home

The White House, Like The World, Is A Hostile Environment For Women

This WaPo story on the treatment of women in the Obama White House, based on reporting in Ron Susskind's new book, is neither surprising nor unusual. From the WaPo story:

Friction about the roles of women in the Obama White House grew so intense during the first two years of the presidentís tenure that he was forced to take steps to reassure senior women on his staff that he valued their presence and their input. At a dinner in November 2009, several senior female aides complained directly to the president that men enjoyed greater access to him and often muscled them out of key policy discussions.

For women across the world, this is no doubt a familiar story. Men (especially men like me, to be clear) aggressively try to dominate discussions, oftentimes to the detriment of women. We need to be more sensitive about this issue in all contexts. I'm glad that Valerie Jarrett brought the problem to the President's attention, and hopefully the situation improved. But honestly, this is not a White House story, but a story about one of the many obstacles women face in all settings.

Speaking for me only

< Troy Davis: GA Board Rejects Clemency | Tuesday Evening Open Thread >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft


  • Display: Sort:
    CNN had a spokesman (5.00 / 0) (#1)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:23:10 AM EST
    -- repeat, spokesman -- from the White House today to counter Susskind's book.

    So was I to conclude that no woman from the White House staff could be found who would do so?

    Sweetie (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:27:31 AM EST
    Don't worry your pretty little head about it.  I'm sure this is all a misunderstanding.

    (pats head)

    Parent

    I saw a bit on CNN this morning (none / 0) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:29:17 AM EST
    where one of the women said that her words had been taken out of context and what she had really said was that if I had not been for the President the climate would have been one that a court of law would have been interested in....or something to that affect.

    Parent
    Yes, but read the link (none / 0) (#6)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:32:19 AM EST
    re the tape of what she said.  She said it.  She did say "except for the president," which is all that she said this morn on CNN, too.

    Parent
    And I took that to mean not that (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by Anne on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 01:47:14 PM EST
    Obama was not part of the hostile culture that existed there, but that no one in her right mind was going to bring an action because, you know, it's the president, for crying out loud...

    All I can say is, he sure comes across as passive/aggressive where women are concerned; it makes me think that while he knows and is being advised that it's politically astute to have women at the top, he really just doesn't hold them in the same regard as he does men.

    You know, we're "likeable enough," but if we can't deal with footballs being tossed around the office, and fail to see the contribution that carpet-bombing the workplace with all derivations of the f-word makes, well, maybe we're just not up to the requirements of the job.

    [shrug]

    Parent

    It's those `innate abilities' (none / 0) (#54)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 01:56:10 PM EST
    don't you know, sweetie.

    Parent
    Didn't you know (none / 0) (#55)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:03:18 PM EST
    But I consulted my minister (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:22:06 PM EST
    and my husband, like Obama told me to do, and they said that it's okay to call me "sweetie"!

    (Seriously, that's my spouse's nickname for me.  Others who know me are amazed by that nickname -- but they also know that he's the only one who gets to use it.:-)

    Parent

    My point was that by 2008 (none / 0) (#95)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:45:38 PM EST
    no one, but no one, could get away with referring to a non-close relationship female as "sweetie."

    I mean the signs were all there. How did the females miss it? Or did they not miss it, but decided it was okay if a Democrat did it?

    Parent

    Seriously? (none / 0) (#140)
    by Yman on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 06:38:34 PM EST
    This was discussed at length during 2008, including here.  Many Obama supporters chose to overlook them because he was their guy.

    Just like TPers and Repubs will overlook the sexist, racist and homophobic statements of their candidates.

    Parent

    Oh. Well, that's just a silly point (none / 0) (#142)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 07:23:32 PM EST
    since we did talk it about it, and quite a lot, including here; to Yman's search terms below, add "talkleft" and click.  Or perhaps you have not heard our "click" every time we have fun using "sweetie" here, as we often have since?  

    Parent
    Ambiguous comment (none / 0) (#162)
    by MKS on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:11:49 PM EST
    Can be read either way....

    Eye of the beholder....

    The speaker's view of her own intent should be given some weight, no?

    The big meeting to address the issue would tend to support the view that Obama helped to address the issue, not that women did not sue because they were intimidated by Obama....

    Parent

    Doesn't explain (none / 0) (#7)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:38:32 AM EST
    why the president did the typical corporate good old boy thing on the golf course, etc.

    Sweeties, all of them.

    Parent

    Of course. And the guy at the top -- (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:42:10 AM EST
    or, occasionally, the woman -- sets the tone of the office culture.  And of the campaign, as we sweeties saw.  I find interesting the report that so few women in the WH had a previous working relationship with the president, directly because so few had been at such levels in the campaign.

    Parent
    No question (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:24:58 PM EST
    there are a lot of men who are great when it comes to full support of equal rights for women. And by the same token there are quite a few women who  harm rather than support or help.  

    Parent
    Yes, Without men, we would not vote (none / 0) (#73)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:38:16 PM EST
    although, of course, it took a century -- the century of struggle, as suffragists called it -- to get a majority of them in Congress, and only the narrowest of majorities, to vote for us to vote.

    Fyi, we're only a decade away from trying for a century for the ERA, first introduced in 1921.

    Somehow, I do not foresee that happening in these times.  

    Parent

    thanks for nothin' (none / 0) (#76)
    by jondee on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:42:11 PM EST
    goin' out to a family values drag queen named Phyllis Schlafly..

    "The husband is the head of the wife, as christ is the head of the church.."

    Parent

    I'm open to the whole (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by jondee on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:38:29 PM EST
    goddess-in-every-woman thing myself..

    Parent
    But not enlightened enough (none / 0) (#64)
    by itscookin on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:24:38 PM EST
    to know that many women find being called "girls" offensive.

    Parent
    Too quick to judge IMO (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:30:22 PM EST
    "You go girl" is a pretty popular saying to cheer women on in their endeavors. From on line slang dictionary.

    Definition of you go, girl
    you go, girl    Featured Word
    interjection

        * a phrase of encouragement.

    Parent

    I agree. Some women here (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:41:14 PM EST
    used "girls," and in context of the phrase that Donald uses.

    Plus, it's such a common phrase among women athletes, and Donald is the proud dad of one, so I would suspect that he hears it around the house -- or did, before his daughter headed off to her college athletic career.  I just loved that story, Donald, knowing that you had worked with the great Patsy Mink, who was the one who finally won Title Nine.

    Parent

    cx: And not in the context (none / 0) (#77)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:42:44 PM EST
    of the phrase that Donald uses.

    Parent
    Poor Donald... (none / 0) (#72)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:35:59 PM EST
    can't win for trying:)

    So much for considering the context.

    Parent

    I know that some women do (none / 0) (#127)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 05:22:46 PM EST
    But I'm a woman and I don't.  I am not afraid to be a girl.  It is not a curse of some kind.

    Parent
    "Pro-Life" (none / 0) (#161)
    by MKS on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:07:17 PM EST
    Did you mean this in a context outside of reproductive rights?

    Or, did you mean this in the context of Senator Casey?

    Parent

    I saw that too (none / 0) (#10)
    by sj on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:43:35 AM EST
    Her comment doesn't make any sense unless Obama personally intervened when the workplace environment escalated into a hostile work environment.  And yet it didn't sound like that to me.  It had more of a flavor of "if it weren't for the customers this would be a great job".

    I don't know.  I stand by to see further developments.

    Parent

    I will probably have to read the book (none / 0) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:46:47 AM EST
    and listen to what she's saying to get a picture that makes sense to me.

    Parent
    That could be what she meant (none / 0) (#20)
    by seabe on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:53:39 AM EST
    I mean, in the article is clearly states that the president DID have to intervene with that dinner, explicitly asking them, "How do you feel?" And to keep it on the radar, the dinners are apparently regular.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/4186340039/

    Parent

    "Feel"? (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:58:03 AM EST
    Too bad.  The question, if one has had training to see how such phrasing can fuel others' feelings about women in the workplace, ought to be "what do you think?"

    Parent
    Maybe so (none / 0) (#24)
    by seabe on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:01:38 PM EST
    But I regularly interject "how do you feel about this idea?" in my own engineering design groups, and my groups are mostly men (my graduating class was 10% women, and boy did that design lab leave me fuming regularly).

    Parent
    Yes, the verb has a very different (none / 0) (#27)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:08:04 PM EST
    resonance with a group mainly of men.

    I work with women students, from my experience in the workplace, on using verb forms of "to think."  (Deborah Tannen has done interesting work on this, as on so much about gender and communication.)

    Parent

    No doubt it does (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by seabe on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:12:15 PM EST
    I'm just saying that to a regular observer, and in this case the president who has mostly been working with men, that the words "feel" and "think" are used interchangeably all of the time.

    This comes back to what BTD said about being aware and "sensitive". It takes a lot of practice, especially when you haven't taken many gender studies classes.

    Parent

    Exactly. (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:21:10 PM EST
    But I do not hold my breath for the day when we have a president who has had gender studies coursework -- or even has had other classes with profs who have had gender studies coursework.

    Parent
    "Lecturing behavior" is what Tannen (5.00 / 1) (#175)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 12:26:10 AM EST
    calls the male's fondness for pontification.

