Mitt Romney, (Affirmative) Action Hero

Everyone’s talking about Romney’s “binder full of women” comment last night and it’s clear that, once again, he lied. But I think it’s worth taking a second look at it anyway:

ROMNEY: Thank you. And important topic, and one which I learned a great deal about, particularly as I was serving as governor of my state, because I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men.

And I — and 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.

I was proud of the fact that after I staffed my Cabinet and my senior staff, that the University of New York in Albany did a survey of all 50 states, and concluded that mine had more women in senior leadership positions than any other state in America.

Atrios make a very good point that I don’t think I’ve heard from anyone else:

Jokes aside, the binders of women comment was basically the core of all of the mostly mythical affirmative action in this country. It’s about recognizing that if you’re a product of a good old white boy network, it’s a good idea to make the effort to read those binders, to make the extra effort to look at qualified women and minorities.

This isn’t a comment on what actually happened when Mitt was in office, just pointing out that if you embrace that story you embrace affirmative action, because aside from a teeny bit of minority business contracting and civil service hiring provisions, that’s what affirmative action actually means in this country.

Romney made a great case for affirmative action, something his party adamantly opposes. But it’s so common sense that he could say it in the debate and nobody even noticed. Not even Fox.

Comments