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“Obama… Is Responsible for a Work Atmosphere That Marginalizes and Ignores Women”

September 22, 2011
President Barack Obama meets with staff aboard...

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I have been writing about this for years, the manner in which Obama almost refuses to even entertain that women exist in a professional role, or how much work women do on a personal basis for their families.  I almost typed “worm” there in the place of work, how much of a “worm” Obama is when it comes to women, but now it appears that Time Magazine is stating the obvious about Obama and his administration:

Coverage in the Washington Post and a new book by Ron Suskind has focused attention on the frustration of Obama’s female advisers. But the problem has been obvious almost since Obama took office. And while the explanations so far have blamed members of the mostly-departed boys club – Robert Gibbs, Rahm Emanuel – Obama himself is responsible for a work atmosphere that marginalizes and ignores women.

I had blogged a few years back about how Obama’s treatment of his grandmother, the woman who raised him, was shoddy.  He spoke about her racism, her politics, her faults, and then thanked his absent father after his acceptance speech.  What an ungrateful jerk!

When he was a senator, I, as well as other concerned women, e-mailed Obama about women’s issues such as equal pay and family leave, only to be ignored.  In fact, while other senators had a tab on their websites specifically devoted to women’s issues, Obama’s website was conspicuously blank, as if women’s issues were unimportant.  Hmm, go figure.  Check out how many female advisers were on his staff…an embarrassing few.

It’s not that Obama couldn’t benefit from more female perspectives, it’s just that he appears not to care about them.  Seriously Obama, you thought that having a man to the White House for a beer who was arrested outside his own house for being a minority by a white cop was a good idea?  Which adviser gave you that stupid scheme?

And who told you that having your wife chair the obesity campaign was going to be popular?  While it’s all fine and good to focus on a national health problem, your wife told the media that a doctor told her your daughters were fat.  How is that helping your daughters’ self esteems?  Just pulled a Palin there by exploiting your kids’ stories to sell your own politics.

So, it really doesn’t come as any surprise that your female advisers aren’t happy, Obama.  You aren’t shocked, are you?  According to other women, your poor treatment of women hasn’t gone unnoticed.  I am not the only one talking about it.  Look at what this journalist has to say about how you seem to prefer the good ole boys’ club:

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.

I knew the problem wasn’t a lack of women on staff at the White House. A 2009 analysis of White House salary data did find that while women outnumbered men in the lowest salary brackets, there were only 58 women in the 142 highest senior staff positions at the Obama White House. But those 58 were still a huge leap over the 32 highly-paid women in George W. Bush’s White House in 2007. Even so, it didn’t matter how many senior women were on staff if they weren’t in the room with the boss when it mattered. There, a comparison with Bush’s White House is also instructive. Valerie Jarrett is obviously a key member of Obama’s inner circle, but her role is largely a personal one, to protect Obama’s brand. For the most part, she does not fill the same position of political or policy guru that Karen Hughes and Condi Rice respectively did in Bush’s brain trust.

I’d only flipped through one Flickr album so far. But I started to check the feed regularly to see if the trend continued. It did, and I noticed something else. There’s a looseness to Obama when he’s hanging out with the boys club that doesn’t appear in co-ed gatherings. Sometimes he even literally engages in locker room humor, as in this photo before a speech at the University of Texas. The President blows off steam on the golf course with male colleagues and friends. He takes to the White House basketball court with NBA stars, men’s college players, and male cabinet members and members of Congress.

Hmm, more manly man sports encounters?  Kind of like your fucked up manly man beer drinking with white cop and accosted black man unfairly accused?  Oh, I get it–you only like hanging out with the boys??  Or, maybe those are the only moments captured on camera and published?

Really, George Bush did that better than you, Obama?  Seriously?  I thought you were supposed to do everything better.  But George Bush, the good ole boys member from good ole boy capital, Texas, beat you out at promoting more women?

Well, I did a quick check too, of all the Zemanta finds, and guess what?  No women in the shots of “Obama-at-work” that appear on Zemanta.  How hard is it to find a photo proving that Obama really can work with women?  Pretty damn hard, apparently.

Don’t think the women who were left out of the manly basketball games or sports didn’t notice either:

Nor is it the case that bringing more women into Obama’s inner circle would require the guys to stop having fun. The President wants to shoot hoops? Why not bring in U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who was a star point-guard in high school. In 2009, she led the United States Mission basketball team against the UN Security Guards, whose captain praised her as “just like one of the guys.” Or HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who pointed out to Jay Leno that “I actually made my college basketball team” when the comedian asked whether she could beat Obama at HORSE. If the President feels like heading to the golf course instead, he should bring back Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, who played once with Obama after he got heat about not inviting women to play sports with him.

