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Is Mitt Romney a Real Life Don Draper?

Betsy and Sal focus on Romney's 'binders full of women' remark while discussing the presidential debates in this week's column.

If so much weren’t at stake, we could watch these presidential debates the same way we watch football: we’d root for our favorite team, get psyched when there’s a sack, and jump up and down every time we put one through the uprights. And we’d be ordering deep-dish pizza each time the candidates faced off.

But the spectacles we’ve witnessed these past few weeks have broad consequences in the real world. What’s at stake matters to every citizen in this country, or at least it should. Like football this season, it was unfortunate that the first debate had a third-rate ref. Note to Jim Lehrer: buh-bye.

Yet what strikes us are the same things that seem to capture the attention of everyone — not the candidates stating their views on specific topics and platforms. No. What gets the spin over and over again are the sound bites, the gaffes, the fumbles. All of us watching have turned into Monday morning quarterbacks, kvelling and kvetching over the way our teams performed.

No one contests that the first debate resulted in a win for Romney. Of course, that was due to the fact that Obama was a no-show, a default, a withdrawal, an absentee. Not a good game plan.

The second debate, or what we like to think of as the vice-presidential half-time show, was a lively exchange between Joe Biden’s dentures and Paul Ryan’s water bottle. Depending on whom you were rooting for, it was a draw.

Last Tuesday’s presidential debate was a game changer. For starters, both men showed up, and both came ready to compete. Candy Crowley did her part keeping the fighting clean, and short of throwing a flag on the play, pretty much kept each man to his time limit.

None of this matters, however, because all anyone is talking about is that “binders of women.”

The question, from debate attendee Katherine Fenton, was: “In what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?”

President Obama answered by citing his support for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, pointing out specifically that it was the first piece of legislation he signed as President.

Governor Romney’s response never mentioned a word about pay equity. Instead he shared the story of how during his administration he had trouble finding qualified women for his cabinet and so was given “binders full of women.” Furthermore, he took pride in the fact that he had provided flexibility in the workplace, allowing women on his staff the ability to get home in time to make dinner.

No matter how you spin it, this was an offensive play by Romney.

As you may have heard, Mitt Romney is now being compared to Don Draper. You know, the 1950’s ad exec from Mad Men. He’s good looking, and smooth, and you kind of want to work with him. And sure, he’ll allow women in the workplace. Why not? They look nice. Someone has to make the coffee, right? Or, in Romney’s case, someone has to make caffeine-free, alcohol-free, nicotine-free refreshments. Skim latte, anyone, hold the espresso?

Anyone of those smart, qualified women housed in those binders can go fetch lunch. Gals in the workplace are a swell idea. Especially if the company doesn’t have to pay for their contraception.

At this point, we feel compelled to go back to watching the final debate the same way college kids watch football … and maybe even the same way some college kids watch the debates. They play drinking games. From now on, every time Governor Romney says, “I care about women,” chug. Maybe it will make it easier to believe him.

