Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Obama Administration is Tested

Vice President Biden was right that the Obama Administration would be tested soon after taking office, but as many of us feared, it turns out his immediate adversaries are not foreign terrorists but domestic obstructionists. Obama's appeal for bipartisanship has, not surprisingly, for the most part fallen on deaf ears on the losing side of the aisle.

The Republican party wants desperately to wipe the shine off President Obama. After their historic defeat in the 2008 elections, Republicans likely lack the votes to block Obama's legislation outright--but they can at least try to paint him as just another partisan politician. So as things stand now, Obama may well be forced to push the stimulus package through Congress on a nearly party-line vote.

But Obama did not get to be President just by playing the same old games. With his sky-high approval ratings and an American public hungry for meaningful action to help the economy, Obama might be able to turn the tables on the Republican party. Instead of begging and pleading with the entrenched Republican leadership--instead of compromising away key values just to purchase a thin veneer of bipartisanship--the Obama Administration may be able to cut enough deals with individual Republicans to bypass the Republican leadership altogether.

The Republican leadership apparently failed to get the message that Americans want change. They are peddling the same old tax cuts for the wealthy as a panacea for everything. Against the wishes of the Democratic leadership, Obama offered Republicans a huge package of tax cuts as part of the economic stimulus--but it was not big enough to satisfy their leadership--so perhaps Obama will have better luck with the rank and file Republicans. At his meeting with Republican congressmen in the Capitol today, apparently the representatives were more interested in getting their pictures taken with him than anything else.

Perhaps that is something he can trade on.


Pombat said...

So how long til we see the first votes for autographs scandal? ;-p

In all seriousness, I think he probably can trade on that - can you imagine any Democrat (or many of the Republicans for that matter) eagerly rushing to have their pic taken with Bush or Cheney?

USWest said...

Fox news is pitching in as well. I watched for a while in the gym and was reminded yet again why I don't buy cable TV.

Hannity is running crap like "Media Love Fest for Obama? When will it end?"

And then they started making comments about now Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's nick name among the New York delegation. It's "Tracy Flick" (based on the movie "legally Blonde")saying, "because of her blonde hair and her ambition". So there is a problem with women who have ambition? Don't these people tire of themselves?

God I hate Fox.

Raised By Republicans said...

Tracy Flick was a character in "Election" I believe. And wasn't Hillary Clinton the Tracy Flick Senator?

Or was it Sarah Palin? (skip ahead to minute 6:30)

The Law Talking Guy said...

Republicans are not dumb to think that if they can make Obama fail, they will do well. But if Obama can succeed without them, and they be painted as just obstructionists, it will be worse for them.

USWest said...

They are all being called Tracy Flick.

Pombat said...

-rolls eyes about the whole Tracy Flick thing-

I am so, so sick of this kind of sexist rubbish. I hate that women get harangued for wanting to actually have a career and do something with their lives other than be chained to a sink in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant (full disclosure: I tend to wash-up barefoot, and want to have kids some day; it's not all I want to do with my life though, especially the washing up bit). I hate that it cuts the other way too, that men have to have a career and be ambitious else they're not considered men. And I especially hate that the people having a go at high profile women are media twits like the Fox mob, who have not achieved anything decent with their lives!!!

I get that they're so insecure in themselves that they can't deal with women who are smarter than them and achieving more (their insecurities also being to blame for their bigotry, homophobia, etc), but it's high time they all just got over it. We're all people, and whether we have dangly bits or not should be flipping well irrelevant. Grrr.

(ps it's really hot here, forecast of 43C/?109?F for the day, and I'm grumpy, in case you hadn't noticed)

Raised By Republicans said...

I think assuming that all men are too insecure to deal with intelligent women is rather sexist in itself, don't you agree?

I think the Tracy Flick kick is targetted at women in politics because the Flick character is female. Granted, unflattering comparisons to fictional and historical characters is hardly uniquely applied to females and sometimes the comparisons cross gender lines - as with the youtube clip that linked Clinton's struggling campaign with a scene from the German film "Downfall" (about Hitler's final days in the Bunker).

Throughout history, politicians have been depicted as historical and fictional characters in unflattering ways. American cartoonist is known for depicting leaders as the Roman god of War, Mars, when he wants to show them as warmongers. They've been depicted as pigs, apes, foxes, Hitler, Stalin, etc.

The satire and abuse is universal. Only the form is gendered - and that not consistently so.

Pombat said...

RbR: Yes, I would agree that assuming all men are too insecure to deal with intelligent women is rather sexist, but if you read my comment again, you will see that I am not assuming that all men are too insecure to deal with intelligent men. I am just talking about the people who have a go at high profile women (e.g. Fox).

I know for a fact that there are plenty of men in the world that do not have a problem with intelligent women, as I am surrounded by them in my personal life. Sadly, I also know for a fact that there are plenty of men who see women as nothing more than sexual objects, and are most definitely threatened by female intelligence, as I've encountered a few of them over the years too.

And yes, I know that throughout history unflattering comparisons have always been made. My issue is the fact that high powered women are always attacked simply for being high powered, as are non-high powered men (for not being high powered, obviously). I'm sick of gender roles being so rigid, I'm sick of people feeling like they absolutely have to fit into a certain box else there's something wrong with them, I'm sick of the way this spins out and affects everyone in society, because with just one definition of what a woman is, and one of what a man is, misery is caused to so many people, bigotry is implicitly okayed, tolerance is forgotten.

The Law Talking Guy said...

The issue, as I see it, is whether stereotypes about women are brought to bear in making fun of women politicians. Race is so much easier to see this in. Make fun of Obama's ears, not his lips. Don't portray him eating watermelon and fried chicken. Similarly, for women, you need to drop the sexist stuff about handbags and the Andy Capp routine.

The problem is that sex and gender are harder to separate from gender roles and gender sterotypes. Is Tracey Flick inherently a gender stereotype or a stereotype about a particular kind of overachiever who happens to be a woman? What if we can't distinguish these? I mean, is it sexist to make fun of a frat-boy for being, you know, that way? Some characters that one wishes to make fun of are either male or female - the characters are gendered. Is it sexist to portray any woman who behaves in a way that a man almost never would, and even to make fun of that woman for doing so?

These can be hard calls. It requires thought and awareness. Is Gillibrand being called "Tracey Flick" merely because some men think that any woman who is powerful is inherently worthy of scorn? If so, that's wrong. If the idea is to mock Gillibrand for having the peculiar personality quirk of perfectionist martyrdom that Flick displayed, I suspect it's not that sexist.

I am reminded of the old joke:
Q: How many feminists does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: That's not funny.

All humor about women is not sexist, but it is true that it is much harder to identify sexism in that humor because of these issues i've mentioned before.