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December 14, 2009 4:50 PM   Subscribe

"It's just a thing ... I worked so hard to get that title." And with that, her political enemies pounced. Sen. Barbara Boxer upbraided an Army general for repeatedly calling her "ma'am" in a hearing. The moment is now campaign fodder for Republican candidates, including former HP CEO Carly Fiorina.
posted by Cool Papa Bell (141 comments total)

 
Oh, what the fuck ever. She's a Senator. Call her a Senator.
posted by brundlefly at 4:55 PM on December 14, 2009 [23 favorites]


No different than saying "Sir".
posted by scrowdid at 4:56 PM on December 14, 2009 [7 favorites]


"The company's [HP's] stock jumped on news of Fiorina's departure... In 2008, Infoworld grouped her with a list of products and ideas as flops, declaring her to be the "anti-Steve Jobs."

'Nuff said.
posted by ericb at 4:57 PM on December 14, 2009 [15 favorites]


"Boxer said the general was not offended by her remarks, but many in the GOP clearly were realized this was something they could get all faux-outraged about, including the two Republican challengers."
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:57 PM on December 14, 2009 [11 favorites]


I think that Carly Fiorina needs to get off her high horse. Barbara Boxer is often annoying, but I am quite certain that Fiorina would be a disaster as a Senator.
posted by blucevalo at 4:58 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


She clearly could have dealt with that better. A change in her tone of voice and not adding the "I worked so hard to get that title" would have gone a long way for her. I find it upsetting, though, that this 5 second exchange is enough to get these children all riled up: CallMeBarbara.com will continue to fill you in on the many reasons Barbara Boxer is bad for California and its citizens.

Because her slight misstep is the last straw! If we don't do something now, every politician will be demanded to be addressed as a politician!
posted by battlebison at 4:58 PM on December 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


Fiorina's a piece of work. But if that tactic doesn't work out for Carly, she could always spy on and harass her opponent.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:59 PM on December 14, 2009


Shouldn't Carly Fiorina be busy driving some company into the ground right now?
posted by boo_radley at 5:00 PM on December 14, 2009 [44 favorites]


A change in her tone of voice and not adding the "I worked so hard to get that title" would have gone a long way for her.

What the hell is wrong with saying someone worked hard for their title?
posted by piratebowling at 5:00 PM on December 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


I honestly feel like there's something about sex here.

This is completely unsubstantiated by ANYTHING, but I feel like first, if the general had been addressing a man, he would have addressed him as SENATOR out of the gate. Second, I feel like this faux-outrage reeks of some kind of anti-feminism - like somehow a woman is a bitch for asking that she be addressed by the appropriate title.

Nothing new for the Republican party.
posted by kbanas at 5:00 PM on December 14, 2009 [49 favorites]


Have Republicans ever written their elected officials? They know letters always start with "The Honorable Senator So-and-so" right? It's kind of disrespectful to make this an issue.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:02 PM on December 14, 2009


A change in her tone of voice and not adding the "I worked so hard to get that title" would have gone a long way for her.

What the fuck! So, should she have meekly held up her finger and said, "Ex...ex...excuse me... General... I... if.. if it's not too hard and it's OK if you can't but I was just wondering maybe if you have a second if you could maybe call me Senator but if you can't that's OK I just thought I would ask, I'm really sorry."

No. She's a US Senator. She should be addressed as Senator.
posted by kbanas at 5:02 PM on December 14, 2009 [57 favorites]


Shouldn't military dude be more conscious of titles? I suppose one could argue that he calls all women "Ma'am," and if that is the case, he should learn to be more conscious of titles. Sometimes it's a lady in charge, buck-o, not just someone you need to appease.
posted by frecklefaerie at 5:03 PM on December 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


No different than saying "Sir".

I suspect the problem is that the same person will call a man "senator" but a woman "ma'am."

I hardly think this was an upbraiding. She sounded slightly annoyed but not angry, and the entire thing lasted a few seconds. I suspect a female judge would be much less tolerant if she were addressed by a lawyer as "ma'am" instead of "your honor." This is no different.
posted by naju at 5:04 PM on December 14, 2009 [12 favorites]


Have Republicans ever written their elected officials?

Why do something as boring and mundane as writing your public officials when you can wave handmade signs and scream and gnash your teeth and get on Fox News?
posted by blucevalo at 5:06 PM on December 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I really had no opinion on Fiorina until this last year; since then, she's been working tirelessly to make sure she'll never get my vote.
posted by benzenedream at 5:08 PM on December 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


I feel like this faux-outrage reeks of some kind of anti-feminism - like somehow a woman is a bitch for asking that she be addressed by the appropriate title.

Hmm, I read into this some further effort at marking the Democrats as elitist, that somehow being called ma'am by an Army general isn't good enough for them. And seriously, this is the first shot across the bow? "Hey Californians, I'm Carly Fiorina, and I'll hang out with you whenever. Just call me Carly, not like that snooty/bitchy Barbara."
posted by filthy light thief at 5:08 PM on December 14, 2009


kbanas: "This is completely unsubstantiated by ANYTHING, but I feel like first, if the general had been addressing a man, he would have addressed him as SENATOR out of the gate."

Yeah, I thought about saying something to that effect but wasn't sure if that was weirdness on my part. Isn't that the general protocol? In that kind of situation, you refer to a Senator as "Senator?" Even if it's unwritten?
posted by brundlefly at 5:08 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


No, he'd probably call a male senator 'sir.' Having spent 20 years as a civilian working around the US Military, I can tell you it's just a reflex. Yes, she earned the title Senator, but he's hardly dissing her by calling her 'ma'am.'
posted by fixedgear at 5:08 PM on December 14, 2009 [19 favorites]


I guess it's up for debate, but to me, a commanding "Please address me as senator, not ma'am." would have been more effective than the annoyed "You know? Do me a favour. Could you say senator instead of ma'am? It's just a thing... I worked so hard to get that title." which actually sounded meek to me. I didn't mean to imply that she should not have said what she did, but instead that she could have done it better.

