That’s an Obama speechwriter on the left.

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Charming, huh? From this WaPo story:

Question No. 58 in the transition team vetting document for the Obama White House asks that applicants: “Please provide the URL address of any websites that feature you in either a personal or professional capacity (e.g. Facebook, My Space, etc.)”

Question No. 63 asks that applicants “please provide any other information … that could … be a possible source of embarrassment to you, your family, or the President-Elect.”

For a while there this afternoon, President-elect Barack Obama’s immensely talented chief speechwriter, 27-year-old Jon Favreau, might have been pondering how to address that question.

That’s when some interesting photos of a recent party he attended — including one where he’s dancing with a life-sized cardboard cut-out of secretary of state-designate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, and another where he’s placed his hand on the cardboard former first lady’s chest while a friend is offering her lips a beer — popped up on Facebook for about two hours. The photos were quickly taken down — along with every other photo Favreau had of himself on the popular social networking site, save for one profile headshot.

The WaPo article ends thusly:

Clinton senior adviser Philippe Reines cast the photos as evidence of increased bonhomie between the formerly rival camps.

“Senator Clinton is pleased to learn of Jon’s obvious interest in the State Department, and is currently reviewing his application,” he said in an e-mail.

So apparently Clinton is going to laugh it off. She has every right to do that if she wants to, especially as she learns the Secretary of State terrain, but dang, the whole “boys will be boys” narrative just gets reinforced.

–Ann Bartow

ETA: Note to the MRA trolls – If this is supposed to be excused as a “youthful indiscretion” because Favreau is “so young” then I think Obama’s judgment in continuing to rely professionally on someone so “young” and irresponsible and offensively sexist can reasonably be questioned.

Campbell Brown gives Obama a pass and instead says this about Hillary Clinton:

… Jon Favreau has, apparently, “reached out to Sen. Clinton to offer an apology.” No surprise there, but according to The Post, it doesn’t seem like that was even necessary.

A Clinton spokesman described the photo as an example of just good-natured fun between former rival camps. The Post quotes Sen. Clinton’s adviser Philippe Reines as saying, quote, “Sen. Clinton is pleased to learn of Jon’s obvious interest in the State Department, and is currently reviewing his application.”

No harm, no foul — apparently.

I’m sorry, but this is the same woman who, during the campaign, pointed to example after example of sexism directed at her saying that, quote, “It’s been deeply offensive to millions of women”?

Is this the same woman who pointed out the references to her cleavage or her cackle, the comments by certain pundits and the media?

The same woman who concluded, quote, “the remnants of sexism are alive and well” after someone at a rally shouted out “iron my shirt”?

She made a point of calling people out during the campaign, and for that, she became a hero to millions of women. But now, the campaign is over.

She is joining Team Obama, and, apparently, this photo of her likeness being groped by another key member of Obama’s team doesn’t bother her a bit. Just good-natured fun, or so her spokesman says.

Really, Sen. Clinton? Boy, have you changed your tune. You really think this photo is OK?

Put another woman in that photo, just an average woman who supported you during the campaign. Have it be her image being degraded by a colleague of hers. Would you be OK with that?

You drove an important conversation about issues just like this during the campaign.

Hillary Clinton gets criticized no matter what she does or doesn’t do. I’m not thrilled by her decision to laugh this off, because it does embolden the same sorts of behavior by others. At the same time, however, I understand how important it must be to her right now to seem like a team player. Obama is the captain of the team.   If anyone should be criticized for responding inappropriately, I think it’s the person who hired and continues to employ a man who thinks it’s perfectly fine to degrade the future Secretary of State while working for the very administration that elevated her to this position.

This is a textbook example of the “double bind.” If Clinton called Favreau out on his sexism, she’d be accused of wrongfully and selfishly undermining the Obama transition team. By declining to do so, she gets accused by Campbell Brown of letting down womenkind.

ETA2: Historiann writes:

This squib at CNN (posted yesterday) suggests that the photo was on Favreau’s Facebook account, because after using the passive voice to say that the photo”appeared on Facebook Friday,”it then states that”the picture was reportedly up for a scant two hours or so before Favreau removed it, along with every other picture of himself beyond his profile photo.”   So if he removed it, presumably he was the person who posted it, unless there are other people he has permitted to post things to his account.   This article also says that the photo was taken”at a recent party,”which is rather odd.   Did they think that they were campaigning to defeat Hillary Clinton in the general election?   She campaigned her heart out for Obama, so that level of hostility and need to express sexual dominance strikes me as extremely strange.   Does anyone else think that this guy should keep his job now?

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0 Responses to That’s an Obama speechwriter on the left.

  1. Pingback: Instapundit » Blog Archive » SOME FEMINISTS aren’t giving a pass to Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau. UPDATE: Reader Brian Hanc…

  2. John Skookum says:

    I am a fan of Sarah Palin, and came here via a link from Instapundit. I was prepared to leave a snide comment about how you lefties wouldn’t have called out these clowns if they’d been sporting with a picture of the Governor.

