From the transcript:
ROMNEY: We’re going to have to have employers in the new economy, in the economy I’m going to bring to play, that are going to be so anxious to get good workers they’re going to be anxious to hire women.
Let’s start with that First clause: “We’re going to have to have employers in the new economy…”
Logical inference: In the current economy, we don’t have employers, or we have employers but they are going away.
Second clause: in the economy I’m going to bring to play…
Logical inference: The economy is a ball, and Rich Mitt has the best ball, and he’ll let you play with it… if you make him head of the kickball team.
Third clause: [employers] that are going to be so anxious to get good workers…
(His use of “anxious” is troubling. Anxious can be viewed as ambivalent, hesitant, or wary. So I’m going to presume he means excited or enthusiastic.)
Logical inference: The new employers in our new economy will be sick of the current economy’s workers… who are not good. American workers right now ARE TO BLAME FOR THE ECONOMY.
Fourth clause: [employers] are going to be anxious to hire women.
(again, let’s ignore the ready connotation that employers are going to be ambivalent to hire women.)
Logical inference: Balancing anxious employers, good workers, and women, he’s either saying that the employers are so desperate that they’ll even consider hiring women, or that current workers who are to blame for the economy are all men, and no good. Either way, he’s got good workers on one side of the statement and women workers on the other. Women can be good workers, but they sound like the exception.
This is not good. What’s worse is what he said about women in the workplace right before this:
CROWLEY: Governor Romney, pay equity for women?
ROMNEY: Thank you. 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.
A great start!
Well said, Governor. Your record on this is sound.
Unless you read this article from The Boston Phoenix written by David S. Bernstein:
What actually happened was that in 2002 — prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration — 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.
They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.
ROMNEY: 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.
Sure, he can take credit. Fine. The facts don’t matter. But then he makes it so much worse:
Now one of the reasons I was able to get so many good women to be part of that team was because of our recruiting effort. But number two, because I recognized that if you’re going to have women in the workforce that sometimes you need to be more flexible. My chief of staff, for instance, had two kids that were still in school.
She said, I can’t be here until 7 or 8 o’clock at night. I need to be able to get home at 5 o’clock so I can be there for making dinner for my kids and being with them when they get home from school. So we said fine. Let’s have a flexible schedule so you can have hours that work for you.
His anecdote is fine and in fact it makes him look like a considerate employer. EXCEPT THAT this is exactly what we don’t want in leadership. Women are not an exception. He implies that you don’t NEED women in the workforce. He implies that hiring women comes with an additional risk. This is 1950s sexist glad-handing at its worst. And he said this last night, in 2012.
Working crazy hours should be a decision made by each employee, male or female. He’s peppering this answer about pay equity for women with an anecdote of someone who should not have been the effing chief of staff for a governor. She wants to be home at 5pm? She should be a baker. I DON’T GET HOME AT 5pm, and I don’t do shht at my job.
Here’s old Grandad Romney making room for women even though they have funny schedules and kids and needs that men don’t have. Even though he implied above that the current (mostly male) workforce is people by not-good (male) workers.