    Parent
    C'mon, Donald, you Hawaiians (none / 0) (#90)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:27:32 PM EST
    are such multiculturalists that you would prefer this version, nein?

    Parent
    I think the body language and the (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Anne on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:04:45 PM EST
    facial expressions are revealing; most arms are crossed against the body, hardly anyone is looking anywhere but down, and no one looks particularly happy or relaxed - including the president.

    I know - it's just one photo...

    Parent

    Girls with arms crossed (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:16:33 PM EST
    not done for no reason

    Parent
    That is an offical WH photo (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:27:59 PM EST
    of the event. Pretty bad PR IMO with the president not making eye contact with the women at the dinner and no one looking the least bit happy.  

    Correct me if I'm wrong but it looks like Anita Dunn, of hostile environment quote, is the person with her arms tightly crossed and looking down.  

    Parent

    A link to the photo (none / 0) (#39)
    by sj on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:45:52 PM EST
    which is not on flickr (blocked at my workplace)

    Parent
    A Time article reference the body language (none / 0) (#186)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 08:37:13 AM EST
    Look at the senior women meeting with Obama in this White House photo at a dinner they called to discuss their invisibility. Look at their faces and body language. They are p!ssed off.

    Sullivan brings up one other interesting point regarding WH pictures.

    The first time I noticed something was awry, I was flipping through the White House Flickr album from Obama's first 100 days in office. About halfway through, I realized something was missing. Shot after shot showed Oval Office meetings filled with men in dark suits. But apart from occasional appearances by Hillary Clinton and Valerie Jarrett-and one photo of an Oval Office meeting that included Jarrett and several other female advisers-women were mostly absent from the workplace shots.

    Time link

    Parent

    Look at the girls with their arms crossed! (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:15:49 PM EST
    Some of them smiling too, they've been to this rodeo before, and looking the President right in the eye if only he would look back :)

    Parent
    Ah. Maybe so (none / 0) (#21)
    by sj on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:56:02 AM EST
    And she is not in the WH now (none / 0) (#37)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:26:43 PM EST
    I think?

    Parent
    I'm certain that Larry Summers (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:27:08 AM EST
    had absolutely nothing to do with that existing environment in the area that Suskind was investigating...the economic team branch of the Obama administration.  Larry Summers is such a scummy bully on so many levels that he really needs to be held accountable for the condition of the economy  as it continues to swirl down the toilet.  I hold him singularly responsible for all the wrong decisions that the Obama administration made at the beginning of this crisis when the right decisions made could have done EVERYTHING, because he was and is a worthless self adoring bully who nobody was going to get around.  I can literally promise you that if someone proposed a solution that Summers didn't agree with but the President might have been interested in, he would scream into your face until you blacked out.  Like every good weasel I've ever known he knew when to get the hell out of there too trying to avoid any of the falling ceiling, that he caused to cave in, landing on him.

    I ordered the book today

    The very hiring of Summers (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:31:11 AM EST
    with his horrible and widely known history on gender issues, just made me say "ouch" at the time -- as it did for many friends.   We wondered at the time about the vetting of WH appointments.

    Parent
    Yer not just a kidding (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:43:53 AM EST
    What a huge failure hiring that vile misogynist evil ugly blowhard.  Notice how the only faces front and center at the moment are Obama and Geithner though?  In my opinion the real misogynist running the misogyny show slipped the noose as soon as he began to understand that what he preached was all going to go to hell.  He's sitting behind his safe large desk right now snickering to himself while other guys are trying to explain all this.

    Parent
    The same jerk who recently said... (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Dadler on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:51:05 AM EST
    ...shovel ready projects just aren't enough to get the economy moving.  Well, digging your big fat grave should employ at least ten men and a tractor crew.  Seriously, we have enough projects that need doing, enough shovels to dig with, and more than enough ready Americans eager to get their country back on the right, er, left track.  If shovel ready projects (i.e. jobs for regular people in desperate need) aren't what we need, on top of real financial regulation, then Mr. Summers himself is useless.  What does he expect is going to make things better, hiring David phucking Copperfield to put on a magic show?  Because magic is what the masters of the universe are selling as their "cure."

    Parent
    The "Education" in the book title... (none / 0) (#15)
    by Dadler on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:47:16 AM EST
    ...should've been miseducation

    Parent
    In the book, Summers really (none / 0) (#173)
    by Madeline on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 12:19:20 AM EST
    gets a lot of type. None of it good. The reaction of Obama to Summers is sad, not sad, poor Obama, but in a way that Summers takes control of everything, even seating during meetings.

    In re woman, it must have been crazy making working with Summers, Rahm Emanuel, and some of the election committee that appeared to have so much power.

    However, the women of the White House need not be victims either. Personally, I can't see one of those women meekly putting up with dismissive actions or intimidation. If they really did, then they own it.

    Another book in either two or four years.

    Parent

    Of course, people like Larry Summers (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:40:07 AM EST
    were well known for being extremely sensitive about this issue in all contexts. After all, IIRC his analysis of why women can't do science (`innate abilities') was soooooo sensitive.

    As if his putative abilities at the (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by observed on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:44:12 AM EST
    "dismal science" count anyway.

    Parent
    Well he was certainly the worst (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:45:44 AM EST
    person in the world to grant power and authority to and unleash on a crisis.

    Parent
    Summers track record while at Harvard (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:07:31 PM EST
    would make some people leery of putting him in any position of authority on financial issues. Evidently, Obama had a different criteria than mine.

    During Summers's presidency at Harvard, the University entered into a series totalling US$3.52 billion of interest rate swaps, financial derivatives that can be used for either hedging or speculation.[44] Summers approved the decision to enter into the swap contracts as president of the university and as a member of Harvard Corp., "the university's seven-member ruling body" which bears "the school's ultimate fiduciary responsibility."[45] By late 2008, those positions had lost approximately $1 billion in value, a setback which forced Harvard to borrow significant sums in distressed market conditions to meet margin calls on the swaps.[46] In the end Harvard paid $497.6 million in termination fees to investment banks and has agreed to pay another $425 million over 30-40 years.[45] The decision to enter into the swap positions has been attributed to Summers and has been termed a "massive interest-rate gamble" that ended badly.[47] wikipedia


    Parent
    MT does a fairly accurate description of (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:48:29 AM EST
    of Summers even if it may be too kind. .

    vile misogynist evil ugly blowhard

    Some comments bare reaping as often as possible

    Parent

    I just don't like some guys out there :) (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:51:40 AM EST
    Larry Summers doesn't deserve to breed :)  He is not desirable stock and I hope all the girls out there can clearly see that :)

    Parent
    Too late (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:08:35 PM EST
    He already has 3 children.

    Parent
    I don't know what to do about (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:12:16 PM EST
    that time in our maturing when we see all of their potential like a neon sign, and none of their faults :)  This should be it for him though.  In the time of the talking monkeys, what the monkeys say and do and how they conduct themselves should rule the gene pool.

    Parent
    I think it's pretty interesting (5.00 / 4) (#19)
    by Anne on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:52:36 AM EST
    that the WH gave Suskind all kinds of access to the Wh staff for interviews and research, and now, apparently, they are realizing that there is a down side to stenography.

    David Dayen:

    There's a sense that this [the hostile work environment] was a source of problems early in the Administration, and the atmosphere generally improved. And a couple women's groups who have not pulled back their punches on Obama typically had positive things to say about the inclusiveness of the current White House. But I do think this is a nagging problem that had impacts not just for the female White House staffers themselves, but more broadly.

    For instance, look at this fascinating passage that Brad DeLong highlights. Christina Romer, then the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, was in a meeting with the President near the end of 2009, the time when the pivot to the deficit and away from jobs occurred. Romer argued in favor of at least a $100 billion program aimed at job creation. Peter Orszag's view was that a small stimulus would be ineffective and that fiscal responsibility was a bigger priority. When Obama agreed with Orszag, Romer blurted out "that is oh so wrong."

    Obama snapped back, "It's not just wrong, it's oh so wrong?" And he launched into an uncharacteristic verbal tirade, saying that a new stimulus wasn't going to happen. He was extremely dismissive. A few weeks later, Larry Summers brought up the exact same idea. Obama was more respectful, but still denied the pitch. Even Summers pointed out to Romer, "You know, he sure was a lot more generous to me than he was with you."

    The real problem here is that Obama seemed to get it into his head that productivity gains, not a shortfall in aggregate demand, accounted for the high unemployment of the period. I cannot help but think that if Romer wasn't arguing the other side initially, if it came from Summers, the President might not have come to this conclusion, which is truly disastrous (Obama is saying that high unemployment is essentially a smart business decision). "The President seems to have developed his own view," Romer said. It's speculative, but worth asking, whether this was due to the messenger of the opposite view.

    I think what the WH is worried about is the timing of the book; it's all well and good to say, "this was a problem and we addressed it and moved on," but when people are reading and hearing about it for the first time, the WH is forced to address the inevitable questions, one of which would have to be, "are the women in the WH there for the optics, for bragging rights, or are they there to make a contribution?"

    "Thin-skinned" and defensive is not a great place to be operating from.

