Monday, November 18, 2013

Obamacare: Women in Charge

On yesterday’s Meet the Press Tom Brokaw, Chris Matthews and David Gregory were opining about the failure of the Obamacare rollout.

Strangely enough, for men who are presumably full-throated supporters of feminism, they seemed to be laying the blame at the feet of the women in charge: Kathleen Sebelius, Marilyn Tavenner and Valerie Jarrett.

Worse yet, they seemed to be asking what kind of man feels a need to surround himself with so many women.

Ann Althouse has looked at the evidence and has espied a pattern of unconscious sexism. This puts her into high dudgeon.

To her mind, Tom, Chris and David were intimating, with their sports metaphors and martial images, with their referencing to more competent people named Bobby, Doug or Jim that the Obama administration gave too much power, too much authority, too much responsibility to a bunch of girls.

Althouse is not finished, not by a lot. She believes that these sexist males are really impugning our president’s manliness. Heaven forfend!

By her analysis:

So what does this say about Obama, not wanting to bring in real men, who take charge, who make the play, who exert authority? He's not man enough to work alongside real men? He needs to play with the ladies, ladies who don't know their place — who dither and float? 

Althouse notwithstanding, the Obama administration seems to have gotten the message. It recently put a man in charge of the health care mess: Jeffrey Zients.

If a Republican had said any of what Tom, Chris and David said, media pundits would rise up and smite him for declaring war against women. He would be consigned to whichever circle of Hell contains all the unrepentant sexists.

Apparently, the feminist-sympathizers on NBC get a pass… from everyone but Althouse.

The trouble is: how do you know that these left-leaning men on Meet the Press were not just stating the truth? Given today’s political correctness, no one is really allowed to say that it makes the least bit of difference whether men or women are in charge. Everyone believes that men and women are equal, but most people understand that equal does not mean same. What if the the NBC-men were circumventing censorship to speak the truth?

The truth is, women have been in charge of Obamacare and they have, by all indications, failed. Would men have done better? We do not know. 

Does being a woman compromise someone’s ability to exercise executive leadership in some situations?

Surely, we cannot determine the truth with absolute certainty. Surely, women do not hold a monopoly on incompetence. It is not a very good idea to extrapolate too far from a single example.

After all, the world has known many effective women leaders. Margaret Thatcher comes to mind, though she surrounded herself entirely with men.

To prove Tom, Chris and David wrong one would have to provide examples of effective women or men leaders who have delegated significant authority to a significant number of women?

Althouse is also disputing the implication that there is something wrong with a man who surrounds himself with women because he does not have enough manly self-confidence to hire strong men.

Would it matter if a male coach of a men’s football team hired a large group of female assistant coaches? Would it matter if a commanding general filled his immediate staff with female officers?

You might say that the Obamacare rollout was not at all analogous with fighting a war, but clearly Tom and Chris and David are great supporters of President Obama. They are offering what they consider to be good advice, though they know that if they stated it directly they would be excoriated by feminists. Or perhaps they have developed such well-developed capacity to self-censure that they do not even allow themselves to think such sexist thoughts.

To uncover their real beliefs Althouse had to ferret through their sports and military metaphors.

Yet, for all Althouse or I know, Tom, Chris and David might be right.

An opinion that offends your ideology is not, ipso facto, wrong.


Robert M. Mitchell Jr. said...

The whole thing is made trickier by the fact (At least as observed by me) that once you have three or more women in one venue, Drama happens. Perhaps the problem was not "Woman leader", it was "Women leaders"? I have seen several women write about how women seem to enjoy drama almost a hobby for them. If the trait is common, it would explain why women seem to be death to hierarchical system.

Sam L. said...

Obama not manly enough? Has anyone seen Michelle? He's NOT manly enough to man up and accept responsibility for being president and what happens in his administration. SO: Manly, he ain't.

He has women assistants: Clearly can't get past his "Male-Dominance" mode to accept women as equals.

Could T, C, and D be right? Yes, but I'd bet against it. They're on NBC.

Anonymous said...

To Robert's point, my Mother always said there should be a federal law prohibiting triple-occupancy female rooms in college dormitories. It's a recipe for disaster. I always marvel that girls walk around in threes. It strikes me as a dangerous brew, built from the ground up for maximum drama.

A man could not have done better. ObamaCare is a singular disaster, built to fail. Nothing good comes in 2,000+ pages. I don't think this necessarily has to do with gender issues. I do find it amusing that the talking heads (or vomiting heads, in Chris Matthews' case) are bringing this up as an issue for blame. Once again, the Messiah is spared any responsibility for anything. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. What is refreshing is to hear Valerie Jarrett's name bandied about. I've never understood why she gets a free pass by the media... I suspect they are terrified of her, as it sounds most of the White House staff is.

