Liberals across the blogosphere are taking a small phrase from Mitt Romney's debate performance last night and trying to use it to paint the GOP challenger as some kind of out-of-touch misogynist. Why? Because he would rather ensure that women are able to get a job than birth control. Shocking, I know.
When asked a (ridiculous) question about pay equity last night, Mitt Romney responded by explaining how his administration in Massachusetts sought out qualified women to fill top-level cabinet positions:
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?"
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 just like that, a new internet meme was born. As Erica noted earlier, the political left is taking the meme and running with it. Moments after the words came out of his mouth, "binders full of women" began trending on Twitter and became the third-fastest rising search on Google. Why? Don't ask me.
I honestly don't understand why I, as a woman, am supposed to be outraged that Mitt Romney sought out qualified women to fill distinguished positions. If anything, I, as a conservative woman, am offended by the notion that women need such affirmative action to become leaders in their career fields. I'm also much more offended by Barack Obama's opinion of what a woman's life should look like these days...
The other part of the Left's "Romney hates women" post-debate theme came when he said this:
I recognized that if you're going to have women in the workforce that sometimes you need to be more flexible. My chief of staff, for instance, had two kids that were still in school.
She said, I can't be here until 7 or 8 o'clock at night. I need to be able to get home at 5 o'clock so I can be there for making dinner for my kids and being with them when they get home from school. So we said fine. Let's have a flexible schedule so you can have hours that work for you.
My Facebook exploded with outraged liberals complaining about Romney's choice of words: "'IF you're going to have women'??!" This is true to the liberals' old trusted reactionary-style politics, devoid of actual rational thinking. These six words quickly translated into: Romney despises women and doesn't even want them to have jobs. Romney only supports flexible schedules so his wife can cook his dinner.
Now back it up and insert some rational thinking here. What Romney is saying is not reflective of his opinion of women, but his opinion of how employers should ensure women have equality with their male counterparts in the workplace. For example, an employer shouldn't fire a woman for going on maternity leave, whereas any man who took a three-month break from work would be canned. This is what flexibility looks like and it means that women will not be discriminated against because of their gender.
You'd think feminists on the Left would applaud, but they're too busy screeching about something outrageous which Romney didn't even say. But at any moment, I fully expect a fundraising email to land in my inbox from the Obama campaign complaining about how Romney spells bad news for women. It's insulting and I wish more women realized that they're being played.
All of this feigned outrage overshadows the fact that 14 of Gov. Romney's 33 senior-level appointments were filled by women. For a guy who doesn't respect women or their opinions, he sure went out of his way to surround himself with some highly competent dames.