    And this discussion could bring coverage (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:56:25 AM EST
    to the report released last week, which I have not seen used in media, about the impact of this economy on women's employment.  At first, women -- lower-paid -- did okay, but that has turned, and women now are being set back years, yet again.

    Parent
    hysterical (5.00 / 8) (#35)
    by dandelion on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:21:53 PM EST
    Many of us saw this problem in the WH and in the campaign and were demonized as hysterical or told we were not seeing the big picture or told to just get over it.  

    It's not enough to say that this is a problem that occurs everywhere, and while you BTD have been very very good on this issue, that is not at true of other progressives or progressive sites.

    Nor is it enough to say, well, gee, the world is hostile to women, shrug, what do you expect?  As if that then excuses the participants or lets off the hook those progressives who consistently ignore gender issues in the face of issues "more important."  

    Now, now that the problem in the WH has been validated by a man, Ron Suskind, some progressive are talking about it.  

    But when women brought the subject up at the time, we were basically told that what we saw with our own eyes was not, in fact, what we were seeing.  

    Hm (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by chrisvee on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 01:14:20 PM EST
    after Ms magazine put President Obama on their cover and declared 'this is what a feminist looks like!' I guess I had hoped Obama's White House might set an example rather than produce a reflection.

    But seriously, I jest.  I knew from his campaign what to expect, sweetie. I'm just grateful Suskind exposed it.

    The fish rots from the head.

    Yes. And if I was supposed (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 01:19:09 PM EST
    to feel good by the assurance that the White House is no better than the worst workplaces, I do not.

    And, of course, the impact of the White House simply is not at all the same as that of other workplaces.  

    Parent

    Well this is the guy (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by smott on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 01:50:08 PM EST
    That wouldn't fire Jon Favreau for the incident with the Hillary cut-out.

    Any woman working in the WH when that went down should know exactly where the Presidents sentiments lay when it comes to treatment of women.

    or the treatment of cut-outs (none / 0) (#61)
    by jondee on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:21:18 PM EST
    Thanks, as (5.00 / 4) (#65)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:24:48 PM EST
    my keyboard needed that, as it's cleaning day, anyway.

    I also thought that photo of Farveau and his frat-boy buddies, adorned with Obama wear, feeling up the image of the Secretary of State, ought to have gotten the guys fired.  So I also thought that when not even a word was said about it, all that I had feared for women from the campaign was true.

    Parent

    I always liked to imagine, say (5.00 / 6) (#78)
    by smott on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:46:38 PM EST
    A cardboard cut out of Obama, with a noose around his neck, being held up by members of the Clinton team.

    What kind of outcry would we have heard?...

    2008 was all about Racism v Sexism.

    You make a racist comment, you get fired.
    You make a sexist comment, you get a laugh.
    ( And promoted, if you're Favreau.)

    Parent

    And let's hear it for Ann Althouse (5.00 / 5) (#53)
    by smott on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 01:52:05 PM EST
    Here's the money graf from her lates POS:

    >>>
    So... is there something sexist about the Obama administration? Seems like Suskind came up with a great angle for his book, but I'm skeptical. I think Obama may have been overenthusiastic about giving a lot of  positions to women, and perhaps those women really weren't as good as the men he surrounded himself with and really does need to rely on. In that case, he deserves credit for good judgment.

    >>>

    http://althouse.blogspot.com/2011/09/obama-white-house-actually-fit-all-of.html

    Honestly, I sometimes think Men who Hate Women aren't women's biggest problem.

    It's women who hate women.

    I think there's a reason the book isn't (5.00 / 4) (#56)
    by Anne on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:06:42 PM EST
    titled, "Confidence Men and Women," or "Confidence People," but, rather, "Confidence Men."

    As for Ann Althouse...sheesh.

    Parent

    Oh, really (5.00 / 5) (#59)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:17:01 PM EST
    ...those women weren't really weren't as good as the men he surrounded himself with and really does need to rely on. In that case, he deserves credit for good judgment.

    Let's examine that premise with the benefit of hind sight.

    IIRC Christina Romer, a mere woman, recommended a much larger stimulus package, at least $1.2 trillion dollars, to help fill what was then predicted to be a $2 trillion hole in the nation's GDP.

    Obama exercised his "good judgment" by ignoring Romer's recommendation and decided to go for less than $800 billion and see how that plays out.

    We have seen how that played out and the results are not pretty. The good old boys including Obama were wrong and the unworthy woman was right.  

    Parent

    And, let's not overlook (none / 0) (#158)
    by NYShooter on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 10:55:42 PM EST
    the stark reality, from the sexist, "frat boy" atmosphere exemplified by  Farveau, that Christine Romer is simply not a sexual knockout, and speaks in quiet, deferential tones. In a White House, headed by an immature, impressionable President, enamored by the likes of loud mouthed bullies like Larry Summers, its not surprising that advise from a woman of quiet, dignified class is seen as an invitation to be demeaned, degraded, and rejected as not being "serious."

    Obama, Emanuel, Summers, Geithner, Favreau........that says it all. They suck, they, really, really do.


    Parent

    Well, I thought the reason (none / 0) (#164)
    by MKS on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:23:38 PM EST
    Obama did not want a bigger stimulus was because he wanted the favor of Republicans, not because he was a sexist....

    Parent
    "They suck" (none / 0) (#178)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 12:34:39 AM EST
    Two syllables, not an iota of fat.

    Parent
    Reminds me of her ... (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Yman on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:01:55 PM EST
    "Let's take a closer look at those bre@sts" piece from a few years ago.  Althouse remind me of Maureen Dowd in a lot of ways.  If you want to attack something (or someone) but have no facts or actual evidence, just weave a yarn with a lot of qualifiers based on nothing more than your imagination and call it an "opinion".  It does take quite a bit of creativity, though, to attack Suskind's credibility, the women who worked in the WH, and spin this into a positive for Obama ... all in the space of three sentences without the slightest bit of factual support.

    Hard to believe anyone takes her seriously.

     

    Parent

    If you can stand it (none / 0) (#101)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:58:10 PM EST
    go back a few weeks on her blog to her anti-protest, anti-union posts and disrupting the daily singalongs in Madison.  From what I've read of others' reactions there, if she had any credibility in her own town before, it's gone now after that latest Althouse-created brouhaha.  What, you didn't know that the protests for more than six months now have not been all about Althouse?!

    Parent
    Yep (5.00 / 5) (#80)
    by lilburro on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:50:45 PM EST
    not every decision or argument is best made at high speed and volume.  Speaking as a woman, I have no problem getting into an intellectual shouting match but am aware that kind of thing shuts out people who have more subtle and interesting things to say.  If your idea of winning an argument is intimidating others out of entering it, you're not really winning.  I've been part of a number of environments where professors or discussion leaders have made efforts to avoid those kinds of "competitive conversations" and our discussions were much better for it.

    In this case, the guys that dominated the conversation get to claim credit for continuing high unemployment.  Kinda speaks for itself doesn't it.


    Sadly, that seems to be what Prof. Obama (none / 0) (#143)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 07:30:34 PM EST
    did, exactly, in shouting down Christine Romer's early warning statement that the stimulus was too small, per Suskind's book.  I'm surprised, as Obama projects the more laid-back, professorial or "cerebral" -- as many media call it -- style in public.  

    So telling, that excerpt, about Obama listening to the same warning weeks later, when it came from Larry Summers.  But if Obama did not shout him down, he heard but did not listen even then.

    Parent

    Yeah (5.00 / 3) (#148)
    by lilburro on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 08:30:29 PM EST
    but then again Summers had not only gender, but DC experience, a history of centrism, blah blah blah.  The people on the economic team shut out were not only women, but more liberal than Summers and Geithner.  Then again, Boys Club as I am sure you know means not only we speak first and most, but it has a certain "this is how we do things" traditionalism about it, IMO.  That's the kicker, looking back, we know that the women shut down, Romer, Warren, were also right.  Which is both tragic and the essence of sexism!

    You could probably write a 1000 page book on gender and the decisions made at the beginning of this Presidency.  (I don't think that's what Suskind wrote, but, ya know).  Narrow-mindedness in a number of ways seems to have been the name of the game.  

    Parent

    Atrios weighs in (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:18:25 PM EST
    Dudely

    I'm really not going to bother my beautiful mind trying to filter through the claims and counterclaims surrounding Suskind's book, but I've long said (perhaps not on the blog (?), but to friends) that there did seem to be a strong dude culture in the White House in a bad way.



    I hope people read the book. (none / 0) (#110)
    by lilburro on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:25:15 PM EST
    Like I've been saying, he's not a hack.  There's nothing wrong with being critical of people in power.

    Parent
    concern (none / 0) (#147)
    by dandelion on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 08:21:23 PM EST
    Well, if it was a concern to him, why didn't he write about it?  

    With the rare exception of BTD, no male progressives concern themselves with gender politics.

    That's a problem.

    Parent

    and lambert (5.00 / 2) (#151)
    by dandelion on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 09:34:53 PM EST
    Meant to include Lambert at Corrente who also covers gender politics.  The other male prog-blogs not so much.  

    As Lambert famously asked:  how do you build progressive politics on a platform of misogyny?

    Over at Taylor Marsh's site, she's wondering if Al Gore's new Current TV show will have any women reporters or commentators.

