Alex Blaze

¿Quién es más sexist - Chris Matthews or Maureen Dowd?

Filed By Alex Blaze | February 24, 2008 6:57 AM | comments

Filed in: Media, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Barack Obama, Chris Matthews, Hillary Rodham Clinton, masculinity, Maureen Dowd, New York Times

From Maureen Dowd today:

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.

When historians look back at what American pundits were saying during the 2008 presidential campaign, they will surely note this paradox: the American electorate generally cared about material issues even if many got caught up in the smoke-and-mirrors the candidates present, but their pundit class sat around obsessed about the machismo of politicians more than policy, shutting down their brains, drooling, then running to their notebooks when inspired to pound away at their keyboards adolescently about who they think has the bigger penis.

It's a general sickness that we're having to suffer through, starving not for fair political commentary, definitely not for balanced political commentary, or even for insightful political commentary, but at least something that you can read and think, hey, I learned something just now that I didn't know before. (I ought to be more specific; that "something" isn't "Sexism is so rampant that we can't discuss politics coherently.")

Today's column is all about Barack the Feminine and Hillary the Masculine, because if people don't fit into neat little gender boxes (we'll get to those in a minute, Dowd's are particularly stupid), they're unfit for leadership. Bob Somberby provides a good synopsis of Dowd up to early February:

Let's start, once again, with her sick, endless need to "feminize" Barack Obama.

Not that there's anything new about this. It has now been almost nine years since Dowd told the world that "Al Gore is so feminized...he's practically lactating." (That was June 16, 1999--the day of Gore's formal announcement.) It has been almost five years since she helped dub John Edwards "the Breck Girl." (June 8, 2003. After that, she called him "the Breck Girl" in five other columns.) It has been almost a year since she wrote a column headlined, "Obama, Legally Blonde?" (February 14, 2007. One week later, he was "Scarlett O'Hara.") And of course, she has kicked the stuffing out of endless Dem wives, for the nastiest, stupidest reasons you could conjure. In Dowd's world, Major Dem Men are constantly girls--and Major Dem Women are most often men. Michelle Obama is a she-bitch, of course, a key point Dowd first made just last year.

But let's get into this Sunday's column, shall we?

Basically, Obama's campaign is more feminine because:

  1. he's talked about starting a conversation (um, so has Hillary, but that messes up Dowd's narrative, so we won't mention it),
  2. he's more anti-war (because killing people for oil half a world away is the best way to express masculinity),
  3. Hillary's been on the attack more (because real women are just meant to be seen and not heard, and they should never criticize men lest they hurt our fragile egos), and
  4. Obama's has more campaign cash to spend.
Jeez, people, every male politician should know that to be properly masculine they have to make the electorate feel like shit, they have to be blood-thirsty, they have to run a negative campaign, and they have to blow their cash so early they need to loan themselves money. Doesn't everyone just intuitively get gender like Dowd does?

What really puzzles me is the fourth one on that list. Here's Dowd:

Among her other cascading woes, it turns out that Hillary is not able to manage her political family's money. Like a prudent housekeeper, Obama spent the cash he raised -- including from his continuing relationships with small donors -- far more shrewdly, on ads rather than on himself.

Wait, I thought the sexist 1950's stereotype was that women were worse with money than men? I didn't know that that idiocy had already changed!

But then I have to realize that it's Dowd's world, and Obama's feminine, whether he likes it or not, and it doesn't matter what the evidence is, how people generally interpret it, or if anyone cares about this stupidity, Dowd is going to portray Obama as feminine and that's that.

And Hillary's masculine, whether she likes it or not. Proving that she's keeping up, Dowd, in a column published the week before Ohio and Texas, actually devotes two paragraphs to Hillary's emotional moment in New Hampshire:

The press hailed the moment as heartfelt, but it was simply Hillary's calculated attempt to woo women and protect her future in the party -- by seeming more collegial. She's furious that the Chicago kid got in the picture.

Her "My sister, my daughter" flip from muscular to tremulous left everyone confused. Many characterized her emulation of empathy as elegiac and submissive.

Well, there you have it, folks! Hillary's emotional moment in NH was calculated! Dowd, with her Telepathic Powers of Creating a Convenient Narrative, has found the answer to a question no one cares about anymore!

(And I love that "Many characterized" in the last sentence of the second paragraph. I'd die of shock if that "Many" included anyone but Dowd and her fellow pundits.)

OK, that's enough of this column. I'm writing about this not because there was a sexist column in today's New York Times, it's that the problem is a whole lot bigger than this. It isn't just Chris Matthews sitting around nattering away about how masculine John McCain is and how Hillary Clinton's career success had nothing to do with her pretty little head, it's about very well-paid pundits using their position of power to tell the American people what masculinity is and that any politician worth her salt is going to have it, is going to be a male while having it, and that whatever details this masculinity is about, it's largely about expanding empire, starting wars, redirecting wealth upwards, and trampling on the People to create an autocratic regime.

In other words, Bush is the epitome of masculinity and everyone should aspire to be like him. Because that's done so much good.

And all the while they look like idiots bending the rules of logic and evidence to support their message. Somberly sums up well what those historians will be thinking about Dowd:

If humans civilization continues to develop, future generations will look back on such work with unease, as we look back on medieval medicine. What might it say about us, they will ask, that our ancestors "reasoned" that way?

Not much.

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You picked up on many of the same effeminizing (if that's a word) phrases that I noticed in Dowd's column. I also asked But Does He Lactate?

Thank you for highlighting the absurdity of Maureen Dowd's vitriol directed at Hillary. It's high time someone called her on the ridiculous arguments and asked what the point was.

