December 5, 2008

Barack Obama's chief speechwriter, Jon Favreau (on the left).



(Via WaPo.)

IN THE COMMENTS: Joan said...
Typical frat-boy-type tomfoolery.

Am I supposed to be offended? I laughed. It's just a goof.

I'm really starting to love Hillary, though. The response from her camp:

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.

Pitch perfect.

Yeah, excellent use of the word "bonhomie."

This could be a real turning point in feminist attitude. I did think we were supposed to get mad....

Wanna not?

72 comments:

tjl said...

That's Favreau on the left, but who's the one on the right, kissing the Hillary cutout image? The relationship seems a little one-sided.

Joan said...

Typical frat-boy-type tomfoolery.

Am I supposed to be offended? I laughed. It's just a goof.

I'm really starting to love Hillary, though. The response from her camp: 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.


Pitch perfect.

Trooper York said...

Jeeez, I thought that was Simon and Garage Mahal.

Those guys will do anything to get a tag.

Original George said...

Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said of Favreau, “Barack trusts him...And Barack doesn’t trust too many folks with that — the notion of surrendering that much authority over his own words.” NYT, Jan. 08

Yet another person the Pres.-elect has trusted. To his dismay.

Joan, this kid is the Director of Speechwriting to the President of the United States, not a frat-boy.

He's fired.

The Drill SGT said...
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The Drill SGT said...

We had the same behavior unfortunately in 93 when the Clinton WH was filled with immature campaign types. This time however, there appears to be an ongoing anti-female vibe to the Obama staff that continues into the WH apparently. I suspect it is because the Boss (hey sweetie) appears to condon it.

lumiere said...

ODST

Obama Double Standard Time.

LonewackoDotCom said...

Team BHO, redefining class-ay.

The question becomes, why is the WaPo releasing this? Are they trying to keep BHO on a short leash after spending months giving him treat after treat?

P.S. Why hasn't Althouse discussed this yet? I see that Insty has linked to a PJM article that lies about that issue; didn't she get the memo?

sonicfrog said...

Chip Ahoy, this picture needs your fine bohemian touch.

Darcy said...

I agree on both points, Joan. Silly!

Though I'm not getting why these two wanted maul Hillary, but Ok. :)

Hmmm...cardboard cutout of Roger Federer...now that would be tempting!

the wolf said...

Offensive? No, but it will be nice when adults are in charge again.

Cardboard FLOTUS said...

Change you can grope.

Theo Boehm said...
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Synova said...

If he's groping her breast he has bad aim.

I'm inclined to think he was just keeping the standee from falling over.

Darcy said...

Yeah, I think you're right, Synova.

Joan said...

Joan, this kid is the Director of Speechwriting to the President of the United States, not a frat-boy.

1) He's a freakin' writer, for God's sake. He's not making policy, he's not advising on policy, he's not writing laws. He has no actual responsibilities. In any other administration, he would be invisible. Who cares what the President-elect's speechwriter does in his free time? As long as it's not compromising national security, I don't care and I don't see why anyone else should, either. I don't think groping a life-size cardboard Hillary cutout rises to the level of a firable (sp?) offense. In case you haven't noticed, a lot of professional writers are assholes. Favreau fits right in.

2) The media gives Obama a free ride for two entire years and now, now, they start to pay attention to the type of person he surrounds himself with? WTF? Are they setting Obama up to fail? Without the media behind him, Obama will find political life much harder. Is payback already starting for the campaign promises Obama won't be keeping? This could be really interesting.

Trooper York said...

I think you are right Synova. If he was trying to feel her tits his hand should be down around her knees.

Meade said...

"How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?"

"I don't know. (Big affable smile) Tell me. Oh I'll bet this will be funny!"

Trooper York said...
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chuck b. said...

The guys in that picture are way hotter than anyone who worked for John McCain, I'm sure.

KLDAVIS said...

That picture is so money, but he doesn't even know it...