Really though, this is nothing. It was a passing unrelated moment in a conversation she was having. I only mention she could have done that better in light of the needless mocking by her opponents. Without it, I doubt anyone, myself included, would have batted an eyelash.
posted by battlebison at 5:08 PM on December 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


"Once in 17 years that I've been a senator, I asked a witness to call me senator, because we were having a back and forth and I kept saying 'general' and he kept saying 'ma'am', and it went general, ma'am, general, ma'am. And I thought, you know what, this is one of those times we ought to call each other by our titles," she said in an interview.

And you know what, she's right.
posted by bearwife at 5:10 PM on December 14, 2009 [39 favorites]


She obviously should have just started referring to him as Mr. Walsh. That shouldn't bother a Brigadier General in the least.
posted by JaredSeth at 5:10 PM on December 14, 2009 [36 favorites]


This is completely unsubstantiated by ANYTHING, but I feel like first, if the general had been addressing a man, he would have addressed him as SENATOR out of the gate.

So substantiate it already. Judging people by things that you assume they would do? That sucks.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:10 PM on December 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


No different than saying "Sir".

Except when it's a whinny "you just don't understand" kind of voice. I think we call it "patronizing".
posted by stbalbach at 5:12 PM on December 14, 2009


Thus far in this thread I'm sensing a disheartening lack RESPECT for THE MAN.
posted by The Straightener at 5:13 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Except when it's a whinny "you just don't understand" kind of voice.

Is she a mare?
posted by blucevalo at 5:13 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I notice I here people keep calling Palin with the honorific "Governor." Especially on Faux. Which was a fucking joke even when she was an elected official.

At least Boxer isn't a god damned greedy little quitter who sold her state out to be the Bizzaro World equivalent of Red Neck Oprah.
posted by tkchrist at 5:13 PM on December 14, 2009 [10 favorites]


"hear"
posted by tkchrist at 5:13 PM on December 14, 2009


Disregard my last comment, please. I thought you were saying something entirely different from what you were actually saying. My apologies.
posted by blucevalo at 5:15 PM on December 14, 2009


You'd first say "Senator", then subsequently say "Sir" or "Ma'am".

It's casual manners, and it's no big deal, unless there are other signs of condescension.

In which case she should bring her big ol' Senator boot down on his bitch-ass General head.

Moving on.
posted by chronkite at 5:15 PM on December 14, 2009


>Sometimes it's a lady in charge, buck-o, not just someone you need to appease.

It seems to me that women in the military are called ma'am when they are being talked to by a lower ranked person. So he *was* addressing her as a lady in charge. Maybe in the pressure of the moment he reverted to the default honorific he uses with women who outrank him? Would this be a big deal if he had called a male senator sir?
posted by mrgoldenbrown at 5:16 PM on December 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


I really had no opinion on Fiorina until this last year; since then, she's been working tirelessly to make sure she'll never get my vote.

I don't understand how she's ever had a chance. Her career is very nearly a quintessential symbol of everything economic populists say they hate about the way we do things in this country.

How is it even possible that she's seen as a viable candidate?
posted by weston at 5:17 PM on December 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think what battlebison was trying to say was that if she hadn't thrown in the "I worked so hard to get that" line, it would have seemed more like an official-type request and not a personal desire. Which, I don't see how that is a huge difference and if I was a Senator I would surely want people to address me by my title - it's a privilege. (Note: this does not apply in Canada where Senators are a whole other bag of cats)

Also, doesn't that political ad seem a little low-budget? I was not expecting the "paid for by DeVore for California" stamp at the end.
posted by hepta at 5:19 PM on December 14, 2009


She must be constantly angry when, on the Senate floor, as well as in committee meetings, she is officially referred to as "Ms. Boxer." I wonder if she "corrects" everyone on those occasions, as well.

And does she throw a fit when, in every volume of the Congressional Record, she is referred to as "Ms. Boxer?"

I hope President and Mrs. Obama start insisting that "Esq." be written after their names on all official documents. After all, they worked so very hard for three years to earn that title.
posted by The World Famous at 5:21 PM on December 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


How is it even possible that she's seen as a viable candidate?

Her bank account.
posted by tkchrist at 5:21 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hmmm...

You know what? I don't blame the General at all, for what little I've seen of this so far, as "sir" and "ma'am" are almost certainly drilled into him, because they are themselves respectful addresses, and it's not like testifying to the Senate is an easy thing to do. I don't think he meant any harm by it, though I can't know for sure.

And I sure-as-shit don't blame Sen. Boxer for asserting her proper title, and doing it in a way that wasn't harsh or disrespectful at all. It's what she should be called, and this is the biggest non-issue I've seen recently.

Also, it's apparently like a year old. WTF?

I absolutely blame those who are trying to make hay out of something so incredibly far removed from policy that you need a decoder ring to get what the problem is. The Dr. Evil thing doesn't even really play, as the joke is about "evil medical school," not his asking to be called by his correct title.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:25 PM on December 14, 2009 [12 favorites]


Sometimes a maam is just a maam - even faux news had an article explaining that sir or ma'am are always appropriate, according to military protocol.

>but I feel like first, if the general had been addressing a man, he would have addressed him as SENATOR out of the gate

>I suspect the problem is that the same person will call a man "senator" but a woman "ma'am."


The article also mentions that earlier that day, a male senator had been addressed as sir by 2 other navy officers, with no fuss at all.
posted by mrgoldenbrown at 5:25 PM on December 14, 2009


No different than saying "Sir".

I suspect the problem is that the same person will call a man "senator" but a woman "ma'am."


Uh, military protocol trains soldiers to respond to superiors with Sir and Ma'am. In fact, Michael Walsh did in fact refer to Senator Vitter at that same hearing as "Sir" multiple times.

So is this a big deal? Of course not (especially since Michael Walsh reportedly said he wasn't offended by her remarks). Are the Republicans going to try to make it a big deal anyway? Yes, of course. Should you be directly implying that there's some sort of sexism (intended or not) on the part of Michael Walsh? Absolutely not.
posted by the other side at 5:29 PM on December 14, 2009 [7 favorites]


The real story here is that people hear and see what they want to hear and see. Whether you interpret this video to be a Senator asserting her title or a General being knocked by cold feminist has more to do with who YOU ARE, and less with the content of the video.

