Kamala Harris is an accomplished politician: she is the state’s first female, African-American, and Asian-American attorney general in California. She also probably has aspirations to run for higher political office in the future, a possible candidate for California Governor or Supreme Court justice. She even spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention and has been a longtime Obama ally.
Last week at a fundraiser, President Obama made an off-the-cuff remark about Harris:
Sheâs brilliant and sheâs dedicated, sheâs tough,” Obama said of the California attorney general. “She also happens to be, by far, the best-looking attorney general … Itâs true! Câmon.
Obama has since apologized for the comment, specifically citing that “he did not want in any way to diminish the attorney general’s professional accomplishments and her capabilities smoking everywhere electronic cigarette.”
While I believe that Obama and Harris are not at odds and agree that Obama is a strong advocate for women, this kind of media response is somewhat disturbing. The political reality is that women are grossly underrepresented in our government. Claiming that the reaction is a result of an increasingly “politically correct” society only trivializes the inequality between men and women in government. Sure enough, research in political science has shown that gender stereotypes significantly affect women in Congress. Yes, Obama did apologize, but the media should not be so quick to minimize the reality of the situation.