Election 2016

Romney: Forget Equal Pay, Ladies -- How About More Time to Cook Dinner?

A clunky answer to an easy question.

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Here's a question for Mitt Romney: Do you support equal pay for women?

This should be an easy question to answer, and the correct answer is "yes." Because this is America, and also the 21st century, and what kind of asshole actually says women don'tdeserve equal pay for equal work? Oh yeah. Right. The Republican kind.

During Tuesday's debate, Romney was asked about equal pay. But he never answered the question. Instead, in what has become typical Romney fashion, he explained what womenreally care about, because he's such an expert:

I recognize that if you’re going to have women in the workforce that sometimes they 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 7:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. at night; I need to be able to get home at 5:00 p.m. 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.
There probably isn't a worker in America, man or woman, who wouldn't appreciate a flexible work schedule. Plenty of fathers would love to be home at night to care for their children. This is not exclusively a lady concern; it's a family concern. And not every woman in the workforce wants or needs flexibility so she can rush home to cook dinner. And you'd be hard-pressed to find a woman who would be content to have a 25 percent smaller paycheck as long as she can race right home after work to get in the kitchen.

But that's what Romney thinks is an answer to the question of equal pay: more cooking time.

Oh, it's not the only answer, of course. Romney said a "strong economy" is important too:

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.
Right. In other words, there will be so many jobs under President Romney that employers will even be willing to maybe, just maybe, give some of them to lady workers. You know, after all the menfolk get their jobs first. Never mind that those lucky ladies will be paid less than their male colleagues. That doesn't concern Romney. Women will get paychecks, he says. Who cares if they're smaller because there's a built-in lady tax? Certainly not Romney.

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Romney also patted himself on the back for supposedly requesting a "binder full of women" he could hire while he was governor of Massachusetts. Turns out that story is just another lie, and "the percentage of senior-level appointed positions held by women actually declined throughout the Romney administration."

Not that having a binder full of women has anything to do with whether Romney believes those women deserve equal pay. That's a question he can't seem to answer,

In April, on the very day he rolled out his three-pronged strategy to woo women, his campaign was asked about his position on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The answer? "We'll get back to you on that."

After an hour, the campaign decided Romney "supports pay equity and is not looking to change current law." Which is not much of an answer, considering Romney has spent his career promising not to change current law, only to then insist that of course he hates current law and will absolutely fight to change it if that's what conservatives want to hear him say. See, for example, the "settled" law of Roe v. Wade. See, for further example, everything else Romney has ever promised.

So promising not to undo current law doesn't answer the question of whether Romney supports equal pay. Especially when his party officially does not support it, and almost every Republican in the House and Senate voted against the Ledbetter Act, and have also opposed the Paycheck Fairness Act.

After the debate, Romney adviser Ed Gillespie said Romney "was opposed to it at the time" and would not have signed it. So while repealing it may not be part of his legislative agenda, just as he swore restricting abortion was not part of his legislative agenda, Romney opposes it, plain and simple.

So after all this time, after repeatedly being asked to say, once and for all, whether Romney supports equal pay and what he'd do to ensure equal pay for women, Romney still can't answer that question. And it's a very important question, one women have the right to know the answer to when they're deciding the next president. You know, when they're not busy filling binders and cooking dinner.