Look, in my own personal life, I would never comment about a woman (or man’s) appearance from a microphone. I know when I talk to my female co-workers with whom I am close friends and we talk socially I will sometimes end a phone call by saying “Love your body, Larry,” but they all have seen Fletch and just laugh. Having said that, I fail to see how this is that big of a mistake:
“You have to be careful to, first of all, say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough and she is exactly what you’d want in anybody who is administering the law and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake,” Mr. Obama said in introducing Attorney General Kamala Harris to the crowd at the Atherton home of John D. Goldman, a philanthropist and Levi Strauss heir, and his wife, Marcia Goldman.
Mr. Obama then went on: “She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country.”
As the audience reacted with surprise and applause, Mr. Obama defended himself. “It’s true!” he said. “Come on!”
I know I am now the internet’s biggest sexist and biggest Obama apologist, but this seems like the kind of harmless banter and bullshit at every extemporaneous event like this. For the love of Allah, she is gorgeous, but he started with a discussion of her intelligence and drive and skill. Compare this to Joe Biden telling every woman within 50 yards that they were beautiful.
Again, I wish Obama had never said anything like this, but nothing about this makes me think he is some sexist woman hater, as some would want you to believe. Regardless, I am sure this outweighs all the pro-women legislation the Obama admin has advanced.
Ted & Hellen
Pretty easy: In a professional situation such as this one, he shouldn’t have said anything he wouldn’t be equally comfortable saying about a male colleague of the same stature.
Doesn’t mean he’s a sexist pig, but it indicates he’s not entirely NOT one either. On some level he’d been checking her out and for some reason felt it necessary to let everyone in the room know that.
Come on…if this was some Republican the Bots here would be coming unglued.
he’s such a sexist he pinches Ginsburg’s ass every chance he gets.
Mr. Cole can relax, I saw earlier today that Fox and Friends is cool with with Obama saying a variety of nice things about Harris. Just don’t go grabbing no dudes butt, that’s all.
It is unfair to single out one person though. What about the other state DAs? I’m straight but I think Cuccinelli is kinda cute. What about his feelings? Huh?
The Other Bob
I think it was a stupid thing to say. I would not go there in a professional setting. It lowered the quality of the rest of the positive things he said about her and made him look like a cad.
That said, at least he has not pushed policies that take away her right to make decisons that impact her good-looking self.
Bob In Portland
Bondi from FLA is kinda hot, but she doesn’t believe in healthcare.
@Ted & Hellen:
He has called Biden good looking at countless events. This was a fundraiser not a conference or meeting. Outrage over this is idiotic.
Had to literally laugh at some panel on a show today.
Four young, trim women guests, each professionally made up, coiffed and lighted, decrying taking note of someone’s appearance.
I think we need a “DA’s of America” calendar to settle the issue. 12 months, 12 of the sexiest DA’s across our great land.
Silly, John Cole. Of course Obama is sexist, in addition to being the history’s greatest monster (HELLO!! DRONES!!!). He’s a black man. Every time he mentions a woman’s look, even if that woman happens to be a personal friend, he conjures up images of rappers and the disgusting way they objectify women. You also have to know, that no one else objectify women in our sick pop culture, except rappers.
@Bob In Portland: Sorry, I will take Kamala. Aside from looking good (and me being partial towards those of mixed-ethnic backgrounds), she is really smart and seems like she has a bright political future ahead of her. That counts for quite a bit in my book. Book, cover, etc.
The Other Bob
Fox and Friends said it was OK?
Shit, Obama is a complete asshole. He basically raped her with his eyes.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
Your question is asked from a perspective of male privilege. Sorry to put it so bluntly, but it is. Men are accustomed to being evaluated – and described – based on professional achievement and attendant status. Women hope to be evaluated and described solely on professional achievement and attendant status. But because the culture has for so many decades considered women specifically for the visuals, that’s rarely the case. Men tend not to be aware of this because it doesn’t happen to them.
At a social event, I’d be delighted if a man complimented my looks or my outfit or the combination. In a professional setting such a compliment is unlikely to elicit such a response, because in a professional setting I don’t find it appropriate for men to comment on my appearance. In that setting my ability and performance are all that’s pertinent.
@Lolis: He says it to men quite a bit, too
@Ted & Hellen: President Obama Routinely Calls Important, Accomplished Men ‘Good-Looking
Remember that time Obama and Sarkozy were all cold checkin’ out that super-hawt diplomat’s ma-zazz?
@Hill Dweller: All it means is he’s a cheating, bisexual pig. #firebagger
@Redshirt: Sorry, AG’s. Even sexier.
@jl: How about Joe Biden III?
Cole, it’s different, just read this:
It’s not that big of a deal, but he was right to get ahead of it and apologize. The President was raised by strong women, he gets it.