Pat Lyon October 20, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Provide your source of that information. Just the facts from a non-partisan source.
TakeBackIllinois October 20, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Betsy and Sally, are you kidding? Crowley did not keep both parties on their time limits, was inexcusable in her bias towards the President, interrupted Romney 3x more than she did Obama and was deeply factually incorrect - later corrected- on her Libya comments. There is a cover-up up of torture and murder of diplomats in Libya by our administration and Crowley's comments only added to to its diversion. Reminds me of Watergate, but add in real-time and death. What debate were you watching? Nothing personal, but let's do some real journalism, here. Ironically, B & S, you should do some serious fact checking yourselves with Romney's hiring of women in his State administration. Nothing personal, but the only conclusion I can reach is that this was a "tongue and cheek" article which wouldn't have passed muster with any high school newspaper editor. You are way off base with your comparison to Mad Men although it does push a lot of buttons, if you watch the show. BTW, Mr. White's comments above are offensive to women, as we all know the tremendous work in takes to raise 5 children- boys or girls. Ms. Romney has also struggled with very serious medical issues as well and has done extensive work in her philanthropic and charitable work--- or doesn't this count? Both candidates have their pluses and minuses, but it seems that JOBS- for women and men of all ages- are needed NOW, not in the year 2016; and Romney appears to be the candidate for private sector jobs creation.
Walter White October 20, 2012 at 08:11 PM
The topic is women in the workplace not women raising children so enough with the righteous indignation. Romney still has no family experience with women in the workplace.
Dan Jenks October 20, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Jim, agree with you that it was a nice response from Sally – but the problem with Patch is that the more reasoned, substantive comments – like mine below – never get responded to you by the authors. Sal and Betsy said Mitt Romney was Don Draper – I thought it was a pretty gratuitous comparison (not necessary to make their overall point about equal pay) and offered what was in my mind a persuasive counter-argument – where is their response?
Glenn Farkas October 20, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Betsy and Sal: That was not a humorous nor intended to be humorous article. It was totally slanted,biased and sounds like something Bill Mahr would say and then hide behind his "comic" rights. I applied the same sarcasm and bias right back at you. Your fictitious war on women is used as cover so not as to discuss the serious failings of the Democratic Party in Illinois and the US. Patch should be ashamed for letting you post it.
RationalTht October 20, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Chris - considering the regulars will not report anything "bad" about Obama, I doubt you will accept Fox's pull of federal records, but here it is: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/10/19/women-in-obama-white-house-earn-less-than-men-amid-equal-pay-debate/ Here is another about Obama as well as when he was a Senator: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/101812-629933-obama-white-house-pays-women-less.htm?p=full I will keep searching for you on Romney's numbers, but Google is instead filled with Pro-Obama support on Romney's "binder" comment. The leftist media was really going all out to put out stories on that.
Pat Lyon October 20, 2012 at 10:20 PM
@RationalTht - Both those articles quote The Washington Free Beacon, a right wing site, as their source of information. Hardly non-partisan and unsubstantiated. Keep looking.
TakeBackIllinois October 20, 2012 at 10:32 PM
I think it is pretty obvious to many people that Obama's yoda, David Axelrod's, spin of "the war on women" has been a pretty effective and insidious smear campaign to take our eyes us off the failed economic realities under this Administration. The president is also more interested in being on The View, Letterman and other eye-candy shows then dealing with the murder and torture of our diplomats, the recent Russian departure on nuclear arms agreements, the continuing Syria slaughter and shoring up our remaining Latin American allies.. and we are worried about Romney's comment on "binders?"
chris October 20, 2012 at 10:40 PM
As a working guy with a wife and five kids (including 3 daughters who work and go to school) I don't take anything from the "binders" comment that would make me suddenly vote for Obama. This president really believes he can run a country and a campaign in cutesy catch phrases and fist bumps. You can believe whatever you like, but that gas pump is still going to charge you four plus dollars a gallon and that can of coffee that was five bucks a few years ago is still going to be twelve bucks. If that's your idea of "hope and change" or "forward" than so be it. For me; "dopey and strange and forewarned" seems more appropriate.
nsmom October 20, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Wow, Farkas is more obnoxious than Romney, and that's a high hurdle. Most candidates around here, from both parties, show some class and maturity. Yes, this guy is running for state senate - against one of the best state reps around, Daniel Biss. Biss, a former U of Chicago math professor, is so effective that even the Tribune endorsed him, the Democrat, in this race. We need mature, thoughtful leadership, not angry immature jerks.
RationalTht October 21, 2012 at 01:51 AM
@Chris - as I said, you have the MSM, which you would accept, refusing to even cover any of these issues. Look how long it took for MSNBC to even talk about Fast & Furious. We will never agree because you must seem to believe Obama can do no wrong as that is what is portrayed by Obama's protectors in the media.
Pat Lyon October 21, 2012 at 02:14 AM
@RationalTht - I rely on multiple sources of information and form my own opinion. I do not rely only on one-sided news sources. And by the way, the liberal bias in the news meme doesn't work anymore, especially when 90% of the broadcast market belongs to conservatives.
Seymour Butts October 21, 2012 at 05:03 AM
