Democrats are in a tizzy.
President Obama might be . . . sexist. Smelling salts, please.
Here is President Obama’s offending remark, made after Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren opposed the president’s trade agreement:
"The truth of the matter is that Elizabeth is, you know, a politician like everybody else," Obama told Yahoo News. "And you know, she's got a voice that she wants to get out there. And I understand that. And on most issues, she and I deeply agree. On this one, though, her arguments don't stand the test of fact and scrutiny."
Senator Sherrod Brown was the first prominent Democrat to react:
Democratic senator Sherrod Brown is subtly accusing President Barack Obama of sexism in his attacks on Senator Elizabeth Warren, also a Democrat.
"I think the president was disrespectful to her by the way he did that…made this more personal," Brown told reporters.
"I think referring to her as her first name, when he might not have done that for a male senator, perhaps–I've said enough."
Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), apparently having enough time on her hands to comment on this trivial non-issue, also finds the president’s remarks sexist:
"Yes, I think it is sexist," O'Neill said. "I think the president was trying to build up his own trustworthiness on this issue by convincing us that Senator Warren's concerns are not to be taken seriously. But he did it in a sexist way."
I would very much like for politicians to refer to each other in public by formal names and titles, but otherwise: Get a grip, Sherrod and Terry.
This isn’t sexism. This is simply how President Barack Obama “argues” a point. He is not capable, even after six years in the White House, of really arguing his position by speaking fluently on the actual policy issues. You sort of know by now that, if he tried to conduct a point by point argument of economics with, say, Rep. Paul Ryan, Paul would eat Barack’s lunch.
Instead of having a debate, Barack fudges by being condescending towards those who disagree with the ideas he picked up as a young man and has never re-examined. Haughtiness is President Obama's substitute for familiarity with the relevant arguments. It’s new for Democrats like Elizabeth to be the brunt of Barack’s massive condescension. Republicans have been on the receiving end for years.
President Obama is not the only person in politics or punditry who considers the smear (the sexist smear, the hater smear, or whatever smear comes to hand) a form of refutation. Ruth Marcus in today’s Washington Post slings the sexist smear at GOP candidate Carly Fiorina's campaign:
How depressing is it that, out of the more than a dozen announced or prospective Republican candidates for president in 2016, only one, Carly Fiorina, is a woman. Even more depressing: that Fiorina, as long-shot as her candidacy is, would not be taken even semi-seriously were it not for her gender.
That is a tough and controversial thing to say, but it requires saying. I would love to see a female president, of either party, and I expect I will — if not in 2016, then in an election to come. But the female president I would love to see is one who is fully qualified to be president — qualified by dint of experience, not of chromosomes. Carly Fiorina is not that woman.
Actually, Fiorina is getting attention not because of her sex but because of her zingers. She’s a heck of a campaigner. Because the feisty Fiorina really does say tough and controversial things, she is a particular threat to Democrats, who like us women folk to shut up and follow their party line.
On the Marcus column, I’ll let Lucianne Goldberg have the last word. Her tease for the Marcus column:
When women don't like other very successful women, they write like this for the Washington Post.
Meanwhile, the White House has demanded an apology from Sherrod Brown.