Mrs. Romney: Women didn’t care about the economy in ’08 election

Women Didn’t Care About the Great Recession?

What is it with the Romneys’ stereotypically backward view of women?

Via David Badash we learn of Mrs. Romney’s recent appearance on The View.  It set women back a few decades:

Ann Romney claims that four years ago women were less concerned about the economy than they are today, despite the fact that the worldwide financial collapse took place exactly four years and one month ago this week.“It’s heart-breaking, what women are talking to me about now. Four years ago, there were a lot of other issues on the table. This year, it’s nearly 90 — I would say, 95% of what I hear from women, is, ‘help. Please, help’.”

“Economic help?” Barbara Walters asks. “Absolutely,” Ann Romney responds.

Maybe in Romneyland “women” didn’t care about the economy in November of 2008, but “the women” I know, and the men too, were pretty freaking terrified about the entire economy plunging head first into an abyss.  The concern wasn’t exactly gender specific.

I remember calling up my credit union to make sure that my savings were insured.  I was looking to buy my first home and had finally saved up for my downpayment (oh for the days that I had savings), and was seriously concerned about whether my bank was going to be around the next week.  And I don’t think I was worried about it because of my sexual organs.

This is the kind of sexist crap that the Romneys put out on a regular basis.  It’s very June Cleaver meets Jerry Falwell.  It’s also part of the Romney misinformation campaign about the state of the economy.

The Romneys’ Sexism

First, let’s talk about the Romneys’ sexism.

Exhibit A: Binders full of women.  Enough said.

Exhibit B: Mitt Romney odd comment about women, and only women, needing to leave work early to take care of the kids.  First of all, that stereotypical perception of women is the reason women still have a hard time getting some jobs.  Second, it’s not entirely true any more that women are the only ones taking care of the kids.  I know lots of men with children who split time with their dealing with picking up the kids, staying home when they’re sick, etc. More on this in a moment.

Exhibit C: This odd conversation by Romney surrogate Barbara Comstock while speaking with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC:

MITCHELL: This law said, you know, that women would be able to sue even after the statute had run out. So it’s an economic issue for Lilly Ledbetter.

COMSTOCK: Listen, I totally disagree with her interpretation of it, though. What the situation was, is Mitt Romney went to Beth Meyers and said, I want you to be my chief of staff. I want to have you in my administration. And she said, here are my parameters of how I want to work. Can you work with that? He said absolutely. She wanted to be able to be home —

MITCHELL: So you’re saying Barbara —

COMSTOCK: But that reaction that she had, that’s —

MITCHELL: A lot of young women whom I’ve heard from in the last 48 hours were offended by that, by that whole idea that you need flex time because you’ve got to be the little woman running home and cooking dinner.

COMSTOCK: No, the flex time, in fact, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Mitt Romney was a man who had young children and that flex time extended to them. And there was another – I mean, this is a family-friendly environment. What he did — this is a man —

MITCHELL: I’m just saying that’s not what he said that night.

COMSTOCK: Yeah, but I can tell you, having watched — when you watch how women reacted to that in realtime, which Lilly Ledbetter and these other women, who are trying – I mean, they have a left wing agenda that they’re trying to make an issue of a statement that women didn’t respond that way, and that I understand there may be partisans who respond that way but real women out

So, Mitt Romney has/had a deputy chief of staff who’s a man and who needed flex time to take care of the kids.

Then why did Romney only mention women in his statement the other night, if he knows that men need time off of work for the kids as well? Anyone who “knew” that men and women both need time off work for the kids, would have stopped themselves as soon as they started saying the following statement that Mitt Romney said during the second presidential debate:

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.

“If you’re going to have women in the workforce that sometimes you need to be more flexible?”

For what exactly?

That’s an incredibly sexist comment. Not to mention, so Romney wasn’t flexible with the men who worked for him, if they had to be with their kids? According to Comstock, Romney understands that this applies to men and women. But that’s a lie. Romney specifically said during the debate that this is a woman’s problem, not a man’s problem.

A NYT editorial had something to say about that:

At this point we could practically hear his political consultants yelling “Stop!”

But Mr. Romney did not. “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.”

