Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Powerful Women: They Make A President Look Weak

So the Republicans tell us. And no, sexism is not only lingering (as the quote below suggests). It is thriving:
"When we have [French] President [Nicolas] Sarkozy dictating the pace and terms and conditions for security initiatives in the world, we know that we've entered a new era in terms of America's place and leadership and vision for security around the world, and that concerns me greatly," former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, who just announced a presidential exploratory committee, said Monday.

Speaking from Chile Monday afternoon, Mr. Obama again stressed that America is working "with our international partners" on the offensive against Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, stating the action has been solely "in support of an international mandate from the Security Council." Longtime Republican strategist Ed Rollins says that sort of rhetoric presents an opportunity to critics like Pawlenty, who can point to it as evidence that Mr. Obama doesn't see America as the preeminent nation in the world.

"To a Republican audience, it's what they want to believe," said Rollins. "They want to believe the president is weak and hasn't been decisive."

That perception may have been reinforced over the weekend with a spate of stories like this one in the New York Times, which suggested that a trio of women - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senior National Security Council aide Samantha Power and ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice - pushed Mr. Obama to take a harder line with Libya.

The White House tried Monday to rebut that narrative, with a senior administration official maintaining that Mr. Obama has led the debate and telling Politico that Clinton and Power weren't present in the meeting where he made his decision. It has good reason to push back: No president wants to be seen, particularly in an era of lingering sexism and anti-French sentiment, as being told what to do by a coalition of women and a country populated by what some conservative commentators are prone to call "cheese eating surrender monkeys."
So. Girls still have cooties and the best way to ridicule a man is to suggest that he listens to women (or the French). He will then deny ever having listened to women in the first place!

I can't but admire the light touch in this piece. Lingering sexism! Like the smell of last night's garlic dish! Nothing active about that odor, nothing purposeful in the Republican campaign. It is, after all, based on the very idea that no man would ever take advice from wimmin. And the author of this article isn't exactly disagreeing.
I forgot to add a genuine wingnut voice to this choir:
Before you send me any burning bras, the problem is not with women leaders — the enemies of the Virgin Queen and the Iron Lady can attest to that. The problem is not even with the president having strong female subordinates. Rather, Obama's pusillanimity has been hugely magnified by the contrast with the women directing his foreign policy and the fact that they nagged him to attack Libya until he gave in. Maybe it's unfair and there shouldn't be any difference from having a male secretary of state do the same thing, but there is.
Girls have cooties.