    It is really beyond sad -- actually maddening -- that when women are 51% of the population we still have to wonder at their inclusion in the progressive "movement."

    Parent

    In my experience it is a numbers game (5.00 / 3) (#103)
    by ruffian on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:02:38 PM EST
    Unless there are enough women in the office to achieve critical mass, the boys club atmosphere tends to dominate. To some extent it is inevitable. If they want to talk work over a basketball game, they are going to do it if there are only a couple of women in the group to worry about leaving out. Once there are enough women in the office to make that impossible, things get done in the workplace, or over mutually agreeable events.

    That's why the raw numbers matter.

    Nicely handled. (5.00 / 3) (#130)
    by huzzlewhat on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 05:35:26 PM EST
    Thanks for the post, BTD, and for broadening the field of discussion. Because yes, sadly, this is very familiar to many women. The alteration I'd make to your post (if it were my post to alter) would be changing this bit: But honestly, this is not a White House story to "But honestly, this is not just a White House story..." Specific cases such as this can be used to illuminate systemic problems, but only if we treat the specific cases as stories in and of themselves.

    I find this post a bit patronizing (5.00 / 2) (#172)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 12:19:10 AM EST
    And I finally read the WaPo article and didn't find anything indicative of a "hostile work environment." I saw that aide Valerie Jarrett told Obama some women staffers were not happy with their male counterparts throwing footballs and using bad language, Obama invited them all to dinner and asked them to tell him their concerns, the dinners have continued (the women didn't feel Obama's presence was necessary at the further dinners) and Obama has placed a large number of women in very prominent roles.

    What exactly is the problem here? That one woman told a writer she thought the work environment (by which she did not mean Obama but his staffers) was hostile? That another said one particular male made her feel like a piece of meat and now doesn't remember saying it and has only praise for the Administration?

    Politics at this level is a contact sport. No different than a heated criminal trial, or performing a dicey surgery, running a hospital or even a major television network or public company. If you don't have the personality or stomach for it, pick another, less-stressful field.

    And I've never found men to have an advantage in dominating conversations. It's up to each individual to make themselves heard, and I know just as many, if not more, women that do that quite well. It's not a gender trait, it's a personality trait.

    The article also says most of the men in this group had worked together on the campaign before the election. Those hired after the election were joining a team. The article makes clear many of the women were newcomers. Any newcomer, male or female, is going to have to make their bones when first coming on board.

    Sure, there are hostile work environments out there, particularly where women are working in inferior positions to men or denied promotions based on their gender. That's not what's under discussion. These are all senior appointees. And when I look at the appointments listed in the article, Obama has done quite well by women.

    I don't know who Suskind is, but his book seems like a cheap shot, as do many of the comments here.

    Ron Suskind (5.00 / 2) (#190)
    by jbindc on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 10:02:09 AM EST
    is a Pulitzer Prize-winning former Wall Street Journal reporter and the author of three not-particularly-flattering books about the Bush administration.

    Parent
    Good title. (5.00 / 1) (#183)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 06:58:36 AM EST
    It's so funny to read the right's reaction to this, and see their contortions. They have a delicate needle to thread. On the one hand, they are so heavily invested in denying that sexism exists in the world (this not limited to the right-wing, of course, but central to it); on the other hand, they are so heavily invested in villifying Obama that they need to exploit the story.

    Amy Siskind (1.00 / 2) (#115)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:29:44 PM EST
    http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0911/No_criticism_from_womens_groups.html?showall

    For the most part, women's groups have either remained silent or supported the President, but the one group that came out and bashed Obama referenced was Siskind's New Agenda.

    Let's keep it real here people: I have no doubt that Obama's administration is sexist in any number of ways. I am not a believer in the patriarchy, but I do think that the boys' club concept is real and one that pervades in places of power.

    But the fact that a certain segment of the population is up in arms over this and it happens to overlap with the same segment who believes Hillary would be a better president and that also happens to overlap with a similar segment that has been highly critical of Obama from the start . . .

     . . . well, I don't think the PUMAS all vanished when it didn't work out.


    Really....you went to PUMA (5.00 / 5) (#120)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:51:15 PM EST
    over this revealing and this event?  Oy, if only you were in my house right now.  So you could leave carrying your own arse in your own two hands.  You are lucky if you leave shakesville with this sort of overt logic ruling your posts without having your naughty bits being commandeered for national security reasons.

    Parent
    What a d*ck comment (5.00 / 4) (#124)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 05:02:16 PM EST
    Seriously is he not yet suspended? (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by smott on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 05:33:00 PM EST
    ???

    Parent
    you (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by the capstan on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 06:19:26 PM EST
    seem to 'have a thing' about Hillary.  Reminds me a bit of the oldish song about the thrill of 'walking down the street where you live."

    Parent
    wow (5.00 / 1) (#152)
    by dandelion on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 09:36:55 PM EST
    not a believer in the patriarchy?  

    That's like a fish not believing in water.

    I have about 10000 years of world history for you to bone up on.

    Parent

    The "certain segment of the population" (5.00 / 1) (#184)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 07:40:30 AM EST
    that disclosed that there was a difficult environment for women in the WH was the media; that there has been a reaction since the disclosure was probably the goal of the media in the first place, don't you think?

    Women, as a rule - or at least in my experience - don't condone a hostile work environment, don't willingly accept it in any particular venue as being "just the way it is."  Trust me when I tell you that we have spent hours and hours going over everything we do, everything we say, all of our interactions, the quality of our work to make sure it isn't our fault that we aren't being treated fairly.  

    None of this -the Suskind revelations - have anything to do with politics, nothing to do with who any particular woman did or did not vote for in any given election.

    This revelation or disclosure or whatever you want to call it has revived discussion about this president's passive/aggressive way of dealing with women, which we would not have been aware of had not he been contesting for the nomination against a woman.  

    Any woman who has had to deal with hostility in the workplace can tell you that often, it is just this ambivalent and passive/aggressive.  There's an outward appearance of inclusion and equality, and an internal pattern of just the opposite.

    Is it like this everywhere?  Of course not.  But it does still exist, and with the economy so bad, and jobs being at a premium, a lot of it goes ignored, a lot of women just endure, rather than risk their livelihood.

    And let's not forget another thing: the WH provided Suskind with access.  He has on-the-record, taped recordings, of his interviews.  I think it's possible the WH, so used to the media darling treatment - possibly thinking they were going to get the "Roland Hedley" treatment (see Garry Trudeau's "Doonesbury" treatment of the Sarah Palin book) - believed this was going to be a paean to the brilliance of the Obama WH, and now that it's clear that it's not as flattering as they expected, are reacting accordingly.

    Finally, and with all due respect, I don't understand how a man who describes himself as black, who must have to know and have experienced both overt and subtle forms of discrimination, have heard the family stories about it, who should know the struggles involved for racial equality, can be so blind to the fact that women were once considered chattel, that they have fought and struggled and continue that battle, to be be treated as equal.  I cannot fathom someone being so invested in one politician's fortunes that he would willingly and repeatedly and ignorantly divorce himself from history, and it causes me, more frequently than ever, to question the validity of everything you have represented yourself to be.  

    It just doesn not add up.

    Parent

    Did you say... (none / 0) (#121)
    by lentinel on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:52:07 PM EST
    "Let's keep it real here people"?

    Golly.

    Parent

    Yep (none / 0) (#122)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:58:34 PM EST
    and the Bush haters didn't disappear when the Supreme Court put their thumb on the scale for him in 2000...just as the Democrats put the thumb on the scale for Obama.

    Sometimes we can't get over the principle of things.  Principles matter (except to ABG).

    Parent

    But (none / 0) (#125)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 05:02:31 PM EST
    that's beyond the point that the president nominated known severe sexists and ran a hostile toward women White House.

    And women in these women's orgs are remaining silent, likely because Obama runs the purse strings of the Democratic party and these women know it.  He bought them off...

    Parent

    Valerie Jarrett is Obama's most powerful Advisor (none / 0) (#34)
    by samsguy18 on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:21:13 PM EST
    Nothing happens without her input! Valerie Jarrett and Obama's inner circle of friends from Chicago have far too much influence within the White House. Jarrett has nutured this group for almost 20years. She is responsible for advancing Michelle Obama's position at the University of Chicago overnight and for using her board connections to network their inner circle  at the University of Chicago. Summers correctly identified the situation. I welcome suskind's book...it appears to be opening the floodgates...here in Chicago the press is starting to connect the dots. We need a strong and competent President!  

    Yes, when a Chi Tribber retracts (none / 0) (#36)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:25:21 PM EST
    his vote on the editorial board to endorse Obama and calls on him to step aside and not go for a second term, well, that was quite an editorial yesterday.  

    And it was quite the talk of other blogs.

    Parent

    Hadn't seen this (none / 0) (#40)
    by sj on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:46:33 PM EST
    and can't find it (just a quick look).  Do you have a link?

    Parent
    Here is the link (none / 0) (#44)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 01:00:43 PM EST
    Would love to read that (none / 0) (#41)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:46:33 PM EST
    Do you have a link?

    Parent
    Here you go: The Chicago Trib (none / 0) (#43)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:59:49 PM EST
    editorial board member and columnist Steve Chapman on Why Obama Should Withdraw.  And who should run.

