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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The binders vote

Mitt Romney's claim to be a women's rights champion might be stronger if he had known the first name of his gubernatorial running mate. Or not forced a women out of the Statehouse Corner Office  in the first place.

With the woman's vote becoming central to the outcome of the election, Our Man Myth has turned his focus in that direction, responding to a question about support for pay equity legislation with his now infamous recollection that he asked for "binders full of women" to join his administration. It has become an instant sensation -- and his most vivid example of myth-making:
"... a UMass-Boston study found that the percentage of senior-level appointed positions held by women actually declined throughout the Romney administration, from 30.0% prior to his taking office, to 29.7% in July 2004, to 27.6% near the end of his term in November 2006. (It then began rapidly rising when Deval Patrick took office.)
The Phoenix's David Bernstein, who wrote about the issue during Romney's term, notes the former governor received those "binders" from a bipartisan group of women, not as Romney has claimed, on his request. Bernstein also notes Romney placed women in positions with little power in his administration.

It was a story that could be clearly foreshadowed by his relationship with his running mate, Kerry Healey. It was a pairing pretty much dictated by the fact that Romney has abandoned his Utah home to seek the GOP gubernatorial nomination, forcing out the unpopular Republican incumbent Jane Swift.

Romney, who now professes to be a Healey fan, holing up in her Vermont second home for debate prep, hardly got off to an auspicious start, repeatedly referring to her as "Sherry."

And of course anyone inclined to forgive Romney his "truthiness" on his support for women in his administration should also consider Multiple Choice Mitt's many and varied positions on a woman's right choose.

Those flip-flops would fill a lot of binders on their own.

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