Mitt Romney may not have a uterus, but he sure seems to have a lot of female problems.
Over the past week, there were several topics trending among female detractors on Twitter, Facebook, and a spate of other blogs and social networking sites. Each one represents a challenge for the Romney campaign, and some may be insurmountable come fall.
Inconsistencies remain a major critique, with hundreds of tweets and status updates slamming Romney for waffling on serious topics like healthcare and abortion. These discrepancies have left voters questioning his allegiance to anything but his own bottom line. Some social media pundits pondered his ethics in their own words while others re-tweeted Justin Frank's Time Magazine article, “The Root of Mitt Romney's Comfort with Lying.”
A professional analysis of the candidate's political background and Mormon faith, the article proposes an explanation for why Romney not only lies but refuses to recant when caught in a fib. The piece was repeatedly shared on Twitter and Facebook, often accompanied by scathing comments.
Similarly, female critics were especially quick to slam the former Massachusetts governor over the revelation that his administration once blocked publication of an anti-bullying guide because it used the words “bisexual” and “transgender” in order to address mistreatment of students who identified as such. This news came not long after the media released a report made by several of his former school friends that described how the candidate once held down an effeminate classmate and cut his hair while verbally assaulting him.
Though less than a month has passed since the last incident was revealed, Twitter was abuzz this week with even more Romney bullying news. This time, a Cranbrook boarding school magistrate and former student spoke of how the former governor of Massachusetts enjoyed dressing up in a state trooper's uniform, attaching a red, flashing light to his vehicle, and pulling over his classmates in order to scare their dates.
Though punishments for bullying (and impersonating a police officer) are more severe now than they were when Romney was a student, his past history as both a bully and a blocker of anti-bullying materials poses a serious threat to his campaign.
As if being outed as a bully in an age when bullying is given zero tolerance in the media wasn't a harsh enough blow, Romney generated an even bigger onslaught of criticism this week when he cited a desire to cut jobs for teachers, police officers, firefighters, and EMTs. He made the claim that Governor Walker's survival in the Wisconsin recall election indicated an overarching American desire for fewer public servants. Walker himself disputed that argument, and the blogosphere waited for an apology that never came. Rather than owning up to a gaffe, Romney plunged onward with his statements, inciting a whirlwind of condemnation from women on Facebook and Twitter.
Alongside these newer criticisms were complaints that have followed his campaign from the start. Women classified Romney as being “out of touch” with the American people. They recalled stories of his dog being crated and strapped to the roof of his vehicle on a road trip.
The Etch-a-Sketch jokes persisted, a mainstay in his detractors' posts since last March, when long-time advisor Eric Fehrnstrom used the phrase to describe the impermanence of Romney's core values.
In fact, last week's most popular “positive” tweets about Romney were actually focused on his wife's horse competing in Olympic dressage.