Finally, let's think about the way the President frames the Democrats in this argument as the wives who have reluctantly agreed to give up their frilly little dresses and the Republicans as the stern husbands who nevertheless insist that they get to keep their golf clubs. Ok, daddy's a prick who won't pitch in. But he's also the Man of the House, who the little lady Democrats are pouting about not being fair --- but giving in to in the end. Because he's in charge.
Let's just say it's not a very appealing image.
I hate to make tooo big a deal out of this. It's just a passing comment in a long speech. But this family metaphor is destructive enough without attaching a whole boatload of additional sexist and classist freight to it. Obama and his political advisors have always had a bit of a tin ear when it comes to this sort of thing and they need to get a handle on it if they don't want to appear to be totally out of touch out there. This metaphor should go into the garbage bin immediately.
Tin Ears don't belong to Obama alone, however. There's this paragraph just preceding these:
Michelle Obama is an accomplished woman and the mere idea of her having to answer to her husband for her spending on "shoes and dresses" rubs me the wrong way. I'm sure he would explain that this is supposed to be a mutual kitchen table budget discussion, but the whole thing is so freighted with sexist 1950s stereotypes that what comes to mind is a Dagwood strip rather than anything recognizable in 2011. It reminds me of Bush saying that he sent Laura early to Crawford to "sweep off the porch." Or more recently, Rick Perry apologizing for his wrinkled shirt and saying not to blame his wife. I wish all of them would stop.