Archive for the 'Campaign ’08' Category



28
Dec
08

Obama Cabinet Round-Up: Wives & Mothers

Courtesy of FDL, I see the Charlotte Observer has an interactive graph of Obama’s Cabinet nominees.  It’s a handy little summary of professional and personal info on the 15 nominees, who are listed in order of presidential succession.  Here’s a summary of a fairly well-rounded Cabinet:

Obama has nominated three women: Clinton, Solis (Labor), and Napolitano (Homeland Security).

Obama has nominated:

  • one African-American (Holder for Justice; Holder is also Caribbean-American),
  • one Mexican-American (Solis),
  • one Arab-American (LaHood – Transportation),
  • two Hispanics (Salazar – Interior, Richardson – Commerce),
  • one Japanese-American (Shinseki – Vet Affairs), and
  • one Chinese-American (Chu – Energy).

Think the 6 white guys can handle all this diversity?  😉

Two GOP nominees (Gates at Defense and LaHood), two House Reps (LaHood and Solis), two Democratic Senators (Clinton and Salazar), and two Democratic governors (Richardson and Napolitano) have been nominated.  Richardson, Geithner, Holder and Donovan all worked in the Clinton Administration.  Solis and Vilsack supported Sen. Clinton during the primaries.

State/regional representation includes:

  • New York (Clinton, Donovan at HUD and Geithner is from the NY Fed),
  • the West (Salazar from CO, Napolitano from AZ, Richardson from NM, and Solis and Chu are from CA),
  • Illinois (Duncan at Education is from Chicago, and LaHood) and the North Midwest (Daschle at HHS is from SD and Vilsack at Agriculture is from Iowa).

Dr. Chu (Energy) is from academia, and a Nobel Prize winner.  Donovan is an architect.  Clinton, Napolitano, Vilsack, Holder and Salazar are lawyers.  Daschle was in the Air Force.  Shinseki graduated from the U.S. Military Academy.  Gates was career CIA.  Duncan, Donovan, Clinton and Holder are Ivy League alums (Harvard, Harvard, Yale Law, and Columbia).

Donovan is the youngest Cabinet member at 42; Shinseki is the oldest at 66.  The average age is 56 (54 for the women, 56 for the men).

Of the three women candidates, Clinton is married with one child, Solis is married without children, and Napolitano is never married and has no children.  Three working women = 2 husbands = 1 mother = 1 child.

All the men are married.  Richardson has no children and Holder has one.  LaHood has four kids, Daschle has three.  The remaining eight men have two children each.  12 working men = 12 wives = 12 dads = 24 kids.

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19
Dec
08

Fav’s Style

I’m so relieved to hear WaPo isn’t letting grope-gate go!!

What’s that, now? I should read the actual article?  What?  Say that again? They called the whole incident “silly?”

Oh.

At least he isn’t the Bostonian of the Year.

As Red Queen notes, it’s all about the straight dudez – hope and change, bitchez!!

Welcome to the Obama White House, where boyz will b boyz, don’cha know it!  Excuse my edits and snips, I just want to accurately re-cap the WaPo piece for ya.

Three months ago, Favreau lived in a group house with six friends in Chicago, where he rarely shaved, never cooked and sometimes stayed up to play video games until early morning. Now, he has transformed into what one friend called a “Washington political force” — a minor celebrity with a down payment on a Dupont Circle condo, whose silly Facebook photos with a Hillary Rodham Clinton cutout created what passes for controversy in Obama’s so far drama-free transition. …

He listens to Obama tell stories in his office and spins them into developed metaphors, rich in [patriarchal] historical context. …

“The president-elect understands that Jon is a rare talent. He knows what he’s got,” said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor, who also worked in the Senate office. “There’s a mutual respect and appreciation between them, and the president-elect trusts Jon’s instincts and ability. It’s a partnership.” [Man hug!  Chest bump!  I bet Favs can totally crush more beer cans against his forehead in a row than Obama.]

“A speech can broaden the circle of people who care about this stuff,” Favreau said. “How do you say to the average person that’s been hurting: ‘I hear you. I’m there. Even though you’ve been so disappointed and cynical about politics in the past, and with good reason, we can move in the right direction. Just give me a chance.’ “[Relax!  You just might enjoy it!]

“I think this is going to work,” Obama said.  [Bros before hos!]

Friends joke that Favreau suddenly turned 40 this year — but he still shows flashes of 27.  [Boyz Kids today!]

