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Let’s Forget About the Hair

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It bothers me that our media has decided that Edwards can be dismissed as too "feminine"–i.e., gay.

Ann Coulter impoliticly said flat out what the gist of the Republican message is when it comes to Edwards — "Fag." Of course there was a lot of sound and fury at the time, but I think that the focus of Edwards coverage of late shows that conservatives and their myriad allies didn't really disapprove of those comments; at least they didn't care about them enough to stop propagating the "Edwards is a flamer" line.

Bush decisively demonstrates that masculinity isn't a useful criteria for Presidential effectiveness. Nothing beats flying a fighter jet onto an aircraft carrier when it comes to establishing he-man-warrior credentials. It's that same sort of fantasy of strength and virility, coupled with a desire to avoid "humiliation" or signs of "weakness" that's led to the erosion of civil liberties, mass death in Iraq, etcetera.

The GOP in the primaries is advancing the concept of the "strong leader" types. They're pushing yet another actor, Fred Thompson, this time. Thompson joined the cast of Law and Order while he was still in the Senate. He's extraordinarily good at portraying authority. In fact he's made his career playing authoritarians on television and in movies, and, above all, what conservatives want is someone who can play that role convincingly. They want their leaders to project aggressive power because the power reflects back on them. It makes them feel powerful.

Giuliani is another competitor in the casting call for Daddy-in-Chief. He stood up to the terrorists, and of course we've all heard that story. It's tremendously appealing. But people seem to forget how unpopular Giuliani was just before the 9/11 attacks. His family problems are clearly at odds with the moral authority being assigned to him, and there is actual video of Giuliani performing in drag and being kissed on the fake breast by Donald Trump. Now, I don't think that's problematic (although it's hardly dignified), but if conservatives were being honest with themselves, they would give it at least the same amount of coverage that Edwards' supposed visit to the "Pink Sapphire" is currently garnering.

Giuliani is in favor of gay rights (he lived with a gay couple for some time) and abortion rights, and yet he's still the front-runner in all the polls. The reason that this is all excused in Giuliani where it wouldn't be excused in someone else is that conservatives think maybe Giuliani has the strongest narrative; maybe he can play that authority figure better than the others. As long as Giuliani can win, and as long as he pledges some allegiance to the tribe, then that's all fine. But there's good reason to think that Giuliani is willing to say and do whatever is convenient to gain power. And that once he gains it he relishes its use.

Of course I'm not saying that Democrats don't pander or pursue emotional, irrational politics (witness the Terry Schiavo debacle), but at this point I think it's clear that government power needs to be taken away from the people who have been playing at government like some kind of swords and sorcery RPG.

When it's real swords (and guns and bombs), it is also real blood and real suffering. That's something that the GOP never really understood, and even now they'd like to continue their fantasy of actions without consequences (the most recent consequence the 170 men, women, and children who just today were blown away). They can continue to promise 'victory' while casting themselves in the part of the misunderstood visionaries (just like Winston Churchill, another popular conservative storyline).

So I don't care about Edward's hair, or Obama's parking tickets, or Hillary's 'frigidness' or any of these other irrelevancies. In the last two elections, the mainstream media has done us a disservice by focusing on Republican lines of attack. With Gore, it was the invention of the Internet and a kiss with Tipper that was a little too long. With Kerry, it was 'he speaks French' and windsurfs. But none of that stuff matters, and people are catching on that they've been duped. And they're angry, they are really annoyed. Even here in the middle of Kansas, where I live, the overwhelming feeling is anger at Bush and his band of his incompetents.

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  • Servant

    While I disapprove of your politics, I agree with the underlying message. But I have to say, starting in on issues that could (repeat, could) have a dramtic change in the vote doesn’t seem to far-thinking either. Which is why character assassination is the name of the game. Fun, fun. And of course, the media which powers these political machinations also love a controversy, it gets them more money.

    On a slightly more critical note, I wouldn’t do these things either:

    One, claim to represent popular thinking for a region (Kansas).

