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Conversations with the President, Part 1: Gropergate December 16, 2008

Posted by angryscientist in About Me, Bad Science, Feminism, Uncategorized.

Disclaimer: Any resemblance to the actual President-elect is strictly intentional, but the statements I’m attributing to him are pure guesswork on my part.

Me: Now look here, Mr. President, I’ve kept my peace while you assemble your team of hawks,  corporate friendly free traders, and pro-nuclear pro-agrofuel pollution-marketer scientists and environmentalists for hire. You’re not in office yet, and you’re supposed to get a honeymoon. Sorry, you have a scandal to deal with already.

Obama: I was stunned and dismayed by the actions of Governor Blagojevich, but neither I nor any of my staff are implicated in his corrupt dealings.

Me: I meant your speechwriter Jon Favreau, immortalized in a Facebook photo fondling a lifesize cardboard model of a famous woman while a buddy poses as if he’s trying to force beer down her throat, pulling her head back by her hair. I’m sure you know the story. Do you think an apology is enough?

Obama: Senator Clinton accepted the apology. That’s the end of the matter.

Me: So, that’s supposed to be the end of it? Wow, are you naive. Women aren’t about to put this aside just like that. You better believe they are pissed. Clinton has to make light of it. She wants that job. She’s in a bad position, hostile work environment I believe is the legal term?

Obama: Nothing could be further from the truth. Jon was naive and disrespectful, but he has learned from his mistake. He is sorry and will show proper respect to members of the Cabinet in the future.

Me: At least on camera. Do you expect anybody to believe that?

Obama: Why shouldn’t they? The apology was sincere. I believe Jon thought that was an innocent joke, but a lesson learned the hard way will stick.

Me: You are a hopeless optimist. You should fire him. He’s all fine words and you have to provide the substance. Why don’t you write your own speeches?

Obama: As if I have the time or the talent for that. I’m a communicator. That’s one of my talents.

Me: It’s called charisma. You don’t snow me. I think you’re stuck with Mr. Favreau because you think he writes great lines. Lines are only great if the speaker puts real feeling into them. Guys with charisma can put great feeling into lines, but it’s not quite the same as real feeling.

Obama: And they call me a parser!

Me: You’re a politician. You know the difference between acting and speaking your own words with your own feelings.

Obama: You know what happens to people who try that. The media is merciless, sharks pouncing at the first sign of vulnerability.

Me: I think the women in this race can attest to that. Do you think it’s wise to have a shark writing your speeches?

Obama: He’s a young man who didn’t realize the implications of his drunken actions. Senator Clinton has forgiven him. She has been gracious about the entire affair. What’s your problem?

Me: The implications of those actions.

Obama: The matter is closed.

Me: You wish! Fire the guy quick, or you risk women getting really riled up!

Obama: (Snorts) I think I’m a better judge of American women than you. I’ll take my chances. Senator Clinton has accepted the apology. She is satisfied Jon won’t be causing any more trouble making embarrassing spectacles of himself.

Me: You have great faith in this guy. Why? Is it if it’s not broken, don’t fix it? He is broken, so his apology isn’t worth much.

Obama: Jon Favreau is a fine upstanding young man. I’m certain he will grow and learn from this experience.

Me: Hard to argue with blind faith. You don’t need this kind of baggage. Bad enough you gave Larry Summers a high post. He’ll never live down that crack about women not being able to compete in hard sciences because of genetics. This is a great mind? Some people think Sigmund Freud was a great scientist, but his understanding of women was atrocious. He was a great one to pathologize female psychology, since he wanted to stuff it into his own framework. It didn’t fit, just like Summers and Favreau don’t fit in a government I could believe in, though they do seem to fit right in with the rest of your crew. That’s my problem. These are party hacks and scientists for hire. What is this, a kinder gentler version of corporate empire you’re promising?

Obama: I surround myself with the best minds, regardless of political affiliation, so I can hear different sides of each issue to inform my decisions. I reject your insinuations. These are people of the highest integrity. Your suspicions are baseless and cynical. America needs its people to hope for the best, so we can all contribute our best to make America a beacon of hope and liberty for the world again.

Me: All right, enough of you for now! You really ought to fire that speechwriter! I’m sure Obama isn’t listening to silly fools like me, or outraged feminists in the blogosphere. I had to say something, regardless. This is really callous and disrespectful to women. I don’t much like Senator Clinton, but she almost won, could have been VP, and Secretary of State is a top Cabinet post, if not the top. She deserves some respect from a speechwriter for the President. He sure has no business groping a mockup of her, grinning as though he was proud as could be. This was no joke or laughing matter, despite the yuck it up attitude of such luminaries as James Carville (It’s a piece of cardboard, stupid!). This is typical of the blatant abuse of the women running for President and VP in this campaign. Obama ought to put a stop to it here and now. This is his golden opportunity to show respect for women means something in this country, at least for this President. But he’ll pass. Political expediency rules the day. This is the change I need?

ETA: I decided to trackback to one of those outraged feminists who wants to keep this scandal front and center, and whose call to protest inspired this entry.