The reason it’s sensitive is because most women over 40 have had to live through comments about how attractive or unattractive we are, the size of our breasts, etc, in the workplace. And for me it always seemed to be a statement on my ability to do a job. The number of male bosses who seemed surprised I could do my job and theirs…ugh.
Hell, I had a professor in college tell me I didn’t need to get good grades because I was clearly headed for a white-picket fence. And a teacher in high school tell me I was too cute for a career in law.
This was not uncommon. I hope it’s changing. But that’s the reason. Many women are still guarded about it, me included. And as long as a man recognizes my intelligence,though, I never take offense if they should say something about my looks.
Which is why I don’t think, taken in context, this was a big deal.
@BillinGlendaleCA: never thought of that. BTW I meant state attorney general, not DA. I will go look for pics to see who has a beef.
So it’s a gaffe? The man is not perfect. Do you doubt his beliefs in gender equality? No? Then what’s the point in thrashing this out?
What a time we live in! When for members of one political party every single thing they say and do is held up for maximum scrutiny, and for members of the other party? Meh, whatever, legitimate rapes n’ transvag probes, whatevs. You know what? Let’s tear into the guy who supports women’s rights because of an inartful phrase!
I think that in context of the relative informality of what appears to have been a fundraiser in a private home, this is totally not worth reporting. He didn’t say it when he was announcing the AG settlement or some such, from the White House. It was a loose occasion. Unfortunately when you’re President, everything is magnified and it was clearly not great judgement. But I also hate the idea of Obama having to censor every word. I remember him making a joke with Bill Clinton at some campaign event in ’12 about both of their wives being better looking than them. It seemed fine and jokey and no big deal. This is pretty much the same thing.
oh please tell me this is not a thing that will be the subject of nine million posts and eleventy infinity flame wars over the next three days. Oh pretty pinky pleeez….
I’m just disappointed that he’s not noticing the real most-attractive Attorney General. I’m speaking of course of Ken Cuccinelli. Swoon!
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): I am sorry but this is mostly a bullshit argument when it comes to politics. The challenge women face in politics, has less to do with their looks and more to do with how they’re put into different standard. They can’t be as tough or driven as a man because they will be perceived as “a bitch.” This has nothing to do with their looks. But leaving aside the gender issue, our politics is so fucked up and shallow, that it’s okay to openly debate whether someone is too fat or too short to be a president. Why do we have a discussion about Scott Brown’s looks, or Chris Christie’s girth, if men are not evaluated on their looks in politics? Of course it’s not as bad
By the way, what was Harris’ response?
“Then what’s the point in thrashing this out?”
Because reporting on the real issues AG Harris has been dealing with – like CA’s Homeowner Bill of Rights and it’s enforcement would require some effort and serious thought on the part of the gawkers, stenographers, gossips and news-readers…I mean, uh, “journalists.”
Ok, that didn’t take long. Dude, what about Pam Bondi? Is she chopped liver or what?
I’m too lazy to look through the rest of them, but obviously Obama is in big big trouble with all the lookers out there in state attorneys general land.
State attorney general
And, though Young Handsome Joe has looks, sorry, not my type, even hypothetically. But he prolly should be insulted too.
One reason i will never go full bore liberal is that full bore liberals are so politically correct that it almost impossible not to step out of line one way or another. If we ever reach the point where nothing is ever said that offends anyone, we will be living in such a suffocatingly sterile society that the biggest question a lot of people will have is how to end their own lives. It would be one thing if he had said “have you seen her knockers, like wowza” but mentioning that she is attractive is at worst eyebrow-arching awkward and the only one who should have been pissed is Michelle.
@Bruce S: I think there were a few posts about Harris when the state AGs were dickering over the bank settlement. She came out strong for a good settlement, but Obama put pressure on CA to wimp out. Did she, or didn’t she?
I will search.
Edit: nothing on her name in particular except a post for Dem convention speech lineup. But I think she was discussed at length in some posts on the bank settlement.
What else disturbs me about the Kamala gaffe — and yes, it was a gaffe, and it’s a mistake to try to minimize it — is that, coming in the same week as the chained-CPI business, it looks as though he’s trying to find ways to splinter his own coalition.
Clumsy sexism was particularly the wrong mistake to make, given the validation it provided to anyone who may still not have gotten over the 2008 primaries. Bad enough when there isn’t already 400-comment fodder here over something else (and thanks again, mistermix, for reminding us all how very badly our side handles adversity).
OK! Excuise me.
Harris’ communications director released a statement that said, in part “the attorney general and the president have been friends for many years. They had a great conversation yesterday and she strongly supports him.”
meanwhile, back at the ranch,
Gillibrand still is the hottest elected pol
Well then. Isn’t that it?
Yep, privilege, is what it was. Yes he says the same shit about Biden, and everyone just chuckles. Because Biden is a dude, is why it’s cool.
This was not OK to say about Harris, but he apologized, and she’s not offended, so that really should be the end of it.
@lol chikinburd: Almost every comment I’ve read, especially when Obama’s remark is shown in context, treats it as meaningless.
