A few weeks ago I decided to make a complete list of examples of the "Obama is a fag" media narrative. The idea that Obama is feminine, and therefore bad (these people aren't shy with making that connection), is one that's been used pretty constantly to portray Democratic men as weak and unfit for high office. The narrative goes further and asks for policy that is unquestionably masculine, that is, hawkish, unilateral, authoritarian, and stingy on social spending.
The reason is a gender ethic that has guided American politics since the age of Andrew Jackson. The sentiment was succinctly expressed in a massive marble statue that stood on the steps of the United States Capitol from 1853 to 1958. Named "The Rescue," but more commonly known as "Daniel Boone Protects His Family," the monument featured a gigantic white pioneer in a buckskin coat holding a nearly naked Indian in a death's grip, while off to the side a frail white woman crouched over her infant.
The question asked by this American Sphinx to all who dared enter the halls of leadership was, "Are you man enough?" This year, Senator Obama has notably refused to give the traditional answer.
This is old stuff that we're dealing with here, but deal with it we must.
Besides relegating good policy and Democrats to the back-burner, it's the adult equivalent of calling someone a fag on the schoolyard. It's not that they think Obama's actually into the same-sex lovin', they just want you to know that he's just not right, he's weak, he's just so... gay.
What I've found so far is after the jump. Feel free to leave comments with more examples and I'll update as I get them. Enjoy.
11.27.2007 on MSNBC's Tucker
I mean, a Democratic political consultant, who's a friend of mine, said it best. At the very beginning of this process, he said, "I watched them at the debate and she's in his head. She rattles him. He's afraid of her."
He's a wuss, actually. He -- I'm serious. He should just come out and say, "Yeah, she's Clintonian."
7.12.2007 on MSNBC's Tucker
Well, everybody knows that a book club is no place for a man. So why has Barack Obama suddenly turned into Oprah? Willie Geist rounds up the girls, brings the chardonnay, and heads to the Oprah book club -- or the Obama book club -- when we come back.
7.11.2007 on MSNBC's Tucker
I mean, when he gets up there, he says we're waging a war against cynicism. That is too abstract. It has nothing to do with the concerns of ordinary people, and it is also, frankly, kind of wimpy.
7.2.2007 on MSNBC's Tucker
He seems like kind of a wuss, though.
12.14.2006 on MSNBC's Tucker
What a sensitive little man!
3.31.2008 on MSNBC's Morning Joe
[video clip of Obama bowling]
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, that's so dainty. Ugh.[...]
SCARBOROUGH: A very human side? A prissy side.
3.31.2008 on MSNBC's Hardball
Because it isn't the most macho form there, I must say, but who knows?
4.17.2008 on ABC's Imus in the Morning
Stephanopoulos I thought was great, and the debate was fine. I thought Senator Obama was on the defensive most of the night. But they're both sissy boys or sissy girls, or whatever. Because they talk big when they're out on the campaign trail, wolfing on each other.
And then when they show up at the debate, they fold up like a couple of cheap lawn chairs. I mean, I don't understand that. And he's almost a bigger pussy than she is.
7.18.2007 on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight
They like Barack, but he's kind of become the female on this race. It's very interesting. He's seen as the weaker cute, attractive. And Hillary is the one with the balls.[...]
He's female enough for Oprah, and she's male enough for a lot of voters out there. It's fascinating. I mean, I think this is going to be an amazing election.
Lucy Berrington & Jeff Onore
1.7.2008 New York Post cover story
Yet it's not only Obama's policies and strategies that appeal to women. He is like a woman: slim, good looking, with long elegant fingers, appealingly dressed - all terms more typically ascribed to female candidates.
Those shots of Barack and Michelle sitting with Oprah on stools had the feel of a smart, all-women talk panel: Obama fit right in for reasons beyond race.
6.14.2008 Wall Street Journal column
Mr. McCain is the old world of concepts like "personal honor," of a manliness that was a style of being, of an attachment to the fact of higher principles.
Mr. Obama is the new world, which is marked in part by doubt as to the excellence of the old. It prizes ambivalence as proof of thoughtfulness, as evidence of a textured seriousness.
2.26.2008 Newsweek column
But whatever happens from here on out, this campaign will always be remembered for the emergence of the first serious woman candidate for president: Barack Obama.
The McCain campaign
5.16.2008 statement from spokesperson Tucker Bounds
It was remarkable to see Barack Obama's hysterical diatribe in response to a speech in which his name wasn't even mentioned. These are serious issues that deserve a serious debate, not the same tired partisan rants we heard today from Senator Obama.
5.17.2008 Washington Post column
Well, at least they didn't kiss.
I was bracing myself for the lip lock Wednesday when John Edwards endorsed Barack Obama.[...]
Obama and Edwards look and talk pretty, but Clinton, unflinching and steely, exudes pure brawn.
5.17.2008 appearance on the McLaughlin Group
If he is this prickly, he is way too much of a girly man to be president of the United States.
5.19.2008 Investor's Business Daily cartoon
5.12.2008 Investor's Business Daily cartoon
4.15.2008 Rome New-Tribune cartoon
5.14.2008 New York Times column
Obama is acting the diffident debutante, pretending not to care that he was given a raspberry by a state he will need in the fall.
4.23.2007 New York Times column
As the husband of Michelle, does he know better than to defy the will of a strong woman? Or is he simply scared of Hillary because she's scary?
2.24.2008 New York Times column
And when historians trace how her inevitability dissolved, they will surely note this paradox: The first serious female candidate for president was rejected by voters drawn to the more feminine management style of her male rival.
2.21.2008 New York Times column
Barack Obama has made an entrance in Hollywood unmatched since Scarlett O'Hara swept into the Twelve Oaks barbecue. Instead of the Tarleton twins, the Illinois senator is flirting with the DreamWorks trio.
2.14.2007 New York Times column title
Obama, Legally Blonde?
12.13.2006 New York Times column
Built on a cult of personality, her campaign will be ruthless in stomping on Obambi, as a Chicago columnist referred to the idealistic pol who was too naïve to steer clear of a sleazy fund-raiser who wanted to buy his favor with a sweetheart real estate deal.
Hillary hasn't waited this long and market-tested this assiduously for nothing. Obambi's message may be mushy communitarianism -- we're a crazy quilt and why can't we all get along? -- but her message is simply the Divine Right of Clintons.
So there is a second question, perhaps one that will trump race and gender. It's about whether he's tough and she's genuine.
11.11.2006 New York Times column
Talking about hope and opportunity and inspiration has propelled Barack Obama into the presidential arena. His approach seems downright feminine when compared with the Bushies, or even Hillary Clinton. He languidly poses in fashion magazines, shares feelings with Oprah and dishes with the ladies on "The View." After six years of chest-puffing, Senator Obama seems very soothing.
Because of the power of female consumers, some marketing experts predict we will end up a matriarchy.
None of this is to take away from the fact that the media has also been alarmingly sexist against Hillary Clinton (she's presented as masculine instead of feminine, but the idea's the same: she doesn't follow gender norms so she's bad, and if she did she'd be weak). NOW is working on a list of attacks on her, complete with ratings!
I'm really just tired of people using "fag" and "that's so gay" as insults, even if they think they're being clever.