Burch: In a bind(er)

Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

In a tight presidential race, it’s dangerous to alienate American women, since they outnumber men and thus represent the majority of voters. But Mitt Romney has real difficulty talking about women without sticking his oversized foot in his overactive mouth. Now he’s in a real bind over his “binders full of women” blunder.

During their second debate, President Barack Obama challenged Romney on the issue of equal pay for equal work, bringing up the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Play Act, which was the first piece of legislation he signed as president, but which Romney and the Romulans (oops, Republicans) opposed.

Romney attempted to dodge the pay equality issue by claiming that as governor of Massachusetts he proactively requested the resumes of women qualified to join his cabinet. But Romney “didn’t go out looking for those binders,” according to Carol Hardy-Fanta, the former co-chairwoman of the Massachusetts Government Appointments Project. Rather, MassGAP initiated and spearheaded the process before Romney’s election and provided an unsolicited roster of qualified female candidates when he won. In an interview with National Review, Kerry Healey, Romney’s former lieutenant governor, confirmed that the binders in question came from MassGAP.

Fact checkers were also quick to point out that Romney never made a woman a partner during his entire tenure as CEO of Bain Capital, the ultimate rich boys’ club. So it seems Romney was blissfully unaware of the existence of a single qualified executive-level female until MassGAP finally opened his eyes.

According to The Huffington Post, one of Romney’s senior advisers, Ed Gillespie, said that if Romney had been president in 2009, he would not have signed the Lilly Ledbetter bill into law. “Is that leadership?” asked Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, pointing out that if Romney was president, “We wouldn’t have equal pay. I think that’s the point. He doesn’t lift a finger to do anything for women.”

Romney is on record as saying that it’s not his job to worry about the 47 percent of Americans who don’t make enough money to pay federal income taxes. He also seems to have few concerns about the 52 percent of Americans who face rampant pay discrimination in the job market. Does he, perhaps, come off as an elitist male chauvinist oinker because that’s what he is?

Lilly Ledbetter herself hit the nail squarely on the head in her comments reported by the Wall Street Journal: “I think women have gotten the message loud and clear from the other side — how they don’t believe in equal pay for equal work and they don’t believe that we women have the right to say what we should do with our bodies.”

Ledbetter also pointed out that before Roe vs. Wade, many American women bled to death from hemorrhages caused by illegal back alley abortions. While Romney tries to give the impression of being “empathetic” by deigning to allow abortions in cases of rape, incest and a woman’s life being imperiled, where does this leave most teenagers and working mothers who have accidents? Should patriarchal men’s beliefs about invisible gods and soul-infused microscopic cells trump women’s rights over their own bodies?

Ledbetter’s remarks about being “shortchanged” (the perfect word) by Romney, made at the Democratic National Convention are also germane: “Maybe 23 cents [per hour] doesn’t sound like a lot to someone with a Swiss bank account, Cayman Island investments and an IRA worth tens of millions of dollars. But Governor Romney, when we lose 23 cents every hour every day every month, it cannot just be measured in dollars.”

She concluded with: “What began as my own, is now our fight for the fundamental American values that make our country great.” She was, of course, talking about Americans believing in fair play and a level playing field for everyone.

But as President Obama pointed out during the second debate, Romney has a one-point economic plan: let the richest Americans acquire even more of the nation’s wealth and hope that a drop here and there trickles down to burdened masses, with most of those creating the trickles being rich, entitled men and most of the masses being discriminated-against women.

Ledbetter’s speech garnered one of the highest tweets-per-minute ratios during the recent conventions. Romney’s infamous phrase quickly became the third most-searched-for term on Google. So it seems that many American women are paying close attention, and my educated guess is that they are not at all amused by Romney’s blatant alpha male chauvinism.

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.

Filed under: City Voices

157 Comments on this post:

By: pswindle on 10/19/12 at 10:07

This movie is from the Trinity Church, I would not see anything from that church or any church about anything. The church brainwashes the weakness among us.

By: brrrrk on 10/19/12 at 10:07

bfra said

"Ben - It has to do with Romney's flip flopping. Depends on what choir (voters) he is playing to at the time. He offers NO plans for anything he says he is going to do."

It's the nature of a psychopath....

By: bfra on 10/19/12 at 10:07

I'll skip Ben's link because it has got to be about TARP, TARP, TARP!

By: pswindle on 10/19/12 at 10:10

I would not watch anything from the Trinity Church or any church. They brainwash the weak among us.

By: Moonglow1 on 10/19/12 at 10:47

Moonglow1: Blanket-thank you for the link and info regarding Romney's four deferment. These people like Romney, Cheny, Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, Billy Graham and others personify evil. It always makes me cringe to see the five Romney sons on television extolling the merits of their father. None of whom have served but can't wait for another war.