Ron said...

Are we sure that's not a 3D cutout of Hillary?

zeek said...

How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?

Three. One to screw it in and two to discuss the violation of the socket.

zeek said...
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zeek said...

KLDAVIS said...
That picture is so money, but he doesn't even know it...


I get it. A reference to Jon Favreau the movie actor, writer, and director and his film Swingers.

Theo Boehm said...
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Theo Boehm said...
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PatCA said...

This explains a lot (what I consider to be the vapidity of his campaign speeches).

Jill M. said...

well, Joan, just because you've decided to accept your role as submissive to that "frat-boy-type tomfoolery" doesn't mean I have to think it is funny or stop from feeling completely offended by this picture.

get a backbone Joan, you can be offended by it. I'm not saying you're supposed to be offended, but I AM offended, and your "aw, shucks" attitude doesn't cajole me out of my feelings!

Tully said...

You sure that's Favreau? I thought it ws Dirk Diggler.

veni vidi vici said...

"Yet another person the Pres.-elect has trusted. To his dismay."

Pres.-elect Obama: "That is not the Jon Favreau that I knew..."

Joan said...

Jill M, I'm a 45-year-old mother of three. I went to MIT where you were shunned if you ever referred to females as anything but "women" -- God help you (no one else would) if you ever called someone a "girl". I got my fill of righteous feminist anger as an undergrad, thanks.

I reject the idea that because I'm not offended I have "accepted" a "submissive role" here. This has nothing to do with spine or lack thereof, it has to do with accepting that guys act like jerks sometimes when beer is involved. He groped a piece of cardboard, not a real woman. I don't know this guy personally, he has no real responsibility in the administration, and he won't be dating my daughter in 10 years when she becomes eligible. Can you explain why I should care?

You want to be offended, more power to you. Me, I'm with Hillary -- we can see these guys are fools but there's no point in getting our panties in a twist over it. I'm not defending them but I'm not going to condemn them, either. There's no need. The photo speaks for itself.

Synova said...

Can I second the objection to the idea that not being offended by raunchy humor means a woman is submissive to it?

If anything *that* offends me more than guys having a drink with a Hillary standee. I'm tired of it.

Donna B. said...

Jill -- being offended all the time leads to such undesirable ends, anger and depression the least of them.

Joan -- I wouldn't call it frat-boy-type tomfoolery, as I've known a few non-frat-boy types engaging in the same. It's typical young male. And I love 'em, I do!

Young and old, frat boy and terminal redneck, polished and rough as sandpaper, men are marvelous creatures. As are women :-)

Theo Boehm said...
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Synova said...

Theo... if you were sharing a beer with a Hillary cardboard standee, you'd get fired from your job?

(I *don't* think he's groping her, his hand is not where her breast is.)

Christopher Althouse Cohen said...

I don't think she should be mad. The picture is not negative towards Hillary. If this is offensive, so is the Obama Girl singing about how she wants to have sex with Barack. It's meant to be humorous; they're at a drinking party. He should probably issue a public apology just because some of her supporters will probably be offended, but I imagine Hillary having a sense of humor about this sort of thing. If she's willing to forgive Bill...

Christopher Althouse Cohen said...

Here's what Campbell Brown has to say:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/12/05/campbell.brown.clinton/index.html#cnnSTCVideo

Ralph said...

he has no real responsibility in the administration
I'm sure he'd agree, and from the banality of the little I've heard, and the meaningless of his promises, so do I.

Theo Boehm said...
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Original George said...

Joan--

White House speech writers are not "invisible," as you say. And they do have "real responsibility" not to mention the responsibility to behave decorously and with respect to the American people. Remember Safire? Buchanan? Those guys played at the top level, and they can and do influence policy.

Where would Agnew have been with out that nattering nabob Safire?

What if Peggy Noonan had gone to work dressed as a man or been photographed at a bowling alley dressed as a man? I don't think Ron would have tolerated that!

