In 2012, Romney said of his efforts as governor to address pay equity, “I had the chance to pull together a Cabinet, and all the applicants seemed to be men. … I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks?’ And they brought us whole binders full of women.”

The Obama reelection campaign and its loyalists in the press condemned the remarks, claiming the Republican candidate said something terrible. Absent from their criticism, however, was any clear explanation of what, exactly, was so wrong about what Romney said or why it was worse than the fact that the Obama White House paid its female staffers less than its male staffers. The GOP nominee’s critics maintained simply and falsely that he had bragged about tokenizing women.

Now, President-elect Joe Biden is a hero to his party and the press for the fact that he stuck a woman in the VP slot for no other reason than she is a woman. Biden did not need Sen. Kamala Harris’s help tying up the 2020 vote in California. He did not need her help tying up the black vote. Harris herself is not a particularly gifted politician, as her dramatic burnout in the 2020 Democratic primary made clear. Biden committed during the campaign to nominating a woman as his running mate because a woman’s place is apparently in “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.” More seriously, Harris was chosen for the simple fact that she is a woman. It’s good now to treat women as token hires.