Here's the deal: they view the poor as widgets in a machine. Keep em poor, then "recruit" them for war. When they are maimed and disfigured, call on the middle class to donate money while cutting funds to help them. When they ask for money for defense, it is not for the veterans but for the wealthy defense contractors or private mercenaries like Blackwater.

I hate the ads appealing to the middle class to send money for poor babies in Africa or to wounded vets. Our policies caused this pain so let Romney and his five sons or people like him PAY UP!!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/19/12 at 10:51

Exactly, Moonglow. And somehow they are managing to fool the very people that will exploit.

By: brrrrk on 10/19/12 at 11:00

Moonglow1 said

"Here's the deal: they view the poor as widgets in a machine. Keep em poor, then "recruit" them for war. When they are maimed and disfigured, call on the middle class to donate money while cutting funds to help them. When they ask for money for defense, it is not for the veterans but for the wealthy defense contractors or private mercenaries like Blackwater."

My question is, why is it that during the Vietnam War Mormons got a deferment in the first place when even Ann Romney has stated that there is nothing in their faith that prevents them from serving in the military? Hell, even the Amish (who are absolute pacifists) never got deferments, and in fact many served their country in non-combative roles. I would think Mormons (i.e. the Romney's) could at least serve in that capacity.

By: Captain Nemo on 10/19/12 at 11:03

Widgets? This widgets votes and says you are right Blanket. Rasputin hasn't a pot to piss in.
Well none he can call his owen. Lunch is served...back on my way home.

By: yogiman on 10/19/12 at 11:06

What movie are you referring to, pswindle? That was an interview with members of the Trinity church. All that investigation was, was to bring to the point Obama is a homosexual. Or were those people lying?

By: yogiman on 10/19/12 at 11:12

I hate to say this, dumba$$, but you "Big Sixers" are in the process of proving yourselves to be the Big Six idiots.

By: bfra on 10/19/12 at 11:31

(flush) (flush)

By: govskeptic on 10/19/12 at 11:46

This "binder story" will be only for the foolish to discuss after Monday night's
Foreign Policy debate. McClatchey newspapers is reporting a whopper of
a story about Libya and the President & Administration cover up reasoning
of the 4 killed . Their story gives the reasons why "cover-up" was so important
to keep the lid on until after the election. Crowley won't be there with her
transcript at the exact page and instantaneous ready to assist. What timing?

By: Mike Burch on 10/19/12 at 12:51


You said, "Considering the alternative, a vote for Obama is the right choice...a vote for Bishop Romney is a vote for more holy war."

I agree. I think Bishop Romney has several holy wars in mind:

The holy war to re-establish the reign of religious men over women, sending them back to the Stone Ages.

The holy war to reward God's "chosen few" (rich white Christian men), by freeing them from the burden of paying taxes. Let the middle class pay taxes, and let the poor suffer and die ... this is the "will of God" even though Jesus, the apostles and Hebrew prophets all said otherwise.

The holy war of American exceptionalism (Deutschland uber alles) and the American century (the thousand year Reich). American fascists like Romney and Ryan are following in the militaristic path of Hitler and the Nazis. This will force Russia, China and other nations to become the new Allies who oppose the forces of fascism.

The holy war in the Middle East, with the US fighting on the side of Israel to restore Lebanon, Jordan and parts of other nations to the fabled "kingdom of David," with King Bibi the Merciless as the promised Messiah. That will cost trillions of dollars and god-knows-how-many lives, and undoubtedly end in disaster. But there are votes to be gained by always bowing down to Israel, so politicians like Bishop Romney could make it happen.

The best hope to avoid such holy wars is to vote strictly for Democrats until the GOP regains its lost marbles.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/19/12 at 1:00

Romney has to pander to Israel in order to win over the evangelicals so they don't view him as a non-Christian because of his Mormon faith.

By: EDUNITED on 10/19/12 at 1:02

Mr. Burch invokes the Ledbetter Bill/cause as a litmus test for valuing women. He should really look at the case instead of being a shill. Manipulating the emotions of women in the electorate is a cynical and demeaning indulgence.

The issue of unequal pay persists to raise money for the Left and to make women feel bad. If you look at tech and service industries, pay by gender is virtually identical, that is sex blind, for position and experience. Much of the aggregate skewing in earnings by gender results from heavily unionized, old line manufacturing industries, where new hires are scarce.

