As has so often been the case with the claims that GOP presidential candidate Willard M. Romney has made in his six-year quest to be our nation's chief executive, it turns out that the "story" he told in Tuesday night's debate with President Obama about how it was "his idea" in 2002 to have his transition staff come up with "binders full of women" for him to consider for senior positions in his administration as Governor of Massachusetts was false.
Prior to the 2002 election a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor. It was this group that did the research and put together the "binders full of women" qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions, and did so even before knowing whether the next governor would be a Republican or Democrat.
After the election MassGAP immediately submitted the binders of materials they had developed to Mr. Romney because he was the winner. However in Tuesday's debate Mr. Romney claimed that he had gone to his staff on his own initiative after the election and said: "How come all the applicants for these [cabinet] jobs are all men? Can't we find some women who are also qualified? So 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."
This claim of Mr. Romney, however, is totally false. The "binders full of women" had already been prepared before the election by MassGAP and MWPC on their initiative to be submitted by them to whoever won the election. It was NOT the idea of Mr. Romney as he claimed. He lied.
While according to MassGAP and MWPC Mr. Romney did appoint 14 women out of his first 33 senior-level appointments for a reasonably impressive 42%, those appointments were almost all to head departments and agencies that he didn't care about and in some cases that he quite specifically wanted to do virtually nothing. None of the senior positions that were important to Mr. Romney — budget, business development, etc. — went to women.
A UMass-Boston study found that the percentage of senior-level appointed positions held by women actually declined throughout the Romney administration, from 30.0% prior to his taking office to 27.6% by the end of his term in November 2006. This began rapidly rising again only when current Governor Deval Patrick took office.
Isn't it strange that this man who had led and consulted for businesses for 25 years didn't know any qualified women, or know where to find any qualified women? Perhaps one of the reasons is that for the entire time that Mr. Romney ran Bain Capital not one of that firm's partners was a woman.
It seems to me what I saw on Tuesday night makes it clearer than ever exactly how Mr. Romney actually views his "presidential campaign," the "debates," and what we will all be doing on November 6th. Through his words and behavior he apparently does not see any of this as the Constitutional election process that we have used for 220 years to select our nation's head of state and government, and as the Commander in Chief of our armed forces, but instead as what he did as a "businessman" all his life: just another "hostile takeover" only in this case his "takeover target" is the United States of America.
I say let's not give it to him.
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