Here are Obama’s remarks, which were made at a fundraiser:
“You have to be careful to, first of all, say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you’d want in anybody who is administering the law, and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake.
“She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country — Kamala Harris is here. (Applause.) It’s true. Come on. (Laughter.) And she is a great friend and has just been a great supporter for many, many years.”
(and thanks again, mistermix, for reminding us all how very badly our side handles adversity).
Well, this would be a great scenario to practice handling it better, right?
I’m expecting Dowd to weigh in. Something that will reference the fact that she thinks he’s an effete poseur as well as too spockish in which she tells him to try to be more human but not like that. Maybe a jump shot reference.
The man ain’t getting blow jobs in the Oval Office. Discuss.
It’s sexist, he needs to not make stupid “jokes” in the future, let’s accept that it was a shitty choice and (most importantly) move on.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@Anya: The argument isn’t about women in politics, however. It’s about why women may (appropriately) take issue with the type of comment. No question that the President is not a sexist, and has done great things for women’s rights. Also, the comment was probably much less inappropriate in the actual context – an informal-ish private(?) fundraiser – than it would have been at a governmental event. Sadly for him, the President can’t make these kinds of minor gaffes without a national discussion arising.
But, since Cole asked why it’s a big deal, I told him. That he cannot even imagine it could be is itself evidence of male privilege. If you disagree with my reasoning, fine. But my response wasn’t restricted to women in politics, or intended to describe that arena. It was provided to explain why women may see the comment as a bigger deal than men will.
That doesn’t seem entirely provable.
What Tamara said, but to add to it a bit:
You might call ten different politicians eloquent and articulate speakers, but if you call a black politician articulate, it means something else.
Also, Obama pretty routinely refers to women as ‘our mothers wives and daughters’ rather than, like, speaking directly to women, and he’s said some nasty shit about his daughters’ eventual coming of age/suitors. He makes mistakes, like everyone else in the patriarchy, but that doesn’t mean the mistakes don’t matter.
@lol chikinburd: You’re an idiot. You think this harmless comment will “splinter his coalition”? As for 2008 both sides of that fight moved on and had to put aside some bitter real or imagined grievances so don’t bring that crap back. No one needs the PUMA support. Their lack of support did not lose us the election in 08, and we’ll be fine without them now, so fuck off.
Ted & Hellen
Given that he often comments on the physical appearance of other folks, male and female, in similar ways, I will amend my comment above to say he probably ought to cut it out across the board.
I mean, what is the point of doing that, exactly? Seems a little odd. Maybe he IS bisexual. Which would be cool with me.
@Ted & Hellen:
I disagree. I think it’s rather endearing. And honestly, you can say that someone looks nice without meaning that you want to jump their bones.
Ted & Hellen
Dear sweet delicate Anya…still so touchy about dear leader especially after a week of the turning worm.
If a republican had said this, you’d be foaming at the mouth.
A Guy at Gawker has an excellent post about why this wasn’t cool on Obama’s part.
That said, I mean, it wasn’t cool. that’s all. He apologized, I’m not mad.
Ted & Hellen
I disagree. In what world is it currently appropriate to comment on the physical appearance of colleagues in a non private setting? What exactly is the message?
Actually it feels condescending, especially coming from everyone’s professional superior. Who is going to say “Mr. President, you are by far the hottest world leader?”
@Ted & Hellen: Unfortunately for all of us, republicans do and say countless things that are harmful to women and every other group (except, rich white men) so, no, I would not be outraged about this non issue if a republican said it.
@Ted & Hellen:
Who is going to say “Mr. President, you are by far the hottest world leader?”
Well, everyone on Balloon Juice, for one.
It was a thoughtless comment, without intent to offend but it didn’t belong in that setting.
That said everyone says something thoughtlessly offensive to someone at some point in their lives. The key thing is how you handle being told that what you just said could be offensive.
He didn’t double down, he didn’t blame the people who took offence and he did offer an apology.
@Ted & Hellen: GOOD LORD…you firebaggers really will bash ANYTHING Pres. Obama does…Even when he is doing something as NORMAL as paying his friends / colleagues harmless complements…Now he needs to “cut it out” because some jackasses who hate everything he does no matter what, think it’s weird…WTF…You clowns should stick to laughing at his missed jump shots and poor bowling…You know, that POLICY based criticism that firebaggers are so proud of
Ted & Hellen
The Obot Holocaust continues…
This is an impeachable offense
@jshooper: Darn Tootin’!
How dare Obummer do such a thing. Hillary, save us now! We know you, as a woman, would never say such a horrendous thing as to compliment a colleague! Oh wait..
“The secretary of state called the 48-year-old married dad “one of the best-looking guys in the administration.
“He [Geithner, not the darkie Obummer of course] always looks so good, you know? It’s maddening,” the 62-year-old Clinton said on Chinese TV.”