The tort industry keeps trying to get WalMart, the Evil Empire, and it loses. The loss is based on substance and the law, not on feelings. Just study the BLS payroll numbers (rather than, dare I say, emote and feel bad), and you will understand that payroll differentials by gender are very small. Women do tend (statistically and in the aggregate) to take more sick days and have more absences, which does affect productivity. Should we excuse anyone for extra time off? What should the consequence be? That is not to say that there is no "unfairness" in the workplace. Gosh, we're humans.

Ed vanVoorhees

By: brrrrk on 10/19/12 at 1:02

Here's something interesting that I recently found out.

Did any of you know that when Mitt was born his mother thought that she was sterile and could no longer bear children? So when Mitt came popin' out, he was immediately treated like a gift from God; a chosen one. Frankly, I think this really plays out in his attitude....

By: Mike Burch on 10/19/12 at 1:03


I agree. William Blake wrote about the "Satanic mills" of such oppression, during the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Eisenhower warned about the dangers of the military-industrial complex.

No one could better represent the Satanic Mills better than Bishop Romney, who toured a Chinese sweatshop complete with guard towers, barbed wire, and thousands of young girls toiling for a pittance ... then invested millions of dollars in the sordid enterprise, while telling the companies he owned to outsource their manufacturing to such sweatshops.

And Bishop Romney has made his lust to join Israel in more Middle Eastern wars perfectly obvious. He and Lyin' Ryan sealed their political marriage by running down to the podium from a battleship, laughing and waving.

If we put 2 plus 2 together, it seems Bishop Romney does have a plan, after all. He despises the poor and middle income classes. So does his Stepford wife, who says her $250,000 dressage horse has more class in its hoof than Democrats (the 47% who won't vote for her husband). It's very interesting that Romney redefined the middle income class as people making $250,000 ... the value of Ann's horse.

The plan seems to be to let the poor people work until they drop, pay taxes and fight in wars of adventure and conquest abroad. The good people (i.e., the rich) can "invest" their money and live on the profits without working, while avoiding all or most taxes.

Why anyone who's not in the 1% would vote for such a system is beyond me, but it seems the majority of Southerners will do just that.

By: brrrrk on 10/19/12 at 1:09

Mike Burch said

"Why anyone who's not in the 1% would vote for such a system is beyond me, but it seems the majority of Southerners will do just that."

Google "Southern Plantation Aristocracy"..........

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/19/12 at 1:17

Wow, brrrk. I just googled that and had an "ah, ha" moment. And not in a good way. :(

By: yogiman on 10/19/12 at 1:18


I hate to repeat a remark, but when you and your cohorts express yourselves to be so agreeable to vote for someone into the highest office in the nation, which places us in the most dangerous situation known, and you have no idea who in the hell they are, you are imploding yourselves with undeniable ignorance.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/19/12 at 1:18

When a Southern conservative talks about “losing his liberty,” the loss of this absolute domination over the people and property under his control — and, worse, the loss of status and the resulting risk of being held accountable for laws that he was once exempt from — is what he’s really talking about. In this view, freedom is a zero-sum game. Anything that gives more freedom and rights to lower-status people can’t help but put serious limits on the freedom of the upper classes to use those people as they please. It cannot be any other way. So they find Yankee-style rights expansions absolutely intolerable, to the point where they’re willing to fight and die to preserve their divine right to rule.

Once we understand the two different definitions of “liberty” at work here, a lot of other things suddenly make much more sense. We can understand the traditional Southern antipathy to education, progress, public investment, unionization, equal opportunity, and civil rights. The fervent belief among these elites that they should completely escape any legal or social accountability for any harm they cause. Their obsessive attention to where they fall in the status hierarchies. And, most of all — the unremitting and unapologetic brutality with which they’ve defended these “liberties” across the length of their history.


By: brrrrk on 10/19/12 at 1:21

Blanketnazi2 said

"Wow, brrrk. I just googled that and had an "ah, ha" moment. And not in a good way. :("

I'm assuming you read the Sara Robinson article on Alternet? Explains a lot, doesn't it?

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/19/12 at 1:23

Haven't gotten there yet, brrrk. Still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor from the salon.com article I quoted above. Yes, it puts into words all the weird dynamics that I have noticed since I moved South. It explains A LOT.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/19/12 at 1:25

Oh, damn, It's the same author and article. Yep..................

By: yogiman on 10/19/12 at 1:26

Well, brrrrk,

If Romney came out as a gift of God it looks like he beat Obama to that gift, doesn't it?

By: bfra on 10/19/12 at 1:46


By: yogiman on 10/19/12 at 2:34

Not much is being mentioned about what Obama has "done" for the US. I can't agree, Obama has done two things for the US. He has got his Obamacare in the market and he has gotten homosexual marriage on the front page.

