The Hillary Groping Incident And Other Signs We’re Back in 1950

Clueless white men, crass Hillary jokes, and Geithner’s “no girls allowed” sign. Is this the kind of change we’re meant to believe in?

Susan Walsh

Incident 1: The Big Three Bailout Hearings

Wow, what an experience. A bunch of white males (with the exception of Sen. Dole) who clearly understood little of the underlying dynamics of an industry puffing their collective chests out and asking a bunch of pre-rehearsed questions to another group of white males. Figuring out if taxpayers should spend another $34 billion of our hard earned money.

One of the best lines of the day was when Sen. Corker of Tennessee bragged in his opening remarks that “ he spent recent days in New York speaking with various bankers and turnaround experts.” Gee, that made me feel a heck of lot better. I mean c’mon, 10 hours of education on the intricacies of auto industry restructurings is enough to get out the checkbook for a few billion, right? Does any one of the Senators sitting on this committee have an MBA and/or a background in finance?

Geithner wants to silence a woman that disagrees with him. Sound familiar?

Pew Research recently reported that in 43% of all U.S. homes, women make more of the decisions on household finances (men make more in 26%, and in 31% of homes it is equal). Why then is it that our automotive committee is composed of 21 senators, 20 of which are male. So while 43% of women make the decisions at home, 5% of our Senate Banking Committee is composed of women?

Incident 2: Geitner Ditches the Only Woman on Bailout Team

Bloomberg reported that President-elect Obama’s pick for Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, wants to kick FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair off of the Bailout Team. Not only is Bair the only woman currently on the Bailout Team, but she is considered by many (including Jim Cramer of CNBC) as the only one who gets it.

Bair has been the lone voice advocating for a bottom up approach - e.g. curing the root of the problem (foreclosures). This is in sharp contrast to the disastrous TARP in which our government has dumped over $350 billion of the allocated $700 billion of taxpayer’s hard-earned money into a growing financial landfill. The program is certainly aptly named: tarp that covers the mistakes of a top down approach of pouring taxpayer funds into buying up the equity of certain chosen banks. And $350 billion that did nothing to thaw the frozen credit markets or make funds available to companies or homeowners.

And might I add a big “hats off” to Barney Frank for speaking against Geithner’s effort to jettison Bair. As reported in Politico:

Frank credited the current resistance to doing more about foreclosures to ruffled male feathers. “I think part of the problem now is that, to be honest, Shelia Bair has annoyed the Old Boys Club.” He likened the situation to several regulators “up in the treehouse with a ‘No Girls Allowed’ sign.”

Bair should retain her FDIC post in the Obama administration and even be given a “broader role in helping to formulate policy on mortgage foreclosures,” Frank told reporters after his speech.

So now, Geithner wants to silence a woman that disagrees with him. Sound familiar? Recently, the New York Times reported in an article titled The Woman Greenspan, Rubin & Summers Silenced that the three men refused to heed the warning of Brooksley Born, former head of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. Had the three listened to Born’s warnings on the dangerous derivatives market, our current financial crisis may have been averted.

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Incident 3: John Favreau Gropes Cardboard Likeness of Sen Clinton

Check out what President-elect Obama’s pick for director of speechwriting at the White House does in his free time.

This is the guy who puts words in Obama’s mouth, right?

As discussed on The New Agenda blog:

These antics ought to be summarily condemned by president-elect Obama. He ought to fire Jon Favreau. If he does not fire Favreau, he risks fostering the perception that he condones Favreau’s disrespect toward Sen. Clinton. He also risks encouraging this sort of behavior in other young men toward women who are not merely cardboard cutouts.

Drinking and sexual assault are a pernicious and persistent problem on college campuses.

It is a national catastrophe that 32% of our college women are victims of domestic violence.

Is the type of “change” we are meant to believe in? Looks like more of the “boys club” “ (only 27% of Cabinet picks to date are women—less than President Clinton and President W. Bush)” that seems to be developing at the White House under President-elect Obama.

Amy Siskind is co-founder of The New Agenda, a non partisan organization devoted to advancing women’s rights.