/sociology
posted by Franklin76 at 5:30 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


What the fuck! So, should she have meekly held up her finger and said, "Ex...ex...excuse me... General... I... if.. if it's not too hard and it's OK if you can't but I was just wondering maybe if you have a second if you could maybe call me Senator but if you can't that's OK I just thought I would ask, I'm really sorry."

I think the point is that "You may address me as 'Senator', General" would have been sufficient, appropriate, and not created an opening for Republicans to depict her as a *shudder* woman who's more interested in baubles like fancy titles than, you know, a very powerful and prestigious elected office.
posted by fatbird at 5:30 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Much ado about nothing.

He used "sir" interchangeably with "Senator" when address the male members of the committee. Military officers learn etiquette protocol, and this is how they are programmed to do it. He didn't do anything wrong, and she made a reasonable request, which he complied with. So far, so good.

Except she happened to make the request in a way that could be construed as "whiny." And the request, by its very nature, is vaguely feminist and more specific than military protocol, so it was liability politically, as illogical as that is.

She's an experienced senator, and a hundred times a day she decides whether voicing her opinion is worth the political cost. A more principled party wouldn't have blinked any eye, but she's up against a less principled party. This is what happens.
posted by aswego at 5:30 PM on December 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


In fact, Michael Walsh did in fact refer to Senator Vitter at that same hearing as "Sir" multiple times.

In fairness, Vitter has probably un-earned the title.
posted by The World Famous at 5:31 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fiorina? She turned HP from a Valley icon into just another company. Laid off tons of people, and HP still stumbled. She was forced out by HP's board. When she left HP, word has it that there was cheering in the halls of the company.

That should play out nicely if she becomes a US Senator. Perhaps she'll find a way to outsource millions of jobs from California, help the oligarchy strangle the middle class, and then get recalled out of office by the electorate.

Seriously, if you're going to hire a henchperson, probably best to hire one who can screw people over while simultaneously earning their undying praise.
posted by wuwei at 5:33 PM on December 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


The article also mentions that earlier that day, a male senator had been addressed as sir by 2 other navy officers, with no fuss at all.
_

Uh, military protocol trains soldiers to respond to superiors with Sir and Ma'am. In fact, Michael Walsh did in fact refer to Senator Vitter at that same hearing as "Sir" multiple times.

This doesn't address the problem. I don't care that men are sometimes called "sir" and don't seem to mind. The problem I suspect Sen. Boxer faces is that she's often called "ma'am" while her peers are mostly called "senator". Confront that on a daily basis and the message is clear, I'm gendered while my male peers are not. And, again, "senator" is the proper title in this setting. I wasn't aware that we make an exception for military personnel.
posted by naju at 5:35 PM on December 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


And, again, "senator" is the proper title in this setting. I wasn't aware that we make an exception for military personnel.

Do you have some authoritative cite for this, or are you just speaking from your own opinion?
posted by The World Famous at 5:36 PM on December 14, 2009


GOD FORBID A REPUBLICAN ADDRESS AN ACTUAL ISSUE
posted by edheil at 5:37 PM on December 14, 2009 [12 favorites]


It seems to me that both Boxer and the Republicans who are trying to make hay over this overreacted. The difference is that Boxer overreacted once, and accidentally, while the Republicans are trying to drive this pinprick home as if it were some kind of dagger, and spending millions of dollars to do so. It reeks of desperation on their part.
posted by JHarris at 5:39 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am quite certain that Fiorina would be a disaster as a Senator

There was a time - within my memory, not just living memory - when HP had a well deserved reputation for making solid, well designed, reliable gear. If you bought an HP printer or oscilloscope or logic analyzer or calculator it would work well, and keep on working well, and not give any trouble at all (except perhaps to people who didn't understand what "PC Load Letter" means or how to use Reverse Polish Notation).

Sigh.
posted by flabdablet at 5:40 PM on December 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I suspect the problem is that the same person will call a man "senator" but a woman "ma'am."

Plenty of transcripts out there of military types testifying before congress. Sir and Ma'am are SOP, no disrespect ever intended.

Let me draw out the other obvious cliched turnabout here. I'm guessing - dare I say it, on no substantiation whatsoever - that if it had been a pompous republican male insisting on the senator moniker instead of vanilla "sir", we'd be getting some different opinions here.

(Not that I would vote for Carlina either, for whatever that's worth.)
posted by IndigoJones at 5:43 PM on December 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


SUBSTANCE!!!!

(I sure wish there were at least as much brou-ha-ha over the fact that the insurance companies have won the HCR "debate".)
posted by DU at 5:43 PM on December 14, 2009


Do you have some authoritative cite for this, or are you just speaking from your own opinion?

http://execsec.od.nih.gov/help/basics/style.html

The Forms of Address link shows conventional forms of address in general use....

* When a woman occupies a position that may be held by either a man or a woman, use the title Madam before such formal terms as President, Vice President, Chairman, Secretary, Ambassador, and Minister. Use the title Senator for a female member of the Senate and Mrs., Miss, or Ms. for a female member of the House of Representatives, Senator-elect, or Representative-elect.
posted by naju at 5:45 PM on December 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


Granted that this is just an exercise in whipping-up outrage over a superficial irrelevancy. But I do have to point out that military protocol calls for generals to be addressed as "General", not "sir" or "ma'am"; the rule is not well known even within the military (most soldiers never have occasion to speak with generals), and some generals are more casual about it than others, but it is the rule.

Which makes the faux outrage even more outrageous.
posted by Wufpak at 5:46 PM on December 14, 2009


Naju, that is the convention for written correspondence.
posted by The World Famous at 5:49 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


boo_radley: "Shouldn't Carly Fiorina be busy driving some company into the ground right now?"

You're thinking of Meg Whitman.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:53 PM on December 14, 2009


Would this be a big deal if he had called a male senator sir?

