Okay, so we all know about the decision of Kathleen Sebelius to block the Plan B morning-after pill from being sold over the counter to young teens.
Today the President was asked if he supported the decision, and he said he did.
So, everyone has their own position on this – some back the move, some are outraged by it.
It’s, obviously, a hugely important debate, and once you exclude the voices of the nutjobs whose ultimate fantasy is to control what women do with their bodies, the genuine opinions on both sides are fascinating to hear and read – not least for someone like me who is torn on the issue simply because children are involved. And that’s what, say, 12 or 13-year-old girls are: children. Just because they can have babies at that stage of their lives doesn’t make them adults. When I was a 12 or 13-year-old girl I had significantly less sense than a lump of wood, so, even then, would have laughed at the notion that I was an ‘adult woman’ capable of making big decisions.
Any way, some of the anger about this decision is coming from genuine people who just think it’s seriously wrong.
I know, I know, it’s ridiculous to give any thought to a post that appears on Salon these days, it’s a long, long time since you could take the site seriously. This, after all, is the home of my most loved comedian, the increasingly hysterical Greenwald creature, who has just become a caricature of a caricature of a caricature of himself, “OMG! I SO TOTALLY HATE OBAMA” the gist of what he writes all day, every day. Cutting edge journalism. And then there’s the embarrassment that is Arianna Huffington-wannabe Joan Walsh, not to mention Gene Lyons who so stylishly compared Melissa Harris-Perry to the KKK.
If they just renamed the place The Anti-Obama Diary they might get a few more hits. Crikey, at least us ‘Obots’ are honest about our affections, but Salon still bills itself as progressively righteous. As the young people say: LOL.
Any way, Rebecca Traister posted a fairly extraordinary article on Salon in response to the Plan B decision, which was a whole lot more about releasing some of her pent-up loathing of the President than it was about the actual issue.
The headline: “Obama’s woman problem – The president shamefully uses his daughters to justify limiting the healthcare options of America’s young women.”
“When will Barack Obama learn how to talk thoughtfully about women, women’s health and women’s rights?”
(Funny, I thought he spoke pretty thoughtfully about women’s rights as early as his first month in office when he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. But, never mind. Maybe Rebecca was still recovering from the pain of seeing him inaugurated, so missed the historic occasion? And she probably skipped his appointments of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court too, that level of woman-hating was way too much to take.)
“Obama pooh-poohed the findings of the FDA, which had concluded that Plan B pills posed no medical hazard.”
This is what the President said today (see his full remarks here):
“…. as I understand it, the reason Kathleen made this decision was she could not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old going into a drugstore, should be able …. to buy a medication that potentially, if not used properly, could end up having an adverse effect …. It has been deemed safe by the FDA. Nobody is challenging that. When it comes to 12-year-olds or 13-year-olds, the question is can we have confidence that they would potentially use Plan B properly. And her judgment was that there was not enough evidence that this potentially could be used improperly in a way that had adverse health effects on those young people.”
So, no, the President didn’t poo-poo the findings of the FDA at all – on the contrary, he said that “nobody is challenging” their decision to deem the product safe. His argument, which was crystal clear – whether you agreed with it or not – was that there were concerns that “12-year-olds or 13-year-olds …. would potentially” use it “improperly in a way that had adverse health effects on those young people”.
Hey, by all means, dispute his argument, but why completely misrepresent what he said?
“But part of what was most disturbing about Obama’s statement was his reliance on language that reveals his paternalistic approach to women and their health. “As the father of two daughters,” Obama told reporters, “I think it is important for us to make sure that we apply some common sense to various rules when it comes to over-the-counter medicine.”
So, a father of 13 and 10-year-old girls expressing concern about their welfare is “disturbing”? And suggests his approach to women and their health is “paternalistic”?
Call me weird, I just thought he sounded like a father who cares about the welfare of his young daughters and girls of their age. Is that a bad thing now? Is it way more progressive for a father to say to his 13 and 10-year-old girls, ‘hey, go get pregnant, there’s always Plan B!’.
“…. as an American, I think it is important for my president not to turn to paternalistic claptrap and enfeebling references to the imagined ineptitude and irresponsibility of his daughters …. Obama is just laying down some Olde Fashioned Dad Sense …. he diminishes an issue of gender equality, sexual health and medical access. Recasting this debate as an episode of “Father Knows Best” reaffirms hoary attitudes about young women and sex that had their repressive heyday in the era whence that program sprang.”
Please forgive my language: what a load of complete ****ing bullshit!
I’ve been a fiery feminist all my friggin’ life, but this kind of crap is cringeworthy and just gives ammunition to enemies of women’s rights – it’s pitiful, lamentable, pathetic, whingy shit. Take your pick.
“….the imagined ineptitude and irresponsibility of his daughters….”
His daughters are 13 and 10!!!!! They’re not inept or irresponsible, and he never implied any such thing – they’re not “young women”, they’re CHILDREN!! That is why their father is protective of them, it’s what good, loving fathers do. Father might not always know best, but fathers loving and caring for their young daughters doesn’t make them enemies of women, it makes them decent human beings and great friggin’ Dads.
“When he says that he wants to “apply common sense” to questions of young women’s access to emergency contraception, he is telegraphing his discomfort with the idea of young women’s sexual agency, or more simply, with the idea of them having sex lives at all.”