    Two, at least claim to respect the people in power (as to avoid accusations of character assassination yourself).

    Three, don’t quote Ann Coulter. Just don’t. She is the shrieking banshee of the right, but remember the left has is own list of screaming idiots also.

  • http://lowether.blogspot.com Sam Jack

    1) You’re certainly right that I can’t represent popular opinion for Kansas, but I have a good idea of the political atmosphere in the town where I’m located (Wichita), and I can tell you that conservative acquaintances of mine who were formerly strong Bush supporters are now becoming more and more cynical. Obviously I am not a walking opinion poll. I agree with you that ‘the overwhelming feeling’ is an overstatement. I should have said that I’ve noticed rising opposition. Obviously Kansas is still majority Republican by an awful lot.

    2) Why should I pretend to respect President Bush and his enablers when I do not? Of course I respect the office of the Presidency. My problem is that Bush doesn’t seem to. He lost my respect long ago. Six years ago (when I was twelve, incidentally), I supported him. He reminded me of Uncle Danny from down south.

    3) I’m aware that there are nuts and bigots on both sides of the political spectrum, but show me the Democratic kook that has been enabled -by the Democratic establishment- in the way that Ann Coulter has.

    I often hear Al Sharpton names, but here’s what I’ve noticed about him:

    1) Something race-related happens.

    2) The networks invite Al Sharpton to represent the African-American perspective.

    3) The discussion moves away from the actual incident and is replaced by talk about how Al Sharpton is hardly a scion of morality himself.

    There are plenty of black liberals who don’t have Sharpton’s baggage, but they don’t seem to get invited, and the reason is simply that they don’t make as good of television.

    I know that there are other nuts, but they are marginalized. They don’t have talk radio shows and/or best-selling books like O’Reilly, Savage, Limbaugh, Boortz, and Coulter. If the Republican party were really marginalizing Coulter, I would agree with you that it would be bad form to bring up the lunatic things she’s said. It’s just obvious that they are not. They’ve adopted her smear tactics, and they invited her to their most prestigious conference, already with full knowledge of the large list of outrageous things she’d already said.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Awww, you’re just against Giuliani because he’s bald, you hairist!

    Dave

  • Baronius

    SJ – Michael Moore, Bill Maher, Rosie O’Donnell, George Stephanopoulos, Al Franken.

  • Baronius

    Oh, and Bill Moyers. How did I forget Moyers?

  • Servant

    First, thank you Baronius, for saving me some time. And I would also add most of Hollywood.

    Sam, you should respect the President because the majority voted him into power. This does not mean I disapprove of critism, but at least refrain from insults. I am a conservitive, and I do not openly insult the more liberal aspects of society (in public, at least).

    On a personal note, I absolutly hate when the issue turns into race. It does not matter which side, but come on! Unless you were personally a slave, I do not want to hear it. Everyone is discriminated against at least once in their life, so stop trying to get a free ride through life!

    Glad I got that out…

  • Arch Conservative

    “I’m aware that there are nuts and bigots on both sides of the political spectrum, but show me the Democratic kook that has been enabled -by the Democratic establishment- in the way that Ann Coulter has.”

    Hmmm……

    Michael Moore (prominent guest at DNC seated next to Jimmy Carter)
    Al Sharpton (Ran for president as a Dem)
    Jesse Jackson (anti semitic racial demagogue viewed as some kind of race relations guru by the left)
    Rosie O’Donnel (Anti American propagandist extrordinaire encouraged by the MSM)
    Ray Nagin (Mr. Chocolate city got away with blaming all of the unpreparedness on Bush and none on himself or the gov of LA)

    Those are just a few who have been enabled and supported by the leftist establishment in this nation

  • steve

    arch, where would blogcritics be without you? its nice to see that other people recognize the double standards of the left. You are beginning to inspire me to come out of the closet as a white, middle class conservative!!! oops did I say that out loud?

  • zingzing

    oh, the poor white middle class conservatives… so maligned. such a life they are forced to live… just because they are what they are. hiding all the time. afraid to reveal their true feelings. poor people.