At a party at his parents’ house over Thanksgiving vacation, he danced and posed awkwardly next to a cardboard cutout of Clinton. A buddy uploaded photos onto Facebook, reporters discovered them, and suddenly experts were debating Favreau’s maturity on television. Favreau called Clinton and Obama to apologize. They told him not to worry, but he still does. [So thoughtful!  So glad he managed to laugh and smile through those “awkward” moments!  Seriously, can’t we cut him a break already?]

When the pressure wore on Favreau, he unwound like a 27-year-old, sending prank e-mails to friends at the Obama offices or playing the video game Rock Band in the Lincoln Park group house he shared with six campaign staffers [or mimicking sexual assault on senior women colleagues].

How is this supposed to work, anyway? Do Favreau and the rest of Obama’s young staffers transform to meet the formalities of the White House, or does the White House change to accommodate them?  [Duh, obviously it’s the latter.]

“We know that we’re going to have to approach the White House our way and have some fun with it,” Favreau said, “because that kind of attitude is what made us successful.”  [My point exactly.]

Favreau said. “You had a bunch of kids working on this campaign together, and it was such a mix of the serious and momentous and just the silly ways that we are. For people in my generation, it was an unbelievable way to grow up.” [Wait a minute, I thought you were still just an innocent, misunderstood, impish 27 year old.  My lady-brain is confused….]

12
Dec
08

inappropriate

warning: long post

Count me as one of the “humorless feminists” who can’t “get over” grope-gate.  This is mainly because I’m increasingly infuriated at the defensiveness I’m reading from (mostly) men over Favreau’s “private” behavior and our societal imperative to leave him alone to act out occasionally.  If you haven’t been following NYC Weboy’s “debate” with Adam Serwer at TAPPED (one, two, three, four, and five), do it now.

Lest you think we’re making any progress in opening people’s eyes to this case of sexual harrassment and the creation of a hostile work environment (not to mention how Favreau’s terrible judgment defies the stated essence of Obama’s candidacy and governance), before I continue with my rant check out this smattering of comments from the peanut gallery of liberal dudez who just wish we’d leave them the f— alone and spare them our puritanical judgy-ness – and didn’t you know, Clinton’s a racist anyway, and don’t we have more important things to gripe about,  like world peace and hunger, or something???

Continue reading ‘inappropriate’

08
Dec
08

5 years out of step?

Talking about GOP Candidate Anh “Joseph” Cao’s win this weekend over Bill Jefferson in Louisiana’s 2nd House district, local reporter John Maginnis described the state as “five years out of step” with the rest of the country.  It’s a place where Republicans are “still coming up.”  The main themes of the victory are a) low turnout among black voters and b) white activism to vote the indicted Jefferson out of office.  Many have pointed out that Cao’s win reflects post-Katrina demographic change in New Orleans: the black population has shrunk by at least 7 %, and whites have increased by 5%.  Asian-Americans – mostly Vietnamese – make up 3% of the city’s post-storm population.  Last year, the City Council became white majority again for the first time in 20 years.

What I find more interesting about Cao’s victory is his inspiration to enter politics after Katrina, due to the flooding of his office and home and the poor government response to the disaster.  It is this kind of local activism that I have seen in the city and region since the storm.  It is this burgeoning, organized activism that promises to fill the political and socio-economic gaps in the city and region, given the chronic lack of local government leadership in New Orleans, and/or the willful neglect of local and state governments around the Gulf Coast.  That is, one remarkable outcome of the 2005 storms is the tremendous civic infrastructure that is being built by activists, professional advocates, non-profits and funders, because governments either lack the money or political will to rebuild fairly and responsibly.

As the field remarks, the GOP’s big tent pretty much begins and ends in Louisiana.  Much more so than creationist Gov. Jindal, we might look to citizen-activist Representative-elect Cao for insight on how to expand the GOP to include those who simply want better, more responsible government to fulfill our individual rights to private property and to help us run our small businesses.  I’m obviously not all that interested in strengthening the GOP, but I’m intrigued by the task ahead for the Party, as it must modernize and moderate its platform if it ever wants centrist Republicans to turn up at the polls again.

But Cao’s election symbolizes a broader trend underway in Louisiana: the slow, methodological development of citizen engagement, non-profit capacity building, and political accountability.  Louisianans have their work cut out for them: Jindal has abolished the Department of Labor in this right-to-work state, wants to effectively get rid of the Medicaid system, and has imposed cuts to vital non-profits throughout the state.  This is also the place where only 2 months ago GOP Rep. John LaBruzzo advocated sterilization for low-income women as a poverty alleviation measure, then patted himself on the back for taking a tough, bold, innovative anti-poverty approach.  Then there’s Jena.  And Angola.

