Thursday, May 15, 2008

“Hold On One Second, Sweetie”

Then He Pats Her On The Shoulder And Walks Away

Can you imagine Senator Obama pulling this crap on a male reporter?


Calling women “sweetie” isn't new to Obama.

WXYZ Detroit Action News

UPDATE: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama has apologized to WXYZ reporter Peggy Agar for calling her "sweetie" during a campaign stop Wednesday in Sterling Heights.

Obama apologized in a voicemail he left on Agar's cell phone at 3:16 p.m:

"Hi Peggy. This is Barack Obama. I'm calling to apologize on two fronts. One was you didn't get your question answered and I apologize. I thought that we had set up interviews with all the local stations. I guess we got it with your station but you weren't the reporter that got the interview. And so, I broke my word. I apologize for that and I will make up for it.

"Second apology is for using the word 'sweetie.' That's a bad habit of mine. I do it sometimes with all kinds of people. I mean no disrespect and so I am duly chastened on that front. Feel free to call me back. I expect that my press team will be happy to try to make it up to you whenever we are in Detroit next."

LISTEN TO THE VOICEMAIL IN VIDEO PLAYER RIGHT (Voicemail is followed by video clip of the "sweetie" exchange) (GNB NOTE: To hear the voicemail/watch the clip, you have to go to the linked page.)

In a posting on the New York Times Political Blog titled "Obama: Hold On, Sweetie," reporter Jim Rutenberg pointed out this wasn't the first time Obama used the word: "Back in Pennsylvania in early April, Senator Barack Obama took some heat for calling a female factory worker 'sweetie,' in Allentown."

Obama's comment to Agar has also been discussed by reporters for The Atlantic, Chicago Tribune, and Newsday.

There's more...
Let me give you that again.

Obama casually refers to grown women in adult jobs as “sweetie,” then lets himself off the hook for doing so: “That's a bad habit of mine. I do it sometimes with all kinds of people.”

Really? What other “kinds of people” do you you call “sweetie,” Senator? Male reporters for The New York Times? Football players? Children? I can get young children. Grown women? Yep, we know that one already.

Who else?

This is sexism on its face with NO commitment to change.

What, it isn't sexism? Oh... it's just a “bad habit.”

Here. Let me change it around for you...

“Second apology is for using the word 'boy.' That's a bad habit of mine. I do it sometimes with all kinds of people. I mean no disrespect.”

If Hillary Clinton said that on the trail to a grown black male television reporter at the same Detroit auto factories, it would LEAD THE FUCKING NIGHTLY NEWS ON EVERY NETWORK IN AMERICA: “Hillary Clinton called a black reporter 'boy' today.”

But Barack Obama calling a grown woman “sweetie” while patting her on the shoulder and turning away, well, that barely rates a mention. It's funny. He issues an apology. An obviously insincere apology at that, one in which he makes zero commitment to changing his behavior, excusing it as a “bad habit” and whamo, he's off the hook. Not to mention way too few liberal blogs calling him on this obviously sexist bullshit.

(Incidentally, note that Obama didn't even have the ovaries to call the reporter directly. He called her voice mail, which is what you do when you want to make sure your “apology” sounds totally sincere on her tape, leaving her the tape to play for everyone as proof of “like totally” how sincere you are, and most important, making certain you don't have to confront in any way the woman whom you demeaned, overlooked, and made less than, her male counterparts. Don't actually deal with the issue; this way, you can keep your “bad habit.”)

This isn't about Clinton, by the way. I see no realistic path for her to the nomination. This is about holding our candidate presumptive to account. Someone must.

This is about sexism. What Obama did makes all women (and men, and children, because feminism impacts all of us) less than. It was a sexist act.

Men don't get to call women "sweetie", "honey", or "darling," and they sure as hell don't get to do so as nominee presumptive for POTUS. Obama doesn't get to slide on this as a "bad habit." He wants to smoke? Fine. That's his bad habit; I don't care. He uses sexist language, it damages all women, men and children, which means he gets to clean up his act. Starting with calling women by their names.

It's a matter of respect.

Women are people. They vote.

Sometimes, when treated with respect, women even vote for Democrats.

h/t Salon, Ben Smith