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/hillary-clinton-maddening-good-looking-treasury-secretary-timothy-geithner-article-1.446571#ixzz2PerjeYyg
@Ted & Hellen:
And, at least from my part, there’s enough spoken language in the professional world scrubbed clean of any hint of individuality or personality as it is. I don’t feel a need for more. The two of them are friends, and I don’t think they need to pretend that’s not true just because they’re both public figures.
Obama also said something similar about Bibi’s teenage sons (and his wife), so not only is he a sexist pig, he’s also some sort of a pedophile.:-) At least he doesn’t give everyone stupid nicknames in professional settings like his predecessor. And JFK and Clinton, you know, actually chased some skirts…
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): In that context, I totally agree with you. Hey, I am a young woman, I know what it feels to be objectified. My only concern is that we jump at every little issue, and miss the forest for the trees. Also, what offends me is that the media (kings of objectifying women) are lecturing the president about what constitutes sexist. Yeah, right.
Scale of 1 to 10, on the outrage scale, probably a six. As a point of reference, Bush goosing Merkel on camera at a summit was an 8. Clinton’s relationship with a White House employee a 9. (It would have been a 7 if she weren’t an employee).
Okay this stopped being entertaining. Blog needs moar Tunch.
@Suffern ACE: really a 6? complimenting a friend is only 3 points away from sodomizing an employee at work with a cigar?
Ted & Hellen
The only way he can express his friendship is by complimenting her on her physical appearance as compared to all of her peers?
@Ted & Hellen:
Well, of course not. But he’d already given her a friendship bracelet.
Bob In Portland
@PsiFighter37: If Bondi is like most other Florida politicians I wouldn’t vote for her. I have voted for Harris, before I moved to Oregon. All of which probably proves that you shouldn’t mix concepts of personal beauty with politics.
@David Koch: the scale needs some tweaking. I should note that a five is “meh, I couldn’t care” and one is “yay. I’ve not felt this good in years”. Maybe it’s logarithmic.
To contrast with the conservative approach of going out of their way to say offensive things simply so that when called on it they can cry persecution and political correctness and “OMG you’re calling me prejudiced! How can you SAY that?”
It’s not a huge deal, but it was right for him to apologize (see the Franke-Ruta piece linked above). Moving on.
Ted & Hellen
Obot Holocaust: Nothing to see here, moving on…
What really annoys me about this non-troversy is that most of the noise is coming from the network that forces Rachel Maddow to wear eyeshadow and mascara. (Shut up, Mika!)
It’s a tempest in a teapot.
A month from now it will be forgotten.
@mouse tolliver: Mika’s feigned outrage is especially ironic considering she is paid to be Scarborough’s punching bag.
dance around in your bones
Jeebus, another nothingburger.
@dance around in your bones:
Ted & Hellen is outraged.
@Hill Dweller: Mika’s feigned outrage is especially ironic considering this incredibly sexist photo
@Redshirt: I think we need a “DA’s of America” calendar to settle the issue.
If no one else has already pointed it out, Buzzfeed has your back.
dance around in your bones
@Cacti: T&H is/are always outraged. Another nothingburger.
When you refer to a woman’s good looks in the context of her professional abilities, there is always the subtext that the former had more to do with her success than the latter.
While I’m sure looksism exists in the male world, your everyday good-looking dude isn’t assumed to have gotten where he is on his back.
That’s the problematic subtext for me. I got some of that when I was younger and skinnier, and it pissed me right the hell off.
I certainly don’t think Pres. Obama was going anywhere near that neighborhood, but the screams in response to the response…are just….
I can’t explain to you how much it hurts to work your ass off and have somebody come along, look at you, and assume you’re a bimbo who’s fucking the boss and doesn’t deserve her job—that doesn’t pay shit, anyway.
@Suffern ACE: WTF are you talking about?!!? It’s not even on any scale, dipshit. Here’s the context of the shiny object:
You’re putting this on a “scale” with cheating on your wife IN THE F-ING WHITE HOUSE with an intern not much older than your daughter while she’s in the same building?!!? This is so obviously created by the media to diminish President Obama, and you tools play along every single goddamn time. Pathetic.
@David Koch: well, lets not forget this episode of pundit history as well http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/29/peggy-noonan-calls-mikas_n_209118.html
RFK and his wife Ethel Kennedy console Coretta Scott King, after MLK’s remains were brought to Atlanta by a plane chartered by RFK. I wonder who took a picture in an occasion like that in Mrs. King’s bedroom? It seems so intrusive.
Tim in SF
I’m gay. I don’t care what women look like. But when I heard this story I thought to myself, yeah, he’s right. She is the best looking AG. Good for her.
She used to be the district attorney here in San Francisco just a few years ago. Her star is rising.
@Anya: When you’re on that level, it’s to be expected. I’m sure Mrs. King approved photos.
It exists, just to a lesser degree, and in different ways.