I need to stop now before I further inspire my LA and Southern colleagues to remind me of the Northeast’s and Boston’s own dirty laundry of injustice and political chicanery.    But I write from an inspired position.  The people I’ve met in New Orleans and across the Gulf Coast are doing more work than is reasonably expected to rebuild their homes and communities in the absence of government leadership.  It is some of the most impressive mobilization I’ve seen in my shortish life.   And they’re dragging their governments, with their shuttered Charity Hospitals, toxic FEMA trailers and bloated ports, into a new, more progressive era.  It’s like the civic activist version of the World’s Strongest Man contest.  Stay tuned!!

07
Dec
08

hell no, hell yes

Thank goodness someone said it: Caroline Kennedy – the audacity of entitlement?

On the flip side, this is a fabulous appointment.  Here’s hoping we can rectify some of the massive wrongs by the Bush Administration at the V.A.  The treatment of Vets in our country, preceeding Bush but exacerbated by him (like every other inequality) is reprehensible.  The conditions at Walter Reed ranked right up there with life in FEMA trailers in the post-Katrina Gulf Coast.

07
Dec
08

Cardboard

For the record, there are three issues I see with grope-gate:

a) the misogynistic implications of a woman being felt up and force fed alcohol into her pulled back head by two men (yes, this is sexual harrassment);

b) the “frat boy” culture alleged by the party atmosphere, presence of booze, and casual style of two white men raucously ganging up on a woman, even if it is a cardboard cutout, and then publishing it on a social networking site as evidence of their supposed hilarity; and

c) the complete lack of judgment evidenced by an important member of the Obama team, a young man who has been covered in The NY Times and elsewhere as largely responsible for Obama’s words and eloquence.  Favreau is the speechwriter for a candidate who won in large part because of his ability to draw enormous crowds to hear his electrifying, inspiring speeches.  He’s a player on the no-drama Obama team, a team that invested tremendously in crafting an image and a brand in their candidate.  And this is how a key image-maker behaves?

If Samantha Power is banished for calling Clinton a “monster,” then shouldn’t Favreau be kicked off the bus too?  Given the willfully public nature of his actions; their offensiveness (even if you believe it’s just “boys being boys,” this does mean you realize it’s behavior that requires rationalization, which suggests there’s something going on that needs to be acknowledged, dismissed, possibly forgiven, scolded, etc.); and Favreau’s immaturity and crudity versus Obama’s poised, professional and unruffled demeanor, I can’t believe Obama wouldn’t want to sanction this clown for his embarrassing and uncalled for behavior.

Didn’t Obama run on and beat Clinton and McCain in part because of his better judgment and cool and collected nature?  Yet, he’s got dudez like this working for him?  I listened to Tracy Morgan on TBS’s Laffapalooza for about five minutes the other night, as he painfully tried to layer one black stereotype after another ghetto behavior trope on to the Obamas and their future White House life.  Epic FAIL, as teh bloggerz say.  I don’t see how Favreau’s behavior is any less inappropriate for our President-Elect.  Although Larry Summers and Rick Warren (and Donny McClurkin) suggest otherwise, I do hold out hope that Obama is not “palling around with” men who fail to see women (and gays/lesbians) as their equals and as fully human, versus just cardboard cutouts, punching bags, helpmates, child-rearers, she-devils, and sandwich makers.

06
Dec
08

Weekend Skirmishes

If you’re not headed out to your local Swedish Christmas Fair today, perhaps you’ll want to catch up instead on the latest action from the Obama team.  Oh teh menz and their vaunted intellect, team-building skillz and decision-making prowess!  Sen. Clinton, Melody Barnes, Susan Rice, Janet Napolitano, etc. should have tons o’ fun working with teh dudez.  Tis an inclusive bunch, that Obama gang.

Treasury Chief designate Timothy Geithner wants to toss FDIC head Sheila Bair out on the street alongside her constituent homeownersTake that, Main Street! What’s that now about progressive leadership?  Wait, I mean, team of rivals??

Head speechwriter Jon Favreau has the hots for Sen. Clintonright?  Wait, this isn’t a show of respect for our SoS designate and former Democratic candidate for President?  You mean, this is bizness as usual?  Silly me!  I guess I was right not to fill out that job application.  I don’t have anything nearly as lascivious as this.  Maybe I’ll go grope some hot Swedish buns this afternoon to try and keep up.




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