Low-key bawse distracts Washington Post with her stilettos

Kathryn ReummlerThere are no glass ceilings. The sky is limitless when it comes to profiling influential and educated women about their shoes:

[White House counsel Kathryn] Ruemmler first attracted attention for her glam heels as a Justice Department prosecutor trying Enron executives Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling in 2006, when she sported what The Wall Street Journal described as “stunning 4-inch bright pink stiletto spikes.”

A legal affairs blog “Above The Law,” called her a “star litigatrix” as a result. ”Litigatrix indeed,” the blog wrote. “Just because you work for the DOJ doesn’t mean you have to shop at DSW.”

*heads desk*

It says a lot about the Washington Post that it would rather publish a scintillating 500 word piece about the president’s attorney’s proclivity for designer shoes than accept that the grey lady scooped it with the realest reporting from Jackie Calmes:

On Thursday, the Senate unanimously confirmed Sri Srinivasan, whom Mr. Obama had nominated on Ms. Ruemmler’s recommendation, for a seat on the prestigious United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, often a way station to the Supreme Court. The same day, Mr. Obama delivered a long-awaited address that she had helped hone for months, calling for scaling back the global fight against terrorism, limiting the use of armed drones and closing the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

In an administration often criticized as insular, Ms. Ruemmler by all accounts has forged a rapport with her client even though she did not know him before she arrived as deputy counsel in early 2010. Their current relationship, aides say, is reflected in a photo from last June of Mr. Obama enveloping Ms. Ruemmler in a bear hug after she told him that the Supreme Court had upheld the bulk of his health care law. The court did so based on legal arguments she helped write, over some political aides’ objections. She and the president were among the few at the White House who were consistently confident of the outcome, others say.

Oh what’s that? Could it be that Ms. Ruemmler cowrote the legal arguments in support of upholding the Affordable Care Act? You wouldn’t know from the WaPo‘s reporting.

Why all this shine for Ruemmler? The IRS scandalabra of 2013. The NYT reports that Ruemmler appears to have been the senior White House official who received the earliest reports of the Inspector General’s investigation of IRS career officials targeting Tea Party groups seeking tax exempt status. Her knowledge of the IG’s audit and questions around why she chose not to elevate it to the President’s direct attention is placing the low key bawsness of the White House counsel into the spotlight.

While Washington may ensconce itself on the fever of scandalabras for “No Drama Obama,” may I remind you that austerity is real in America and the inactive 113th’s proposed gutting of social programs to stave off the deficit is the main scandal we should be paying attention to. We should be outraged. It amazes how quickly the 113th convened hearings on the AP subpoenas and the IRS report while it faiedl to deliver to you a budget that would ensure your safety and, for some women and families, resources to buy food.

Big old media wants to distract you by talking about shoes.

SYREETA MCFADDEN is a Brooklyn based writer, photographer and adjunct professor of English. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches and Storyscape Journal. She is the managing editor of the online literary magazine, Union Station, and a co-curator of Poets in Unexpected Places. You can follow her on Twitter @reetamac.

Syreeta McFadden is a contributing opinion writer for The Guardian US and an editor of Union Station Magazine.

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