The new Ron Suskind book "Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President," on how decisions are made inside the Obama administration, now in bookstores, has fresh details on how doctrinaire liberals actually treat women. This is from Politico:
Former communications director Anita Dunn is described by Suskind as feeling she worked in an overwhelmingly male environment at the White House
"[T]his 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," Suskind quotes her as saying.
I wrote an earlier item on Obama women who complained to Suskind ("Are Liberal Women Wimps?"), in which I chided them. I put forward the hypothesis that you hear less of this kind of crying from conservative women because we are more able to stand up and make our points, even in the presence of guys.
But as more and more stories quoting from the book come out, I am considering the notion that I may have been unfair to these women. In fact, I am going to use a word I almost never use: sexism. Yep, there does appear to be sexism in the Obama White House. The term is often thrown about without justification. But there appears to be justification here.
I think the real story may be that supposedly feminist guys don't treat women well. In an effort to woo back female voters, now less in the Democratic fold than any time since the "gender gap" was discovered in 1980, the Obama administration last year issued its report on "Jobs and Economic Security for America's Women," which seeks to curry favor with women voters by embracing the whole shebang of the feminist agenda.
The White House might more profitably start by assessing its own attitudes about women. I wasn't as outraged as many people when the president, while still a candidate, called a female reporter "sweetie." But maybe it was the harbinger of a sexist White House. Also, any failure to stand up for women in the White House could putatively be ascribed to the president's own insecurity:
"During so many days of crisis in his first two years," the author writes, "Obama often felt that performance pressure – having to play the part of president, in charge and confident, each day, in front of his seasoned, combative, prideful team, many of whom had, all together, recently served another president.
"As he confided to one of his closest advisers, after a private display of uncertainty, ‘I can't let people see that, I don't want the staff to see that. … But I get up every morning. It's a heavy burden.'"
Insecure men have always treated women badly, no?