Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Maureen explains it all:

Romance is often used as the best metaphor in campaigns. In New Hampshire, Kerry fans had a bumper sticker that said, "Dated Dean, Married Kerry," playing off the idea that while Howard Dean might be exciting, with all his anti-war, sweet-nothing rants, John Kerry was more solid husband, or presidential, material. It was famously said of Bush 41 that he was so lacking in pizzazz he reminded women of their first husband[...] a gag that he didn't like, by the way.
Gee, imagine not liking a comment like that. I think it's political gold to have your leadership of the country compared to the fumblings of a starter-husband.

Romance is an awful metaphor for a political campaign. What kind of a woman gives a man power over her, when she absolutely knows that he isn't going to be honest? And yet, the single thing you know about every politician before you hire him is that he is not going to be honest. We've equated the stereotype of lying men to the necessary fact of lying presidents.

I find there's something disgusting about comparing an administration to a romantic relationship.

First of all, I think it's sexist, and an easy way to discount the vote of most women as "emotional". I anticipate a lot of this kind of comparison in the press, as pundits ask themselves, "Why did Bush get a higher percentage of the female vote this time around?" Expect answers to range from Bush's supposed father-figure status, to his stereotype as the rugged Marlboro Man type (yes, I got that from Bill Maher) -- any way to avoid the assumption that women might have been thinking about anything more than the secondary sexual characteristics of the candidate in question.

Second of all, well... I think it's sexist, because the metaphor does, in fact, reduce the candidates to their secondary sexual characteristics. I'm sure that every political hopeful dreams of the day when he can finally reside in the oval office and have his policies interpreted through the lens of Freudian heuristics. The higher you go, the stupider they think you.

One of the things that I have always liked about dubya is that he is not a good speaker. I tend to be nervous of the kind of candidate who seems to agree that a campaign is a "seduction", more about talking smoothly and making the other guys look bad than about being a good candidate. Bush doesn't talk a good game, but he does play a good game.

If more women voted for him this time around, it may very well be because women weren't voting with their ovaries.