“Binders full of women”


The media consensus seems to be that Barack Obama had a good night and Mitt Romney not so much, roughly in line with my own impressions.

But as often happens, things that I gave only a passing attention to in the debate turn out to grab a lot of attention in the media world. In this case it was Mitt Romney’s claim, in making the case that he was sensitive to women’s issues, that when he was elected governor of Massachusetts, he was given “binders full of women” that he could use to select women for high posts.

At the time I thought that his phrasing was a little awkward and the tone somewhat patronizing (surely he should have personally known qualified women) but did not think much more of it. But the phrase has widely caught on and gone viral on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and YouTube (similar to Big Bird after the first debate) and been the source of much internet humor, like this one.

David S. Bernstein points out that Romney’s implication that he instigated the search for qualified women is also wrong, that is was done by others before he was elected and that he merely used it to appoint women to agencies he did not care about.

But this episode once again shows how I have absolutely no feel for what might grab the public’s imagination.

Comments

  1. fastlane says

    Also, the actual number of women in prominent posts consistently declined during Rmoney’s tenure as Gov.

  2. Tracey says

    Just another proof that women aren’t people to Rmoney; women are things to be manipulated so real people get off his back.

  3. raven says

    “Binders full of women” — all very nicely bound, I’m sure.

    Sounds like he is getting his fleet of goddess wives together for the afterlife.

    Mormon gods are all polygamists with unknown but large numbers of goddess wives who are so important, no one knows their spiritual mothers’ names.

    According to Mormon mythology, all 15 or so billions of humans and demons are the litetal children of god and his goddess wives. Which means, he must spend all his time having sex billions of times at least. No wonder god hasn’t been around for millennia.

  4. jhendrix says

    If it makes you feel better, I didn’t really catch the “binders full of women” as funny or wrong, I just got the inference he was making to resume’s.

    I was a bit more concerned at how he completely avoided dodging the question on supporting the equal pay for women act (name escapes me), and that his solution to getting more women in the workplace was making it so they could also get home in time to make dinner.

  5. EllenBeth Wachs says

    I actually re-played the dvr because I was certain that I could NOT have heard that phrase correctly. Nope, there it was- “binders full of women” I knew that it was a blunder as soon as I heard it. Being a woman and all.

  6. Henry Gale says

    What I find interesting is how the binder thing goes viral with the main stream media while a former Obama aide can say the president hates people and it gets quickly buried.

    From nymag:

    [blockquote]“People say the reason Obama wouldn’t call Clinton is because he doesn’t like him,” observes Tanden. “The truth is, Obama doesn’t call anyone, and he’s not close to almost anyone. It’s stunning that he’s in politics, because he really doesn’t like people. My analogy is that it’s like becoming Bill Gates without liking computers.”[/blockquote]

    http://nymag.com/news/politics/elections-2012/bill-hillary-clinton-2012-10/index2.html

    That quote is from Neera Tanden who is now president of the Center for American Progress.

    This is nothing new however. There have been many reports of how the president stays away from people. Yet, people expect him to lead?

  7. Chiroptera says

    Yet, people expect him to lead?

    Well, yes, because that’s what he’s been doing for four years.

    If you don’t like his leadership, you can actually point to his record as President. You can list the policies he’s tried to enact, the policies he’s opposed, and his effectiveness at getting the job done.

    You don’t have to read a report how he “doesn’t like people” and guess what this might mean for his leadership abilities. After four years of his being President, you can actually point to specific, concrete examples of his leadership or lack thereof.

  8. Trebuchet says

    David S. Bernstein points out that Romney’s implication that he instigated the search for qualified women is also wrong a lie, that is was done by others before he was elected and that he merely used it to appoint women to agencies he did not care about.

    Fixed that for him.

  9. Celeste says

    I agree with what Chiroptera said, and would add that part of the reason that this quote didn’t get a lot of press is because it’s someone else assuming Obama doesn’t like people. It’s not a direct quote. It’s one person making a bald assumption about what goes on in Obama’s head. It has no more credibility than someone claiming that he must not like vegetables because he skipped eating the broccoli last night and the carrots the night before.

  10. Mano Singham says

    I read that when it originally appeared and did not think it such a big deal. To be quite honest, it made Obama sound like me in that respect since I too am an introvert and am quite comfortable being alone. It is not that I dislike people, though it might look like that on the surface. I am comfortable in the presence of others, but after being with them for a while, I enjoy escaping to solitude. I can spend an entire weekend at home not interacting with anyone.

    This quality makes Obama different from epic schmoozers like Bill CLinton but I do not see any crucial link of this quality to the ability to govern.

  11. sc_2bbd86bafd6c26229739a711e2699891 says

    The whole binders full of women story that Romney recounted was bad enough. Then he proceeded to top himself when going back to more directly answering the question about pay equality by saying women need to be able to leave early to make dinner & take care of the kids & employers need to be more flexible. I didn’t quite hear all of it because I was yelling at the TV.

    Not to mention the astonishment of a lot of men, many of whom seem to be enlightened about equal rights, didn’t even register this comment until we women started in on it.

  12. says

    Reposted under a better login that I hope will get past the moderator:

    The whole binders full of women story that Romney recounted was bad enough. Then he proceeded to top himself when going back to more directly answering the question about pay equality by saying women need to be able to leave early to make dinner & take care of the kids & employers need to be more flexible. I didn’t quite hear all of it because I was yelling at the TV.

    Not to mention the astonishment of a lot of men, many of whom seem to be enlightened about equal rights, didn’t even register this comment until we women started in on it.

  13. raven says

    while a former Obama aide can say the president hates people and it gets quickly buried.

    That is nothing compared to Romney.

    It is a second hand report from one person, an opinion.

    Romney is on video as hating the 47% of the US population who are “moochers” and “parasites”. And claiming that is who votes for Obama.

    I’ve been a taxpayer for decades and voted for him. Fuck you Romney. I also know what male Mormons like Romney thinks of people like me anyway. As an educated nonMormon who isn’t in the 1%, he hates people like me.

    It wasn’t even an accurate statement. A lot of those moochers are old people on social security and medicare, which they paid into.

  14. richardrobinson says

    And a lot of those moochers and parasites will probably vote Republican this election and make up part of the Republican base.

  15. Corvus illustris says

    What’s the fuss about? It says right there in Article II Section 1 that the President has to be at least 35, a natural-born citizen, and also warm and cuddly.

  16. Brad says

    That seems kinda kinky for a mormon. Dan Savage should write about Mitt’s newly revealed lesbian binder orgy fetish.

  17. baal says

    At the risk of piling-on, I feel the need to comment as well. Obama clearly understands the concepts of governing. I much rather have someone who gets what should be done to make the country run batter for everyone (right policy) over someone who is beloved but incompetent at governance (let’s have a beer with bush the lesser).

    Politicians are more effective when they schmooze – it’s easier for them to get the votes they need for their policy. It’s policy, however, that is the goal of governing.

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