Elliot: Here's looking at you, kid

BY BEAU ELLIOT | APRIL 09, 2013 5:00 AM

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So I hear, through that ever-present grapevine that we call the world, that President Obama is a sexist.

Terror of terrors — he called a woman (not his wife) “good-looking.” (I think men are allowed — perhaps required — to call their wives “good-looking”; I admit, I could be wrong about the “allowed” part.)

No, I’m not kidding. (Would I kid you?) Last week, at a gathering in Atherton, Calif. (“gatherings” are what presidents do in California when their budget proposals in Washington, D.C., appear to be dead in the water on both sides of the aisle, though in this case, it might be isle), the president made some comments about the attorney general of California that many people in our fair land (to use the word “fair” very, very carefully) took umbrage with.

(Yes, I know; I ended a sentence with a preposition. It’s a superstition, on the level of you are not allowed to split infinitives in English, that you are not allowed to end sentences with a preposition, and anyone who taught you that you are not allowed to do so might just as well have been teaching astrology. See Winston Churchill.)

Here’s what Obama said about California Attorney General Kamala Harris:

“She’s brilliant, and she’s dedicated, she’s tough.”

(OK, you’re right — he should have just left it right there. But Obama, similar to so many human beings, not to ignore the human beans, could not leave well enough alone. What is it about us?)

“She also happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general,” Obama continued.

(If I were Eric Holder, the U.S. attorney general, I might take a bit of umbrage at this point. Of course, if I were Eric Holder, I just might have many more important things to worry about. Just saying.)

And the “best looking attorney general” comment opened up the floodgates of criticism and swallowed Obama, leaving him like Noah without the ark.

(Not to stretch a simile or anything. Stretch your hamstrings, not your similes, a writing teacher once told me. She meant well. And she, a few years back, had a book in the New York Times’ list of 50 best for the year, so she may have been on to something. Was she good looking? you wonder. I’m not very smart, but I know better than to go to that place. You can go there, if you want; I hear it’s great this time of year, but the hotels are a bit pricey.)

So, OK — Obama probably shouldn’t have said “best looking” blah blah blah. A man probably should never comment about a woman’s appearance unless she’s his wife or girlfriend and only then in the most complimentary fashion. (Do these jeans make my butt look big? There’s only one correct answer to that question, which every man has heard at one point or another: Of course not. There’s not a pair of jeans in the world that could make your butt look big.)

Kamala Harris is a quite beautiful woman. Men realize that, women realize that, zebras realize that. (Referees are actually quite discerning, despite what we might think of their calls most of the time. Just about all of the time, if you’re a Hawkeye fan.)

And, for that matter, after years of listening to all sorts of women discuss all manner of things, I realize that women are far more critical of women’s appearance than are men.

Harris is “… brilliant, and she’s dedicated, she’s tough.”

That’s what I take away from Obama’s comments.

Now, about that budget proposal, Mr. President.

That’s the ugliest budget proposal I’ve seen since the Dark Ages of the Cowboy in Chief.

Not to judge something by its looks, or anything.

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