There can only be two reasons he is so heavily promoting homosexual marriage: He is promoting it for their vote, or he is a homosexual promoting his personal sexual desires. I say both.

A couple of men who were known homosexuals just happened to be "friends" of his have died for some reason... as young men.

Why would a "normal" man promote homosexual marriage in our nation? Why would he promote homosexual education to grade school children?

Homosexuality can only be promoted by a homosexual.

By: brrrrk on 10/19/12 at 2:59

I just heard the the biggest paper in Salt Lake City, Utah... (i.e. Mormon central) has endorsed Obama.... :-)


By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/19/12 at 3:15

Wow - lol

By: bfra on 10/19/12 at 3:18


brrrrk - That should tell the Romney-Ryanites something, but it probably won't.

By: Rasputin72 on 10/19/12 at 5:16

There are downsides to democracy. One of them that stands out on this NCP forum is that people who earn $60,000 dollars a year and less can spout opinions as though they are scholars and high income individuals. If their opinions were of some importance why are they living in cars that have 467,000 miles on them. Why do I never run into them at the "club" Why are they never sitting in first class to New York. Why,Why,Why seems to posses me every time I read a statement by one of the "Simple Six"

By: yogiman on 10/19/12 at 5:19

Oh, they make more than that, Rasputin72. They're just trying to save it and catch up with you.

By: Mike Burch on 10/19/12 at 5:42


You seem to be saying that people who make less than $60,000 per year should be rightless serf without even the freedom to speak. That would make rightless serfs of millions of soldiers, cops, firefighters, students, children, et al.

Why do you never run into them at the "club"? Probably because its full of bigots.

By: Rasputin72 on 10/20/12 at 1:07

Mike Burch...........You bring up a good point. With only a few exceptions everyone at the "clib" by your definition is a bigot.

Most of the bigots vote by absentee or early voting so the Nov7th voting may not show the entire vote totals in my precinct. If they did I think you would see proof of how extensive the "bigot vote is with those that pay 75% of the personal and family federal income taxes.

By the way I am a huge believer in "freedom of speech" . I just have a difficult time inderstanding how a person without some kind of credentials or success pattern can look in the mirror without thinking why are my comments relevant based on my personal track record.

In any case,this is one "bigot"who feels very strongly that Obama and the things he stands for are in no danger of being cast out. Too few "bigots" amd too many people who are frusyrated that they are unable to live the life they expected.

By: Mike Burch on 10/20/12 at 2:59

Here is good article by Daniel Ellsberg on why we need to vote against Mitt Romney even if we are not enthralled with president Obama ...


By: Mike Burch on 10/20/12 at 3:04


It was all too easy for slaveowners to "prove" that they were superior to their slaves by pointing out the difference in their incomes. But anyone with a decent IQ can understand why the slaveowners were wrong to tout their "superiority." The fact that you cannot make such a connection casts doubt on your self-alleged "superiority."

By: Ask01 on 10/20/12 at 3:50

My grandparents often summed up situational and circumstantial observations in short, well used, but time honored adages. These were, and certainly still are, often viewed by some as overused cliches, but the truth at the core was inescapable.

One oft repeated saying which, considering some of my relatives and their misadventures, was grounded in bitter experience was, "A leopard cannot change it's spots."

This simple wisdom seems apropo when discussing Willard as a presidential candidate.

He promises to fix the economy for all Americans, but his past performance and track record is one of eliminating jobs for working Americans and outsourcing those jobs overseas to boost riches for himself and other business people.

He has expressed disdain for 47% of the people. Are we to believe his attitude will change once elected, and for what reason? He represents, admitted or not, the hated 1%, and, despite what he says, I'm sure has absolutely no empathy for the plight of working people, and the middle class.

I could go on and on, but my wife and daughter have told me I have a busy day planned and need an early start, so let me cut to the chase.

All things considered, do we really believe a man so addicted to power, will change his style if elected to the highest office in the land?

Grandmother, bless her heart, had a valid, if simply expressed concept, "A leopard truly cannot change it's spots."

Have a great day folks, my wife and daughter have told me they have a busy day planned for me, and I'm not sure when I can escape.

By: parnell3rd on 10/20/12 at 5:14

I like your last response Mr. Burch. In the Obama administration Women are paid less than men. Is Pres. Obama the slave owner of the women? I find it interesting how DemoNcratic, racist leave out facts known to be true.

Rasp 72, Mr Burch is nothing more than someone who writes propaganda.