Expat(ish) said...

@Theo- funny, I had the exact same thought.

Heck, I'll go further - you and I would dead end our careers if we were photographed like that with ANY womans picture.

In fact, since I work for a CA company that is militantly "pro equlaity" I can assure you that if I were to do that with a man's cardboard cutout it might be worse. (Though maybe my boss would protect me since I went to his wedding while that was legal in CA.)

Luckily this guy is a Liberal so it's ok.

-XC

Palladian said...

Yeah, why expect people in the highest levels of our government to behave with a little dignity and grace? No, it's all "boys will be boys" excuses and winks and nothing more will be made of it. Bring on the beer n' strippers, baby, the Democrats are back in business!

Richard Fagin said...

Dammit, Joan, I'm starting to like Hillary, too. When you're right, you're right.

AllenS said...

They're trying to get her drunk!

Cardboard FLOTUS said...

“His entire campaign is based on one speech he gave . . . I give him credit for making the speech, but his speech was not followed up with action, which is the pattern we have seen repeatedly — a lot of talk no action.” — Hillary Rodham Clinton, March 1, 2008

Palladian said...

I don't think this is the kind of action she had in mind.

Darcy said...

Theo, Expat(ish): I think this is at least a little different than either of you doing the same with a cardboard cutout of a co-worker or boss in that Hillary is a public figure.

I don't think it is admirable behavior at all. I think that if this were a Republican in the same position, photographed doing the same thing there would be at least a month of outrage from the MSM and Dems. At minimum, the guy wouldn't have a job in the administration. Just because that's most likely true doesn't mean I should treat it the same way they would. That would make me no better than them at trying to see this for what it is.

This is silly stuff. It is a cardboard cutout of a public figure. Thoughtless and careless -
I think that's about right. And beyond that, I think Hillary got the best "revenge" here.

Darcy said...

I should add, again, that I agree with Synova. I don't think Favreau is "groping" Hillary in this pic.

Ralph said...

This from Ace's made me laugh.

Palladian said...

Something just occurred to me: why did a group of Hope'N'Changers have a cardboard cut-out of Hillary in the first place? What was it doing there?

Trooper York said...

They stole it out of Garage Mahal's basement.

Palladian said...

"They stole it out of Garage Mahal's basement."

No, it can't be from there, it doesn't look sticky.

Theo Boehm said...
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Darcy said...

Theo, I do appreciate your concern about the treatment of women in the workplace. Good points.

Theo Boehm said...
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Theo Boehm said...
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Big Mike said...

So Obama hires young guys who can't hold their liquor?

I predict problems for his administration.

Palladian said...

"So Obama hires young guys who can't hold their liquor?"

Yeah, and what a "diverse" group of people that is! A bunch of white douchbags hanging around the granite-topped kitchen island drinking [possibly] imported beer in a room furnished with all the taste and style of the set for a pornographic video.

John Stodder said...

Though I'm not getting why these two wanted maul Hillary, but Ok.

Beer goggles?

Meade said...

With her ambivalent fashion choice of flashing cleavage on the floor of the Senate last year, Hillary has to bear her share of responsibility for the harmless act of a hapless beer-drinking 29 year-old guy hamming and handling the cardboard merchandise.

As Joan pointed out, Hillary shows political astuteness by now flashing a sense of humor.

Trooper York said...
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Trooper York said...
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Trooper York said...
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Original George said...

If I were at Mossad, MI5, the KGB, or a host of other foreign intelligence services, I'd try to keep an eye on this fool (and the other guy in the photo), particularly with regard to the bars he frequents. Send a pretty girl his way, get into his home, and it's off to the races. No telling what sort of bugs you could plant or information you could glean.

Trooper York said...
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LouRawls said...

Favreau should be fired immediately, as should any Obama staffer who participated. Rather than "change we can believe in," this exhibits more of the same degradation women have confronted for decades in this country in the struggle for equal rights. As a former Clinton support who contributed many hard-earned dollars and made many calls for Obama, I expect the President-elect to deal with this as quickly and decisively as he would racism or anti-semitism demonstrated by a staffer.

