The entry below is being cross posted from Marjorie Arons-Barron’s own blog.
Political correctness run amuck: President Obama felt compelled to apologize to California Attorney General Kamela Harris for calling her “by far the best looking attorney general in the country.” Frankly, the only person who might legitimately feel slighted is Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, a “good looking” woman in her own right. But those who are criticizing the President for being sexist should think again.
First, the alleged sexist remark came at a social event for Democratic donors, not in an office setting where such a comment could be taken as a power play intended paradoxically to diminish the status of a woman. Second, the President had just called Harris brilliant, dedicated and tough. No way was he defining her just by her physical attractiveness. Third, the complimentary “good looking” phrase is one the President uses frequently irrespective of gender. Video clips have surfaced of the President calling male military brass, government executives and even Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s son “good looking.”
L.A. Times Robin Abcarian called the President’s comment “more wolfish than sexist.” Oh, please. This is ridiculous. Which is not to say the President hasn’t rightly been called to task in the past, as when he called an ABC reporter “sweetie.” I’d hit him with my pocketbook for that one.
Obama’s real problems with women have been written about, starting with a piece by reporter Mark Leibovich of the New York Times. Ron Suskind, in his book Confidence Men, went even further, quoting Christina Romer, former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, as saying she “felt like a piece of meat” in the White House culture in 2009. But this Kamela Harris comment has little, if anything, to do with those more serious charges. Memo to critics of this incident: get a life!
Meanwhile, if the President wants to call me one of the nation’s best looking editorialists and journalists, be my guest!
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