I think the direction Dowd's work has taken has got to be the result of an attempt by the NYTimes to build counterpoints to the attack chatter of the Fox/Limbaugh right wing machine that seemed so invincible 3-4 years ago. The Times probably decided that as liberals they had to be as nasty to Dems as they were to anyone else, so now they've created this monster. They have their very own font of name-calling and specious attacks. Hasn't made us safer or stronger.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | February 24, 2008 1:02 PM
very well-paid pundits using their position of power to tell the American people what masculinity is and that any politician worth her salt is going to have it, is going to be a male while having it, and that whatever details this masculinity is about, it's largely about expanding empire, starting wars, redirecting wealth upwards, and trampling on the People to create an autocratic regime.

You've hit the nail smartly on the head, Alex.

And now Ralph Nader has declared his candidacy. And I hate to say it, but I agreed with everything he said on "Meet the Press" this morning.

There's no two ways about it, the American system--media, campaign, lobbyists, political parties, courts, Congress and the presidency--is terribly broken.

Sportin' Life | February 24, 2008 2:30 PM

Dowd is the worst of the worst. Absolutely worthless, column after column. How can we sweep all of these self-important windbags out of their undeserved positions of influence permanently?

Forgive me for living in a cave, Alex, and forgive me if this is a little bit off-thread, but do any of these candidates have a national energy policy? I don't mean a policy that shows up in the fine print on their website, I mean one that they are actually pushing to the voting populace.

Bush was candid enough, finally, to admit that America is addicted to oil --- but he hasn't done anything about it (Did anyone really expect him to?)

But, Alex, I hear that Brazil is oil-independent because they make bio-diesel out of sugar cane, and that Germany is now getting up to 30% of its energy needs out of solar and wind. The Germans did this not only with superior engineering, but also with superior public policies that guarantee that small private operations (such as a solar farm or even just the solar roof of a large factory) can sell their surplus electricity onto the power grid at a favorable rate. (Alex, France is next door to Germany, is France doing any of this also?)

Now, Germany is about the same size as Texas (a bit smaller, in fact), and it is at about the same longitude as Indiana --- imagine Hoosiers generating 30% of our power from wind and solar during the average Indiana winter! (Wind, of course, we have in spades, practically year-round, but Indiana hardly seems favorable for solar power in winter.) But the Germans are doing the equivalent.

If the Germans can do this without flattening the Barvarian Alps, then imagine what America could do if it got serious about harnessing its Southwestern Sunbelt. Since we are heavyweights in biotechnology, America could also declare a "Manhattan Project" to develop cost-effective bio-fuels out of plant cellulose via safe but highly productive genetically-engineered microbes.

But do we hear about such possibilities from our leaders? No! We are lucky if Obama, Clinton or McCain even bother to encourage their supporters to purchase and drive hybrid cars.

I won't harp quite at such length, but what percentage of the voters understand the basic differences between Clinton's health care plan and Obama's? I must admit I don't.

So, Alex, I agree that the current state of political punditry is rather sad. We discuss which candidate has the bigger set of gonads instead of discussing real issues, real possibilities. Obama promises "change" but the average Obamaniac would be hard-pressed to list five substantive things he has promised to "change" (if the nameplate on the desk in the Oval Office doesn't count).

Andrea~ Yes, that's gotta be it, it's all about how attacking Dems constantly is "fair and balanced" while saying anything about Republicans is "librul media bias." And one has to wonder if anyone just stops and realizes that people will actually listen to someone who presents reasoned arguments.

The Times has Krugman, though, so there's hope.

And, something I didn't mention here, but if Dowd really wanted to write about something important, something with sex, something with personality, and something that's related to politics, there was McCain's sex scandal this past week that her newspaper broke....

AJ~ I don't know much about energy policy, I'm afraid. It's an issue that I just don't follow. I've mainly paid attention to Iraq, other foreign policy, LGBT issues, and health care. And the meta of politics, I guess.

I won't harp quite at such length, but what percentage of the voters understand the basic differences between Clinton's health care plan and Obama's? I must admit I don't.

I've blogged a couple of times about the biggest difference. I do admit that my posts on health care don't get all that much attention around here, no matter how much I say it's an LGBT issue....

Alex, I clicked your link and read --- interesting to be sure, but unfortunate that the info is almost 90 days old --- also unfortunate that the average faggot and dyke, even the political variety, knows more about who-is-banging-who-in-Hollywood than they do about health care reform ... and cares more about that, too.

Since the GLBT politicized population tends to be left-leaning (no slight intended to the Log Cabin guys), we seem to be vaguely in favor of environmental concern and international human rights issues, but our attention span poops out when we get to health care, energy, immigration, the economy --- and these are all issues that the straight voters place into the Top Ten. So, sad to say it, but to some extent we "get the government that we deserve."

OTOH, being a good citizen can be a fulltime job, and most of us, like the straights, have FT jobs called "earning a living" ... so I don't know to what extent I must accept this as an observation instead of asserting it as a criticism.

CORRECTION: Re-reading Comment #5, I see that I posted:

Now, Germany is about the same size as Texas (a bit smaller, in fact), and it is at about the same longitude as Indiana ---

Obviously, I meant to say that "Germany is ... about the same latitude as Indiana" --- latitude being the angle north (or south) from the equator, and longitude being the angle east or west from Greenwich, England.

I apologize for the error.

Longitude? Longitude?

Oh, Allen. How can I ever take you seriously now?


Very interesting post and comment thread. Maureen es mas sexist.