Thanks, Sweetheart

black and white image of female secretary with typewriterTwo posts in one day? Yes!

By now much hay has been made about Mitt Romney’s response about pay equity for women in this Tuesday’s debate. I’m going to make some more!

Throughout this discussion, I’ll be drawing directly from the official transcripts posted on the Commission on Presidential Debates’ website.

The question, posed first to Obama was “In what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?” The President answered, and then Crowley followed up with: “Governor Romney, pay equity for women?”

What followed was nothing short of fascinating. It included lies, evasions, condescension and anachronisms. Let’s dig in.

Romney began his response with an anecdote having nothing to do with pay equity and which by most accounts was at best an exaggeration and at worst an outright lie.

An 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.

Yes, this was the now infamous “binders full of women” line that exploded all over the Internet. But that isn’t the most important part. He wasn’t being honest! By his account, Romney was a hero, specifically seeking out qualified female candidates for his cabinet. The truth is, the process of placing females in his administration was begun even before the election, by a group known called Massachusetts Government Appointments Project (MassGAP). MassGAP was formed to address the shortage of women in high-ranking government positions in the state, and they reached out to both candidates prior to the election. The binders full of women were real, though.

“There were actual binders involved,” Levin [chairperson of MassGAP at the time] said. “Big binders. They were big. It was before stuff was done, like it is now, electronically.”

Romney appointed his incoming (female) lieutenant governor Kerry Healey to work with the group, and he did make an effort to hire more women. In the beginning he increased the number of women in high-ranking positions. But by the end of his term, that number fell below what it was before he took office.

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Fired Up!

Bill Clinton speaking at DNC 2012Did you watch the Bill Clinton speech at the Democratic Convention last night? If not, you probably should. If you’re a Democrat you must, because it was a great feel-good speech for us. If you’re undecided, you should because he sets the record straight on many of the attacks (largely unjustly) aimed at President Obama by the Republicans at their convention, and you need to know the truth if you’re going to make a decision. And finally, I think even Republicans should watch. First, it’s always good to know what your opponents are up to and second, you also need to know about the lies and twisted facts being thrown at you by your own party elite. Also, it might scare the pants off you…and it should!

One warning though. Apparently the speech was long. I know this because the talking heads on TV told me so when it was done, but frankly I didn’t notice. When Bill Clinton gets fired up–and he was on fire last night–there aren’t many people in the political arena who can deliver a better speech.

Let’s pull off to the side for a minute and talk about something that Republicans are probably talking about. The whole Monica Lewinsky thing. I will never condone or excuse how President Clinton behaved, in terms of the affair or the investigation. It was unbecoming of a husband, a father and especially a president. It will forever be a stain on his otherwise amazing legacy. That being said, I’m over it. He screwed up, got caught and got humiliated. That was a long time ago, and it’s time to move on.

And all that doesn’t change the fact that he’s incredibly smart, charismatic and an excellent speaker. And–in terms of governing–was a darn good president. He knows his stuff, and he spent 8 years in the office himself, so when he talks about Obama’s performance, he has a great deal of credibility. To paraphrase a bit, he said no president, not himself or any other in history, could dig us out from under the mess the Republicans left the country in just four years. And that the message from the GOP convention was basically that Obama hasn’t been quick enough to fix what they broke, so let them back in. Ha! Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But that’s more or less what they’re saying. Well, that and outright lying.

Romney should be worried right about now. He has no “surrogates” (as the media seem to call these people) that can even come close to Bill Clinton. They clearly don’t want to use G.W. Bush, and even if they weren’t keeping him out of sight, Bill would mop the floor with him any day of the week. G.H.W. Bush was a better president than his son, IMHO, but he only had one term and was defeated by…yup!…Bill Clinton. In fact, unless they hire a medium to channel the ghost of Ronald Reagan (they’d reanimate his corpse if they could) there’s no one out there who can compete.

Sure, Republicans seem to have an irrational hatred for both Clintons, so I doubt he’ll be changing the minds of any of the devoted. But they’re not after Republicans, they’re after that small slice of the population who are undecided or persuadable. If enough of them remember the prosperity of the Clinton years, Bill might just be Obama’s BFG 9000. (Bonus points to anyone who gets that reference without clicking the link!)

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Transcript:  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57507363/transcript-bill-clintons-remarks-at-the-dnc/
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzDhk3BHi6Q

(Image source: The Guardian)