifications. < that’s a period there
Also troubling, as dirtgirl points out, is Romney’s frame of the woman having to be home to make dinner and be with the family. Do men never make dinner? Is that not their place? Kids don’t need fathers at the dinner table as well?
These frames and phrasings will be troubling to most fans of this site, but appear to be perfectly normal in Romney-world and most likely won’t raise an eyebrow among most evangelicals or Republicans. It’s classic GOP chauvinism.
Last night in the debate, Romney claims he was having trouble finding women for jobs in his new cabinet so he took the initiative to go out and find women who were qualified. They brought back, as Romney put it “binders full of women.”
From the full transcript:
ROMNEY: Thank you. And important topic, and one which I learned a great deal about, particularly as I was serving as governor of my state, because I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men.
And I — and I went to my staff, and I said, “How come all the people for these jobs are — are all men.” They said, “Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.” And I said, “Well, gosh, can’t we — can’t we find some — some women that are also qualified?”
ROMNEY: And — and so we — we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet.
I went to a number of women’s groups and said, “Can you help us find folks,” and they brought us whole binders full of women.
…and so the meme began
But the problem for Romney now is the story isn’t even true. There was no initiative on his part to find qualified women. Those women’s groups came to him:
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.
It’s bad enough to spawn an Internet meme where you’ll be mercilessly mocked for the next few days, but even worse that the substance of what you were saying in doing that wasn’t even true. You’ll have both the Internet and the pundits mocking you.
Add to that the fact that Romney both frames women in the workplace as an “if” situation along with the fact that he’s spent some 25 years in business without meeting any qualified women or networking with anyone who might.
Looking pretty bad for Mittens right now.