Jill M. said...

well, I have actually shared a common thought with Palladian...though not a frequent commenter/reader, I really thought that day would never happen!

In any case, Joan, I apologize if I offended you personally. Perhaps you are not exhibiting "submission" by your acceptance of what I deem "offensive" behavior.

However, no matter how many times I have made politically incorrect gaffs (gleefully at times) or cheered on friends who have, the plain truth is that I have also never worked anywhere near a campaign for the presidency of the United States.

I expect the teachers at my children's schools to have a better sense of judgment than this man did...it has less to do with his position and more to do with the reality that joking about feeling up a cardboard cut-out is not only a cheap-shot, lamejoke, it is setting a tone.

If you've already lived through and weathered what you call the "righteous" feminist movement, that's fine. I suspect this photo was more "teasing" Hillary than it was actually intended to harm her.

But that doesn't stop me from being offended.

I am offended because we live in a different world than we did when you went to MIT. At that time, making a stink about using "women" instead of "girls" had a far-reaching effect from such a formidable institution.

These days, the internet has the most far-reaching influence on the youth and that picture speaks more than 1,000 words to young men AND women who are trying to decipher the sexual power messages they receive.

Lastly, THIS man could date your daughter in 10 years. Check the statistics. Older men date younger women all the time.

Joan said...

What do all the offended people think happens to life-size, cardboard cutouts? Don't they realize that this is par for the course? This photo documents a typical day-in-the-life of a life-size, cardboard cutout.

I submit that no one expects anyone to respect a cardboard cutout. They are, in and of themselves, goofy, and people always act weirdly around them. If anyone can think of a legitimate, serious reason to have a life-size cutout hanging around, I'd like to hear it. If you want to honor someone, you hang a portrait. If you want to goof on someone, you get a cutout.

Did this cutout belong to Favreau? If he has his own cardboard Hillary, that's a bit too weird. OTOH, I would suppose that Hillary has control over how her likeness is used in commercial products like this, so theoretically, she agreed to become a cutout. That's a decision I'll never understand.

A couple of local U-Haul offices around here have life-size Kirk and Spock cutouts. Those franchises must be owned by the same folks. It always cracks up up when I see them. Before the election, there was a kiosk at the mall selling cutouts of famous presidents and presidential candidates, and without fail, passers-by that took notice did so by doing something goofy with them.

Elise said...

I think Favreau is a dead loss and I'm not very happy about Hillary Clinton's reaction to this but the person who has really screwed up here is Obama.

Leaving aside the issue of misogyny, one of Obama's employees who works very closely with him (Favreau is the Director of Speechwriting for the White House) has behaved disrespectfully toward the person Obama has picked to represent the United States to the rest of the world. I believe it is incumbent upon Obama to make it clear that his Secretary of State is to be treated with respect. (See Anglachel's Journal for an excellent post about this aspect of the situation.)

The best way to do that is to fire Favreau and announce that the Obama administration will have the same zero-tolerance policy toward workplace harassment that other major organizations are supposed to. After all, speechwriters are a dime a dozen and we all know Obama really writes his own speeches. Surely he could manage without Favreau.

Returning to the issue of misogyny, I wonder if the "boys will be boys", "this is just a silly prank" attitude about this episode would be less widespread if the same two men were "interacting" the same way with a cardboard cutout of Michelle Obama rather than Hillary Clinton.

jaybs said...

What a total non-story, I am uncertain if a few are just being a little OTT PC or can't yet accept that Barack Obama is Our New President Elect.

The amazing fact the photo had been posted some 11 months earlier, how fast some are.

Jon Favreau is a very talented young guy and will do well at The White House.

John said...

Serious question. Why does politics attract such douche bags? How are these people anywhere near a position of authority?