Jack Simpson: Put aside 'binders' and get down to issues



If you don't wish to discuss the record, you talk about binders. Let us move on and talk about real issues. Binders is far from being defined a major issue in the presidential campaign.

So how did the term come up anyhow? As my memory recalls, the topic could have been avoided in the last debate if Mitt Romney had answered the question of whether he would stand for equal pay for women.

An undecided voter in the audience asked President Obama in what way he intended to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making 72 percent of what male counterparts make in the way of salary.

The President answered with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Play Act he had signed into law.

Mitt Romney answered saying as Governor of Massachusetts, he made a concerted effort to go out and find women who could be qualified to become members of his cabinet. He went to a number of women's groups for help and, according to him, "they brought us whole binders full of women."

In 2002, a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts did research and put together a binder full of qualified women which they gave to Mr. Romney after his election as governor. He did place 14 women in cabinet positions.

So what is the big deal here? Why did the remark make Romney a laughingstock and why has binders become a mountain-out-of-a-molehole issue? To some this made him look like he had a sexist attitude. This non-issue detracted from discussion about real issues.

Candy Crowley, the moderator, ran interference for Obama on Libya, so all the audience had to focus on was binders. People were distracted on taxes, the deficit, unemployment, fuel prices, foreign policy and the economy.

Political opponents have used the binders remark to make it look like Mitt Romney does not understand women's issues, that he is isolated from women. Piers Morgan said he didn't understand what was wrong with Romney's statement. If Romney used the resumes contained in a binder, personal folder, to appoint qualified women to leadership positions, isn't that what counts?

All this talk of binders is a distraction and much ado about nothing. People going to the polls want their candidates talking about what they plan on doing about Libya, Iran, Korea, Israel, the economy, jobs and other serious issues. Voters didn't really want to hear more about Bindersgate. For example, did the Democrats really mislead Americans on the Libyan matter? How many other things have people been misled about?

Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.