"Andrea" And "Mr. Chairman": When A First-Name Basis Rankles

Just now on MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell subjected RNC Chairman Michael Steele to some aggressive questioning about his record on expenses. She seemed even more annoyed by how he spoke to her.

Populism is an odd fit for Mitchell, as is apparent partisanship, so maybe that's part of what's so weird about this clip. It might be that he keeps interrupting her, but everyone on cable TV interrupts each other. (Whether interruptions vary by gender, I can only guess.)


But it's the way Steele keeps repeating her name, though, that seems to profoundly irritate Mitchell. During a dozen exasperated "Andrea" repetitions, she gets in "Mr. Chairman" and then a very pointed "Sir." Is she just fed up with him refusing to properly answer her questions? Or is this a case of familiarity pointing to a mild form of disrespect, the way in the primaries Hillary Clinton was always Hillary and Barack Obama was always Obama? (And yeah, sure, there was another Clinton with whom you could be confused, but this tends to be the case for plenty of women in public life.) Then again, every TV personality is known by their first name.

Or maybe, like most people, she just thinks Michael Steele is completely ridiculous.

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Oh, Michael, Michael, Michael, Michael, Michael, Michael, you so obviously have nothing worth saying and not a single leg to stand on, so STFU or GTFO.