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I think McCain may be the Republican's Al Gore - a watered down version of someone who isn't exactly at the peak of their popularity.

One of the stranger things of looking at the US from the outside is the extent to which the system seems to be demand White Machismo from candidates. It's not real assertiveness or executive ability - more the ability to offer up a comforting Hollywood colouring book version of tough take-no-crap patriotism. Hence all of the C-in-C crap - all it really seems to mean is someone who looks the part.

So. Carter gets trounced by Reagan - the cartoon cowboy - for not being macho enough.
Dukakis - not macho enough.
Nixon - macho enough to win, but not macho enough to survive.
Bush - more macho than Gore and Kerry.
Mondale - not only not macho, but practically a DFH.

With Obama vs McCain, the macho issue isn't so clear. McCain gets many, many macho points for surviving torture and Being A Hero. But that was then. Today he's a puffy old guy. He can strut and he can pimp his wife (macho!) but even the knuckle draggers have to see that he's past his prime.

Obama is smooth and ejumacated, which would normally make him the effete liberal. But when the Right tries to pin that on him, it doesn't quite stick. He's not macho in the usual sense. But he's not a limp wristed loser in the Kerry mould. If he tries to go hunting he's going to look ridiculous. But he won't, and the Iraq press photos suggested a certain militaristic mien which won't have gone unnoticed.

Also - Kennedy - not macho, but something else, which is hard to understand (if you're one of the knuckle draggers) but also hard to write off. Obama has been playing for the same slot, and he's been partially successful.

McCain could probably win if he lost some weight and spent more time in uniform at military bases. But he's going to continue to be that-guy-in-a-suit, so I don't think his chances are good.

Looking at it, you have to wonder if US elections aren't a continent-sized celebration of repressed homosexuality among the wingers.

One difference between the Dems and the Rs is that Dem men seem to do plain vanilla affairs with adult women. Rs do - all kinds of other things. And some of that seems to leak through (if that's the right metaphor) into their voting habits.    

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 01:12:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama is smooth and ejumacated, which would normally make him the effete liberal. But when the Right tries to pin that on him, it doesn't quite stick. He's not macho in the usual sense. But he's not a limp wristed loser in the Kerry mould. If he tries to go hunting he's going to look ridiculous. But he won't, and the Iraq press photos suggested a certain militaristic mien which won't have gone unnoticed.

To put it as simply as I can, it's because he's black.  Black men are seen as tougher than white men in America -- an obnoxious, but convenient, byproduct of black men being portrayed as thugs by the media for so long.  And, as Obama is ejumacated and smooth, you get a kind of weird 50-Cent-Meets-James-Bond thing.  He gets the benefits of being black without suffering from the decades of bullshit.

Sure, McCain's got the POW thing, but stand Obama and McCain next to each other.  Who looks tougher?  Obama, of course.  He's young, athletic, etc.

Height matters, too, typically.  McCain is only 5'7" -- well below average for the population as a whole, and very short as presidents go.  Obama is 6'2" -- not unheard of as presidents go; roughly in line with Washington, Lincoln,  and a few others; and very tall as Americans go.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 01:27:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
_ weird 50-Cent-Meets-James-Bond thing._

   :) lol (:

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 01:54:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama is 6'2" -- not unheard of as presidents go; roughly in line with Washington, Lincoln,  and a few others; and very tall as Americans go. <

That counts as very tall in America? Sure, it is very tall - for a woman.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 01:02:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Typical height for a male in America is between 5'9" and 5'10".

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 02:07:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just as an informal personal data gathering experience by a 6'2 person - I wouldn't call it very tall, but it is rare enough for me to encounter people clearly taller than me to find it mildly disconcerting. That's true in Europe as well.
by MarekNYC on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 02:11:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends on where you are.  I think the Dutch are quite tall nowadays, if I remember an article from a while back correctly, and the Yurpians are generally becoming taller than us.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 02:22:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Obama's height the reason McCain accuses him of talking down to people?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 02:58:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama's also a much better speaker than Kerry, Mondale, Carter, etc.  And both he and Kennedy have/had a wittiness and an ability to deliver tight statements/speeches without getting too lost in nuance, although Kennedy was better at it than Obama (who occasionally pulls a Kerry-does-nuance and mumbles).

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 01:30:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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