    And too bad that he (and others) didn't pay more attention to concerns raised by other Chi Trib columnists, those who knew Obama's record better, during the campaign.  

    Interesting would be to see Mayor Rahm's reaction to having all those Chicago Way staffers back home, from Chief of Staff Bill Daley on down the line.  Of course, it probably would be just another unprintable Rahm reaction.  (It's also fun to watch how the Chi town press handles that!)

    Parent

    Towanda you are so right ! (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by samsguy18 on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 01:18:56 PM EST
    All the information was there.....

    Parent
    "And who should run" (none / 0) (#165)
    by MKS on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:29:21 PM EST
    This type of comment appears in most every thread discussing Obama's performance as President....

    So, ABG's argument in this regard does have some merit.

    Parent

    More (none / 0) (#42)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:57:22 PM EST
    Jake Tapper

    Many anecdotes portray an economic team plagued by in-fighting. After former Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag writes a memo to the president urging him to push a tax on financial transactions, Summers yells at him, "What you've done is immoral!"

    At another point in the book Summers tells Orszag, "We're home alone. There's no adult in charge. Clinton would never have made these mistakes.'

    Hmmmm.....

    I'll find it, but fyi (none / 0) (#45)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 01:01:03 PM EST
    your link doesn't work, but it is wonderfully circular.

    Parent
    Another Hillary comment (none / 0) (#166)
    by MKS on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:30:29 PM EST
    She is not running....

    Parent
    Wow - project much? (5.00 / 2) (#187)
    by jbindc on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 08:46:42 AM EST
    He's obviously talking about Bill.

    Parent
    The Clinton that Summers (none / 0) (#168)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:42:45 PM EST
    referenced could have been Bill Clinton, who Summers worked for in the past, and not Hillary.

    Of the several blogger posts that I have read on that particular quote, the majority of people seem to think that he is talking about Bill. Can't think of one that went on to talk about Hillary.

    Parent

    Could be but the chicago columnist (none / 0) (#169)
    by MKS on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:46:48 PM EST
    said he wanted Hillary to run and this was referenced here....The phenomenon is pretty clear....

    Parent
    Two separate and distinct comments (5.00 / 2) (#170)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 12:11:11 AM EST
    The Summer quote was not even linked to the Chicago Trib comment. The fact that the columnist said he wanted Hillary to run was never mentioned in this thread. jbindc referenced two different statements by Summers from Suskind's book and one had nothing to do with either Clinton.  Hillary's name was never mentioned in relationship with either comment on this thread until you threw her name into the mix. In fact, I don't think Hillary's name was mentioned anywhere on the thread in any comment until ABG decided to bring her into the discussion.

    Maybe you might want to examine the very clear phenomenon of Obama supporters need to find a way to include her into unrelated discussions.

    Parent

    Whoops (none / 0) (#174)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 12:23:59 AM EST
    I was mistaken. Hillary's name was brought up in relationship with Favreau and the incident with the Hillary cut-out as an example of WH staff "frat boy" behavior.  

    Parent
    And this too (none / 0) (#176)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 12:31:59 AM EST
    Comment #43 by Towanda:

    Here you go: The Chicago Trib (none / 0) (#43)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:59:49 PM EST

    editorial board member and columnist Steve Chapman on Why Obama Should Withdraw.  And who should run.

    Indirect, oblique, yet unmistakable.  

    Parent

    No, that was in direct reply (none / 0) (#181)
    by Towanda on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 02:26:09 AM EST
    to samguy's comment about the Chicago press.

    Read up.  And then. . . .

    Parent

    Same difference (none / 0) (#188)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 09:34:57 AM EST
    Or different sameness? (1.00 / 0) (#191)
    by Towanda on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 10:35:45 AM EST
    Always saw that as such a dumb phrase.

    Comments lead to comments lead to comments.

    Cope with it.

    Parent

    The point is that you raised the Hillary (1.00 / 1) (#201)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 12:24:20 PM EST
    issue.....

    Just own it.....

    Parent

    The Obama supporters are just being honest (none / 0) (#177)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 12:33:00 AM EST
    and not playing games....

    Parent
    Once again we agree to disagree (5.00 / 1) (#180)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 12:59:04 AM EST
    What you view as honesty is viewed by others as game playing.
     

    Parent
    Funniest thing I've heard all day (5.00 / 1) (#200)
    by jbindc on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 12:22:01 PM EST
    Heheheheheheheheheh ... (none / 0) (#185)
    by Yman on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 08:11:51 AM EST
    Good one ...

    Parent
    Don't tase me bro! (none / 0) (#49)
    by vicndabx on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 01:38:29 PM EST
    umm, lady.

    Let me start by saying I wholeheartedly agree that we all need to be more sensitive to one another and women deserve respect and should be treated on par w/men in any setting they want.

    But....

    In this case, while it's clear hiring Summers would (and should) be seen as an affront to many women considering his history, absent that, with so many women in positions of power, seems to me an argument can be made these were the typical power struggle/I know best/look-good-in-the-eyes of-your-boss type confrontations that take place in meetings all over America - that aren't necessarily gender related.

    In other words, (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by vicndabx on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 01:50:57 PM EST
    is this a manufactured controversy designed to sell books?

    Parent
    controversy (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by dandelion on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:23:24 PM EST
    Also:  I think it's only a controversy now because men are talking about.  Which means the conversation's being heard.

    Believe me, women have been talking about this problem in the WH for years.

    Parent

    In so many words: (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:27:43 PM EST
    no.

    Parent
    Could be, could be... (none / 0) (#57)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:08:45 PM EST
    I was wondering if the personalities of the women had something to do with it more so than just their gender.

    I have female colleagues and superiors in a male dominated industry, they demand to be heard, so they are heard.  And my personality is more hang back fly under the radar, and let others dominate, I don't care enough to be heard so I am not heard.

    And the cussing could be a generational thing. The older employees don't let the f-bombs fly like the 30-something males and females.  Times change in regards to language.  Not so much "f*ck you!"'s (they happen though:), more so "ya gotta be f*ckin' kiddin' me"'s.  Or maybe thats just a NY thing, no sentence is complete without an f-bomb variation:)

     

    Parent

    Doesn't ring true to me (5.00 / 4) (#81)
    by Democratic Cat on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:58:05 PM EST
    These are women who are highly accomplished, many of them in male-dominated fields. It seems unlikely that they got where they are by having a passive personality.

    But let's suppose that its personality. This doesn't excuse the problem. Part of the problem is that women are generally trained by society to be more conciliatory and less dominating. But if people then refuse to listen to them because they are more conciliatory and less dominating, then it doesn't much matter if we call it personality or gender. The outcome is the same.

    And let's be clear about what that outcome is: It isn't that some women got their feelings hurt. It's that we have a government and society in which leaders sometimes act on bad advice because they are unable to separate substance from style. That hurts all of us, and more than our feelings.

    Parent

    An old witch chimes in (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by the capstan on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:56:30 PM EST
    "Part of the problem is that women are generally trained by society to be more conciliatory and less dominating. But if people then refuse to listen to them because they are more conciliatory and less dominating, then it doesn't much matter if we call it personality or gender."

    Yes, that follows.  And as a southerner, I grew up with the entire enchilada.  How many take-charge people end every sentence with a question mark?  Or maybe "What do you think?"  (It's not just gender, cause my overly polite son has to put up with being verbally run over by colleagues far too much.  Luckily for my son, his boss (a woman!) has learned their customers prefer good software to brashness.)

    What makes a person authoritative?  Darned if I know, tho' my husband once said I could walk into a doctor's office, ask for poison pills, and walk out with a "Good luck on your new project."
    I have a daughter a lot like me, only she riles up the masses more than I do.  I have opinions.  I state them.  I back them up (usually).  And people listen (tho' I can't make them smarter than what they are.)

    How did I learn to be me?  From my dad, I think.  He went from being a college drop-out to an
    engineer in charge of 18 states.  He made sure I was not mother-dominated and that I spent my high school years learning leadership, not dating skills.  (How did I come to marry?  I met a theoretician who was quite happy to leave me in charge.)

    Dads make a difference.

    Parent

    Nope. It's not about the women. (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:10:14 PM EST
    To think that women who make it to the White House staff don't have the "personalities" for it is . . . well, surprising from you.  I don't think that we would see you suggesting that racism is about the personalities of African Americans, or that they are the ones who have to change their ways.

    Parent
    Has no male white house staff member... (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:29:15 PM EST
    ever been out-yelled?  Had their opinion discounted? I would find that hard to believe Towanda.  Personality has gotta at least play a little part in who gets most of the president's ear.  

    Or maybe, as a child of the post-feminism and post-civil rights movements, I just have no experience with women or minorities being anything but equals, with personality differences determining who is loud and who keeps a lower profile.

    Bottom line, if ya wanna be heard make yourself heard and don't take no for an answer.  And if that don't work quit.

    Parent

    You don't mean "personality," (5.00 / 3) (#98)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:53:58 PM EST
    really.  You mean a specific management style.  And you actually mean, it seems, simply: loud.

