In today's Rose Garden speech, President Obama reiterated his defense of America's over-taxed administrative assistants. "Warren Buffett's secretary shouldn't pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett," Obama said, recalling the comparison that Buffett himself often points out when advocating for higher tax rates on America's "super-rich." But several journalists quickly took to Twitter to question just how much good Obama is doing for America's administrative class. "Obama & Buffett are swiftly overturning the messaging victory of administrative assistants over past 25 yrs." tweeted the Daily Caller's Mary Katherine Ham. "Do we still say secretary? Really? #madmen" tweeted the Washingtonian's Kay Steiger during the speech.
Indeed in the past several decades, a politically correct push has begun to give the word "secretary" a stigma. It's become a word that evokes a subservient, female-only profession, one depicted in all its sexist butt-pinching non-glory in AMC's Mad Men. Thus the National Secretaries Association became the International Association of Administrative Professionals, and in 2000, Professional Secretaries Week became Administrative Professionals Week. Still, Obama and dozens of other commentators commonly make reference to Buffett's "secretary" (the character has become a sort of elusive archetype for all those who are taxed under different rules from the financiers that employ them) particularly since Buffett reiterated his support for higher taxes in a now-famed New York Times op-ed. Buffett, to his credit, cited his "receptionist's" tax rate in a few other quotes on the subject and the rates of the twenty people in his office in the op-ed. So the focus on his "secretary" seems to come from coverage of his proposals, not his own words.