Yesterday’s New York Times had this feature article on David Petraeus’ former piece of ass Paula Broadwell. If you don’t remember her name, no one can blame you. This is the woman who was discovered to have been giving up the poonanie to the now-former CIA Director and rock star General widely credited with turning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan around in our favor.
Reading the wailing sob story about how poor Paula’s stellar career has come to a screeching halt, one gets the feeling the NYT is trying to drum up sympathy for the woman who has received much harsher treatment at the hands of society than a man. A buddy of mine pointed out “gender bias” as being behind Broadwell’s lack of success while Petraeus recovered and landed on his feet after having pled guilty to mishandling classified information and sentenced to two years probation and a $100,000 fine.
Nearly four years later, Mr. Petraeus is now a partner in a New York private equity firm, and has advised the White House on the war against the Islamic State. He publishes oped articles, speaks publicly and has affiliations with three universities, including Harvard.
Ms. Broadwell has struggled to find her footing. For weeks, reporters camped outside her home in Charlotte, N.C., where she was trying to restore her marriage. Friends sent over groceries and hot meals for her family — her husband, Scott, and sons, 8 and 10 — and staged interference so Ms. Broadwell could cut across her neighbors’ lawns, climbing over fences, to escape for a morning run.
She lost her military security clearance; her promotion from major to lieutenant colonel was revoked when the news broke. The F.B.I. still has her computers — including her dissertation research — and she withdrew from her Ph.D. program. She said she was told in more than one job interview that, while she was qualified, hiring her would be a public relations nightmare.
Well, what the hell did she expect, accolades? Pats on the back and “attagirls” for bagging the General?
Yes, she lost her clearance. I’m fairly sure Petraeus doesn’t have his either. That’s what happens when you take classified information home and share it with someone who has no need to know. Yes, she lost her promotion. It happens all the time to male troops who are caught in flagrante delicto. BG Jeffrey Sinclair was dropped two ranks for sticking his dick into a subordinate officer. MAJ Jim Gant admitted to an affair with a Washington Post correspondent, busted down to Captain and forced to retire, despite an illustrious career as a Green Beret.
Did little Paula expect special treatment?
At least she wasn’t charged, fined, and put on probation like Petraeus was.
But that hasn’t stopped some from implying that double standards are keeping poor Paula down.
I disagreed. Strongly.
Fact is Broadwell’s ego was being stroked like a Roman cock at an orgy, being flown to Petraeus for weeks at a time, being on the receiving end of his thoughts, and hopping around in his bed.
She bagged Petraeus. THE Petraeus. She was writing his biography. He became her mentor. That must have been quite the boost to her overachieving ego.
But fact was she was his subordinate. She didn’t have even an ounce of the star power he had, and in the end, she didn’t have the illustrious career that he had either. Sure she had the degrees, was a research associate at Harvard, was the deputy director of the counterterrorism center at Tufts, but he was the one widely credited with turning around two difficult wars, and he was the one who was the Director of the CIA. His was the household name, and she was the lackey.
No, she didn’t get the dream career she thought she so richly deserved, but arguably neither did he. Despite grumblings from some Republicans that he should be drafted to run for President, fact is he intentionally mishandled classified information, much of which was found in his house, lying around in an unsecured drawer. Kind of sounds like another candidate currently running for president, hmmmmmm? I’m sure he could have had a successful political career, but despite writing op eds and advising the White House, he’s working at an equity firm. Let’s get some perspective, eh?
Bill Clinton landed on his feet too, while Monica Lewinsky faded into obscurity, but again, it wasn’t because there was some kind of double standard discrepancy between men and women, but because Clinton was the President of the United States, and Lewinsky was a nobody – an intern kid, who was an unknown then, especially compared to the leader of the free world! Arguably, even Lewinsky landed on her feet. Media appearances, social scene invitations, commercials, talk shows and reality TV, a degree from the London School of Economics, and fashion design. I’d say she landed on her feet, although it took some time.
Plenty of rich and powerful women have affairs and land on their feet. Hell, Madonna has made an entire career out of it!
So let’s not pretend that Broadwell’s lack of success is somehow related to her plumbing. We don’t know how far she would have climbed in her career had she not hopped in the sack with Petraeus, but nothing is guaranteed in life, and the decisions we make dictate the lives we live.
So, no. I have no sympathy for Broadwell. What I find really galling is that she somehow blames the media for her plight, and has founded a non-profit combating gender bias in the language the media uses to report its stories.
With a friend, Kyleanne Hunter — a former Marine attack helicopter pilot — she has founded a nonprofit, Think Broader, focused on combating gender bias in the news media. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the sliver of bias that bothers her the most is “mistress.”
She recently presented on the topic to a roomful of editors at The Huffington Post, as well as to a team at Yahoo and the United Nations. She is working with a professor at Harvard to try to come up with a system for tracking biased language, she said — from unnecessary words (“female fighter pilot”) to journalists primarily relying on male sources to the subtle ways language can affect the way an article is framed.
She has also, quietly, reached out to female journalists she thought would be sympathetic, asking them to stop using the word “mistress”: Christiane Amanpour at CNN; Norah O’Donnell at CBS; Susan Glasser at Politico, who advised her staff to refrain from using the word.
For the record, I don’t think it’s the word “mistress” that is so unappealing. It’s the act of keeping a side piece that’s distasteful. No matter what word you use, lover, whore, etc., it doesn’t change the nature of the thing, no matter how much you pressure the media to use alternate language.
Maybe Broadwell should try and understand that, instead of trying to push the onus onto others to somehow heal her wounded character.