Until the late 1990s, when white men picked up on the black male trend of bic-ing their melons, going bald at an early age was nothing short of a personal catastrophe.
Gettin’ pretty steamy in here!
@Ted & Hellen: Yes, just like the Clintoncaust, since I don’t remember hearing a single word about this at time:
Yet, compare that to coverage of President Obama calling a state Attorney General “brilliant, dedicated and tough.”
@Cacti: “bic-ing their melons”?
I have no idea what you’re talking about. Which is essential to my point.
@rda909: ummmm. Yeah. That’s why it’s a scale and not a bucket where I’ve put everything because everything is the same.
@hamletta: Shaving their heads with a Bic razor.
@hamletta: shaving their heads instead of getting toupees or comb overs.
@Suffern ACE: wow. scale no equal bucket. damn, you r 2 smart 4 me.
I read this entire thread
You people have serious problems
Sorry, but this was much more inclusive than the idiots making hay over it can understand. Not only did Obama do nothing wrong, everyone forgets that when guys are chummy, they regularly yap about being good looking. HE also did not praise her as a “smoking hot”, a phrase that is suddenly being repeated ad infinitum incorrectum, he said she was the “best looking AG”. Not best looking woman, best looking Attorney General. It’s the friendly jocularity that says acceptance. Chait et al have an infinite well of stupidity to annoy people with and considering all that is going on in the world, this was goddamned dumb.
@Hill Dweller: @Suffern ACE: Ouuuhhh.
Yeah, not the same.
Anyone getting their panties in a twist over this is a fucking idiot, or has some agenda to push.
I could give a shit about his sexist comments (and they ARE sexist). I care more about his proposed cuts to social security. Sexism among 50 year old men is no surprise, especially among politicians.
The prophet Nostradumbass
If you ever start a post with “Not to be a [something or other]”, you may want to rethink your post.
@Tim in SF: I have to admit that my first thought was, “Yeah, she’s hot, and she’s our AG, so there!”
@Anya: Thank you for the charitability of your reply. I’d wager I have less love for that contingent than you, but you can’t tell me their representatives in the farm accident six threads down have “moved on” — hell, some of them seemed positively triumphant — or that giving them any foothold is “harmless”. Jesus, they’re already conceding 2014 over the Social Security crap, which probably makes the prophecy self-fulfilling. That tendency has persisted on the “progressive” side (tempered by party discipline situationally to varying degrees) throughout Obama’s presidency, and whatever the best way to deal with it is, it can’t be to feed it like this.
It occurs to me that that last comment may be interpretable as minimizing the concerns of all people critical of Obama’s chained-CPI proposal and/or his sexist remark, rather than only the opportunistic haters. This I don’t wish to do; monkeying with Social Security at all, for any reason, is far from ideal, and Obama’s negotiation posture merits serious scrutiny. There are wise ways and foolish ways to conduct that scrutiny, of course, but that discussion could take place more constructively than it does here.
And, call me a PC asshole, but supposedly exculpatory context for Obama’s remark moves me toward the “no big deal” consensus not at all, because one, the remark affects more people than Kamala Harris, and two, dismissing the impact of actions that potentially harm whole classes of people is something you just shouldn’t do without a second, third, and fourth look, and a damn good reason. I can lament the fuel this gives PUMAs while simultaneously acknowledging that the base objections are completely legitimate.
@Cacti: One month ? come monday, a new poutrage meme.
If we could bend the time/space continuum, how would President Obama introduce Florida’s Attorney General Janet Reno?
If he would say the exact same thing, then it was just harmless vamping. If not, the subtext is one of ranking females by body type and cuteness which is not a bad thing, but publicly best belongs at beauty pageants and casting calls.
For heaven’s sake, the most feminist President EVAH, the guy-who-gets-it, and we are getting torqued over a remark at a private house for something I gather is obvious?
He even apologized! Case closed.
I swear, the Internet Left are like a bunch of abused children, calculating daddy’s twitch and mommy’s tone to see when the next horrible thing will happen. Not that it’s not understandable; but we shouldn’t act like children.
Is this the example we are setting for our opponents, who squeal and carry on at the slightest pretext? Can we use our outrage for things that are really outrageous?
Obama put his foot in his mouth, can we all agree on that? It was inartful, at best. But ferfucksake, he put Kagan and Sotomayor on the SCOTUS. And he is married to Michelle Obama. And he told Hillary Clinton that the nation needed her and her skills to run foreign policy, and he did unprecedented media appearances with her as she exited State. All things he should have done, true, but let’s have some freaking context.
He has apologized, as he should have. It’s over.
The left is having a freakiut over this because we are not winning the sequestration fight, and we don’t want to admit it. We should be freaking out over the GOP moving Obama to the middle on budget matters, yet again. I hope he knows what he’s doing with that, but I have ny fears.
Bit in the end, the austerity ghouls, of they get their way, are poised to do a lot more fucking damage to women than Barack Fucking Obama.
