Women Leaders Exist in the Real World… Not in a Binder

Objectification of Women and the Distortion of Truths

I'm sure by now the latest viral meme which refers to a quote taken from Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his mention of 'women in binders' has crossed your dashboard several times today. The phrase came from part of his answer to this audience question at the second Presidential debate last night:

"In what new ways to you intend to rectify inequality in the workplace specifically regarding how women earn 72% of what their male counterparts earn?"
In his answer to the question Governor Romney referred to the process of putting his state cabinet together. He said he questioned his staff as to why there were no female applicants then shared his staffs reply which was: "those were the people with qualifications." 
Romney then proceeded to tell the audience how hiring women to his cabinet required the concerted effort of reaching out to women's groups who then sent him binders full of women.

The fact he avoided the question and gave that response makes his chauvinistic attitude toward women quite clear. But the most alarming consequence of this thoughtless statement is how it trivializes women into objects. Women are more than just names on a list. Women are the intelligent relied-upon leaders of our communities and competent contributors to this nation. The United States of America's strength comes from its diversity.
What's wrong with the objectification of women?
Objectification immediately takes away the power of your target. It takes away a woman's voice, thoughts, feelings and identity. These are the instances where the basic human rights of autonomy and self determination are disregarded. Women cease to be human beings and are treated as objects to gratify the needs of others.
Objectification is dangerous. It is demeaning, subjugating, and creates blatant inequality. It requires zero emotional attachment when you speak of objects. This contributes to a climate in which violence and exploitation of women is accepted and In conclusion not only was his statement sexist but also allegedly false. It is now being contested by MassGAP, a bi-partisan coalition of women’s groups whose purpose is to increase the number of women appointed by the new governor to senior-level cabinet positions, agency heads and selected authorities and commissions. The group says they compiled the names of female applicants before Romney came to office and offered them to both Romney and his Democratic opponent Shannon O'Brien.
While Romney needs help finding qualified women we see women leaders everywhere. Just a short time ago we compiled a fantastic list right here on the Latino Rebels: Latinas We Admire. Maybe Romney should get his head out his binders and open his eyes some more.

Romney’s Shaky Alliance Between DREAMers and Nativists: How Juntos Will Latinos Get With the GOP?

This week, the Mitt Romney campaign cranked up the Latino volume in its efforts to better its candidates' current poll numbers among what is becoming a key voting demographic. The release of campaign ads with clunky Spanish-language statements and the announcement of the Juntos con Romney outreach team certainly highlight the fact that Romney needs to make better inroads with the US Latino vote.

Granted, this is the same candidate who during a very intense primary season, aligned himself with the neo-nativist voices of Kris Kobach and Joe Arpaio, as well as the same candidate who has publicly opposed the DREAM Act as it is crafted right now.

From http://whitehouse12.com/2012/06/06/romney-names-possible-vp-picks-to-head-his-hispanic-leadership-team/

Now, with the annoucement of his Juntos con Romney team, Romney seems to be backtracking more and more, as the campaign tries to figure out: how do we get our polls numbers up with US Latino voters to neutralize President Obama's commanding 30+-point lead in polls? The question remains: we know that Romney is now avoiding immigration topics more and more and focusing on thje economy, but has the damage been done with US Latino voters?

It is interesting to note, as reported by Boston.com, that the Juntos con Romney outreach team has several supporters of the DREAM Act, including Florida Senator Mel Martínez, who co-sponsored a 2009 DREAM Act version. This is what Boston.com reported:

A press release announcing Romney’s Hispanic Steering Committee focused on the economy and did not mention immigration. It made four references to “the American Dream” but used the phrase only in the context of Romney’s promise to outperform President Obama in job creation and personal income. “

With so many Hispanic families struggling, we need a leader who will make the American Dream a reality for all,” Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño, an honorary chairman, said in the release.

Part of Romney’s immigration strategy, however, centers on worsening the struggles of some Hispanics — those who come to the US illegally.

“The answer is self-deportation, which is people decide they can do better by going home because they can’t find work here because they don’t have legal documentation to allow them to work here,” Romney said during a January debate in Tampa.

Romney’s plan drew criticism from New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez. “ ‘Self-deport?’ What the heck does that mean?” Martinez said in an interview with The Daily Beast last month. “I have no doubt Hispanics have been alienated during this campaign.” Despite the clash — and the fact that Martinez supports a DREAM Act-style pathway to citizenship — Romney named her an honorary chairwoman of his committee. Martinez said in the press release that she is “proud to stand with him and look[s] forward to working to get him elected.”

Romney has a reputation, dating to his career in business, for soliciting counsel from people with whom he disagrees. The inclusion of DREAM Act backers on Romney’s committee reflects that sensibility, his campaign said.

“Governor Romney and his supporters may not always agree on every issue, but they do agree this country is heading in the wrong direction and Mitt Romney is the right candidate to get the economy back on track,” campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul told the Globe in an e-mail.

The other stated supporters of the DREAM Act on Romney’s committee are representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida and former Florida Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart. Another member, Florida state Representative Anitere Flores, voted for a state version of the DREAM Act.

Of course, it is no coincidence that Romeny added the Florida Cuban American Republicans to his team as well as Fortuño, who despite heading up an island nation with close to 15% unemployment, might appeal to some Puerto Ricans in the Orlandp area. Maybe this team should have just been called Juntos con Romney en Florida instead?

In an opinion piece today on NBC Latino, Stephen Nuño raises an issue about how the Democrats have failed US Latinos. Hisa argument focuses more on the economy and the President's poor record on immigration. He continues with this:

Republicans want to slash government programs that help Latinos. They want to make the country hostile to immigrants so that they will deport themselves on their own. They compare us to feral pigs, call for electrifying the wall along the border, and discuss Latinos through a prism of cheap labor. Fine, my feelings are hurt. Now what?

And therein lies the problem. Because while Nuño says that his feelings are hurt, we think this entire issue is more that just being offended by Republican rhetoric. The fact is that the culture of hostility towards Latinos, which, quite frankly, Romney has been promoting since the primary season (and to refute this now is just not accurate), does matter. That culture of hostility affects attitudes, divides Americans, and brings out the worst in people who hide behind the American flags and tells their fellow Latino citizens that in the end you are just all a bunch of "illegals." Want proof? Just visit our Facebook page on a daily basis. Tone down the hate among your voters and maybe more US Latino voters will listen to your message.

The economy is important, but so are issues that negatively impact US Latinos. The GOP will quickly tell you that this is not all about immigration. Of course it isn't, but they cannot seriously think that all of a sudden immigration is NOT an issue? Does anyone remember the GOP primaries, where people clapped as candidates promoted protection of our country from the evils of illegal immigration and Gov. Perry was slammed for trying to be a bit more moderate by suggesting that in-state tuition for undocumented youth in Texas is a good idea?

Romney would win more people over if he had the political courage to dissasociate himself from the Kobachs and Arpaios of the world and say that such short-sighted policies do not create a more inclusive Republican party, but we doubt it, because in the end, Romney cannot upset that part of his base. Or maybe he can, because he is banking that that neo-nativist base just wants the "Kenyan" out of the White House. So that is his dilemma. He would gain more Latino support by being more moderate on immigration, but then he would be seen by many supporters as not being conservative and tough enough about immigration.

In addition, thinking that he just doesn't have to talk about the elephant in the room and just focus on the economy will only get him so far. We truly wonder as well if more moderate voices on immigration who are now part of Juntos con Romney understand their dilemma as well. In the quest to win the White House, will you be ok with being part of the same tent as the neo-nativist crowd? Immigration and a reformed system that speaks to the realities of the issue is as Rep. John Lewis, former Freedom Rider, said this week is one of this country's greatest civil rights issues today. Guess the unholy alliances will prosper in 2012, and we think most US Latino voters will see through that.

Proof: Mitt Romney Is Indeed Mexican

The horror! Proof that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is Mexican. His dad was born in Mexico, so that makes Mitteo half-Mexican. Shocking truth now proven! So this week we find out that Rebecca Black is Mexican and now we have visual proof that Romney is half-Mexican. Give us a moment.

Why The GOP Has Serious and Damaging Issues With The US Latino Vote in 2012

Here is the problem with the Republican party this year in 2012: they can talk all about how the economy is the #1 issue for US Latino voters and that immigration doesn't matter, the fact remains—its extreme shift in such a short time on the immigration issue is a deal breaker for many Hispanic voters. The rhetoric has been politically damaging, whether the GOP wants to believe it or not. There is a reason why Mitt Romney is stuck below 15% in getting the US Latino vote. As a CNN opinion piece written by a Republican strategist said today:  "Unless Romney gets close to 40% of the Latino vote, he can kiss the White House goodbye." 

Ana Navarro, the author of the CNN piece, does make her main point when she states:

Polls also show that immigration is not the most important issue for Latinos. Like other Americans, we are most concerned about the economy. Still, immigration does set a tone. If Latinos perceive a candidate as anti-immigrant, it can turn them off, period. So, what's Romney to do? He can't erase the things he's said on immigration. Despite his campaign's efforts, they can't make supporters (or an adviser) like Kris Kobach disappear, and he is as radioactive as Kryptonite in the Latino community.

However, all's not lost. From now until Election Day, when Romney gets asked an immigration question, he needs to start and finish by reminding Latinos that Obama promised, without caveats, to get immigration reform passed in his first year in office. For many Latinos, a person's word is sacred. Romney should unequivocally say that Obama broke his word and dramatically increased deportation rates, causing family separation. He should sound angry and indignant about it. Romney needs to go from playing defense to playing offense on immigration. Hispanics are disillusioned with Obama. He too is vulnerable on the issue but only if Romney exploits that weakness.

And that is the problem. Romney can't come busting in and just start saying that President Obama deported more undocumented in his term than President Bush did in eight years, tell everyone that the President failed Latinos when it came to immigration, and then not discuss his own failings on this issue.

Romney HAD the opportunity last year during the primary to provide US Latino voters a real alternative to President Obama's broken promises to a voting bloc that was expecting a comprehensive immigration reform law in the President's first term. Instead, in an effort to combat Rick Perry's position that undocumented students could earn state tuition in Texas and Newt Gingrich's "I won't deport someone's grandmother" stance, Romney took the nativist route. He has aligned himself with the Father of Arizona's SB 1070 (Kris Kobach) and said that he would not support the DREAM Act, which is still overwhelmingly supported by US Latino voters.

Wednesday night, Rachel Maddow provided a good summary of the talking points and the issues behind it.

The immigration debate is clear: in one corner, you have hard-liners who would fence the entire country and deport everyone RIGHT NOW if given the opportunity. In another corner, you have every other rational American who is willing to come up with a comprehensive immigration law that protects the border and is also realistic about the estimated 14 million undocumented who are in this country right now. As the latest statistics show that the net migration between from Mexico to the United States is zero or even less than zero (you knew we had to make that Elvis Costello reference), why did Romney take such an extreme position on immigration? Why risk getting even less popular with US Latino voters than John McCain?

And what can Romney do now? Even if he goes after the President for his broken promises like Navarro suggests, why will Romney's hard-line position and stances be the better option? In the end, when it comes to immigration, you might be choosing from two imperfect positions, but the President will win on this issue, because Romney lost it during the primary season. Will he begin to scream "Somos el 14 por ciento/We are the 14 percent" in swing states with large Latino populations?

Romney and his surrogates can continue to ignore the immigration issue and deflect the issue, they can talk about the economy all they want, but the fact remains: his immigration position is a deal-breaker, and what does he does he do tactically to gain about 30 percentage points in the next six months? If Romney wants to win the White House and if he truly believes that winning 40% of the US Latino vote will get him that victory, he must act boldly. And he must act now.

Because, as this video from Cuéntame shows, Romney made the wrong draft pick when it came to immigration policy, and there is no way he can Etch-a-Sketch his way out it by just saying that what he said consistently during the primary season was taken out of context.

Navarro is right on one thing: a person's word IS sacred. And that doesn't apply just too US Latinos. It applies to human beings in general.

Memo to Romney Campaign: Fire the Genius Who Organized the Ford Field Event

Politics is all perception. You can have all the ideas and platforms in the world, but a successful campaign is all about images. And this week in Michigan, the Mitt Romney campaign messed up. Badly.

The idea was to have Romney speak at Ford Field in Detroit. Ford Field's seating capacity is about 65,000 people. Romney spoke at Ford Field to about 1,500 people. Hell, a flipping MLS soccer game could attract more people.

Talk about playing to an empty room. In your own home state, too. No wonder the following doctored image from a Think Progress post has gone viral today. Oops.



VIDEO: Rich Kids for Romney

This is just classic.

Are they serious? Who cares!!!!

Colbert Super PAC: Meet Mitt the Ripper

Ok, we all know that Stephen Colbert is all about satire and now that he is exploring a run for President, his Super PAC is going after Mitt Romney.

"If corporations are people, then Mitt Romney is a serial killer." HA!

Romeny Responds to Gingrich and Perry, the New Champions of #OWS

Hey, if someone is going to crap on you, you hit back. So it is no surprise that after both Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry started painting Romney as a "vulture capitalist" that would fall in line with the agenda of the #OWS movement, Romney wouldn't stay silent.

Here is what the Romney campaign is running right now in South Carolina:

This is what the Romney campaign is saying:

"We expected the Obama administration to put free markets on trial," the ad says. "But as The Wall Street Journal said, 'Mr. Romney’s GOP opponents are embarrassing themselves by taking the Obama line.'"

As for the now infamous ads and documentary that Gingrich's PAC is running about Romney and his corporate raider ways, this link from The Washington Post provides an excellent analysis of the facts.

Who knows where this GOP Frat War will go, but it is clear that the Obama 2012 campaign is watching and taking notes. 



Mitt Romney Speaks Spanish in His Florida Political Ad

Two weeks ago, GOP front runner Mitt Romney was saying no to The Dream Act, but this week in Florida, he is saying "sí" to the Latino vote, well, actually, more specifically the GOP's Cuban American political leadership, one of the most reactionary and conservative political factions in the United States.

Interesting to note that ALL OF A SUDDEN, Romney, whose stances on immigration don't curry much favor to the vast majority of Latinos, is now realizing that the US Latino vote is a key to the 2012 election. Our guess? This is just another PANDERFIESTA (thank you, Colbert for that one) and most US Latino voters will just see this as another ploy the Romney campaign be the candidate that says yes to any group. Hey, everyone, I speak Spanish too!!! We all know that his Mexican roots are being seen with skepticism, and now this video is just, well, triste.

What do YOU think? Will this be effective?