    But I did a search first, and saw that your site has been pretty consistent in support of her right to be taken seriously on her record rather than her gender or looks. That’s nice, thank you.

    Can you perhaps spend some time over at the Daily Kos or Democratic Underground teaching some manners to the men of the Left? Especially if she runs again?

  3. Pingback: Question No. 63 - The Opinionator Blog -

  4. stuartphiller says:

    why do you folks get your blood flowing when there seems any chance at all to get in a dig at the president elect or anyone working or supporting him? This is a child-like piece of nonsense that is perhaps in poor taste but is hardly earth shaking when put up against the economy and what is taking place in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Why not spend your time figuring out why you libertarians and/or conservative or Republicans (aoll the same) lost so much and so heavily in the past election(s)…and then get your oqwn house in order. Sniping in this silly way does nothing for you but allow you to get off when you are perhaps in need of some Idea Viagra so you can perform a bit better than you have been of late.

  5. Ann Bartow says:

    I speak only for myself, but I’m a feminist before I am a Democrat. I am not a fan of Sarah Palin, not even close, but her treatment by some Democrats, some Republicans, and many folks in the media was really horrible. If the goal of these folks was to drive her out of politics and thereby frighten other women from entering politics altogether, I hope they failed.

    Daily Kos and DU are pretty hostile places for almost all women, as are many right wing blogs. The hostility often seems to be intentional, calculated to keep most women from participating.

  6. Ann Bartow says:


    If you think I am a libertarian, conservative, or Republican, you are an idiot. My quest is for the Democratic Party leadership to stop treating women like second class citizens.

  7. bob coley jr says:

    Could Sen. Clinton’s remark be taken as an extremely smart, satirical statement that both speaks to her decisions of whom to hire in a way that takes behavior toward women into account AND be aluding to the fact that this person may need her help in the future in understanding how diplomacy works. In this way of interpretation, IMHO, she has bested all.

  8. David Poe says:

    Youthful indiscretion? This man is an adult, not some 15-year-old prodigy writer who still going through an awkward phase. You wanted the job as writer for the most powerful man in the country — if not the world? ACT LIKE IT. Otherwise, my wild guess is that Pres. Obama can do just fine without this stunted individual.

    At 27, your high-school/college days of taking stupid pictures of yourself and acting like an idiot with your buddies should be long past. Grow up.

  9. Tina Trent says:

    I wouldn’t label this a “double-bind.” It is a blindingly clear example of the type of behavior that should get someone, particularly someone in the business of delivering messages that allegedly include opposing sexism (not to mention sexual assault, as if that must be mentioned), fired.

    I call it a litmus test. And so far, both Obama and Clinton have failed it. Not to mention the usual suspects in the N.O.W., who ought to be up in arms about this, NOW if ever, as it were.

    It’s bad enough that this type of behavior is viewed as a source of humor. It’s worse that Favreau himself apparently thought it was funny enough “the morning after” to post it on his own account. It’s grotesque that pundits are currently debating whether joking about sexual assault should get a pass in the new administration.

    If the price of admission to this particular boy’s club is to laugh off images of sexual abuse, then Clinton herself should take a pass.

  10. flicka47 says:

    Wow folks,
    I am a dyed in the wool conservative and almost never agree with Hillary on anything. But if you ask me this shows a lot of class. Without being nasty in any way she has publically told this child that adults are not going to put up with such behavior.
    Spank him in private, and then let him explain his way out of the hole he has dug for himself.

  11. newfrontiersman says:

    1) Seriously, people are trying to write off the actions of a 27-year-old as a youth? When the hell does somebody become an adult?

    2) Ms. Trent, it’s unfortunately about sixteen years too late for Hillary Clinton to stand up for feminist principle. She chose power a long time ago, when she stood aside silently as her husband’s staffers used old-style patriarchal slut-shaming attacks to try to destroy any inconvenient women talking about her husband’s tendency to exercise the sexual privileges that come with power.

  12. Tina Trent says:

    New Front: Well, power to me doesn’t include being ravaged, even cardboardally, in public. Power involves kicking some ass over a serious transgression, Bill be damned, to show what she is made of, which is the point of politics. She never signed a contract signing away her right to be pissed off, publicly or privately, I imagine.

    And just because Bill is an ass doesn’t mean that every ass gets a pass now, does it? That was simply unconscionable and plain stupid. Or visa-versa. In any case, not acceptable from this particular administration, which has effectively substituted Bill’s “bimbo outbreaks” with actually much uglier “misogyny moments.” Aren’t we supposed to be moving . . . forward or something?


  13. Pingback: “Feminist Law Profs” in the WaPo this A.M. : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present

  14. Pingback: The corrosive principle of partisanship : The New Agenda