Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Binders of women", Mitt?

There have been many foot in mouth moments in debates over the years.   Think Gerry Ford's comments in 1976 about how he would not allow the USSR to dominate Poland (of course, Poland had been a client state of Moscow since WW2).   Carter saying that his daughter and youngest child (by far), then 13 year old  Amy, told him that nuclear disarmament was the biggest issue of the 1980 campaign.   Bush 41 in 1992 saying that Jim Baker, not him, would be in charge of the budget process.  Same campaign, Ross Perot saying he was "all ears" -- then an actual pause for emphasis -- if anyone had better ideas to fix the economy than he did.   And on it goes.

But really -- "binders of women" that were provided by women's advocacy groups?   That's how Mitt Romney explained how he selected female members of his cabinet whilst Governor of Massachusetts.    Maybe it's because things register slower for me than most others, but it took a minute before I realized the unintended double entendre.   This during a discussion between Romney and President Obama about the principle of equal pay for women -- which really should be equal pay for work of equal value.

That and his accusal of Obama not calling the attack on the Bengazi consulate a terrorist attack for 10 days, when in fact the President did so the day after (as the moderator, Candy Crowley pointed out, transcript in hand), didn't do much to enhance Romney's credibility.   It may have worsened it.

Overall, the debate was definitely Obama's, as the town hall format suits his style more than Romney's.   And Ms Crowley definitely was in control unlike Jim Lehrer (uncharacteristically) two weeks ago.

But while a campaign should be about more substantive issues, particularly on both foreign and domestic policies, women still are a majority of people in the States, and they vote more as a percentage of the group than men do of theirs.   And this isn't something that will slip and slide like non-stick coating.   After all, they aren't just a page in a binder.   Every woman, and every man, has a story to tell, each of which would fill several filing cabinets.

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