If only sexual predator San Diego Mayor Bob Filner had learned the Eleventh Commandment: “Thou shalt not grab thy female employee's buttocks on the way out of the meeting!!” The beleaguered Filner says he needed the city to provide “sexual harassment training” so that he would have known not to continually grope, kiss or solicit women in his employ. If the Mayor of a city of nearly 1.4 million, and a former 10-term Congressman, is such a clueless creature that it didn’t occur to him that telling female colleagues to get naked, dragging them in a headlock while whispering obscenities or telling women to come to work without panties was inappropriate, I doubt sensitivity training would have helped.
You really have to ask yourself what it takes to get these guys off the stage, or to take responsibility for their failures or sins.
Anthony Weiner disgraced himself, losing his Congressional seat by sexting lewd pictures of his…er, ‘member’ over the Twitter-verse, having phone sex with multiple women and now, rather than slinking off quietly, he is not only running for Mayor of New York City, but up until a second round of his odious sex-scapades were discovered, he was winning against his opponents.
We know his earlier mea culpa to us and to his then-pregnant wife, Huma Abedin, wasn’t worth the time it took to record it. You should pardon the expression, but how many acts does this guy get? Even though his campaign manager has resigned, he has hired yet another one and refuses to stop figuratively slapping his wife, or us. By continuing his run and thinking he can ride this out, Weiner flaunts his bad behavior, belittling the importance of the job for which he is contesting.
Mark Sanford, another one who humiliated his wife with an affair, has moved from the Governor’s mansion to Congress. Former New York Governor Elliot (client #9) Spitzer likewise is looking for his second act in what can be called a more humble position as New York’s comptroller. As noted elsewhere, at least this is not so egotistical a leap. But the disgraced Governor has already had his own TV show and now, à la Mr. Weiner…he’s ba-ack!
The latest debacle is that Larry Summers, former Director of the White House U.S. National Economic Council for President Obama, who has not shown any whiz bang bona fides on the economy, looks to be eclipsing Janet Yellen, Ben Bernanke’s second in command, for the Fed chair position. The sexist attacks against the eminently qualified Yellen have gotten feverish, accusing her of lacking "gravitas" - code for a lack of testicles perhaps?
Per the Huffington Post:
“Leading Democrats are struggling with the idea that President Barack Obama may actually nominate economist Larry Summers to head the Federal Reserve. If he does, he'd pass over Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen, who saw the warning signs of the 2008 financial collapse, for Summers, whose deregulatory advocacy as treasury secretary contributed to it.”
Summers pushed for the repeal of Glass-Steagall while on the other hand, Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen looks to be the winning ticket here:
“She is steady, she's been right and she hasn't ignored the real economy and the role of employment," former Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.), now president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, said Wednesday. "The reputation she has is as someone who has certainly been more interested in the full employment side of the mission than just the anti-inflationary side." Yellen pushed for transparency at the Fed before it was popular and ate with fellow workers in the cafeteria.
Ms. Yellen has long shown her focus on the devastating effects of long-term unemployment. She also doesn’t seem to live in a rarified air. Isn’t that someone we want?
Further, Sheila Bair, who was brilliant as head of FDIC and touted by both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times as giving that organization teeth, has just endorsed Yellen for Fed Chair in Fortune Magazine:
"Unlike Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, and other Bob Rubin-minions frequently mentioned in the financial press as potential Bernanke successors she was not part of the deregulatory cabal that got us into the 2008 financial crisis," Bair wrote. "In fact, she had a solid record as a bank regulator at the San Francisco Fed and was one of the few in the Fed system to sound the alarm on the risks of subprime mortgages in 2007."
Sheila Bair knows what it is like to be the best person for the job, yet to lose out. She was passed over for Treasury Secretary not once, but twice – first by Timmy “Turbo Tax” Geithner, and then by Washington insider, Jack Lew. Bair’s endorsement of Yellen is revealing, offering clues as to why she did not get the Treasury position. She was an opponent of “too big to fail.” Therefore, she couldn’t possibly tell the “cabal” what to do. At a certain point, one has to wonder why only certain players keep getting cycled and recycled through at the highest levels of power.
What, aside from being part of the Beltway insiders’ club, qualified these men for the job over Bair or Yellen? This is not about a woman winning out, per se, but if a woman happens to be better for the gig, shouldn’t we be more concerned with who is going to best serve the American people? Isn’t that what should concern the President?
What qualifies Larry Summers for the job of Fed Chair? David Dayen of Salon just called Summers not only a known sexist, but an “ignoramus” who could possibly bring down the economy (again) – someone who has “the worst track record in America on regulating banks.” Mr. Summers has been running his own one man crusade for the job, starting a whisper campaign against Yellen, hinting that she is not “strong enough.” For what? Will she have to lift weights?
What he means is she is not part of the Wall Street boys’ club. Here’s hoping the President does not opt, once again, for testosterone over competence.
Now back to the wiener. I mean, Mr. Weiner. That he has not been laughed off the stage with his flippant, off-putting quasi-apologies is disturbing. While it is not my place to sit in judgment of him (I will); this is about more than someone having an affair. His behavior, and his internet alias, ‘Carlos Danger,’ bespeaks narcissism, recklessness and emotional immaturity on a level that calls into question his ability to lead, to use sound judgment or to prioritize responsibilities of so important and stressful a job as Mayor of New York City. This is a city that is a constant target, after all.
Even as a six-term Congressman, a far less taxing gig, there was nothing exemplary about his performance, yet his stress-relief was tweeting pictures of his erect wiener? What kind of judgment is that? Our elected leaders need to exhibit some decorum, otherwise don’t we feel ridiculed as well? You or I could never do our jobs in such a fashion and keep them – much less be hired back in some capacity.
That anyone would still be willing to vote for this man is shocking. While it is doubtful that he will win, I have to wonder why we allow our minds to be daily polluted with human train wrecks. We still allow double standards, setting a low bar for men and their sexual peccadilloes and governing failures when no woman would get such leeway, forgiveness or second chance.
The American people are likewise being laughed at, flouted and “shined on” by those who clearly do not take our problems seriously, either thinking they know better than the “little people” or that the next circus will distract us from holding them accountable for their actions.
Men might do well to be even more infuriated than women at Weiner or Filner’s behavior, and also realize that Larry Summers’ sexist whisper campaign doesn’t just damage women. Political operatives like this give men a bad name, particularly those men who are willing to stand silent in the face of such behavior.
Had a woman been possessed of the record of a Larry Summers, there is no way he would be in serious contention for a job that is second in importance only to that of the Presidency. Had a woman ever committed the equivalent of any of the acts of Filner, Weiner, Sanford, Spitzer et al, a second act would not even be a question. Such a woman would be dismissed from view and laughed off the stage.
Men as well as women lose out when we do not have the best leadership; when we make allowances for men who offer a side show and little else.
We can do better.
Anita is a frequent contributor the top syndicated Jerry Doyle Show, ARNN, Epic Times and The New Agenda.
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