And yes, women do often compromise executive leadership because men often don't have time for the emotional nonsense surrounding the fallout. This kind of drama may be exciting for women and bring them together, but it is repulsive to men… it is to be avoided at all cost.

To answer the sports analogy, the folly of hiring a bunch of female assistant coaches has nothing to do with a woman's individual competence to do the actual job. It has to do with the colossal distraction of managing all the drama between the other female assistant coaches. Regardless of who's fault it is, constant conflict-resolution is going to require a lot of his time and all the drama is going to chew-up the productivity of his team. Teams in the NCAA bowl division are allowed 9 assistant coaches. I would think it would be challenging for one man to manage a team of 9 immediate subordinates who were exclusively female. It's another variation on the theme "I love human beings, but humanity sucks." It's also a variation of a comment I read on this blog that still sticks with me: can you imagine if you reversed the male and female parts of "The Lord of the Rings?" A fellowship of women going on a grand adventure to save the world from the power of an evil ring? The story would never work.

To be fair, men have their own stuff around ego. We all know this. But what is interesting is that you don't find men constantly trying to deny it and getting angry when it's pointed out. It's part of the deal, something to be managed and dealt with. Any man who would complain about a "war on men" would be laughed at. Indeed, men are laughed, ridiculed and marginalized when they point out the increasing under-performance of boys in school.

As with everything this president does, it's more collateral damage. I wish more women would stop and look at this "war on women" for the nonsense that it is. It's pandering on a colossal scale.


Anonymous said...

If it sucks all the air out of a society,
how can we call it 'collateral damage'?

the fact that people cannot see it for what it is
doesn't mean it a bug, not a feature.


Anonymous said...

* "it's"


Sam L. said...

Have you seen the movie, "The Women". Written by a woman, No men appear on screen. Her characters are mostly other-destructive, Say! Her marriage looks to be in trouble; let's make sure of it!

Anonymous said...


President Obama sees every negative or unfortunate consequence of his policies as "collateral damage." He's a true believer. He keeps marching on toward his goals, his vision. He wants to fundamentally transform America because he believes the America that exists is bad. You are the problem. We are the problem.

He's a narcissistic, self-congratulatory nihilist. The only value he understands or responds to is power. It's not about "Yes, we can!" It's about "Because I can." That's how he's done it for five lomg, tortuous years. Three more to go!

It doesn't matter if his core Democrat constituencies suffer. That's just more "collateral damage." He loves his power.

Do you really think he cares that the ObamaCare website doesn't work? Really? 42% approve of the job he's doing, and the rest don't know any better. 42%!!! He is right, all the time. Those who disagree are wrong, all the time. Not just wrong, but mean and amoral. So anything or anyone that gets in his way, any misfortune at all, is "collateral damage."

Hmmmmm... who else thinks this way? Valerie Jarrett. Look at her record, and you'll see the keys to the kingdom. She is bad, bad news... for all of us.


Anonymous said...

One last thing about my previous comment... Valerie Jarrett is a slumlady (as opposed to "slumlord"). Read about it. Yep, she's a real woman of the people. After all, real Americans run slums... at least in Obama's view. And do remember that dear Valerie was born in Iran. For real. Adds a little spice to the idea of "If you have a nuclear weapon, you can keep your nuclear weapon. Period." Well, doesn't it?


Soviet of Washington said...

Shorter Sam

Dennis said...

Valerie Jarrett might be the perfect person for the job because when Obama gets through we will all be living in slums. S/O
The polls are now much lower as currently reflected.

One has to realize that the federal government and especially Civil Service have been becoming a female ghetto for about 100 years now, Over those years women, especially feminists, have learned that all one has to do is move from agency to agency to move up the ladder. This has created an example of the "Peter Principle." Add to that the fact that most of the people who have controlled Congress have been democrats.
Over the years as the bond grew between women, mostly feminists, and the Democrat politicians in charge it became increasingly hard to tell the difference between the politics of either group.
Politicians come and go, but the underlying structure stays in place and further consolidates the Democrat bond and how government really works. Until that underlying structure is changed with people who work for the people instead of the politician it does not matter who gets elected.
More later.

David Foster said...

I don't think this particular issue is really about gender, rather it's about Obama's inability to tolerate strong subordinates. Does anyone really think Obama would have wanted Meg Whitman as Obamacare implementation director? Virginia Rometty of IBM? Or even Marissa Mayer?

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you, David. Obama is an empty suit, and he doesn't want anyone showing him up. He has the most nondescript cabinet in recent history. It's all about him. Because of this, I don't think it has anything to do with gender. Though I will point out that many women in the White House have complained that Obama's inner circle is a "boy's club." Well, that may be, but then he goes to the executive residence to talk to Michelle and Valerie about what he really should do. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but someone has to do some real journalism on Valerie Jarrett and how the White House really works. Given the political leanings of the major media outlets, I'm not holding my breath.