a very good comment and one that shows that mutual respect for each candidate and what they bring to the table is more beneficial then derogatory remarks. By the way if you watch Mad Men you would like Don Draper.
Danni October 21, 2012 at 06:06 AM
Emily Stone (Editor) October 21, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Hi Steven, Thanks for catching that. I just changed it to opinion.
Ann October 21, 2012 at 01:40 PM
It is refreshing to see a response such as yours from an Obama supporter. I am voting for Romney and like you said you don't agree with Obama on everything, I don't necessarily agree with Romney on everything either. You also make mention of the way Sally and Betsy presented their points. I wish both sides would stop focusing on, exaggerating and taking out of context, some of the things both candidates have said. Let's focus on the main issues, fairly.
Argle Bargle October 21, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Obama wife got a law degree and "voluntarily" put her license on inattactive status. Then got herself a no show job from, who?, Goldstein?. Who wants to speculate on why Mooshell won't practice law. And who do you suppose paid for her schooling? Was it a complete waste of money, cain't she make up her mind? No mo' Affirmericans jumpin' the turnstyle.
Walter White October 21, 2012 at 03:04 PM
More Racists for Romney, please. Let's lock this win in for Obama.
Walter White October 21, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Looks like Romney's got binders full of racists, too.
Argle Bargle October 21, 2012 at 03:33 PM
W, you mistake colorful language for racism, pretty typical for a prog. There is a deeper malignancy afoot boyo, bigotry. Do you know the difference between satire and the front page of the NY Times. So how come the 1st Lady trashed the law license?
Argle Bargle October 21, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Rat, I'd like to aks you something. If you cared about my feelings you wouldn't aks such an unfair question. Asking about why we all behave alike entre nous, and hold you all, all o you all, to a different, higher standard is unfair. We know our solutions are no good, and if we answer, well, the answer just won't measure up, and it's so hard to explain, especially without a certain economic literacy. So if you are so unfair, its probably racism on our part or your part, i forget, all this writing is so confusing. How you doin, Dubya.
Argle Bargle October 21, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Isn't this, at heart, an issue between a woman and her employer, a privacy matter. And it's not nice to generalize, look what happened when that happened in the credit market for home mortgages. The lady from boston College and the local Fed cooked a report that was used to accuse Shawmut National, then Maryland Federal Savings to accept a consent decree with the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Dept and Gen Reno. Deval Patrick filed the charges under CRA. Camel nose under tent. Obama had law license then, but I digress.
Tina Helsell October 23, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Couldn't he at least said "Avery" binder. The real point is that no one, especially the wiser sex, wants to work with the likes of Mitt Romney and his goons. Betsy and Sal, could you cover next Romney's pious smirk?
Jka October 24, 2012 at 03:43 PM
You tell em, gals. I've been a number one supporter of yours since day one. I think you touch each of us in a spot where we can relate..... perhaps some get hit more "painfully" than others and just need to lash out..... Also, why are there no fact checkers at these debates? I would love if there was a panel who were able to check the 'facts' the candidates toss around, put them in proper context and then discuss....... the whole debate idea has been watered down to rhetoric and 'quotable comments' for the 'show'.
Winnetka October 24, 2012 at 05:09 PM
@ Tina Helsell et al... re: "Mitt Romney and his goons"? I'm sure his wife, daughters in law, friends and colleagues all around the world would disagree with you. That so many are making hay out of his "binder" remark, proves the desperation and lack of intelligence on the part of liberals and committed leftists. The constant chatter by politicians, hollywood and liberal elites that women are solely concerned with what goes on between their legs, rather than what's in their hearts and minds is offensive. That's the real war on women. Its sad to see so many women on this blog climbing onto the "women are only concerned about their crotches, bandwagon". I believe most women are way smarter than that and understand the bigger picture: America's crushing debt to China, America's failing economy, America's diminished standing in the world, America's increasing threat of being attacked due to the rapid spread of radicalisim in the Middle East and Africa over the past 4 years. If we are attacked on our shores again, in the midst of civil chaos that has been predicted will break out post election...no one is going to care about contraception.
Puddinghead October 25, 2012 at 08:56 PM
If I remember correctly from that debate, Romney said he went to several "Women's Groups" and it was THE women's groups that brought him binders full of women. So Romney is a misogynist for actually going to women to find qualified women to work on his staff in Mass. Why is this even a discussion?
Brian Brehart October 29, 2012 at 02:19 PM
No, I can trust Don Draper. But then again, Don's not a politician.
Brian Brehart October 29, 2012 at 02:27 PM
This is the smartest thing that has been said in either the article or the comments.
Mac October 30, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Why is it OK for white folks to vote for white candidates, and it's a problem when black folks vote for black candidates? JUS ASKIN!
Luke Bradley, Ph.D. February 02, 2013 at 10:33 PM
Farkas, who ARE you? An Ohioan? A Chicagoan? Doesn't matter--you're a wannabe career politician who couldn't even get the Chicago Tribune to take you seriously. Why is your past hidden on the web? No Wikipedia biography? Odds are that you were recruited by the Tea Party lunatics who want to colonize every county in the union. You're a disgrace and clearly have no emotional ties to the people of Glenview.


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