The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

April 5, 2013
Why should Obama apologize for telling the truth?

Obama.JPEG-0d837.jpg
By Ginger Rutland

We suck all the marrow out of our politicians and then wonder why they come off so universally wooden and timid and scripted.

The most recent case on point - an off-hand remark by President Barack Obama at a private fundraiser in San Francisco that Kamala Harris "also happens to be the best-looking attorney general in the country" has created a stir among the chattering classes - mostly newspaper reporters and TV pundits. Regular Americans, I suspect, could care less.

Under the headline "Flirter in chief," Fox News reports that the president, a friend and long time political ally of Harris, called her to apologize for the remark. Please! Where else in the world do men have to apologize for calling a good looking women good looking?

California happens to be home to two exceptionally beautiful women in high office - Harris, who undoubtedly is, as the president said, "the best looking attorney general in the country," and Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court.

Some may recall the hubbub that Assemblyman Chuck Calderon created a year or so ago when he alluded to Cantil-Sakauye's appearance in an Assembly floor speech. "It isn't...is she attractive" the clueless Calderon sputtered, "Cause she is."

Unlike Harris, the chief justice did take offense. That may have been because at the moment he uttered his fateful words regarding Cantil-Sakauye's appearance, Calderon was pushing legislation that would have stripped the chief justice of her power.

There seems to be a double standard. Endless stories have been written and reams of newsprint consumed on the subject of California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom's handsome profile. One news article called him "blindingly handsome." But I don't recall any one getting huffy about it or being accused of sexism or even asking him if he were offended.

And it goes beyond politicians. Ordinary men I talk to about this tell me they feel constrained at the office, afraid of offering even the most common place compliments to their female co-workers.

This, I think, is one of those instances when the "media" really is to blame. We tend to highlight the "oops" moments, blowing them way out of proportion. "Flirter in chief?" - give me a break.

President Barack Obama walks with California Attorney General Kamala Harris, center, and California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, after arriving at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.



About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

FOLLOW US | Get more from sacbee.com | Follow us on Twitter | Become a fan on Facebook | Watch Bee news, lifestyle videos | View our mobile versions | e-edition: Print edition online | What our bloggers are saying

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Stuart Leavenworth on Twitter

Follow "SacBeeEditBoard" on Twitter