    And as for the president's management style, that's the point.  It's about what and how and whom a boss chooses to hear, makes sure to be able to hear, not about how loud someone else is.

    From what we see of Obama, the grownup in the room and all that, I actually am surprised to think that he would not prefer the quiet but firm style.  But it still is up to the boss, when someone is being aggressive, to be sure to hear the other sort.

    In this as in other comments, try flipflopping the perspective.  And, thus, the blame.

    Parent

    By all accounts, Obama asks (none / 0) (#167)
    by MKS on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:36:49 PM EST
    for everyone's opinion.....This from Gates....Would he change his style with respect to women only?

    Romer lost, for the same reason Reich lost with Bill--for reasons of ideology, not sexism.  Romer was on the liberal side and Obama was about attracting centrists.....Hasn't that been discussed to death here?

    Parent

    Why is it so hard to consider that possibility? (none / 0) (#92)
    by vicndabx on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:28:56 PM EST
    You work well with everyone single person you've ever met?  I've had crappy co workers and bosses, both male and female.  To say they sucked doesn't necessarily imply some bias other than my bias that I think they sucked for reasons that had nothing to do w/who they were.

    Why assume "personalities" is code for a slur against women?

    Parent

    Obama's senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, (5.00 / 3) (#97)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:50:47 PM EST
    acknowledged that there were problems early on in the administration. I think I will believe her and the fact that Suskind has a tape of Dunn saying that there was a hostile environment at WH over your version of the events.

       

    Parent

    MO Blue (none / 0) (#102)
    by vicndabx on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:00:06 PM EST
    You have no idea on the context.  Valerie Jarrett could've looked at her incredulously w/a "WTF!" look on her face, and then gone to her boss and said hey, let's get ahead of this thing, we don't want any problems.  

    Dunn is walking this stuff back now, and interestingly enough, is long gone from the Administration.  

    This whole thread is about supposed bias, and yet yours is getting in the way of you seeing credible alternative theories.  It's all speculation at this point.

    Parent

    Mr. Pot calling Mr Black (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:28:31 PM EST
    Your pro Obama bias gets in the way of your seeing the forest for the trees.

    The tape that Suskind has of Dunn, which was made available to the WaPo does not seem to be speculative in nature. The WaPo has confirmed that the tape exists and that Ms. Dunn said the following:

    "I remember once I told Valerie that, I said if it weren't for the president, this place would be in court for a hostile workplace," Dunn is heard telling Suskind. "Because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women."

    Unless you can provide me with a link to a statement by Ms. Dunn that states that the Suskind tape is counterfeit, then your argument is just not only your unsubstantiated biased opinion but completely contrary to what is being reported by two sources who have listened to the tape. BTW, your version of Jarrett's comment that there were problems early in the administration is pure fantasy.

    Parent

    Of course I can't do that (none / 0) (#156)
    by vicndabx on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 10:36:00 PM EST
    All I'm merely saying is we've read a snippet of a taped conversation w/no idea of what was said before or after.  I would assume you've also seen the same portions of the article that speak to her denials.  Of course, you'll omit that part in your post.

    Dunn says she was quoted out of context and told The Post on Friday that she told Suskind "point blank" that the White House was not a hostile work environment.

    Contrary to what you believe, I'm fully open to the possibility that there is something to all this.  I am however also open to the possibility that there isn't.

    Parent

    Oh, that's different than I thought (none / 0) (#189)
    by sj on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 09:40:40 AM EST
    "I remember once I told Valerie that, I said if it weren't for the president, this place would be in court for a hostile workplace...

    What I interpreted from MT and Towanda's comments elsewhere was more like

    if it weren't for the president, this place would be a hostile workplace

    Which is something else entirely.

    Version number 1 above could possibly be interpreted as it it would not be in court because it was the office of the President.  Not because the environment didn't warrant it.

    Parent

    Hard to walk back that tape (none / 0) (#105)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:03:54 PM EST
    or is Dunn now denying that's her on the tape?  

    Parent
    Look at the comment (none / 0) (#96)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:49:13 PM EST
    because it's not about personality, really; it's about passivity.  Do you really think that passive women make it to the top?

    Believe me, I've had lousy women bosses as well as lousy male bosses.  I've also had great bosses, women or men; actually, the best ever were both men.  But the comment was not about that, so focus on the comment and see what is meant by "personality."

    Parent

    Not a question of "passivity" (5.00 / 2) (#104)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:03:26 PM EST
    It's comparative aggressiveness.  With people like Larry Summers and Rahm Emanuel around, most men will wilt.  If the loudest, most insistent, most aggressive people around are a couple of men (which let's be honest, is usually the case), then women having trouble being heard is going to be not necessarily correctly attributed to a gender issue.

    I'm saying this badly, but my point is that a Christina Romer may be perfectly capable of holding her own in male-dominated situations, but still be unable to compete with types like Summers and Rahm.  That doesn't make her "passive" by any means.

    You bring those two guys into an operation, you should realize nobody else is going to get a word in edgewise-- which is why they're both so destructive to any kind of collaborative effort.  Neither one of them does collaboration, period.


    Parent

    Major law firms (none / 0) (#157)
    by MKS on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 10:47:49 PM EST
    still have relatively few litigation partners.....

    This used to be the subject of some amount of discussion.

    More care about one's relationships and less overt aggression--along with overt sexism--were the explanations....

    I still see relatively few women trial attorneys--even in downtown LA.....

    Parent

    the top (none / 0) (#100)
    by jondee on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:58:03 PM EST
    maybe that's the problem: the personality of people who consider "the top" being in the place where ultimate power is weilded in the service of the status quo.

    For some, it's enough in itself to be in the vicinity of the seat of power. Looks marvelous on the resume, afterall.

    Parent

    I cannot claim to know kdog's mind (none / 0) (#107)
    by vicndabx on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:09:44 PM EST
    but, I believe he's referring to how well a person meshes in a group setting based on their own traits and characteristics.  Again, not a knock on women in general, rather these particular women and how well they fit in.  He used his own experiences/approach as an example.  I merely paraphrased to make the same point - it's not personal.

    Parent
    the general and the particular (5.00 / 4) (#149)
    by dandelion on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 08:33:53 PM EST
    yes, that's always the answer to sexism:  it's not all women who are a problem, it's just these women or this one woman.

    But you know what?  Patterns of sexism can be discovered and measured.  And when they are, what you find is a consistent pattern of excluding women from important meetings, of leaving them off important email lists, of not including them in important networking events or enrichment activities -- it's measurable, and its discriminatory, and it has nothing at all to do with personality and everything to do with sexism.

    And the excuse is always:  well, this is just how the team operates and this woman or those women just don't get it.  While some mysterious hypothetical nonexistent women would fit in to the team -- sigh -- if only she could be found.

    Parent

    I wish that I could give this comment (5.00 / 1) (#182)
    by Towanda on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 02:28:16 AM EST
    a 10.

    Parent
    See the comment below about (none / 0) (#112)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:28:18 PM EST
    critical mass and then consider the possibility of switching perspectives to see that "the group" has a responsibility for "meshing in" others, no matter their gender, if they all actually want the most effective workplace.  (Effective for the workplace, and for us in this case, not most effective for them and their careers.)  This is as true in a workplace where most are women as in a workplace where most are men, or a workplace where most are men but the boss is a woman, etc., etc.

    Consider, that is, whom you present as "the group" and whom you represent as the rest.  Aka "the other."  And that shows exactly who is presented as the norm . . . and that, of course, is the problem.

    Parent

    I don't trust the WaPo article (none / 0) (#82)
    by lilburro on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:58:16 PM EST
    to accurately depict what's in Suskind's book (or anything else, for that matter).  I do trust Suskind and will be curious to see how this theme develops in the book.  

    It seems like most of the trouble was in the domestic arena, which is interesting if unsurprising.  They are obviously dysfunctional.

    Parent

    taped conversation (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by dandelion on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:04:00 PM EST
    Suskind has Anita Dunn's comment on tape.  She said it.  

    Parent
    Did you look at the link (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:08:07 PM EST
    to the WaPo story and read it, to the end?  As others note, Dunn is on tape.

    If you did so, and as I often look forward to your thoughts, can you share why you still doubt?

    Parent

    Its not that I disbelieve Dunn said that (none / 0) (#91)
    by lilburro on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:28:53 PM EST
    at all.  I don't doubt that there is/was a problem.  I just meant by my comment that IMO if there is some headline grabbing, sh*t stirring element to this, it's probably coming from the WaPo, and not Suskind.

    Parent
    I heard about this (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:38:19 PM EST
    before the WaPo story.

    And of course, it's coming from Suskind.  That is, it's his book, so it's coming from his publisher's publicist.  

    So what?  He's not making it up.  WaPo is not making it up.  And as I heard about this before the WaPo story (I think on CNN a couple of days ago), the White House has had time -- and probably for weeks, with the publishing schedule -- to get out in front of this.  That will be, as always, what to watch:  How the inevitable bad news for any administration is handled by the administration.

    So far, from seeing a low-level guy on the WH staff sent out to counter this story, I'm not impressed by the White House press office.  Again.