I hope not. As far as I've seen, people in the military call everyone that isn't subordinate to them "Sir" or "Ma'am". I read this less as an indictment of Boxer (though she comes off as unreasonably picky) and more of an indictment of the self-aggrandizing behavior of our political class in general. Memo to Senators: you work for us, don't get huffy when someone is being respectful but not in the narrow and contextually-special-snowflake manner (compared to Vitter's reaction, anyway) you think you deserve.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:55 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ah, thanks for pointing that out, World Famous. I'm not finding authoritative government sources for this at first glance (probably because it's less formal than written correspondence is), but there's at least this from Nancy Mitchell, "owner of the Washington, D.C.-based business The Etiquette Advocate and a former director of protocol and special events at the Library of Congress":

Senators should be referred to as “Senator” and their last name when being introduced, when being directly addressed and in the salutation of a letter, Mitchell said. A member of the House is simply “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” “Ms.,” or “Miss,” and his or her surname in these situations.
posted by naju at 5:56 PM on December 14, 2009


Do you have some authoritative cite for this, or are you just speaking from your own opinion?

http://execsec.od.nih.gov/help/basics/style.html


You're suggesting a style manual for some sub-department of the National Institute for Health should trump the Etiquette Guide that the person testifying has actually been required to follow for his entire career?

There is no handbook those testifying before Congress have to follow. A measure of respect seems in order, and the person testifying exceeded that. He happened to choose one of the two choices available to him, and it was not the one the senator preferred. She reasonably voiced her preference, and he reasonably complied.
posted by aswego at 5:57 PM on December 14, 2009


Babs always talks like she's from LA. Thus the Y'know and the Here's a favor you could do me (which means I am currently demanding this of you). I think she may actually sound whinier in that clip outside of california than inside, where her cadence is so familiar. She was trying to couch her insistence (on proper title usage) in the explanation that it's something that actually mattered to her a little bit and not some flexing of muscles exhibited for its own sake. Interjecting how you feel as you state of your position in a small negotiation: very cali. Since it's only cali voters who are expected to respond to this, it seems weird to me that the repubs are harping on it. Or maybe all senate campaigns are semi-national these days? Cable news, the imaginary rising tide of our country's rightward rebellion, etc?

I guess they can get some mileage out of the bare hint of feminism emanating from a woman wanting her deserved title to be used. In my mind, most of California's past that kind of baiting. Though they are surely leaning hard on a riled-up base strategy for 2010.
posted by damehex at 5:58 PM on December 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


Remember the Seinfeld where Elaine was dating the orchestra conductor who insisted everybody call him "Maestro?"
posted by wsg at 5:58 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


The real story here is that people hear and see what they want to hear and see.

i wanted to hear and see an intelligent controversy - this wasn't it
posted by pyramid termite at 5:59 PM on December 14, 2009


Upbraided? No, that didn't happen. And anyway, wow. Just wow. That's got to be the the most harmless and sensible request anyone has ever made in the history of anything. I cannot get my head around what the, ah, Senator could have done that was offensive, wrong, or even wack.

Is it wack or whack?
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 5:59 PM on December 14, 2009


Uh, military protocol trains soldiers to respond to superiors with Sir and Ma'am. In fact, Michael Walsh did in fact refer to Senator Vitter at that same hearing as "Sir" multiple times.

"This doesn't address the problem."

It addresses your false claim that, "the same person will call a man "senator" but a woman "ma'am." I pointed out that that's demonstrably untrue.

* When a woman occupies a position that may be held by either a man or a woman, use the title Madam before such formal terms as President, Vice President, Chairman, Secretary, Ambassador, and Minister. Use the title Senator for a female member of the Senate and Mrs., Miss, or Ms. for a female member of the House of Representatives, Senator-elect, or Representative-elect.

Which explains why Senator Boxer used the term "Madam" instead of "Secretary" when addressing Condolezza Rice in '07? I mean, FFS, we could go on and on like this all day, but it's just stupid. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the Brigadier General respectfully responding with "Ma'am". Boxer said she would prefer to be called "Senator" and he obliged. Everyone (except those who want to politicize it now) moved on. Big whoop.
posted by the other side at 5:59 PM on December 14, 2009


I prefer to be called Maestro.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:59 PM on December 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Used to be men were men and women were women, and a man could call something whatever he wanted, and language was short. Terse. Manly.

A dog was a dog. Not a "labrador" or a "pavilion." Men were "sirs" and women were "ma'ams." People caught germs, not "e. coli" or "H1N1." Presidents had names like "Nixon," not made up garbage like "Obama."

Now, liberals are trying to chop the balls off of William Shakespeare by insisting that we think about what we call things. We no longer call a guy who manhandles corpses an "undertaker," but a "funeral director." We need to practically Google what to call a person of color minority every time we damn well see one. It's political correctness gone mad, and a crass attempt to turn the greatest language on Earth into French, or worse, Swedish, and we'll also have to be bilingual and speak Spanish.

I say we force every foul mouthed liberal and Mexican to speak Esperanto and leave English to the REAL AMERICANS. Would Lincoln be happy to know that thoughtful, inclusive speech was tearing appart the language we saved from the cold, claw-like hands of the Britons?
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:03 PM on December 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


I feel envious of CA republicans that everything is so perfect in their state that this is the biggest issue they can find to center a campaign on.
posted by signal at 6:04 PM on December 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


That's got to be the the most harmless and sensible request anyone has ever made in the history of anything.

Huh. I would have thought it would be more harmless and sensible for someone to request that their first name be used. Not that it wouldn't have been really strange for her to say "please, call me Barbara." But in the history of anything, people have requested that others call them by their first name, rather than insisting on a three-syllable honorific. And that seems to me more harless and sensible than insisting on the three-syllable honorific.

But then again, I do insist that people address me as Commodore 64.
posted by The World Famous at 6:06 PM on December 14, 2009


No, this is getting played up because this is all the right-wing has on Boxer. The shit they have on Fiorina, on the other hand, is gold. The California Democratic Party just needs to bring out a couple of HP employees talking about the corporate espionage (interspliced with pictures of Nixon) and corporate incompetence (with allusions to Bush running companies into the ground), and they've ruined her.
posted by amuseDetachment at 6:08 PM on December 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


And does she throw a fit when,....

