John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Binder Gate

Posted on October 18, 2012

From a blog created for fan art mocking the phrase.



Let’s dispense with one myth right now:  Women voters are not a minority group.

There is a sense out there that female voters are some segmented, discrete interest block that must be appealed to like black voters, Hispanics, Christians, gays, Catholics, and Vietnamese voters.

That simply not true, because women make up the majority in this country, and typically vote in higher percentages than men.

If females wanted to band together and vote as one singular block, men would be completely screwed.

So, when we talk about a swing block of voters, we aren’t talking about women voters.  They aren’t the swing block, because women voters, like men voters, don’t vote monolithically.

I know women who are gay and conservative.  I know women who are pro-life and liberal.  I know pro-choice women who work hard to elect Republicans in every cycle.  I know black conservative women and I know rich, white women who are passionate Democrats.

The President is focusing his appeal to the fairer sex on two issues:  abortion and pay equity.  He keeps talking about Lilly Ledbetter as if she were a household name.  And to be clear, that law was only tangentially involved with pay equity.  It had more to do with giving trial lawyers more time to file lawsuits than it did with equalizing the pay between women and men.  Yep, that is exactly what this economy needs.   More time for lawyers to file lawsuits.

Obama also can’t stop talking about abortion.  Mitt Romney has probably the most pro-choice governing record of any Republican President since Gerald Ford, and Obama can only talk about abortion.  It is ridiculous.  But Republicans have left themselves open to attack on this issue, thanks to the over-the –top efforts by Virginia legislators to require women to get trans-vaginal probes before they have an abortion.

But Romney had nothing to do with this, and in fact, didn’t put Bob McDonnell on the ticket chiefly because of the actions of those Virginia legislators.

My guess is that Romney’s binder comment during the debate was offensive to a small sub-set of partisan activists who are looking for any reason to condemn the GOP nominee.  Some women may have been offended by the idea that Romney was pushing for more flex-time for his chief of staff and has generally tried to be family friendly to his staff in every position he has held.    My guess is those are the sub-set of women who don’t have kids and resent women who do.

But for the swing-voters who are genuinely undecided in this election, and more than a few of them are women voters, I don’t think that giving trial lawyers more time to file lawsuits and scaring women on abortion is the winning strategy.   Having a better plan to fix the economy (or any plan for that matter), in my view, is the superior strategy.