When women are commenting about Obama’s lack of inclusion to Jay Leno, there is a definite issue.  The thing is, that like those golf games that other presidents have played, leaving women out of the game means leaving them out of the face time with the President that the men take for granted.

It seems even political discussions are heard by Obama from only male voices:

Even when women are in the room with Obama, they are sometimes seen but not heard. At a 2010 symposium on women in finance, Christina Romer, then the chair of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, talked about the difficulty she had getting the floor in policy discussions. Suskind relates the story of how Obama’s reacted angrily to one suggestion by Romer, and yet calmly heard out the same suggestion from Larry Summers a few days later. Other senior women have complained that their arguments seemed to disappear into the ether at meetings, unacknowledged by Obama. Ellen Moran, Obama’s first communications director, was the first member of his team to leave the White House, resigning just 92 days into the term.

Hmm, first to resign.  92 days into the term.  No one questioned this?  Obama’s response to women has always seemed to me to dismissive enough to be offensive.  He might as well follow in his father’s footsteps and have his wife walk 5 paces behind him as “devout Muslim” would.  Obama’s treatment of his wife, the only women who could get him to the White House without him seeming like a predatory egghead type, has routinely spoken out about how Obama missed family milestones an put his career first.  His wife has been the first to talk about Obama’s abandonment of all issues concerning women.

Even in this scenario, related back in 2009, Obama is truly clueless:

The mum of two said that she would be pleased “if my ups and downs, our ups and downs in our marriage can help young couples sort of realise that good marriages take work”.

There been already been claims by one author that career-related pressures put intense strain on the couple’s marriage, at one point causing Michelle to think about walking out.

And according to her chief of staff, Michelle was at one point “in a lot of ways a single mom, and that was not her plan”.

But Barack says reports that their union almost came to an end are “over reading it”.

Though he says he “wouldn’t gloss over the fact that it was a tough time for us”, he states: “There was no point where I was fearful for our marriage.”

However, he does add: “There were points in time where I was fearful that Michelle… would be unhappy.”

Unhappy?  How about single?  Yuh think? Of course Obama will talk about “sacrifices,” but notice how Michelle Obama says she had to just learn to depend on people other than her husband in order for her marriage to work:

On the campaign trail the first lady opened up about how their relationship improved when she reconciled herself to his frequent absences.

“I came to realise that he was there in the ways he could be,” she said.

“If he wasn’t there, it didn’t mean he wasn’t a good father or didn’t care.

“I saw it could be my mom or a great baby-sitter who helped. Once I was OK with that, my marriage got better.”

Meanwhile, her husband has praised the sacrifices she made while he was from away from home pursuing his political dreams.

Now, a new book has claimed tensions between the power couple grew so bad at one time, the woman – whom he described on election night as his best friend of 16 years – was ready to quit the marriage.

Strange that Barack seemed to miss these things in his own marriage?  I don’t think so.  I think Barack Obama that you are a narcissist.  You don’t want to recognize how much your wife has done for you (you’d have no family or career without her) because you feel it belittles your own accomplishments.  Barack, your treatment of other women reflects your lack of respect for women as equals, and your politics prove it.

Back in the fall of 2010, the National Enquirer posted a story about how the Obamas were fighting, claiming they were close to divorce.  While the National Enquirer may be wrong most of the time, they sure were right about John Edwards.

If you don’t believe the sentiment, check out the dinner picture of Obama with his unhappy female advisers.  Note that Obama looks like he is sleeping…

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

Snooze…  Looks like Obama has slept through the important stuff again… Oh, wait, he didn’t wake up?  Right, because the only people talking about this are women.

All of this has come up because author Ron Suskind has published a book about Obama detailing his female-unfriendly attributes:

Suskind’s book, “Confidence Men,” describes a tense, difficult working environment for women in the Obama White House. Obama’s former communications director, Anita Dunn, is quoted as saying that “this place would be in court for a hostile workplace. . . . Because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women.”

The administration has pushed back against many of the claims in the book. When Suskind appeared on Tuesday’s “Morning Joe,” Brzezinski treated him to one of her frostiest cross-examinations in memory. When he said that Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett supported the premise of his book, she stopped him.

“I actually don’t think Jarrett would agree with your book,” Brzezinski cut in. Suskind replied that Jarrett had, in fact, cooperated with him while he was writing the book.

“Do you think the White House is a hostile workplace for women?” Brzezinski asked. “I don’t think it is, certainly now,” Suskind said.

There has been an uproar from the White House, playing into the game of trying to defend Obama. While the supposed addition of Ms. Brzezinski allegedly makes the White House suddenly female-supportive, Barack himself has done little to mend the fences his chauvinism built.  As usual, he’s asking a woman to do that for him…

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