No. Nor does she throw one in this instance.
posted by inigo2 at 6:10 PM on December 14, 2009


"It's just a thing ... I worked so hard to get that title."
Oh, what the fuck ever. She's a Senator. Call her a Senator.
No. She's a US Senator. She should be addressed as Senator.

Fuck her and the 99 other ego-maniacal fucks who've earned the title "United States Senator". Being a career politician is nothing to be proud of.

Memo to Senators: you work for us, don't get huffy when someone is being respectful but not in the narrow and contextually-special-snowflake manner (compared to Vitter's reaction, anyway) you think you deserve.

10 Internets to you sir (I hope you don't mind being called "Sir").

"Uh, military protocol trains soldiers to respond to superiors with Sir and Ma'am."

This.

military protocol calls for generals to be addressed as "General", not "sir" or "ma'am"

As a lower enlisted man I only had a single occasion to speak with a general and he seemed to have no problem with my referring to him as "Sir". I would only use the [Rank] [Name] [Sir/Ma'am] convention if there were a group of officers and I wanted to be clear on who I was addressing.

Please call me "Mr. Tibbs".
posted by MikeMc at 6:11 PM on December 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


And does she throw a fit when,....

No. Nor does she throw one in this instance.


How do you know?
posted by The World Famous at 6:12 PM on December 14, 2009


This is good. I worry about campaigns having enough fodder nowadays; most seem so gaunt as to be starving, and as long as it keeps them going it's good that they can slake themselves on whatever filthy crust they manage to pick up from the gutter.
posted by koeselitz at 6:13 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


It addresses your false claim that, "the same person will call a man "senator" but a woman "ma'am." I pointed out that that's demonstrably untrue.

The same hypothetical person, does that help? The point is that it probably happens a lot.
posted by naju at 6:15 PM on December 14, 2009


Storm, meet teacup.
posted by pompomtom at 6:16 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is it wack or whack?

"Whack" as in "The GOP and the ever-more rapid American right wing seem determined to choke the nation on an endless tide of weak, whack shit."
posted by EatTheWeak at 6:16 PM on December 14, 2009


All right, the good news is I have a copy of Emily Post's Etiquette. And it says.

PERSONAGE: UNITED STATES (or State) SENATOR

IF YOU ARE SPEAKING TO HIM YOU SAY: Senator Widelands
A servant or subordinate says: Mr. Senator

ENVELOPE ADDRESS
Socially: Senator Chester H Widelands (His house address)
On Official business: The Hon. Chester H. Widelands, Senator from Texas, Washington D.C.

FORMAL BEGINNING OF LETTER

Sir: or Dear Sir: or Madam.

The bad news is that my copy of Emily Post's Etiquette is from 1945, so it also says that in formal situations that Governors should be introduced as "His Excellency, the Governor."
posted by Comrade_robot at 6:18 PM on December 14, 2009


"rather than insisting on a three-syllable honorific"

I've never heard of a meeting where there wasn't an insistence on an agreed approach to addressing one another. The rules are what makes it work. Even anarchists practice this.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 6:19 PM on December 14, 2009


Thanks for clearing that up. Yep, 2009: The Whackness. What an embarrassing year it has been.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 6:22 PM on December 14, 2009


Shouldn't Carly Fiorina be busy driving some company into the ground right now?

Sounds like she's hard at work on the GOP's California subsidiary!
posted by anigbrowl at 6:23 PM on December 14, 2009


The Republican party is starting to seem like it is boiling down to: Respect the office, unless you don't like who is in the office.

It was a reasonable request. She was addressing him as general; she wanted to be addressed by her title in response. Sometimes people don't phrase reasonable requests in precisely the tone that might be best. It's the problem with speaking extemporaneously. I tried to separate the request from the way it is asked, because, when you grow up, you try to be patient with that sort of thing, because a tactic unreasonably people like to use to divert discussion away from the request is "I didn't like the way it was asked."

Well, so what? Grow up. The most important requests are often phrased the most awkwardly, and the most important discussions sometimes begin heatedly, and, if you can't get past that, you're letting yourself be distracted by something unimportant at the expense of something important. And, even if it's not important, if the request is reasonable, just do the fucking thing and let it go, like an adult.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:28 PM on December 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


I heart Barbara Boxer, and was sad that this was seized on. Luckily, she is responding to the "controversy" in the proper way - by not addressing it. She's right that there are more important things to talk about.
posted by agregoli at 6:28 PM on December 14, 2009


MikeMC, I get what you're saying, but it's also about addressing the office with respect. Fuck, Inhofe and Coburn should be called "Senator" if they ask for it - it's their title and whatever it's worth, they did work for it, the citizens of Oklahoma, for better or worse, elected them and continue to elect them to represent their state in Congress, and Congress controls the Armed Forces. So, yes, the Senate works for us. The Armed Forces work for them. The President works for us as well, and deserves the proper title when being addressed.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:29 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't understand how she's ever had a chance. Her career is very nearly a quintessential symbol of everything economic populists say they hate about the way we do things in this country.

How is it even possible that she's seen as a viable candidate?


I can only assume she's counting on the short attention span of most Americans.
posted by MikeMc at 6:30 PM on December 14, 2009


Astro Zombie - that's the other thing. It might just be me, but I'm not seeing any issue in how she phrased or delivered the request either. What was the problem with it?
posted by Navelgazer at 6:31 PM on December 14, 2009


Is it possible to amend the Senate rules so that in the event of Fiorina's or DeVore's election, not only would it be appropriate to forgo the title, it would actually be encouraged?
posted by weston at 6:32 PM on December 14, 2009


Yeah, I don't see it either. I thought it was a respectful request.
posted by brundlefly at 6:34 PM on December 14, 2009


I've never heard of a meeting where there wasn't an insistence on an agreed approach to addressing one another. The rules are what makes it work. Even anarchists practice this.