All I have to say about this is to note that Jake Tapper devoted an entire panel on his show to this yesterday. So, yeah, Tapper is who we think he is.
@ruemara: this, leavened with a bought media who has an interest in bringing down the Pres’s approval numbers in whatever way they can. And I’m an old dame who put up with a great deal of sexism for the 43 years I’ve worked.
@Comrade Jake: Tapper’s show is circling the drain already. They’ll give him more time, if for no other reason than the money they’re giving him, but I doubt his show survives. Tapper is a thin-skinned hack.
Actually after reading the above 3 comments. I am beginning to wonder if maybe Barack Obama didn’t do this on purpose. This certainly is drawing attention away from his proposed molestation of Social Security.
I kid, I kid.
Call me an insensitive male clod, but I think the ladies of Balloon Juice are the best looking blog commenters on the Internets.
Yeah, he did it inadvertently, but the end result is a distraction from the ongoing budget battle. Again, what the GOP wants to do to the budget is far more damaging to women as a group than a boneheaded comment made about a colleague whom he obviously respects as an equal.
You have a right to be pissed at him for making the comment, no one disputes that, but he is not a man who makes a habit of denigrating women’s professional abilities and accomplishments. The record shows this clearly.
I’ve a few less years experience than you, but I agree. I had a boss who loved to embarrass me in front of coworkders with his innuendos. Saying someone is good-looking is very different from asking someone to bring their breasts over to his desk to take a letter.
I haven’t followed this closely enough to know whether it’s wingnuts or PUMA shrieking their outrage, but I’d bet it’s all about ulterior motives. I’d also bet no one who’s actually been harassed is among them.
@Donut: The distraction from both the effects of the sequester and the budget fight both serve the interests of what party again? The GOP? Funny how that works and how Pavlovian the response always is from the folks on our side, undercutting the President and aiding in deflecting attention from issues that really affect people. Well played American media, well played.
We already had someone on this thread disparaging the fuss as an overly-Liberal trait. I can’t go along with that; once upon a time, liberals were the only people who cared at all.
But certainly, fussing over this is climbing a molehill and claiming it’s a mountain. Not worth the bandwidth.
The only reason we’re still talking about it is that the service on this blog is seriously lacking!
Makes we want to take my stock options and go home. :)
Obama has been offering the GOP chained-CPI for months. In fact, his plan has been on WH.gov for months, but the Village has pretended Obama wasn’t willing to compromise. Hell, “fact checker” Glenn Kessler said a plan on the WH website isn’t actually a plan.
So, Obama has decided to put it in his budget, for all to see. FWIW, it looks like bad policy and politics from where I sit, but Boehner’s refusal to even consider it sight unseen might change the Village’s perspective. But at what cost to Obama? AS I said yesterday, chasing the Village’s approval is a fool’s errand.
As for the sequester, things are still unfolding. The Village have certainly framed it to the wingnuts’ advantage up to this point, but the local news broadcasts are different.
Once we get past gun control and immigration reform, I think Obama will really start hammering the sequester again. The effects will be far more evident then, which should give him some more leverage.
High-profile professional women spend a lot of effort making themselves up to look pretty (much more than men do in the same situations) because they have to: they’ll be attacked for being slovenly and unprofessional otherwise. But when they do, it gets them some unwanted types of attention as well. To call it hypocrisy when they complain about the situation just seems like adding insult to injury.
So now a compliment is offensive. There is something very wrong with that happening.
It was a lovely thing for Obama to say.
The women that scream about this need to get their heads screwed on straight. They are petty and malicious.
For the MSM this is about trying to find a juicy scandal where there is none.
If there is a microphone present, one should assume that one’s remarks will become public. This goes double if one is president. If one’s remarks are likely to become public, one should assume that they will be picked apart. The President fucked that up. It was a gaffe. He made a comment that, given the friendship between the two parties, was probably mostly harmless but nevertheless managed to suck up a major amount of media oxygen in negative way. He apologized to Kamala Harris for exactly that. It should be the end of the story.
@Hill Dweller: I don’t think Obama is chasing the Village’s approval as much as he’s just trying to get them to notice and actually report on the endless GOP obstruction. Because the vast majority of the country still gets their “news” sourced from the Village. We may hate that, but we’d rather scream on blogs about Presidential faux paus then demand better reporting of issues.
I don’t compliment people’s appearance in a work environment. I would like to think that I know where the difference between saying something nice and and saying something inappropriate lies, but, on the off chance that I am wrong, I play it safe. I might consider complimenting a woman’s shoes, but most people wear hideous, ill-fitting shoes so it’s not an issue.
@Omnes Omnibus: it is. The problem is that in our system, it takes three days for everyone to comment. So it seems like its still going on when its not.
@satby: I agree with everything you said. “Approval” is probably the wrong word, but he is trying to show through action that the wingnuts are f’n crazy. However, I think the Village has been willfully ignorant, and no amount of compromise from Obama will change their desire for “balance”.