Flexibility is a good policy. But what if a woman had wanted to go home to study Spanish? Or rebuild an old car? Or spend time with her lesbian partner? Would Mr. Romney have been flexible about that? Or if a man wanted similar treatment?

True equality is not satisfied by allowing the little lady to go home early and tend to her children.

As for Comstock’s comment that seeking equal for equal work is “a left-wing agenda,” sadly she’s right.  Because it clearly isn’t part of Mitt Romney’s agenda.

Mrs. Romney’s comments remind me of what Reagan chief of staff Donald Regan said in 1985 about women not understanding nuclear arms talks:

In 1985, she interviewed White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan and reported his dismissive comments about women and their inability in his opinion to understand the terminology of ballistic missile payloads and other major news stories of the day.

“They’re not . . . going to understand throw-weights or what is happening in Afghanistan or what is happening in human rights,” Regan said. “Some women will, but most women — believe me, your readers for the most part if you took a poll — would rather read the human-interest stuff of what happened.”

The Great Romney Disinformation Campaign

Mitt Romney would like you to believe that everything was great when President Obama took office.  It was only after the Obama people got their hands on the Great Bush Economic Success that everything went south.

I’m sure it looked that way, like nothing was wrong, if you were busy racing Rafalca in Monaco, but the rest of us were scared sh*tless after Lehman Brothers collapsed and we were informed that we might just be entering another Great Depression.

Remember, the Republicans were in denial about the extent of the crisis even after the President came into office and the economy was hemorrhaging jobs.  Republicans actually opposed the stimulus because they thought it wasn’t necessary.  I remember one GOP House member saying something about Democrats needing to get out of Washington because back home the malls were full, there was no economic crisis.  Then there was McCain economic advisers Phil Gramm who called us a “nation of whiners” for worrying about the state of the economy in the summer of 08.

Yeah right.

That’s the second reason Mrs. Romney is trying to rewrite history with her sexist accusation that women didn’t worry their silly little heads with the economy four years ago.  She’s trying to suggest that the economy was fine four years ago, and it isn’t now.  Which is a total lie.

It’s a lie that Mitt Romney himself told, subtly, during the second presidential debate:

The president wants to do well. I understand. But the policies he’s put in place from Obamacare to Dodd-Frank to his tax policies to his regulatory policies, these policies combined have not let this economy take off and grow like it could have.

You might say, “Well, you got an example of one that worked better?” Yeah, in the Reagan recession where unemployment hit 10.8 percent, between that period — the end of that recession and the equivalent of time to today, Ronald Reagan’s recovery created twice as many jobs as this president’s recovery.

Yeah, the recession of 08 was slight more serious than the Reagan recession, and thus Reagan’s was easier to resolve.  From CNNMoney:

Reagan had an advantage over Obama: The recession of the early 1980s was caused by runaway inflation, which the Federal Reserve countered by hiking interest rates. When inflation dropped, the Fed lowered rates and a massive economic boom resulted.

“The monetary policy run by [Fed chairman] Paul Volcker was extremely successful,” said Rudolph Penner, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office. “When inflation went away, that laid the groundwork for a very rapid recovery.”

The major causes of the recession that started in December 2007 were a banking crisis and housing bubble that exploded during President George W. Bush’s final months in office. Plus, interest rates were already low heading into the recession.

The damage to the economy was not easy to fix in the short-run, said Greg Valliere, chief political strategist at the Potomac Research Group.

We nearly fell off a cliff, and people have short memories. I think the threat to the country was far greater in 2008 than in the early 80s, which was a garden variety recession.”

Binders Full of Bigotry

Either Mitt Romney is stupid or he’s a liar.  And we know he’s not the former, and we know he is the latter.  The Romneys are hoping to lie their way in to the women’s vote.  If they can convince enough Americans that things were just as peachy for the rest of us in November of 2008 as it was for the House of Romney, just maybe we’ll be dumb enough to vote for Mitt Romney by accident.  Election by disinformation.

The Romneys’ strategy assumes women are pretty stupid.  It’s sad that the Republican party still has leaders who have such contempt for half the population.

It’s an open question as to whether the Republicans will ever realize it, but in my experience women have always been a bit more Scarlett than Prissy:

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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