Oh God. It’s hard to know where to start here, and it’s certainly hard to compete with her psychoanalysis of the President.
Again, Traister chooses to categorize children, as the law regards them, as “young women”.
Help me out here? Traister is saying that the President experiences “discomfort” at the notion of children “having sex”. Children maybe as young as 13 and 10? Does that make him a woman-hating freak? No, it makes him sound a bit like my late Dad, and every normal loving Dad. You know, the ones who become clinically depressed when their daughters first start using lipstick. Does that make them woman-hating monsters? No, it just confirms they are human beings who don’t want their beloved little girls to grow up. And the mere thought of their girls having sex nigh on drives them over the edge. Why? Again, because they’re human!
Which is why we love them, because they actually care. Is it more progressive to be a ‘deadbeat’ Dad who couldn’t give a shit if his 13-year-old daughter is risking becoming pregnant? Most daughters, especially fatherless ones, crave ‘Olde Fashioned Dad Sense’ – that kind of love is worth the price of gold.
So, who is the oddity here: the President or Traister?
“Moreover, Obama’s invocation of his role as a father is an insult to the commitments and priorities of those on the other side of this issue. Are we to believe that those who support the increased availability of emergency contraception do not have daughters? That if they do, they care less about those daughters than Barack Obama does about his? And that if they do not, they cannot possibly know better than a father of daughters what is best for young women?”
Right, at this point Traister has mislaid the plot. Completely.
By citing his love and concern for his daughters, the President was pissing on those who don’t have daughters?
And he insinuated that he cares for his daughters more than any other parent cares for theirs?
Hey, call me cynical, but methinks Traister heard what she wanted to hear today, her misrepresenting of the President’s comments laughably deceitful.
Then she went on to detail the President’s varying positions on late-term abortions over the years, just to beef up her argument that he doesn’t like women much.
You know, I truly envy Rebecca Traister’s glib and easy stance on “reproductive freedom”. She’s so lucky that it’s all so uncomplicated for her. For some of the rest of us it’s way more challenging than that, we actually have to stop and think. Some of us are passionately pro-choice, but are uneasy about late-term abortions. No, that doesn’t mean we hate women, or that we’re Rick Perry-ites, it just means we think about these things, unlike the ideologically pure, for whom every issue is a bumper sticker, rather than something that makes you pause.
Traister, though, excelled when she turned her attention to the President’s view of his wife.
“…. the president “often points out that he is surrounded by strong females at home,” an argument that not only mimics an old saw about how being henpecked by women is equivalent to respecting them, but reflects a dynamic as old as patriarchal power itself.”
Interesting. Traister assumes that the President saying he is surrounded by “strong females at home” automatically means he is “henpecked” …. does this not say a whole lot more about her assumptions than those of the President? Why does she take it that “strong females at home” automatically equals “henpecked”? Heck, maybe it just means….. they’re “strong females”?
Does Traister, you can’t but wonder, have a problem with the First Lady?
She reckons the President’s comments on The View in 2010 about his wife watching the show suggested she “just doesn’t have a head for news delivered by anyone other than Elisabeth Hasselbeck”.
Really? He suggested that? He implied his wife was an airhead?! Truly? And he’s never, ever pointed out that his wife watches this stuff for light relief, just to escape the relentless bile directed towards him on all the other channels, that she is Princeton and Harvard-educated, is way smarter than him, that she is his rock and the first person he seeks advice from – on a personal and political level? And next in line is his longest term advisor, Valerie Jarrett – a mere woman! Yep, the President is a misogynist.
“…. no one seems to have told him …. that the best way to address a question of women’s health and rights is probably not by making it about his role as a father.”
Really? Why is being a father to two young girls so inconsequential when discussing issues like these?
Why is a “role as a father” something not to be mentioned?
When he cites his daughters, in an attempt to explain how he is emotionally involved in an issue, he is exploiting them.
When he doesn’t ‘humanize’ an issue like this, he is an aloof, professorial robot.
Rebecca Traister’s Salon article was a whole heap of steaming crap, of the very worst dishonest and disingenuous kind.
Why? Who knows.
But, by the way, she was a diehard Hillary supporter in 2008 and really has never forgiven Barack Obama for beating her pick.
And that is what this is all about – along with a brand of demented feminism that regards with contempt any role, however benevolent, fathers try to play in their daughters’ lives.
Why did I even draw attention to her pathetic article? Good question!
I just did it to try and shine a little light, again, on the agendas of the President’s most bitter detractors on the so-called left.
The thing is, they sneer at us ‘Obots’, but at least we’re honest about where we stand – these people are deceitful to their core. There’s usually an agenda. As there was with Rebecca Traister’s piece in Salon – all she succeeded in doing was unveiling her bitterness, again.
By all means, while sticking to the facts, attack the President for his position on Plan B …. but attack him for his relationship with his wife and daughters? Ah, that’s when the professional left becomes indistinguishable from Limbaugh and Co.
President Barack Obama talks with student Rebecca Hyndman before visiting classrooms at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., Sept. 16, 2011. Hyndman, a Senior at Thomas Jefferson, shows the President the patent she received in 2010 for her invention, Under-Floor Storage. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)