Sunday, March 4, 2012

Patriarch in Chief

As a "father of two daughters", Barack Obama's aides said, the president had read about Rush Limbaugh's nasty comments about Sandra Fluke, and wanted to reach out to the health care activist to offer some fatherly support. After carefully "consulting with advisers", Obama called Ms. Fluke from the Oval Office on Friday afternoon. What an amazing coincidence that she was just about to appear on Mrs. Alan Greenspan's Democratic veal pen cable TV show! Obama told the young woman that her parents must be so proud of her. No matter that she is all of 30 years old, and caring about what her parents might think has probably not been part of her agenda for at least a decade.

The very next day, the president bumped the first woman editor of the New York Times from her commencement gig at all-female Barnard College, and invited himself to speak instead. "As the father of two daughters," the White House announcement proclaimed, "President Obama wanted to speak to some of America’s next generation of women leaders.” Father Knows Best, apparently more so than one of the world's most powerful women leaders. Adoration, not emulation, little girls! Who is that in the front lines of the war against women again?

Every time I hear Barack Obama preface a remark with that cringe-worthy "as the father of two daughters" I know the news will be (a) A really bad public policy decision, such as overriding science and his own female FDA commissioner to ban the sale of Plan B contraceptives to teenage girls; (b) a blatant pitch for female votes and an appeal to all who crave authoritarianism; (c) an indication of his ingrained male chauvinism, or (d) a lame joke betraying an unhealthy fixation on the future sex lives of Sasha and Malia.... not to mention a creepy obsession with the drones and guns he will use to protect them.

Long before the newly declared War Against Women reached a fever pitch with the Rush Limbaugh rants of hate, and congressional Republicans frothing at the mouth about the gateway-to-promiscuity drug of birth control pills, the Democratic president was fretting about the chastity of his own two kids -- who are only 10 and 13 years old. The most recent (known) occasion was a campaign photo-op at the Master Lock factory in Milwaukee last month.  "As I was looking at some of the really industrial-size locks, I was thinking about the fact that I am the father of two girls who are soon to be in high school and it might come in handy to have these super-locks," he joked. "For now I'm just counting on the fact that when they go to school there are men with guns with them."  Heh, heh, heh. Video here.

At the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2010, Obama warned the singing Jonas Brothers to keep their hands off his offspring, as if they even had any interest in the pre-teen girls. "Boys! Don't get any ideas," he sternly intoned. "I have two words for you: predator drones. You will never see it coming.” 

And the following year, speaking at a high school commencement, he noted that the principal’s daughter had chosen to go to a different school because she “was worried that the boys would be afraid to talk to her if her mom was lurking in the hallways.” Because of this, he said, he’d decided to announce that his “next job will be principal at Sasha and Malia’s high school — and then I’ll be president of their college.”

There's more. The Chicago Tribune's Lynn Sweet wrote last August:

CNN's Wolf Blitzer, interviewing President Obama on Tuesday asked him what he would get daughters Malia and Sasha if he wins a second term. The girls got Bo, the dog after the Obama family moved to the White House.
BLITZER: What are you going to get them the next time, if you're reelected?

OBAMA: When I'm reelected, what I'll be getting them is a continuation of Secret Service so that when boys want to start dating them they are going to be surrounded by men with guns. That's their gift.
From another interview last year on ABC's Good Morning America:"But I understand teenage-hood is complicated. I should also point out that I have men with guns that surround them often.’

From a 2009 Newsweek interview: "Now, I worry about them when they're teenagers where, you know, you're already embarrassed about your parents and even more embarrassed on TV all the time. And dating I think will be an issue because I have men with guns surrounding them at all times [laughter], which I'm perfectly happy with, but they may feel differently about it.

At his National Prayer Breakfast speech last month, Obama carefully refrained from mentioning weaponry before his religious audience, but admitted that he will pray for strength when eldest daughter Malia "goes to her first school dance and begins dating" and hopes that she "keeps her skirt long as she grows up." Video here.

Of course, the worst episode of paternalism came in December, when Obama nixed the purchase of the "morning after" pill by girls under the age of 18. Being "the father of two daughters" apparently makes you forget everything you learned in your Ivy League schools. It puts you right down there with the most rabidly ignorant anti-feminist GOPers. And when his own base lashed out at him, he blamed yet another woman -- HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius -- as well as all those stupid teeny-boppers who can't tell a contraceptive from a pack of gum:
I will say this, as the father of two daughters. I think it is important for us to make sure that we apply some common sense to various rules when it comes to over-the-counter medicine. And as I understand it, the reason Kathleen made this decision was she could not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old go into a drugstore, should be able—alongside bubble gum or batteries—be able to buy a medication that potentially, if not used properly, could end up having an adverse effect. And I think most parents would probably feel the same way.
Tell me again where this man gets off addressing a group of women at a commencement ceremony, or how he and his fellow Democrats think they have any standing when it comes to women's rights and health issues. This is a perfectly convenient wedge issue for him as well as for the Republicans.

ObamaCare, besides not kicking in for another two years even as 50 million people remain uninsured, is a poster child for the Law of Unintended Consequences. The president blew it when he allowed private insurance leeches, employers and the clergy to have a say in his quasi-public health plan. Now is the perfect time to point out yet again that Single Payer (Medicare for All) is the only way to go.


Elizabeth Adams said...

As the mother of three boys (and a girl) -- ahem -- it really pisses me off when comments like those the President iterated are said. As if every boy wants to get his hands on your daughter(s). As if said daughters are your property. It is disrespectful both to the girls and the boys in a macho shithead sort of way. And this is even without considering the threats of violence with guns and drones. Not funny.

Jay - Ottawa said...

This is a new wrinkle. Obama said things like that again and again? Hard to believe. I recall stupid and embarrassing things popping out of "W" regularly -- but never this creepy.