I have had many such meetings. And now you have heard of them.
posted by The World Famous at 6:36 PM on December 14, 2009



Would have been nice if she would have addressed him as 'sarge'
If he then chose to correct her about his proper rank/title, she could have gone all, "Well. If it's that big a deal, you may address me as Senator Boxer"
posted by notreally at 6:40 PM on December 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


"Whack"

Ugh, no.
posted by dhammond at 6:44 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't believe we can say either way whether the general would have called a male senator "sir", or "senator", and I'm uncomfortable with people assuming the worst, particularly since in the military, Sir and Ma'am are valid honorifics for those who outrank you.

I also have absolutely no problem with Senator Boxter requesting to be called by her proper title, which is after all "Senator". When she made her request, she sounded somewhat exasperated, and I think we all say things differently in that state.


Republicans have once again managed to take hold of the discourse, even here on Metafilter. If they weren't making a mountain out of mole hill, we'd all be discussing something more interesting.
posted by !Jim at 6:45 PM on December 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


notreally: "If he then chose to correct her about his proper rank/title, she could have gone all, "Well. If it's that big a deal, you may address me as Senator Boxer""

And then winked cartoonishly.
posted by brundlefly at 6:45 PM on December 14, 2009


Is it just me or is there a faint laughter track added to the video while she's speaking?
posted by litleozy at 6:55 PM on December 14, 2009


It might just be me, but I'm not seeing any issue in how she phrased or delivered the request either. What was the problem with it?

I had no problem with it either, and I am predisposed to believe that those who do are going to include a large number of pricks.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:56 PM on December 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Republicans are stealing Adam Sandler's bit
posted by Hoopo at 6:57 PM on December 14, 2009


Retired Air Force guy with 2 cents: any military person is far, far more likely to address a superior as "Sir" or "Ma'am" than by any other title, no matter the circumstance. It's drilled into recruits that you can NEVER go wrong by adding "Sir" or "Ma'am" in any situation. It's a sign of respect (for the office, if not the person) and attention.

Boxer responded inappropriately.
posted by davidmsc at 6:58 PM on December 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


The same hypothetical person, does that help? The point is that it probably happens a lot.

Well, if we're going to talk beyond this instance and about the (average?) hypothetical person at a congressional hearing, then yeah I suppose that could change things, but since I don't really have the time or energy to research how exactly a hypothetical person at a hearing addresses male senators versus female senators on average (and I'm guessing you don't either), I'm content to put zero judgment on General Walsh (seeing as he was perfectly respectful and consistent in his address at the hearing to both male and female senators) and likewise none on Boxer seeing as the General himself said he wasn't offended by the request, and to ultimately treat the whole situation as the non-issue that it is (which, as someone else pointed out, is exactly what Senator Boxer is doing).

Would have been nice if she would have addressed him as 'sarge'

Come now, 'Ma'am' is a formal address, 'Sarge' would be extremely informal.


On preview: I don't believe we can say either way whether the general would have called a male senator "sir", or "senator"

For the record, we can. He addressed Vitter as "Sir" roughly fourteen times at the same hearing.

posted by the other side at 6:59 PM on December 14, 2009


Remember when politics used to seem more like a sparring ring than a play ground?
posted by litleozy at 7:01 PM on December 14, 2009


For the record, I don't mean to place any blame or judgment on the General. I must have said something that made it seem that way, because people are pouncing on me for it. I'm merely defending Boxer's actions as perfectly reasonable and appropriate.
posted by naju at 7:04 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Being a career politician is nothing to be proud of.

I agree. Respect for the office (not the career politician holding it) seems due. At the same time, I was unaware of the military convention to which you refer, so I can see that General Walsh most likely meant absolutely no disrespect to Senator Boxer.

What is nonetheless absurd is that this is now somehow a campaign "issue," which just goes to show that Fiorina doesn't think she has anything else to run against Boxer with, just as Bruce Herschensohn, Matt Fong, and Bill Jones had nothing, and I mean nothing, to run against her with. Fiorina will join their illustrious company.

Unrelatedly, my hat is off to you for the Mr. Tibbs reference.
posted by blucevalo at 7:08 PM on December 14, 2009


The problem is neither with the general nor the senator. The problem is with the people here assuming that he meant a sexist slight by calling her ma'am.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:08 PM on December 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Being a bit peeved by someone calling you ma'am instead of {Senator/Chairwoman/Representative/Judge} is, I suppose, understandable if people constantly get it "wrong on purpose", though in this instance, the General clearly did not mean it in that fashion.

Interrupting someone's testimony to insist on it is petty and ill-mannered.

Personally, if I'm ever called to testify before a Senate committee, I plan to call every one "Bub" or "Missy". Or maybe just the diminutive for their names "Joey" for Joseph, "Jenny" for Jennifer.
posted by madajb at 7:11 PM on December 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Remember when politics used to seem more like a sparring ring than a play ground?

When was that?

---

Anyway, Boxer did nothing wrong and the people flipping out about her little comment are out of their minds. The military works for the civilian government, and it's important that we don't get that relationship inverted here.
posted by delmoi at 7:14 PM on December 14, 2009 [7 favorites]


Oh, God. This shit is really old.

When I saw the video ages ago, my reaction was the same as today. The General almost certainly meant no disrespect by saying "ma'am". It's a safe, habitual and correct way of addressing someone in the military environment. It would have been more correct and appropriate for him to say "Senator", and when Boxer requested that he do so, he switched with grace.

Yeah, he should have remembered the correct term. Yeah, she made an error of tone in her response (to my ears) because she added more background and explanations to her request than someone in her position had to do.

Somehow, both the Senator and the General recovered from this somewhat awkward but entirely unbullying, unshrill moment. Too bad the GOP can't.
posted by maudlin at 7:14 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


For the record, we can. He addressed Vitter as "Sir" roughly fourteen times at the same hearing.

