Thursday, October 18, 2012

Will “binders full of women” sink Romney?


As of October 1, 2012, the United States had a total resident population of 314,592,000, according to Wikipedia. It is the third most populous country in the world, after China and India.
More importantly in 2009, there were 155.6 million females compared to 151.4 million males. At age 85 and over, there were twice-plus as many women as men.
In his second presidential debate with Barack Obama on Tuesday night, Republican candidate Mitt Romney chose to categorize this female population as “Binders Full of Women.”
Will he get away with it when American women go to the polling stations on November 6?
Every three years, we spend a fourth waiting and trying to guess who will be the next president of the United States. With just 18 days to go until we find out whether it will be Obama or Romney at the White House, Tuesday night’s debate was the coup de grâce for the GOP and their candidate, or at least I hope so.
Anyone who has access to the Internet is by now aware of the “Binder” boo-boo coming from the man who could become the leader of the “Free World.”
Romney was responding to a question about inequalities in the workplace and fair pay for women. He talked about his time as Massachusetts’s governor and how he wanted to hire some women for his cabinet:
“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.”
You need help to find women for top posts -- in the U.S.?
His patronizing went even further: “Now one of the reasons I was able to get so many good women to be part of that team was because of our recruiting effort. But number two, because I recognized that if you’re going to have women in the workforce that sometimes you need to be more flexible.”
He explained his chief of staff had two kids that were still in school and that she couldn’t work late because she had to be home “making dinner” and “being with them when they get home from school.” Romney added, “Let’s have a flexible schedule so you can have hours that work for you.”
So, for Romney, the “binders” can be opened for women to get out and go into the kitchen to “make dinner.”
The GOP put its foot in its mouth on a number of occasions during his election campaign, even before this new “Binders Full of Women” blunder.
For instance, Missouri Senate Republican candidate Todd Akin in August said on national TV that in cases of “legitimate rape,” pregnancy is rare because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
And vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan supports a constitutional amendment that would ban abortion in all instances, including in the case of rape and opposes abortion except in cases where the mother’s life is in danger.
Romney’s ignorance of the region was disclosed in September by Mother Jones, which published exclusive video footage of him speaking to donors at a May 17 fundraiser. Romney pontificated that peace in the Middle East is not possible and a Palestinian state is not feasible, telling donors Palestinians have "no interest whatsoever in establishing peace and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish."
With so much riding on the outcome of the U.S. presidential elections in our region, and with everyone waiting to see what effect, if any, the new U.S. administration will bring to bear on the Syrian revolution, it is frightening to think of Romney at the helm.
As an Arab woman, I have been categorized in many different ways, but never yet put in a “binder.”
Again I wonder, will America’s women accept to be put into binders, or will they make Romney and the GOP pay for such out of date, patronizing, sexist and unacceptable thinking?
Good luck ladies.

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