Maybe there's a more benign interpretation of O's utterances about his daughters being continuously protected by men with guns. Could be O's just trying to shore up his standing with the NRA. At home and abroad it's clear he's really taken a liking to the gun and threats backed up by the gun. If only he had taken off the gloves in his no-bluff, Russell Crowe-like Master-and-Commander shtick when his former pal, Single Payer, was twisting in the wind. There were a few other times that he failed to show up on time with the cavalry, or let loose with friendly fire with disastrous effect.

By the way, as we approach November, the big question looms over us again: are we better off now than we were four years ago under "W"? Thought I'd throw that in to set Yellow Dogs howling again. Single-issue voters need not respond. See below, shortly.

DW2000 said...

I will place my contempt for Obama up against anyone here!!!

But aren't we making a mistake to spend so much time on his personality, hypocrisy, betrayal etc.

This is all totally established.

I think we all know that only sustained mass action can halt the juggernaut of the upper class war on everyone else.

Occupy has been incredible. But we need those 50 million without health insurance, those 25 million unemployed, the voters about to be disenfranchised....

I think it would be good to start to put more scrutiny on labor leaders, on left leaning representatives in safe seats, even on guys like Keith and Rachel....

Flogging Obama fuels the illusion that he is somehow responsible for the loss of better health care. If we had hundreds of thousands in the streets when the subject was in congress, it might have made a difference.

I know this is well known to readers here. And Karen always closes with "Occupy."

But I think it bears repeating that the answer is only to be found in mass action.

Obama and the others have been bought off long ago.

Anne Lavoie said...

Patriarch indeed. Remember Obama's all time favorite movie? The Godfather.

If I were him I would not dare breathe the words gun, kill, Predator drone, or any other lethal or violent word in the same sentence as his daughters names, whether as a joke or not.

Godfather Obama evidently does not understand that those human beings whom he ordered assassinated are the sons and daughters of parents who love them dearly. The father of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki even went to court to try to stop the hit on his son when he discovered that the government put his son on the Kill List. Ultimately he and the ACLU failed and his son was assassinated.

When Obama won election and became The Godfather, he put his daughters in the public spotlight for the rest of their lives. For such a successful man, he sure has a surprisingly low level of consciousness in many areas. I sure wouldn't want his Karma.

Suzan said...

And he's never been for single payer.


But you know this.

We all know this by now.

No matter how hard we try to convince ourselves otherwise.

What we didn't know was how much this "Godfather" to the nation would enjoy getting down to the level of every misogynist in the rightwingnut brigade and groveling down on his belly to them laughing that laugh all the way.

And I hate to say it, but it's
almost like he started out there and has come home, sweet home, at last.

Love ya,


Valerie said...

This story in TruthOut made my blood run cold - just as the story by Jeremy Scahill about Blackwater being called in to do the policing after Hurricane Katrina. How long before this happens in the U.S. and Australia?

Denis Neville said...

These are times of health care austerity for the 99 percent.

Dave Dyden @ Firedoglake reports on“The Secret Austerity Society: Bipartisan Group Works on Grand Bargain”

“A bipartisan working group is preparing a document on deficit reduction. The White House [austerity] budget shows a blueprint for one, and if they get revenue in exchange, they’ve stated openly that they would make cuts to Medicare and other social programs…I don’t think we’re going to see any actual movement on this until after the election. But the lame duck presents a number of dangers for those who don’t want to see cuts to social safety net benefits.”

Democrats use Republicans to frighten the voters; then roll over en masse for Obama, the stealth one percenter. The Grand Bargain redux. Despite his recent populist rhetoric, Obama continues his superb work on behalf of the elites

These are times of luxury health care amenities for the one percent.
• aesthetic hotel like accommodations to maximize patient healing
• clinique vanity kits upon admission
• patient suites each with their own en-suite bathroom
• premium, reverse sateen, 300-thread-count bed linens
• frette robs
• culinary trained chefs to prepare gourmet meals three times daily
• guest service concierge staff on standby 24/7
• complimentary continental breakfast daily for families of patients\
• daily afternoon tea in the sitting room
• refrigerators stocked with spring and sparkling waters
• complementary Belgian chocolates upon discharge

As Jim Hightower says, “It reaffirms one's faith in humanity to learn that many hospitals are now going the extra mile to provide top quality care for all.”

“From New York to L.A., hospitals that draw huge subsidies from us taxpayers (and often are so overcrowded that regular patients are lucky to get a gurney in the hallway) have set aside entire floors for $2,400-a-day deluxe suites. They come with butlers, 5-star meals, marble baths, imported bed sheets, special kitchens, and other amenities for swells who have both insurance and cash to burn.

“Not only is it repugnant for the plutocratic elite to pervert health care into a luxury commodity, but their very effort to do so splits asunder America's essential, uniting principle of the common good. To push for a national policy that treats health care as a fundamental human need – for all – contact Physicians for a National Health Program:”

Denis Neville said...

Patriarch in Chief as Commander in Chief

Text of Barack Obama's speech at the America Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual policy conference:

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, “Is Obama preparing to commit the United States to an eventual war against the Islamic Republic of Iran?”

Chris Hedges’ talk, Saturday night at the Occupy AIPAC protest that was organized by CODEPINK Women for Peace and other peace, faith and solidarity groups:

Paul Pillar, “We Can Live with a Nuclear Iran - Fears of a bomb in Tehran’s hands are overhyped, and a war to prevent it would be a disaster.”

In his AIPAC speech Obama said, “I'm also mindful of the proverb, ‘A man is judged by his deeds, not his words’.

Which reminds me of the Russian proverbs, “An empty barrel makes the greatest sound” and “Once burned by milk you will blow on cold water.”