Vitter's proper honorrific, of course is "Right Hon. Whoremonger"
posted by delmoi at 7:15 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hard to believe anyone would be proud to be a Democratic Senator at this point: Senate Democrats Likely to Drop Medicare Expansion
posted by smackfu at 7:16 PM on December 14, 2009


His answer actually didn't merit addressing her by any title at all. There was no reason for him to append a "Ma'am," a "Senator," or any other title at the beginning of his sentence.
posted by The World Famous at 7:19 PM on December 14, 2009


This is just like what happened the time some guy insisted on calling my friend Mr. Pepper.
posted by inigo2 at 7:22 PM on December 14, 2009


When Barbara Boxer insisted that a Brigadier General Bro in the United States military call her Senator?
Fixed that for you, CallMeBarbara.com
posted by tmcw at 7:23 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


This thread raises the issue of a minor but very visible shift in the language of legislative Washington: it seems to me that the use of titles has absolutely ballooned in the past couple decades.

Now, I understand "Senator" and "Congressman": those titles have been used forever. But, until recently, I'd never heard the Majority and Minority Leaders referred to as "Leader [lastname]"; that usage is particularly jarring. Equally jarring is the recent practice of addressing the Attorney General as "General"; that just sounds silly, but I keep hearing it.

And of course, there's the strangely Mao-like practice of addressing any legislator who chairs a committee as "Chairman [lastname]"; I understand how this has always been common practice when actually addressing the committee, but now it seems to be de rigeur for any reference, whether or not related to committee business.

Has anyone else noticed this, or is my perception of this issue merely an artifact of my increasingly pathological paranoid delusion that the US is slowly morphing into the Soviet Union?
posted by Wufpak at 7:26 PM on December 14, 2009


*TWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET*

The ruling on the field stands. There was no foul on the play; no foul.
posted by graventy at 7:29 PM on December 14, 2009


It's just the manufactured Republican outrage of the day. Just as meaningless as the outrage about Obama bowing to the the Emperor or not bowing enough to the Queen or a hundred other non-scandals that Fox and the right-wing blogs churn out week after week.
posted by octothorpe at 7:50 PM on December 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Carly Fiorina: HP's crazy ex-girlfriend.
posted by SPrintF at 7:50 PM on December 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wufpak: usually, it's "Mister/Madam Chairman." I haven't really heard too many instances of "Chairman X," although I agree it sounds a bit off.
posted by squorch at 7:54 PM on December 14, 2009


Oh my God -- I just thought of the greatest and funniest name to give this whole controversy.

I thought it would be a great idea to combine a word from a previous controversial subject with the controversial word from this event. The controversial word from this event, of course, is "ma'am."

So I thought would call it "Blank-ma'am" or "Ma'am-blank."

I could use "Scopes" from the Scopes Monkey Trial. "Scopes-ma'am." "Ma'am-scopes."

What about Chappaquiddick? "Chappa-ma'am?" "Ma'am-quiddick?"

But then I thought of the best scandal of all: Watergate! What if I took part of that word and mixed it with "Ma'am?" Would that not be the most clever way to name a scandal ever? I believe it would. And the final unveiling of the official name of this scandal shall be..."Ma'am-gate!"

My creativity knows no limits.
posted by flarbuse at 8:14 PM on December 14, 2009


You have all missed the most important point in this teapot-sized tempest.

CARLY FIORINA IS NOW ON RECORD AS NOT WANTING TO BE CALLED 'SENATOR'.

A wish we can easily grant her by not electing her to the job.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:17 PM on December 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


I feel like first, if the general had been addressing a man, he would have addressed him as SENATOR out of the gate

I bet not, as stated above. I was a lowly E-6, and even talking to a General or Admiral, I would address them as such upon meeting them or initiating a conversational exchange, but in answering direct questions I would say "sir" or "ma'am."

More coffee, Admiral?
Sure, do you have any of those fou-fou minty creamers?
Of course, sir.

Furthermore, if a General officer calls you sir or ma'am, and it isn't dripping with sarcasm like a Clint Eastwood line, you can feel pretty respected. She's being dumb. But really, who cares. It's her thing. Whatever, everyone's got a thing.
posted by ctmf at 8:41 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Unless you're being called on the carpet for something. Then your speaking options are "yes, [full official title]" and "no, [full official title]"
posted by ctmf at 8:44 PM on December 14, 2009


> The bad news is that my copy of Emily Post's Etiquette is from 1945

The older, the better.


Just for comparison, here's Debrett's on how to speak with the Q of E.

In conversation, address The Queen as 'Your Majesty', and subsequently 'Ma'am' (to rhyme with Pam).

That's actually quite standard: if you're speaking to a person who merits a title or honorific, use his/her title or honorific (with name) once, at the beginning of the conversation ("Good morning, Professor Mcgonagall. Good morning, Professor Snape.") Thereafter, sir and ma'am are entirely correct and respectful for everyone from a Queen or a President on down.

Of course using the honorific again is also correct. But it does stand out and call attention to itself, and so is usually reserved for use with special emphasis for special purposes (e.g. broad irony.) Using it exclusively, over and over again, sounds very odd ("Good morning, Mr. Assistant Secretary. Hope you're well today, Mr. Assistant Secretary. Yes, that's quite right, Mr. Assistant Secretary. No, I think not, Mr. Assistant Secretary. I quite understand, Mr. Assistant Secretary. A very good day to you, Mr. Assistant Secretary.")

No doubt a one-star general is going to address a U.S. senator however she asks. If I--not military and not a government employee--were ever in the same situation, though, I expect I would feel the way Huxley recalled feeling about Bishop Wilberforce when W. blundered in their debate over evolution ("God hath delivered him into my hands.")
posted by jfuller at 9:00 PM on December 14, 2009


My name is Rufus M. Tittleharp but you can call me Sam.
posted by nola at 9:06 PM on December 14, 2009


You go girl!
posted by hamida2242 at 9:19 PM on December 14, 2009


I'm no senator, but I cringe when people call me ma'am. I know it's well-intentioned but something just irks me about it. I know a lot of women are this way, and even if Boxer isn't, the quote bearwife pasted above lays out the situation a little better. Here it is again for those who may have missed it:

"Once in 17 years that I've been a senator, I asked a witness to call me senator, because we were having a back and forth and I kept saying 'general' and he kept saying 'ma'am', and it went general, ma'am, general, ma'am. And I thought, you know what, this is one of those times we ought to call each other by our titles," she said in an interview.