Maddow had a good segment last night detailing all the crazy shit the Republicans have been doing at the state level this year, but the Village continues to pretend the Republican Party is reevaluating their policies. The wingnuts run that party.
@Donut: Hopefully you were speaking generally since I am neither pissed nor otherwise upset. I do think that people in leadership positions should shy away from ranking people by their good-looking-ness unless that is part of the job description.
I’m pretty sure that bunches and bunches of people in leadership already know this and act accordingly. I am a bit surprised it hasn’t occurred to the President and his people until now.
I also think Obama has a sense of humor, likes people, and is sometimes not as formal as he should be in his position.
Well, I do think you should consider all the other state AG’s who are probably sobbing into their pillows because the President didn’t say they were pretty.
Seriously, as an old veteran of the feminist fight I don’t think this is a big deal. As a young woman I was cute which is really much worse for career advancement than good looking. I made a point in college of bringing myself to my professors’ attention until they’d had a chance to see some of my work because I looked like a pert 14 year old.
Still, this is no big deal to me because of context. There was no leering, patronizing or “little woman” effect and all of her important career characteristics were recognized and it was in the context of 2 people who know each other well enough to joke, not just some random remark about a hot chick.
It is the media. There is no reason that this should even be any kind of issue.
In a work environment, the fear is of a sexual harassment lawsuit. That is the picky part of “feminism”.
This started with Women’s Lib in the 1970s. It’s a bunch of bs.
It also covers up the real problems with women being treated badly. Look at the Repubs and the rape issues. Also the Repubs and the reproduction issues.
Democrats in Congress should have already taken over the sequester. It’s ideal for House members. They’re better positioned than the President is to talk about specific cuts.
They have a bigger problem than Obama, and what he does or doesn’t do. They don’t have a legislative agenda that is cohesive or broadly popular enough to ground a turn out effort.
I don’t know what they’re doing. I don’t know where they are. I know what certain high profile members are doing, but that’s really the Senate.
I follow this fairly closely, so I feel like if I can’t say “vote for the Democrat in the midterm BECAUSE..” we have a problem.
If you told me I had to get people out for congressional Democrats next Tuesday I have no idea what I would say. They need a broad theme, a story. What are they going to do with a majority in the House? I don’t know.
@Kay: You’d probably know better than me, but it seems like gun control and immigration reform are taking up all the oxygen in the proverbial room. Once that is behind us, I suspect they’ll start focusing more on mid-term messaging.
I agree. Not to many people want to admit this, but Obama has been the strongest Democrat we’ve had since 2009. It’s the rest of the party–from Congress on down–who are the ones who continue on in this muddled state.
Just to compare, because I tend to split up “state” and “federal” I already have a broad sense of what Ohio Democrats are running on, the state candidates. That might be enough here, because they’ll come out for the state races, but the people who focus on state races are the base of the base. That’s not enough. That’s 2010. It may not be as bad as 2010 because I think Republicans are fractured and demoralized, a lot of the Obama hatred has ebbed and now they hate their own side, but my sense is that won’t be enough either.
So in how many other occasions did he and his people behave like ‘sexist pigs’, exactly ?
Yup. They sure fucked up a golden opportunity to hang the gopquester around their necks.
@amk: Wow, what a silly thing to say.
They could stake a populist position to the left of Obama. That at least would be A POSITION. There’s an opening for that because he’s not running again and his biggest goal (IMO) is immigration.
I say this for 2 reasons, I would like them to move in that direction anyway AND I don’t see that they have another “story” so what the hell, why not? They ran from him in 2010 and it hurt them. Now that they’re better positioned and they don’t have to worry about 2 terms they’re going to wait for him to put forth their agenda?
With the latest rehash of budget mania, I was thinking, in an 11-dimensional chess kind of way, that it might provide an opportunity for Democrats competing in gerrymandered GOP districts to run against the President from the left in a way that would appeal to lean-conservative voters who want to keep government out of their Social Security and Medicare.
I was wondering, vaguely, yesterday in the context of mistermix’s giant SS thread if Obama was not setting up such a dynamic. He isn’t running again. He can posture for the centrists and allow the Congressional Dems to howl with dismay and force him to back down. They look good to their constituents, he gets to look “centrist”, and a good policy result ensues. For it to work, the Congressional Dems need to make sure they howl.
You’re not an insensitive clod. This is much ado about nothing….especially from a group of folks that kept their fucking mouths shut as Bill Clinton whored his way through 8 years in the White House.
They can miss me with this President Obama is sexist bullshyt.
And, yeah, a whole lot of it is that President Obama is complementing a BLACK woman.
There’s a way to do it. I know there’s a way to do it because Marcy Kaptur and Sherrod Brown have been doing it since Bill Clinton.
Some of that is geared to OH, and they’re both talented politicians which is rarer than people think, but they are both considered “good” Democrats in the sense that they don’t undermine a national campaign.
