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Before hauling butt out into the desert this morning, Diego and I were able to catch a bit of Morning Joe, which I just love because I love Mika. So, they were still talking about the debate, because that is what news talk shows do, talk about old news until something new peaks their interest.

As Mika broached the subject of Romney and women, Joe was quick to point out that “women have more concerns than just abortion.” This caused Mark Halperin, (perennial douche) to chime in that “we need to have a substantive discussion between the candidates about what they would do for women, but this binder stuff is distracting and just details.” He also considered the fact that Romney lied about the binders in the first place a “detail” of little importance to the big issue.

Mika rightly pointed out that the fact that he was prepared with an answer using an anecdote of his past, and that he lied about the story was significant.

Willy Geist of course agreed with Halperin.

Men don’t get it. At least most of them don’t. Well, to be fair, REPUBLICAN MEN DON’T GET IT. And it’s got everything to do with how they actually view women.

Let’s take a look at what the binders comment means to women and what else Romney said that is indicative that he no more “gets” it than he gets brats and beer on Sunday.

At the debate Romney made these basic arguments:

  1. 1. He realized upon becoming Governor of Massachusetts that there were no women candidates put forth by his staff for cabinet positions. He demanded that a search begin to find qualified women.
  2. 2. At least one woman on his staff was given flex time so she could get home to “fix dinner”.
  3. 3. All women should have a right to contraceptive care and he would never do anything to hamper that.
  4. When asked about assault rifles, he waxed on about how women with children should be married, and that somehow households without the man/woman + children contributes to gun violence.

Now let’s look at the record:

  1. Romney has never publicly acknowledged that the Lilly Ledbetter Act for equal pay for women was a good thing. In fact his staff apparently has said he was against it, but “would not actively work to repeal it now.” Note that only about 2 Republicans ever voted for it in the first place.
  2. Romney is decidedly (at this point anyway) in favor of taking away a woman’s right to choose. He vacillates as to what exceptions might apply. He has said both “the health of the woman” and the “life of the woman”. It remains unclear why a fetus loses it status as a life when it results from rape or incest, but Romney maintains these exceptions, at least so far. Ryan of course makes only one exception: for the life of the woman.
  3. Romney opposes “Obamacare” which in part protects women’s health by denying insurance companies the right to deny women coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Romney lied and said that his “health care plan” includes this protection but it does not. It only states that if you lose your job and were covered, and continue to pay your COBRA, you can get a new coverage within 3 months and not be denied on the basis of a pre-existing condition. The existing law covers anyone, not just those who already have coverage they are losing.
  4. Romney has made it crystal clear that he intends to defund Planned Parenthood. PPH is the only source of health care for millions of poor women. It is where they get mammograms and cervical cancer screenings. It is where they get contraceptive care.
  5. Romney came out in favor of the Blunt Amendment which would have given employers the right to deny women working for them, coverage for contraceptive care under their health care policies. They had in effect a right to reject paying for it, because they were “morally” opposed to contraception.

What his comments at the debate said to women:

  1. Apparently though all the years that Romney has been a businessman he had not come across any “qualified women” to appoint to his cabinet. He had to direct his staff to find some.
  2. We now know that this “story” was fabricated. A women’s group presented the list of resumes to the Governor when he was elected. They prepared it for whomever won the election.
  3. His claim that he gave one woman on his staff flex time is admirable, but his claim that he did so because she had to get home to “fix dinner” is indicative of a mindset that women’s jobs include taking care of the household. It apparently doesn’t occur to the governor that men can cook dinner too.
  4. When Romney says that single mothers do a wonderful job but it’s better to wait and get married, then have sex and produce children, and this somehow impacts assault weapons possession and use, he’s basically saying that single mothers, by their promiscuity, are responsible for gun violence (an admittedly mostly male phenomenon).
  5. His claim that believed that women had a right to contraceptive care and that he would do nothing to impinge on it and didn’t believe employers should have that right, is patently a lie, given his support of the Blunt Amendment.

Which all comes down to this: Romney carries on the tradition of women having their “place” in the world, behind and supporting their husbands. He has learned all the nice phrases to make it seem that he “respects” women in their very hard role as mother and housekeeper, but frankly women need to be guided by men in their reproductive decisions and in their behavior. Men should continue to control these issues for women because men know what’s best for them.

That’s what women hear from Mitt Romney. And frankly, I think we have pegged him just about perfectly.