Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Poor Man's MoDo

If Kathleen Parker is hoping to be a right-leaning Maureen Dowd, she's going to have to do a lot better than this.
If Bill Clinton was our first black president, as Toni Morrison once proclaimed, then Barack Obama may be our first woman president.

Phew. That was fun. Now, if you'll just keep those hatchets holstered and hear me out.

That was Parker's first mistake. Dowd just calls him a girl and damns the consequences, which are nil.
No, I'm not calling Obama a girlie president.

Barack Obama may be our first woman president.
he may be suffering a rhetorical-testosterone deficit
It is that his approach is feminine in a normative sense
he's not exactly causing anxiety in Alpha-maledom
Could it be that Obama is suffering from the inverse? [of acting like a man]
Obama displays many tropes of femaleness
I don't think that doing things a woman's way is evidence of deficiency but
Obama may prove to be our first male president who pays a political price for acting too much like a woman

So Parker is a liar as well as a provocateur.
The BP oil crisis has offered a textbook case of how Obama's rhetorical style has impeded his effectiveness. The president may not have had the ability to "plug the damn hole," as he put it in one of his manlier outbursts. No one expected him to don his wetsuit and dive into the gulf, but he did have the authority to intervene immediately and he didn't.

If he couldn't plug the hole, who would he turn to to plug the hole? The people who made the hole and were trying to plug it? Parker knows her readers will not follow her logic to its conclusion, so she can say anything she wants.
Instead, he deferred to BP, weighing, considering, even delivering jokes to the White House Correspondents' Association dinner when he should have been on Air Force One to the Louisiana coast.


Granted, the century is young -- and it shouldn't surprise anyone that Obama's rhetoric would simmer next to George W. Bush's boil. But passivity in a leader is not a reassuring posture.

Comparing Obama to Bush is not a winning tactic, as Bush passively ignored the "Bin Laden Trying To Hijack Airplanes And Kill Us" memo and passively let thousands of our people die before actively letting thousands more die in half-assed invasions.

What evidence does Parker offer to support her Obama-is-a-girly-man thesis, besides her gut? Parker states that men and women "communicate differently," and offers as proof an article on a study that shows men might have a better sense of direction than women because of biological factors. [The shape of the inner ear.] The article does not support Parker's thesis in any way.

Her second bit of evidence is the use of passive voice in an Obama speech. Parker assumes that women are passive and men are active, and therefore the use of the passive voice is feminine. Fortunately we do not have to accept Parker's sexist beliefs, and therefore her bit of "evidence" is useless. Her other bit of evidence, she freely admits, conflicts with actual data.
Campbell's research, in which she affirms that men can assume feminine communication styles successfully (Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton), suggests holes in my own theory. She insists that men are safe assuming female styles as long as they meet rhetorical norms for effective advocacy -- clarity and cogency of argument, appropriate and compelling evidence, and preempting opposing positions.

Parker chooses to reject any conflicting studies because she prefers her own version, in which everyone agrees with her.
I'm not so sure. The masculine-coded context of the Oval Office poses special challenges, further exacerbated by a crisis that demands decisive action. It would appear that Obama tests Campbell's argument that "nothing prevents" men from appropriating women's style without negative consequences.

Indeed, negative reaction to Obama's speech suggests the opposite. Obama may prove to be our first male president who pays a political price for acting too much like a woman.

Tucked away in the general stupidity are a few pro-Sarah Palin points.
Women tend to be coalition builders rather than mavericks (with the occasional rogue exception).

Karlyn Kohrs Campbell details the ways our former first lady was chastised for the sin of talking like a lawyer and, by extension, "like a man."

And, perhaps, next time will be a real woman's turn.

Poor Parker can't even openly support her fav because nobody in her tribal sub-section has any respect for Palin and now that Parker has made it to the Show, she's not about to jeopardize her status. She's a poor man's MoDo, with weak arguments, irrelevant data, knee-jerk conservative leanings, and neither MoDo's wit nor cojones. But she seems to be good enough for the Washington Post, so no doubt we can look forwards to many, many more columns calling Obama a whiny-assed weak bitch.


Kathy said...

I'm disgusted with a lot of the things Obama has and hasn't done, but I don't attribute his faults to being "feminine". Or to his being Black, or being a Harvard Graduate. Well, maybe the last thing.

Susan of Texas said...

It's amazing how failure in only manly when certain men do it.