@Keith G: Glad you admit it.
That’s the key. Too many Democrats these days don’t know how to disagree and fight in a productive way. Everything is a Battle of Armageddon.
@amk: Except that you are implying that I feel Obama’s statement was sexist or evidence thereof. I do not. I do feel that it is past it’s expiration date, and in that context for good reason.
@Maude: Yes, YES, and more YESSSS!
Basically all that needs to be said about this manufactured “issue,” and people should re-focus on winning 2014.
Reminds me of the recent “single mothers” manufactured nonsense in Chicago, and how so many “liberals” such as Melissa Harris Perry, and every other “journalist” and most of the “liberal” blogs, ignored how great that whole event was that President Obama led. Instead they chose to take one single little comment out of context, and talked about it constantly FOR DAYS to the point I bet hardly anyone can even explain what that great event was about anymore. Interesting how they’ve both been “women’s issues” poutrages, and at the same time the press is trying so hard to anoint Hillary once again while focusing on how terrible the black in the White House is 24/7…coincidence?
Mission accomplished for the news media though, and the trained seals of the Left clap along once again. Just imagine if we had every blog, left-leaning pundit, and activist FOCUSED on the big issues and taking down the fascists by winning elections across the country, instead of being led around on a leash by the news media? We’d have filibuster-proof majorities in the House and Senate.
@Kay: I never get this critique of Democrats or Obama are to blame for their lack of, or bad messaging. Every single day they’re speaking strongly on the main issues. Contrary to common beliefs, they’re often pretty well coordinated on the talking points too. The problem is the media either ignoring them completely while being willing funnels for Republican talking points, or misconstruing what the liberal positions are. I go the Democrats.org, and there’s a big button on the front saying “Issues,” and there are good simple statements there about each issue, and you have the option to expand each for more detail.
When people blame Democrats for messaging problems, which is very common on liberal blogs, I feel like it’s blaming the victim. The problem is, and all anxiety should be focused upon the mainstream media, and they are doing this on purpose to divide and conquer liberals. Let’s not let them get away it yet again for 2014.
I did mean “you” in the general sense, not you specifically.
Democrats, the Democratic Party, do not have a cohesive economic platform. This has been true since Clinton. They need one. “The President” whoever the President is defines their platform because they don’t have one.
Liberals are saying “our economic platform IS the Party” and that’s fine as an advocacy stance but unless The Democratic Party adopts it, The Democratic Party has a bigger problem than “liberals”.
They don’t have a cohesive economic policy and they haven’t since Clinton. Same problem.
I feel like it’s bigger than that. Kaptur and Brown can pull it off because they don’t define themselves in opposition. They are not “opposed” to Clinton or Obama. They have a set of issues and ideas they support.
I agree that’s important. But one difficulty with that is that if each Democratic politician self-identifies their own set of issues, it’s hard to maintain any sort of Democratic identity. Maybe it’s best to adopt an “all politics are local” approach, but that results in a lot of “impurity” to the consternation of too many people on the blogs and allows a not-friendly media to define Democrats any way they want.
That’s the dilemma I see anyway.
Shaving your bald/balding head.
Obama is letting his inner slasher/smoker self sneak out in public. Now that Tapper has exiled himself to the ratings
pundit purgatory he thinks he can get away with it. Next he will play the race card and call out the GOP for “messin with his bitches.”
I look at it from the other direction. The Democratic Party has trouble maintaining an identity because they don’t have one.
They cleaved onto Clinton’s Third Way because it was something. They then had 8 years where all they had to do was oppose Bush. Still nothing. Now they will or will not join Obama, I have no idea, because they ran to the RIGHT of Obama in 2010, and that was a disaster, so why not run Left?
I just think we have a bigger problem if that’s a coin flip. What are they? Not compared to Clinton or Obama or Bush. What are they apart from the President?
The President was correct. I live in CA and she is very smart ^ beautiful
@Kay: Can/will you expand on this? I think this is one of the most important issues facing Democrats. We (the people who care about this party) need to hash this out.
Maybe the reality of what political parties are and should be have changed so much that they are unrelated to the concept that existed a generation ago. If that is the case, we need to talk about that as well.
I would like to think that the base, or the roots if you will, actually care about governance.
I could try it in a FP post but it’s difficult to articulate.
I think the Democratic Party needs a core economic message and it can’t be “FDR” because that’s not responsive enough to modern reality.
Until they get one, they are going to be defined in opposition to the GOP, or they are going to be defined by where they differ with “The President” of either Party.
I just think we have a huge core problem if the last “Democratic” President was FDR. We can do one of two things. We can say “those President’s aren’t real Democrats!” but of course they ARE real, OR we can say “hmmmm. There hasn’t been a “real” Democrat since FDR”. Maybe it’s The Democratic Party that doesn’t have a coherent economic platform which is why the President drives so much of the policy.