I don't get in a huffy over things like this, but if someone continuously kept referring to me as something I wasn't too keen on or something I felt misrepresented who I was, I'd correct them too -- we all would.
posted by june made him a gemini at 9:38 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Boxer responded inappropriately.

Oh, ffs, when will you Republicans ever stop acting like children?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:04 PM on December 14, 2009


Well, they've proven themselves to be a bunch of whiny little bitches so... that would be a no.
posted by brundlefly at 10:12 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


What a funny little kerfluffle this all is. Nobody wins.

Really, Sen. Boxer? Is your ego so fragile that you felt it was necessary to interrupt a hearing over this point? Did you do it because you knew you were being filmed? If so, did you know how it would look, for a female Democratic senator to get into a silly tiff with a general? Did you know that your political enemies would use it to distract the public? If you didn't know how it would look, shouldn't you have known? If you did know, and didn't care, again, is your ego that fragile?

Because from here, it looks like you've intimidated your inner circle so much, that everyone's afraid to tell you when you look like a fool, so you've forgotten what a fool looks like. I bet you get angry at the barista that doesn't seem to KNOW EXACTLY WHO HE'S DEALING WITH. DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I AM? DOUBLE! TALL! VANILLA! LATTE!

"And I thought, you know what, this is one of those times we ought to call each other by our titles..."

And I'm thinking, you know what, this is one of those times that senators look like they're easily distracted by the shiny. Have fun in your tower of bullshit.

Really, Carly? This is how you'll choose to make your case? This is the hammer you'll swing? Do you know how this looks? Like a featherweight candidate bereft of ideas and aiming below the belt? If you don't know, shouldn't you know...?

-10 points from Boxer.
-100 points from Carly.
+ 10 points for Slytherin. Again.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:03 PM on December 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


Did you do it because you knew you were being filmed?

Interestingly, before CSPAN, Senators regularly skipped hearings altogether, instead having their counsel sit on the dais and ask the questions.
posted by The World Famous at 11:59 PM on December 14, 2009


Ma'am is offensive? Really?

I'd call her 'princess,' myself.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:35 AM on December 15, 2009


I don't think he was out-of-line in calling her "ma'am," and I don't think she was out-of-line in asking him to call her "senator." And I can't BELIEVE that people on either side are actually getting worked up about this. Is this really what we've come to? Shouting "sexist" and "shrew" at the drop if a hat? Please, tell me this is just a slow news day and that we can move on from here.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:18 AM on December 15, 2009


It's time to retire the word 'inappropriate'. I hope.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 1:52 AM on December 15, 2009


Republicans: fighting pointless political battles and degrading political discourse so you don't have to.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:18 AM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


NO MA'AM
posted by Eideteker at 4:30 AM on December 15, 2009


Retired Air Force guy with 2 cents: any military person is far, far more likely to address a superior as "Sir" or "Ma'am" than by any other title, no matter the circumstance. It's drilled into recruits that you can NEVER go wrong by adding "Sir" or "Ma'am" in any situation. It's a sign of respect (for the office, if not the person) and attention.

Boxer responded inappropriately.


That's all well and good until you remember that the general was not in a military context. You're also taught to kill other people in the military, which doesn't exactly transition well to civilian environments. If this general can't tell a situation that demands military protocol from a situation that demands some other type of protocol, that's his problem, not anyone else's. And it sounds like he actually understood that, and did not take offense when corrected. Boxer responded no more inappropriately than a private whose drill sergeant instructs to call him "sir:" in both cases a superior informs a subordinate of the correct protocol.

So please just remember that there is a whole other world outside the military where military rules and mores, you know, don't apply.
posted by notswedish at 6:39 AM on December 15, 2009


Also, Blazecock, it's not for you to assume the poster is a Republican just because he holds an opinion you find stereotypically Republican. And being a Republican is no grounds for automatically dismissing anything a person might say.
posted by notswedish at 6:41 AM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


" 'Ma'am' will do in a pinch, but I prefer Captain."

-Captain Catherine Janeway,
Federation Starship Voyager
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:45 AM on December 15, 2009 [8 favorites]


That's all well and good until you remember that the general was not in a military context.

He wasn't? He's in the US Army Corps of Engineers and testifying in uniform before a committee with respect to his job. He's on the clock.
posted by fixedgear at 7:09 AM on December 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


stbalbach: Except when it's a whinny "you just don't understand" kind of voice. I think we call it "patronizing".

That means talking down to.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:34 AM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's all well and good until you remember that the general was not in a military context.

Military personnel are also taught to address civilians (in addition to outranking officers) as "sir" or "ma'am".
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 8:05 AM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Shorter Carly Fiorina: I got nuthin'.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:27 AM on December 15, 2009


Is it wack or whack?

It's definitely wack.
posted by electroboy at 8:35 AM on December 15, 2009


And with that, her political enemies pounced...

...on thin air.
posted by hermitosis at 9:14 AM on December 15, 2009


Military personnel are also taught to address civilians (in addition to outranking officers) as "sir" or "ma'am".

Absolutely true. I work in administration at a university with many military students, and every last one of them addresses me as "Ma'am," even via email or phone. Even when they're upset about a school policy. Even when they're no longer in the military.
posted by desjardins at 11:37 AM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


What a non-news story the Republicans have. The General acted fine in his address to her as ma'am as anyone in the military is instructed to address a superior, and Senator Boxer acted fine in her request to be addressed by her title as Senator. This is even more boring that the Salahi incident.
posted by yeti at 10:22 AM on December 16, 2009


> What a non-news story the Republicans have.

Is this a Republicans story? I wouldn't have known about it without metafilter; I thought it was a mefi newsfilter story, pretty much of a sameness with all the others like it.
posted by jfuller at 2:26 PM on December 16, 2009


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