    Parent

    I don't trust what's in Suskind's book. (2.00 / 1) (#94)
    by vicndabx on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:39:05 PM EST
    He seemed a bit to giggly and giddy this AM on Morning Joe.  I suspect he put a spin on this whole thing that's not entirely accurate.

    Agenda's abound in this thing.

    Parent

    You're going to judge him (none / 0) (#106)
    by lilburro on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:04:53 PM EST
    on Morning Joe?  Come on.  He is a fantastic writer.

    Parent
    FWIW Suskind allowed the WaPo to listen (none / 0) (#85)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:05:57 PM EST
    to his taped conversation with Anita Dunn.

    Parent
    I'm going to retract my "no" (none / 0) (#192)
    by Towanda on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 10:40:06 AM EST
    in light of a wise commenter who suggests that this could be a manufactured controversy, in a way -- but not by the publisher.  

    Instead, manufactured by _?__ to deflect attention from the excerpts dealing with the shocking revelations about mismanagement of the economy, maybe.  

    This is not to deny problems that some WH staffers say in the book that they have had owing to gender.  But that won't lose Obama an election.  The economy could do so, so perhaps we are being directed to . . . wait, look over there!

    Parent

    I'm surprised (5.00 / 1) (#194)
    by jbindc on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 11:11:34 AM EST
    The WH didn't mention Palin or Bachmann in the same denial of this story.

    Parent
    I think one has to consider what the (5.00 / 1) (#195)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 11:35:59 AM EST
    book is about - it's not a tell-all, tabloid-style expose of the WH; if you read the "inside flap" of the book, here, it is a reporting of how a president with little experience coped with difficult economic times and issues.

    In my opinion, the hostile workplace bits are there not for distraction, but for giving context to the dynamic of the struggle to get out in front on a teetering economy.

    Brad DeLong also has some excerpts that flesh out the earlier revelation that Obama tasked Geithner with a plan to unwind Citi, and Geithner did nothing.  Obama may have been the president, but everyone from Geithner to Summers to Emmanuel were doing end-runs to - as the book puts it - "protect him (Obama) from himself."  The passage where Summers-Romer go head-to-head with Geithner-Emmanuel over how to deal with the bad banks is an eye-opener that has, I believe, some damaging implications.

    What really bothers me is that Obama had the right instinct on what to do about these banks - and his advisors - mainly Tim Geithner - shut him down, but not in a way Obama recognized as having been shut down.

    I am at once sympathetic to Obama, and want to give him credit for having the right idea, and gobsmacked by how in over his head he was - and either clueless about how he was being manipulated, or lacking enough confidence to push ahead with what he wanted.

    I think I have to get the book.

    Parent

    "Experience doesn't matter" (5.00 / 2) (#196)
    by jbindc on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 11:50:20 AM EST
    Maybe this shows that, actually, yes, it does.

    Sad that we are all paying the price.

    Parent

    Your read is a different take from (5.00 / 2) (#198)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 11:57:05 AM EST
    what was intended. The distraction comment was not about Suskind's intention in the book but rather that the focus on the "hostile workplace" by the media and the blogs distracts from concentrating on the economic insights that were in the book. Dday points this out in a clearer way than I would be able to do so I will just quote him.

    The dispute with Anita Dunn over a truncated quote is sucking up a lot of oxygen. I haven't read the book, but I think the context does indicate that the President stepped in when the old boy's network was getting to be a problem, and that Anita's quote still makes it clear that the work environment was hostile to women - or maybe just plain hostile - before that.

    But the passages on Obama's economic beliefs are really consequential, and perhaps getting lost. Brad DeLong has been excerpting parts of the text and I think they make a bunch of things clear. link

    That is precisely what I meant when I said that if I were responsible for protecting Obama, I would hope that everyone stays focused on the questions of whether or not the WH was a hostile environment to women rather than talk about Obama's positions on the the economy that are discussed in Suskind's book.

    There is an available defense (true or not) for Obama on the hostile environment but the economic revelations are IMO much more damaging. Example: Economic advisors came up with various ways to put a million people back to work and Obama shut down those ideas completely.    

    Parent

    My comment is about the coverage (none / 0) (#197)
    by Towanda on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 11:54:30 AM EST
    of the book, not about the book itself.

    As Sam Stein says in HuffPo:  Suskind "sees something a touch more sinister in the White House 'kicking up dust' in the wake of its publication: a classic bait-and-switch technique that he says distracts from the larger issues 'Confidence Men' raises."

    Parent

    Sure (none / 0) (#199)
    by jbindc on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 11:57:39 AM EST
    Controversy always helps sell books.  I'm sure that's at play here.  But just because controversy is stirred by this small part of the book doesn't mean it isn't true.

    The fact that the WH granted access in the first place for him to write this book and now is crying foul, gives an indication that they are worried about how this looks.

    Parent

    Things that make you go (none / 0) (#193)
    by sj on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 11:08:48 AM EST
    "hmmmm...."

    Parent
    But (5.00 / 6) (#60)
    by dandelion on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:20:39 PM EST
    A hostile workplace, which are the words Anita Dunn used to describe the WH, is something more:  those words have legal meaning.

    A pattern of exluding women from correspondence and meetings where decisions are made, of excluding them from casual networking events -- those sorts are things are measurable and actionable and are not simply issues of "being sensitive."

    THAT's what we're talking about.

    Read about Obama's yelling at Romer for proposing a policy change and then three weeks later listening politely to Summers making the exact same proposal.

    There aren't newbie women either.  These are women who have long distinguished careers in public service and have played with the "big boys" for years.  So if they're saying there's a problem:  there's a problem.  

    And it's not a touchy-feely we can't all get along problem.

    It's called institutionalized discrimination.

    Parent

    Very well put. (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:31:12 PM EST
    Institutionalized, systemic, etc. -- a huge challenge to change, and not to be changed by any one woman or even a few and powerful women.

    Because, of course, the ones who have to change -- change themselves, change the institution -- are men.  That starts with the man at the top.  I gather that Obama himself is a good guy on this, but that is not enough.  The good guy at the top has to make change happen, and make it important to make change happen, all the way down the line.

    Parent

    more generous (5.00 / 4) (#79)
    by dandelion on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 02:46:38 PM EST
    Well, you're more generous than I am.

    I know it's a small thing, but Obama's calling that woman reporter "sweetie" just lodged under my skin.

    I have worked in the corporate world for 30 years and I can't recall the last time I heard a professional man in his 40s call another professional woman, in the course of business, "sweetie."  They may think it, but they don't say it -- they know better by now.

    So why didn't Obama know better?  Did the University of Chicago, the Illinois State Senate or the US Senate not have ANY handbooks on communication? Surely the U of C did.

    Any woman on the receiving end of a comment like that knows exactly what's being communicated.

    It's not the attitude -- it's the casual freedom to express it and the certainty of no consequences that gets to me.  

    And I am also certain that many will find my being so bothered by this something not to worry about, that I'll be told there are so many other bigger and more important issues to worry about.  But it's the constant acceptance and normalization of every day belittling that makes battling the bigger things that much harder and that also reveals the true dimension of the issue.  

    Parent

    Oh, I have all of those concerns (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:12:06 PM EST
    from what we saw in the campaign, and since, and now see in this report.  And I do hold the boss responsible for the culture of the office, you bet.

    But I am told (certainly not here) that I do tend to be too generous about Obama.  That's because I do see him as a go-along sort of guy, if ambitious, who went along with others' plans for him when he ought to have waited for four years.  If he had, he could be looking at a far better record for posterity, for the history books.  That would have been better for him -- but even more so, better for us all for so many reasons.

    That is, I can figure out who really wanted him to run when he did, and why, and I blame them far more.  And I do not trust them to this day.  Look at it this way:  If they had not had Obama, they would have had to invent him.  Of course, they did.  And they will keep inventing more like him, and they will keep winning, unless and until we get wise to it.

    Parent

    Do not disagree, it happens in the workplace (none / 0) (#89)
    by vicndabx on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:21:22 PM EST
    however the extent that it's happened in the White House is what we're talking about.

    The blow up w/Christina Romer, seems to me at least, an appropriate response to insubordination.  Who among us would ever make a quip like that to the boss at a meeting w/other staff members?  And not expect swift and severe reprimand?

    Whether he would've followed her advice had she been properly deferential assumes he didn't follow her advice because of this spat as opposed to more practical matters.  YMMV.

    There aren't newbie women either.  These are women who have long distinguished careers in public service and have played with the "big boys" for years.

    Seems, IMO, that they should know better how to handle this situation then.

    Parent

    Obama (none / 0) (#109)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:16:22 PM EST
    is the most sexist dual female supreme court nominating, more women in his cabinet than anyone else in history having, greatest female judicial appointee record holding, Hillary Clinton SOS selecting, president we have ever had.

    Thought: Perhaps issues of sexism and discrimination are coming to the surface because there has never been as big a critical a mass of influential women in an administration, and that influence gives them the standing to voice concerns.

    Thought 2:  I believe that almost all organizations of power have embedded sexism and do not doubt for a second that Obama's admin has a similar issue.

    They appear to be addressing it head on though.

    Perhaps, but the book (none / 0) (#117)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:33:40 PM EST
    is not coming from within the administration, so I'm not seeing how you credit it as surfacing this.