By: Rasputin72 on 10/20/12 at 6:28

Mike Burch.........The difference between slave owners and slaves appeared to me from reading history was a lot different than just income.

I think a lot of that difference is very very visible and alive today.

By: BenDover on 10/20/12 at 6:46

Sorry Mikey.... people are not going to turn out to vote AGAINST someone in a race where the EC votes for the state are already decided. No one wants to be a loser.

The state Democratic party didn't nurture anyone to develop statewide interest in the race against Corker and, in fact, their candidate is some kook gay basher who, too, stands not a chance in hell of winning against Corker.

Even in Nashville the only Democratic support Cooper gets is from Democrats who hold their nose and vote for him just because he's got a 'D' beside his name. In addition to being a so called 'blue dog' Cooper voted twice for an Amendment to the Constitution that would ban gay marriage in the country. Certainly not main-stream party views; or at least the ones you espouse.

In truth, Chip Forrester has given Tennessee Democrats little reason at all to show up at the polls on election day and when it's combined with his dismal performance in the 2010 Republican tsunami of Governor and State House and Senate it's no wonder that informed Tennessee Democrats are as likely to go to the liquor store rather than the polling booth on election day.

By: yogiman on 10/20/12 at 11:29

I fully agree with your grandmother's comment; "A leopard truly cannot change it's spots", Ask01.

So what makes you think Barry Soetoro is going to change his spots? What has he done for the nation in the last 4 years... except play gold, of course?

By: yogiman on 10/20/12 at 11:30

Hit the wrong button, but I imagine golf is gold to Barry.

By: Captain Nemo on 10/20/12 at 1:02


By: yogiman on 10/20/12 at 1:44

Did you click the on or off switch, dumba$$? It's hard to tell if you're "listening" or reading.

By: budlight on 10/20/12 at 8:15

"Lilly Ledbetter herself hit the nail squarely on the head in her comments reported by the Wall Street Journal: “I think women have gotten the message loud and clear from the other side — how they don’t believe in equal pay for equal work and they don’t believe that we women have the right to say what we should do with our bodies.” "

Hey Ms. Lilly Bedbetter, why don't you take control of your body by keeping your panties up and not getting pregnant? You liberal women are so great at screaming equal rights when you want to kill an innocent, unborn child for your convenience. Why don't you all man up and start doing the right thing. Just don't get pregnant to start with, then you won't have to commit murder on an unborn innocent child. And besides that if you want to commit murder and take a life, then use your own fricking dime to do it. No state supported abortion please. No taxpayer dollars to support murder of innocent unborn children. Keep your panties up ladies and you'll all be happier.

And by the way, the names of women who are applying for jobs all over the world are in files, aka, binders. Stupid!

By: Captain Nemo on 10/20/12 at 10:13


By: Captain Nemo on 10/20/12 at 10:13

(Flush) e

By: yogiman on 10/21/12 at 4:14


If you had a brain you could take it out and play with it, too. What was yo momma and daddy thinking about when they made you? Wuz they drunk or high on dope?

By: Ask01 on 10/21/12 at 7:37

One has to wonder how much corporate influence is playing in this election.

While the generic concept of a newspapers role in society had traditionally been to be an impartial provider of the facts, that image, from time to time, has been sullied by blatantly partisan dailies supporting many sides of an issue.

Most large newspapers are owned by corporations, if their family trees are traced back far enough, and one must suppose they are no less immune to upper level managerial interference than any other business. (They are a business, make no mistake.) Thus my concern.

The stance recently expressed by our local daily newspaper, endorsing Willard Romney for president was a tepid, half hearted article, which left me wondering if a directive from corporate suggested they endorse the former governor or possible changes could be forthcoming in the newspaper staff. I am disturbed the major news outlets could possibly be trying to rig an election by endorsing a candidate and reporting gains as if a huge swing had taken place. Especially when the candidate is one they would have already staked and buried in previous elections.

As I noted previously, a leopard will not change it's spots, and I question if Willard's devotion to his Mormon faith and corporate croonies, combined with his propensity and instinct to export jobs to boost profits might not override his duties to the nation. I'm sure Romney, Ryan, and Republicans Inc. could rationalize making the rich richer in the belief the money would trickle down. (Trickle is probably a deluge compared with the reality which would come to pass.)

Captain Nemo, inspired by nonsense and vulgarities from our resident troll, I propose an alternative adage from the leopard, stating instead, 'A troll cannot change his warts.' I believe, considering some of the more fringe dwelling individuals dwelling and posting here, that expresses a more relevant truth.

What are your thoughts?

By: Rasputin72 on 10/21/12 at 9:47

ASkO1......I think you should let the "Big Dog Eat".