I honestly think that I hear things during political debates that aren’t the most memorable (because they just don’t resonate more than the most provocative statements); but items that often provide the best insight into people. Watching the debate at Hofstra University, which made it difficult for even conservative comedians to resist the jokes regarding the extreme demographic blanching of Nassau County, had many noticing the racial demographics. Many publications and programs (from Politico to Reuters to Bill Maher) were writing and tweeting quickly and repeatedly. I figured that was the way things would be and was relaxing with some liqueur while resisting the urge to engage in a drinking game with my friends over the words economy, education, taxes, Libya or the more commonly fun shots being consumed by friends over the words oil, gas and coal.
Instead, the key moment for me, was Mitt Romney’s attempt to a respond to the question: “In what new ways to you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?” While I appreciate his overcoming his team’s assumption that the only ones qualified for the cabinet would be men, and while I also figure that he did indeed make “a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet”. I think it was first rather sad that he could not put forth an actual response with what he would do, but sadder that he couldn’t resist the CEO-like jibe in his reply and couldn’t instinctively realize that assuming a two income home where a couple are working with or without kids, has a mom who is required to put on her apron and dad who is the primary breadwinner who puts his feet up in front of the TV. Perhaps Romney’s slightly dated perspective is more normal in his circles at Bain or during the 2002 Winter Olympics. I am sure when he became Governor, the women who are high-end enough to be in binders was somewhat helpful, but compared to the deeper issue that Romney needs to work to consciously consider whether a woman is as capable of a job as a man. Unless of course they are not, and they should be home barefoot and pregnant fitting much more neatly in a binder if affirmative action was not getting in the way of Utopia.
I personally would like to give Romney the benefit of the doubt. After all, he is not being slapped around by the nation's Roman Catholic bishops like Vice President Joe Biden for his views, instead, Romney has switched channels enough times, and I am even inclined to believe that Romney will blow off the extreme religious right and take back most of what he promised the extremists should he be elected. However likely that could be though, in a climate where Republican Congressman Todd Akin is even slightly still supported, or where the basic disconnect between funding Viagra and funding Planned Parenthood is even touched upon, women are very naive if they are willing to take any politician at their word, who has not been consistent.