| This election season has been an adventure in watching Mitt Romney reposition himself from a fairly moderate government to a conservative presidential candidate, often throwing his own policies (i.e. health care) under the bus. Lately, he's been jumping on the bandwagon of Republicans waging a war on women in a show of conservative bravado. And as of last week, equal pay was the latest victim.
Specifically, he's not quite sure how he feels about the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act - the first bill that President Obama signed into law. The bill expands workers' rights to sue in cases of pay discrimination - instead of six months from the time that the worker is first the victim of wage discrimination, the six month clock now restarts every time a worker receives a "discriminatory paycheck."
But when Romney's campaign was asked whether Mitt supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the response was, "We'll get back to you on that." The campaign later clarified that it wasn't looking to change current law, but only after raising serious questions about Romney's commitment to equal pay. Whether the campaign was unprepared or hedging its bets, it proved that it wasn't quite ready to represent women in a post-Civil Rights Act world.
Texas Democratic Party spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña puts Romney's statement into perspective:
"Texas women are already facing an unprecedented assault on their health by Texas Republicans. Now Texas women could face an attack on their pocketbooks. Mitt Romney, the leading Republican presidential contender, is unsure if women deserve equal pay for equal work. These aren't conversations for this century. There is clearly no room for women in today's Republican Party."
Lilly Ledbetter also issued her own response:
"I was shocked and disappointed to hear that Mitt Romney is not willing to stand up for women and their families. If he is truly concerned about women in this economy, he wouldn't have to take time to 'think' about whether he supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act ... Anyone who wants to be President of the United States shouldn't have to think about whether they support pursuing every possible avenue to ensuring women get the same pay for the same work as men. Our economic security depends on it."
The Romney camp is now reacting to its misstep by falsifying Obama's record on women's issues and arguing that the Republican Party is better for women. One of the strategies is to "play up the strong professional relationships Mr. Romney has had with women, including from his time as governor." Nice to know that in 2012, having professional relationships with women is just as valuable to the Republican Party as enacting policies that actually benefit women.
And let's not forget Romney's professional relationship with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who just got rid of the state's equal pay laws. Helps explain why women support Obama over Romney by almost twenty points.
Want to convince the ladies that you support them while actively undermining the laws and institutions that actually do support women? Good luck with that, boys.