A woman’s place is in the binder: or, you say potato, I say potatoe

If you’re as old as I am — not that I would wish that on you — then you remember Dan Quayle, George H. W. Bush’s vice president. And if you remember Dan Quayle, then surely you remember the notorious spelling bee incident, for which poor Dan is still derisively remembered even now, twenty years later.

Here’s what happened: Vice President Quayle was visiting an elementary school classroom in Trenton, New Jersey, where the students were having a spelling bee. The teacher asked Quayle to be the one to read the words to the students. She handed him a stack of flash cards, on one of which was written the word “potatoe” [sic]. Quayle thought the word was misspelled on the flash card, but he deferred to the teacher. When the student spelled the word correctly, Quayle told him he needed to add an “e” at the end. The lamestream media, who detested Quayle, pounced on the mistake, citing it as incontrovertible proof that Quayle was a blithering idiot.

Ever since the moment Quayle had been chosen as Bush’s VP, the LSM had been trying desperately to destroy him. They spared no effort in searching for dirt on Quayle, but apparently the guy had led a pretty squeaky-clean life, because they weren’t able to find any of the kind of stuff they were hoping for — no affairs, no love children, no DWIs, not so much as an overdue library book or an unpaid parking ticket. By the time of the spelling bee incident they were truly desperate, and they pounced on Quayle’s little mistake like a shoal of starving piranhas on a three-legged cow. Quayle is an ignoramus! He can’t even spell potato! What a dumbass! He’s not qualified to be vice president! Hell, he’s not qualified to live!

Why am I dredging up this old story? Because I find it instructive. If an army of investigators spends insane amounts of time and effort trying to find out something horrible about someone they despise, and the worst they can come up with is that the guy isn’t the world’s greatest speller, what does that tell you? They might as well give up. They won’t, of course — they’ll seize on anything, no matter how trivial, if they think it will humiliate the object of their loathing — but the whole thing positively reeks of desperation. Even if Quayle had not been handed a card with the word misspelled on it, even if he had actually spelled it incorrectly himself, so what? If that’s the worst thing you can accuse a guy of, then your hatred of him obviously has no logical or factual basis. It says more about the accuser than the accused; in fact, it says precisely nothing about the accused, while saying a great deal about the accuser.

Which brings me to Mitt Romney’s innocent little comment at the last presidential debate about “binders full of women.” Without exception, everyone who heard that statement knew exactly what Romney meant by it. If Barack Obama or Joe Biden had referred to “binders full of women,” the lamestream media would have given it as much attention as they give to every other infelicitous phrase uttered by those two — which is none whatsoever. It became a story only because Mitt Romney said it, and the left hates him with a passion, possibly even more than they hated Dan Quayle. The “binders full of women” thing is Romney’s “potatoe” moment.

If the left had succeeded in finding out anything truly damning about Mitt Romney — and their failure was not for want of trying, or lack of resources, or insufficient time — would they be harping endlessly on the “binders” comment? Of course not. They harp on it because they have nothing else to harp on. As gaffes go, it wasn’t even very funny — not half as funny as Joe Biden telling a guy in a wheelchair to stand up, or Barack Obama saying asthmatic kids need breathalyzers, or Bob Schieffer talking about the SEALS killing Obama bin Laden, or Chris Matthews saying that he forgot for a while that Obama was black. But when you’re desperate, you’ll grasp at anything, no matter how lame.

Thus it was that a small coven of feminists who had too much time on their hands and nothing worthwhile to do decided to show up outside the Ohio Republican Party Headquarters dressed as binders. You probably wouldn’t be able to tell they were supposed to look like binders had it not been for their chanting “Equal rights, not binders” as they traipsed around in circles on the sidewalk. (Ladies: Next time you hold a protest, consider hiring a professional writer to come up with a more inspiring slogan.)

Mark Steyn comments:

Yes, indeed. Romney wants to return us to the 1950s, when a woman’s place was in the binder, when every predatory male had his little black binder, and condescending misogynists would interview applicants for lieutenant governor of Massachusetts and smirk, “Why, Miss Jones, you’re beautiful without your binder . . . ” It was the age of patriarchal sitcoms when the little lady would greet her man at the front door with his pipe and binders, where girls were told they could aspire no further than to ace Home Ec and thereby persuade some eligible young man to put a ring file on their finger. We all remember the careless sexist assumptions of the so-called family shows of those days — Leave It to Binder, Ozzie and Binder, Binder Knows Best, My Three Binders, Gilligan’s Binder, The Binder Bunch — until eventually the mold was broken by The Mary Binder Moore Show in the early Seventies. By then, feminists across the land were burning their binders, and Erica Jong had popularized the “zipless file.” As Gloria Steinem famously said, a woman needs a binder like a fish needs a three-tab manila hanging folder.

(Read the rest of Mark’s rant here — you won’t be sorry.)

The left is going bonkers. They are more desperate than I have seen them in a long, long time. When an innocuous little comment about binders can send them into such a frenzy, there’s only one explanation: Their days in power are numbered, and they know it.


Filed under Democrats, Feminism, Media Bias, Mitt Romney, Republicans

6 responses to “A woman’s place is in the binder: or, you say potato, I say potatoe

  1. Oh, Bob, to hear you talk one would think you sold Gutenbergs door-to-door as a young girl to pay for leeches for your mother’s cholera treatments. You’re just trying to cover up the fact that you grew up in the Age of Aquarius and are young enough to have been a hippie chick. Don’t be ashamed. Secret=SafeW/Us. But despite that, this is a wonderful essay. 😀 No, really. I think your sense of their desperation is spot on. This whole binder thing is just embarrassing. Maybe we have reason to hope after all.


    • Of course I didn’t sell Gutenbergs door to door when I was a young hippie chick! I worked at Dunkin’ Donuts, selling sugary fat-laden baked goods and high-octane coffee to cops, truck drivers, construction workers, and employees of Illinois Bell Telephone. My customers used to call me “Lucy in the Shop with Donuts.”


      • Hah! That’s good! Especially since we were just watching Quantum of Solace last night, and one of the agents, a redhead, was named Strawberry Fields. But, wait. Is that wordplay code that you were really an LSD pusher in 1967? Bob! 😯


  2. chrissythehyphenated

    Wonderful blog, Bob! ROFLLL