The latest straw man to be set aflame by Democrats in the presidential election is Mitt Romney’s supposed lack of energy for womens’ issues. If anyone shows a lack of energy, showing up for only one of two debates, and frankly only about half the time generally, it’s President Obama. For Barack Obama to ask women rely on him to defend their interests in this election is laughable. So let’s clear the air right now: Mitt Romney stands strongly for equal pay for equal work and workplace opportunity.
Let’s hear first from the woman who knows him best, Ann Romney:
President Obama’s Grand Accomplishment Not That Impressive
In the debate the president’s great claim to advancing women’s’ issues was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which extends the time women can sue for discrimination well after they’ve left their job. While it has a marginal benefit to those women who find out much later they were discriminated against, it has some unintended side effects, such as increasing risk and insurance costs to businesses since they will be subject to suit, well-founded or frivolous, for a much longer period. It also reduces good businesses’ ability to fight frivolous lawsuits, since the relevant witnesses may also be long gone by the time an aggressive trial attorney decides to file suit. It can also result in punishing shareholders of companies who had nothing to do with past discrimination. It was, prior to the Lilly Ledbetter Act, and will remain, whether Mitt Romney or President Obama is elected, against the law to discriminate in pay and workplace advancement. The law President Obama claims as his grand achievement just made it easier to sue, in some ways benefiting the cause of trial lawyers as much as women. Let’s also note this act was signed by President Obama in 2009 and he’s done nothing else of note in the four years since.
Mitt’s Record vs. Democratic Rhetoric
Meanwhile Mitt Romney has a demonstrable record of fighting for women’s rights. When asked in the second debate about his stance on equal pay for equal work, Mitt pointed out he worked to make sure women were equally represented on his cabinet in Massachusetts. He was ranked number one in terms of having women represented in positions of authority. Still the Democrats seized, not upon the substance of his comment or performance, but on his chosen wording, and are trying their best to manufacture an issue out of it. He said he’d had his staff look for qualified women when the applicants came in predominantly male, and they came back, he said, with “binders full of women” qualified for the job. It’s easy enough to understand Mitt was referring to binders full of qualified women’s names and resumes, but that’s just not good enough for Democrats, who clearly aren’t looking out for women’s rights as much as to promote a stereotype of Mitt Romney unencumbered by facts. Kind of like the undeserved stereotypes women have been fighting for years. So I ask, who here is part of the problem versus part of the solution?
I admit my female radar is sometimes deficient, as my cells carry around just one X chromosome. So I realize there are some women’s issues I will not understand as well. I agreed when Ann Romney said in her convention speech that some things are harder on women in ways men do not understand, in particular Obama’s flailing economy that has disproportionately affected women. But I think that trying to turn Mitt’s words into an issue when his actions speak much, much more loudly, insults everyone’s intelligence, and this insult is aimed principally at women. Again my radar may be deficient, but even mine is on alert when hearing this Dem attack. I use as my backup my wife’s comment to me this morning that she couldn’t even stand to watch the news reports of people trying to attack Mitt in this way. Her radar was going off, but not for the reasons the Democrats thought. It’s because they’re trying to make something out of nothing.
But if you still find me hopelessly handicapped by my maleness, let’s also let Mitt’s former lieutenant governor, Kerry Healey, respond: