5 thoughts on “More about the binders

  1. He failed to mention that Massachusetts had a woman incumbent Republican Governor, Jane Swift, who intended to run again. Then Romney came with his carpetbag, needing a Governorship as a stepping stone to POTUS, and threatened her with a very expensive Primary race.

    He chose a woman Lt. Gov, Kerry Healey, but only because it was politically expedient to do so after treating Jane Swift so abominably.

  2. This shouldn’t need to be pointed out, but the linked piece by David Bernstein does not actually establish that what Romney said was not true – even, I should think, if one assumes if Bernstein is correctly reporting the underlying facts (so far as they go). It doesn’t contradict Romney’s assertion that he fretted to his staff about disproportionate numbers of male applicants, or that he instructed them to identify and vet additional women candidates, or even that he had them talk to women’s groups for this purpose (regardless of whether MassGAP already had materials prepared for that purpose and also reached out to Romney’s office on their own initiative). And Bernstein’s assertion that Romney only appointed women to positions he didn’t think were important or didn’t care about smacks of partisan speculation as to Romney’s frame of mind.

    Merry, your characterization of Jane Swift’s decision not to run for governor (not “run again”, since she assumed office as acting governor when the elected governor accepted a federal appointment) seems slanted. It’s hardly clear how Romney treated Swift “abominably”, and certainly not by normal political standards, by changing his mind about deciding to enter a primary challenge. For one thing, the acting governor was not entitled to be shielded from a primary contest. And finally, your speculation as to Romney’s motives in selecting Healey as a running mate after Swift declined to run is just that – and not a charitable speculation, either.

    I question whether there is any net nonpartisan benefit to tearing down and undermining the women appointments that a politician of any party has made.

  3. Nemo, telling a story that leaves out the sources of your resources, and indeed suggests the resources were developed because of his request, creates a whopper of a false suggestion at a crucial point.

    Indeed, in academia and elsewhere we count using unacknowledged sources as much worse that merely saying sonething false.

  4. Anne, yes we do. However, I think the comparison is inapposite, although I know from personal experience the instinct to view all things through the lens of the academy. For one thing, among the chief reasons – and probably the chief reason that matters to most of us, honestly – that we count using unacknowledged sources in academia as worse than saying something incorrect (thankfully I suppose, since in my experience we tend to do the latter much more than the former) is that we trade professionally on the link between our names and the information we develop. Failure to acknowledge sources (as a matter of principle, even where there is no longer any proprietary association with the information) threatens that model, and thus not only the unacknowledged source but all of us have an interest in suppressing such behaviour. I might add that we often say things in discussions or lessons, particularly if unscripted, that we would footnote under other circumstances.

    But more to this, Romney didn’t “leave out” the sources of his resources. He said they came from women’s groups. The inference that they were developed from scratch solely because of Romney’s request is unwarranted from what he said, and in any event this is now a somewhat different complaint from simply saying what Romney said wasn’t true.

    I’d be interested to know your thoughts on my last question, regarding in general the relative nonpartisan benefits (and costs) of undermining the women appointments made by male politicians – such as Romney’s initial appointment record that even Bernstein is uber-grudgingly obliged to acknowledge as “reasonably impressive” before constructing a theory as to why this achievement is really a non-achievement (or even possibly a negative achievement).

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