Thursday, February 07, 2008

Annals of Male Dumbassery, vol. 1

One of the things I love about this primary season is just watching the male pundits and commentators make complete asses of themselves as they struggle with the fact that a woman is running for president and the way they've spoken about issues in the past just doesn't work this time because it exposes their primitive caveman biases.  I mean, all of them are self-aware enough to understand that you just have to be careful about what you say about race--they've all pretty much learned that, but they have no clue about how frequently they expose their inbred male superiority complex.

For example, there was the moment on MSNBC during the NH primary coverage when Chris Matthews went off his nut about Hillary, becoming increasingly hysterical and irrational (um, yeah, "shrill") as he surfed his wave of misogyny right toward his current blogosphere nickname of King of the Dickheads.  Keith Olberman's face, and that of the other male pundits, was such a classic study in frozen horror.  Olberman looked the same as anyone would if one of your friends, sober at the beginning of a classy cocktail party, started spewing racist nonsense.  Olberman later apologized to viewers about his running segment smearing and publicly humiliating Brittney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Lindsey Lohan, claiming that his producers kept making him do it when he didn't want to.  I mean, I have no sympathy for any of those girls, but they are girls, and no more stupid than a pack of similar male celebrities like Ben Affleck, Ashton Kutcher, or Leo DiCaprio.

Last night, it was Jonathan Alter of Newsweek who tripped up as Olberman and he were discussing the possibility of Clinton and Obama being running mates and what combinations would work.  Alter claimed that Obama would not want Clinton as a running mate because he'd want someone with real national security experience and "gravitas," someone like, say, Sam Nunn or Jim Webb.  OK, first of all, when was the last time that Sam Nunn was involved in any serious discussions of national security?  Fifteen years ago?  Has anyone heard a peep from him lately about having an opinion about anything?  And, furthermore, Sam Nunn is a full-fledged member of the misogynist boys club.  

Jim Webb isn't any better.  Now, I'm glad that he had the right message for Virginia swing voters to nail down a Democratic seat in the Senate, but, come on, the man is a walking case of macho ridiculousness.  He takes himself way too seriously on the dude front.  And is Jim Webb focused on getting us out of Iraq?  I think not.  Neither would Sam Nunn.  They're both marginal Republicans who'd be too fixated on American "victory" in Iraq to ever pull us out.  Hillary's rhetoric on Iraq is that she made a huge mistake in voting for the war and can't get herself to say she was wrong (which is a huge problem for me), but I don't think she has the macho hang-up of needing to prove that we can be "victorious" in Iraq, which is a huge reason that this country can't move forward on this issue: we're basically being bullied by a whole group of men, Democrat and Republican alike, who are too hung up on the male pride issue of demonstrating that we've "won" to ever figure out what else we could do to solve the problem.  

So, of the three, who has the most recent experience on national security and armed service issues?  Gee, I guess that would be Hillary Clinton.  My husband noted that Webb was secretary of the Navy under Reagan--like, right, 5 million years ago when the Navy played exactly what significant role in any foreign conflict?  And when was the last time the U.S. Navy served as anything but sea-going buses to ferry troops around or as landing strips for planes?  World War II?  Oh, yeah, when we need to go out and fight Iran or al-Quaeda's Navy, then we'll need our navy.  Saudi Arabia, of course, has a huge Navy.  And the Navy sure was instrumental in Afghanistan.

Full disclosure: I have not decided whether to vote for Clinton or Obama.  The rational part of my brain says, vote for Obama because I like the image he'd present to the international community, his policies are generally good, and I really think that having another Clinton in the White House would be bad for the country in that it would preserve the Hatfield and McCoy mentality we've endured for decades under the Bush and Clinton families.  

But there's a real emotional draw in voting for a woman, especially when I hear the male pundits reveal what a group of dumbasses they really are when it comes to women.  It just makes me want to stick a finger in their eye by voting for Clinton, which is not necessarily the most mature thing to do.

And then, every once in a while, Barack gets his guy on.  And I just sit there and think, you know, you're right, skin color doesn't matter, guys are guys deep down inside and they really aren't even aware of the mechanisms of their own innate superiority complexes.  And I also remember when Michelle Obama was a little too vocal about her marriage, and it was clear there were fault lines there that involved unequal sharing of parenting, and Ms. Michelle clearly giving up on some of her career ambitions to support her husband's needs--same as Ms. Hillary.  

And so I sit there and think, can a guy who most certainly loves his children and is a good father in that way we allow American men to be called good fathers just because they show up for the fun stuff, can a guy like that who probably didn't change many diapers, or do the hard shitty work of parenting, or give up any of his ambitions to put his wife or kids first--can a guy like that really understand the challenges that American mothers face in this country?  If push had come to shove, would he have given up anything career-related because Michelle or the kids needed it?  Would he have compromised his career in any way?  My guess is a big, fat no, he would never have done that because he's as big an egotistical prince as any guy in America, white, black, asian, or latino.  His needs come first always.  He doesn't have to bend or compromise because he could never get over the self-centered belief that he's the most important person in his household.

Does he care about the needs of women?  Sure, as long as they don't inconvenience society or his brothers' male ambitions because they pop out kids.  I'd still vote for him as the Democratic nominee, without question, unless he chose some king of Macho Creepdom to be his VP.

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