    As for critical mass, that's a simple numerical calculation, according to studies of percentages needed to make a difference, and reports that I have seen do not find as many women in this administration as in others -- although those reports were some time ago, and there have been resignations.  Do you have a recent report?  (I'm also going to go look for one, thanks to your comment -- and I mean that sincerely, as this makes me realize that I have not seen such reports for a while, and that they ought to be included in this coverage.)

    As for the White House addressing this, that's also good to hear -- but again, I haven't heard that before.  If you have links on that, too, it would be appreciated and also ought to be included in this coverage, but again, that does not seem to be so.  (So if so, the White House press office ought to be getting it out there.)

    Parent

    You're suspended from my threads (none / 0) (#126)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 05:03:56 PM EST
    Do not comment anymore.

    the reason is you have chosen to respond to my POST (not to a particular comment) in a non-responsive and trollish way.

    Come back tomorrow.

    Parent

    Thank you so much (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 09:26:43 PM EST
    I deleted your comment (none / 0) (#133)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 05:52:53 PM EST
    because you are suspended.

    Come back tomorrow and explain why I was unfair in doing so.

    Do not do so today.

    Parent

    I would like to see this discussion (none / 0) (#159)
    by MKS on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 10:59:19 PM EST
    I understand that ABG is not in the majority here--but is that not even more reason to be careful about banning him, even temporarily?

    If we can have out-and-out conservatives repeatedly post talking points here without being banned, I think a pro-Obama poster, right or wrong, should be allowed to stay.

    If anything, ABG's comments can serve as a springbraod for discussion. One-sided discussions become repetitive quite quickly.  If
    ABG is that wrong, just refute him.

    But, I did not see the deleted comment, so maybe it was really quite over the line....I have yet to see anything like that from him imo.....

    Parent

    If Obama is asked about this ... (none / 0) (#111)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:26:54 PM EST
    in his next presser, he will rub his nose or check with his middle finger during the answer.

    I'd put money on it.

    He'd (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by lentinel on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:29:28 PM EST
    better not call the reporter, "sweetie".

    Parent
    Yeah (none / 0) (#116)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:32:08 PM EST
    Smart sexistS running for president like to send messages directly to their sexist followers and the best way to do that is the highly encrypted middle finger to the cheek, which no woman has been able to decode.

    Whups. Did I say that out loud.

    CHANGE THE CODE. CHANGE THE CODE.

    Parent

    He did it in '08 ... (none / 0) (#119)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:50:28 PM EST
    and since.  He'll do it again.

    Parent
    I will bet (5.00 / 0) (#131)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 05:39:33 PM EST
    a lung that Obama was not flipping anyone off when he made that move.

    It's how the dude scratches his face.  Here is Obama flipping off Leigh Carbon Community College and various professors and students because he apparently hates them too:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiU6qYB50U0

    People who don't like Obama took a completely innocent scratch of the face and turned it into what they wanted to because it fit the narrative.

    There is a whole collection of vids of Obama scratching his face a flicking of school children, the poor, the rich, the elderly, the Chinese, the Canadians and almost everyone else he meets because, that's just the way the man scratches.

    Parent

    Which of course contradicts ... (none / 0) (#134)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 06:00:31 PM EST
    what you said above.  Clearly with unpaid shills such as yourself propagating "innocent gesture" meme, he can get away with this code over and over and over again.

    And so he will ...


    Parent

    I'm with ABG on this one (none / 0) (#160)
    by MKS on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:02:44 PM EST
    And, I think Jeralyn concluded the gesture was innocent too.....

    Parent
    I did indeed (none / 0) (#179)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 12:42:13 AM EST
    I seriously doubt that. (none / 0) (#123)
    by lilburro on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 05:01:09 PM EST
    The President appears to have taken the complaints of his staff seriously.

    This isn't a function of President Obama being a huge misogynist.

    Parent

    Really?!? (none / 0) (#135)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 06:01:21 PM EST
    This isn't a function of President Obama being a huge misogynist.

    Of course it is.

    Parent

    I don't even know what to say to that. (none / 0) (#145)
    by lilburro on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 07:41:57 PM EST
    I do not always see eye to eye with the President in terms of implementing policy or the way he campaigns, and have been peeved in the past, but I certainly don't think he is a huge misogynist.  

    Boys Club and men oblivious to their gender-related privilege didn't begin in January of 2009 or the fall of 2007.

    Parent

    no (5.00 / 3) (#154)
    by dandelion on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 09:45:41 PM EST
    But liberal men making excuses for it sure got loud in 2007.  I'm sick of hearing that it's the culture, etc.  Or its the womens problem and it's up to them to deal with it.

    The problem, to put it quite starkly, is men.

    Quit making apologies and excuses and start looking at ways to change things -- you know, being a progressive and working toward actual progress.

    Parent

    And furthermore, (5.00 / 1) (#163)
    by NYShooter on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 11:13:36 PM EST
    Does a person have to behave in a sexist, misogynistic, piggish way every single day with every single woman to be a  sexist, misogynistic, piggish slime ball?

    Parent
    Great clip here (none / 0) (#132)
    by smott on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 05:46:32 PM EST
    From DeLong -

    Stunning actually.

    The guy is just a moron when it comes to economics.
     (A sexist moron too!)

    http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2011/09/from-ron-suskinds-confidence-men.html

    If it were my job to defend Obama, (5.00 / 2) (#138)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 06:30:53 PM EST
    I would hope that everyone stays focused on the questions of whether or not the WH was a hostile environment to women rather than talk about Obama's positions on the the economy that are discussed in Suskind's book.

    Parent
    Oh, you again are so wise (none / 0) (#144)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 07:37:27 PM EST
    and I ought to have spotted that.  Of course.

    Let's see if we get a thread on what the book reports about Obama and the decisions on the economy.  That excerpt is simply shocking.

    Parent

    Guess we could start a discussion (none / 0) (#146)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 07:59:43 PM EST
    in tonights open thread.

    Parent
    Well that's discouraging (5.00 / 1) (#153)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 09:38:47 PM EST
    If that's true, and fighting to actually do something was shouted down by Obama and only Obama and he refused to take the word of economists and developed his own expert opinions, this crisis is squarely on his shoulders.  Who could have coached him that the new unemployment was due to "productivity gains" and therefore a good thing?

    Parent
    Hamilton Project (5.00 / 1) (#155)
    by dandelion on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 09:47:44 PM EST
    My guess is he got his econ education via the Hamilton Project.  

    Don't know why his involvement with that group didn't get more attention.

    Parent

    That is truly a terrifying revelation (none / 0) (#136)
    by Towanda on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 06:11:20 PM EST
    about Obama's view of economics, and I have taken hardly any economics courses, but I still understand better than he does how badly this all went down.  And, thus, will continue to head down.

    And that is so upsetting for the future of my family that I cannot find words to express. . . .  I really don't want to vote against or work against the guy, but I will have to see how the WH handles this excerpt to see what I will have to do.

    Parent

    When Larry Summers comes off... (5.00 / 2) (#141)
    by Dadler on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 06:40:19 PM EST
    ...as being to the left of you, then Obama has stopped being anyone to admire or think capable of changing HIMself much less the nation.

    Parent
    It is a hostile world... (none / 0) (#139)
    by Dadler on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 06:34:58 PM EST
    ...for all sensitive, sentient, humane, rational, peaceful people, women especially.  But seriously, show me where one of those sensitive, sentient, humane, rational MEN has gotten any say in this administration.  

    The status of women, (none / 0) (#171)
    by NYShooter on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 12:15:51 AM EST
     especially in the workplace, is enormously complex, and would require several semesters of post grad study & discussion to even begin to get a grasp of the situation. Obviously, a blog, while useful in keeping the focus on this situation, can't really resolve too much.

    What I find most useful from blogs regarding women's issues, are the personal experiences commenters, both male and female, share with us all.

    On my part, I've always considered myself a feminist, and I could bore you all to death relaying all the things I've done in furthering the cause, but it would naturally be self serving, and not extremely helpful. So, I'd like to highlight another point of view, a not so altruistic view, but simply a practical, pragmatic view.

    And, that is (from a businessman's perspective)  that sexism (and racism) is just plain stupid. Now, all those "touchy, feely, warm all over" things, like dignity, respect, and fairness, are fine, but from a business point of view, who cares? It's a "number's thing," and the businessman/woman who doesn't "get it" will also not "get" something else.....success.

    Back in the 60's, when the racism/feminism cauldron was really heating up, most of the debate was from an emotional, and subjective basis. But, as a young manager, hopefully on the way up, I saw it as  mostly from a logical, mathematical basis. What kind of fool running a business would reject demographic groups of 51% and 13%, and think they could be successful in the competitive marketplace? So, forget any noble, altruistic qualities I might have fooled myself into believing. The qualities I seized upon were greed, lust, and competitive advantage. I said, "let my competitors direct their energies to keeping "them" in their place."  I would go "all in" also, but "their place" would be as my customers, and my employees.

    So, as my macho competitors entertained themselves with moronic, deprecating jokes, I entertained myself with counting the money those fools so willingly, and thankfully handed over to me.

    It was true 50  years ago, it's still true today. What do you say when a fool wants to hand you a victory? "Why, thank you," of course.