Sunday, November 30, 2014

Held To A Different Standard

Whether or not you believe the White House turkey pardoning tradition is endearing or insipid (or both!) the fact remains that while Obama is in the Oval Office, he is held to a different and higher standard than previous occupants.  And the same apparently goes for his daughters, Sasha and Malia.

A Republican staffer apologized on Friday for comments she made about the way Sasha and Malia Obama dressed for the turkey pardoning ceremony on Wednesday.

Elizabeth Lauten, the communications director for Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN), wrote in a Facebook post that the Obama girls did not dress with "class" and looked like they were dressed for "a spot at a bar."

Yes, that's right, the First Daughters are under attack for being teenagers.  Well, teenagers who are a little different than the previous ones.

Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play. Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department. Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised public events.

There are many things wrong with this, but let's start with the way Lauten is trying to slut shame Obama's daughters.  As a reminder, this is what they were wearing Wednesday:


How awful.

Exactly what's wrong with what Sasha and Malia Obama are wearing?  OH NOES YOU CAN SEE HER KNEES.  And remember, this is from the same group of people constantly complaining about how the War on Women is a myth, and that liberals are fascists who are controlling every aspect of how we look and dress in a too politically correct world.  They are teenagers, dressed as such.

And yet she has the unmitigated call to tell the daughters of the first African-American president in US history to "stretch" and "rise to the occasion?"

No, this is a snarling Republican operative putting two young women of color in their place, plain and simple. The assumption of privilege here is overwhelming.

As usual with these cases, her apology was even worse.

"I reacted to an article and quickly judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager. After many hours of prayer, talking to my parents and re-reading my words online, I can see more clearly how hurtful my words were," she wrote. "Please know that these judgmental feelings truly have no pace in my heart. Furthermore, I'd like to apologize to all of those who I have hurt and offended with my words, and pledge to learn and grow (and I assure you I have) from this experience."

I'm sorry you thought I was offending you, and I prayed for hours, so I'm off the hook.

Even more privilege assumed.

Remember, she's a political PR professional, hired as such.  If anything, she's woefully incompetent and should be fired.

On second thought, Republicans should probably promote her.  I'd love to see this person in charge of the GOP's 2016 campaign messaging.  And remember kids, Sasha and Malia are fair game in the eyes of the GOP.


West_of_the_Cascades said...

This person's first post was horrible in every way. But I read this apology to be stronger and more genuine than the usual RWNJ apology, maybe because I read it in two distinct pieces: first, prayer (and hearing from her parents) helped her understand "how hurtful [her] words were" - not a justification for what she did, but the means by which she understood how wrong it was (parenthetically -- most sentient human beings wouldn't need to pray after they did something hurtful to figure that out, but it beats never figuring it out at all). The second piece is an unambiguous and unqualified apology - "I want to apologize to all those who I have hurt and offended" - not "I apologize if I hurt or offended," not "I apologize that you were hurt and offended." A straight out recognition that there are people she hurt and offended, and a straightforward apology to them.

Yes, adding the prayer and promise to learn and grow make it sound more like a rationalization -- but the omission of the classic "I apologize IF you were offended" makes me feel a little less cynical about the apology. Time will tell if she really stops this sort of behavior and actually has learned anything.

BTW, glad to see you posting at Balloon Juice regularly now, too.

RepubAnon said...

How much prayer is needed to remember "judge not, least ye be judged"? For that matter, it takes a lot of sheer gaul to say: "Please know that these judgmental feelings truly have no pace (sic) in my heart" after noting that it took hours of prayer, some talks with her parents, and re-reading her own words before she purportedly reached that conclusion.

I'd say that her mean-spirited words came directly from her heart, and the only reason we're seeing an apology is the level of criticism she received afterward.

West_of_the_Cascades said...

You're probably right. The President's pardoning of turkeys made me sort of take his actions as my role model and try to pardon this one ....

Also, I should mention how awesome I think the President's daughters are -- they seem to genuinely dislike the turkey-pardoning ceremony, probably get roped into it every year by their Dad, and feel no compunction to look anything other than miserable having to witness it (nor to put on any special Happy Clothes to "make the appearance"). Good for them and for the Obamas for letting them has as normal an adolescence as possible in the White House fish bowl. And, as Zandar says, shame on the Republicans for taking pot shots at them.

That said, I have to confess to still thinking this was one of the best Onion headlines of the GW Bush era:,8879/

Horace Boothroyd III said...

Beautiful stuff, but I have to ask whether this counts as GW Bush era:,464/

And for what it's worth, I would bear any burden and attend any ceremony demanded of me in order to have my Dad be the President. Even if I were a teenager.

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