December 18, 2007

Do even more difficult aesthetic standards apply to the male candidates?

Yesterday, we were talking about that picture of Hillary Clinton that appeared on Drudge. My son John Althouse Cohen emails:
I read the Dr. Helen post you linked to, which was basically my reaction to your post. A couple additional points along those lines:

(1) What's the simplest explanation for why Edwards and Obama are the only serious male contenders for the Democratic nomination, even though Biden, Richardson, and Dodd are so much more impressive on paper?

(2) At least a woman is just supposed to look good and then there will be no further discussion. In a sense, men have a higher standard to meet: first, they're supposed to look good ... but then they need to somehow convince people that they haven't put any effort into looking good. At least the complaint about that Hillary photo -- she looks bad -- is a clear problem with a clear solution: look better. But the complaints about Edwards -- he cares too much about his appearance -- could only be addressed by letting his appearance go ... which isn't politically viable either (considering the demands that are placed on all candidates to be visually appealing).

(Preemptive response to blog commenters: I know someone's going to say, "But he was only criticized for spending $400 on a haircut, which no reasonable person would do!" Well, a price that seems inexplicable for ordinary citizens might actually be reasonable for a national politician who has to constantly worry about looking good on TV. Also, even if it was an unreasonable expenditure, there is still an unfair gender disparity in how much something like that will hurt a male vs. a female candidate.)

75 comments:

Hoosier Daddy said...

Do even more difficult aesthetic standards apply to the male candidates?

Of course. Romney is well groomed and handsome and is called Plastic Man. Fred Thompson is heavy, bald and is viewed (not by all) as unnattrative.

That's right ladies, we men can't win either way.

Meade said...

I am continually impressed by the high level of critical thinking and cogent writing your sons display.

George said...

We not so much voting for a candidate as we are buying a product we feel will be durable--and comfortable--for eight years.

Biden is erratic. Richardson has no sizzle. Dodd is odd.

Edwards and Obama seem sporty while also seeming like the sons we (especially women) all wish we had.

Hillary is the Mom-product. Tired, but tough.

On the GOP side, we have the abused but still highly functional McCain; plastic Mitt; rough-n-tumble Rudy; cuddly Huck (with hidden tentacles); and Fred. He's like that axe you keep in the garage. You don't think about him much, but you're glad he's there.

christopher said...

Okay, I know I've been banned, but really -- do we have to talk about sex so much?

Henry said...

I don't think that the male candidates face asthetic standards anywhere near as difficult as female candidates.

Male candidates have to fit a simple status quo: clean shaven, dark suit, short hair. Al Gore is the exception that proves the rule. There was never any reason for him to adopt brown suits -- and doing so just made him look foolish.

Female candidates, however, face the cultural pressures of style. A woman is supposed to be Jackie Kennedy. A candidate is supposed to be Jack.

Roger said...

In a perfect world, we would not consider a candidate's appearance; only his or her qualifications--the world isnt perfect. A candidate's appearance is going to affect our orientation toward them.

Ron said...

Isn't a bit odd how much people emphasis appearance? I realize that even FDR had problems getting nominated because of his illness, but I wonder if we would be even worse than people were then about the appearance of a President in a wheel chair.

Joan said...

It's disingenuous to say that Edwards was criticized for getting a $400 haircut. The $400 haircut is just the tip of the iceberg with him. Any man who does this has a problem. It's not that he's combing or brushing his hair -- it's that he's doing it for a full two minutes when the first 10 seconds would've sufficed. That kind behavior reveals him to be too easily distracted by unimportant details -- appearance is important, but not that important -- and a rather unserious person.

christopher said...


Blogger Ron said...

Isn't a bit odd how much people emphasis appearance?


Wow. It's like a homeschooled Andy Rooney....

Ron said...

Isn't the hypocrisy about plastic surgery part of this as well? You're 'supposed' to have it done, but not really talk about, even for women!

Ron said...

Ah, kwissy... your tact and charm are sublimely obvious...hey, maybe if you wrote more about sex, would dislike you that much less!

naahhh...probably not.

Balfegor said...

(1) What's the simplest explanation for why Edwards and Obama are the only serious male contenders for the Democratic nomination, even though Biden, Richardson, and Dodd are so much more impressive on paper?

Well, yes, superficially, they're young and handsome, while Biden et al. are . . . not. But even taking Clinton into account, I don't think it's coincidental that the leading Democratic candidates this time around are -- hands down -- the least experienced candidates their party has ever nominated. That I am aware. Even Kennedy had 8 years in the Senate and 6 years in the House of Representatives behind him in 1960, after all. Obama may try to rebut Clinton I's critique of his inexperience by comparing himself to Clinton I in 1992, but Clinton I had been Governor of Arkansas for more than ten years, and Attorney General for Arkansas for three years before that. How stupid does Obama think we are?

I think this glaring inexperience is in part calculated. True, Edwards, Obama, and Clinton II will have difficulty running on their records, because they don't have any (at least not in their own name). But they are also, unlike Kerry in 2004, spared the trouble of running against their records. And in a year where (as in 2004 and 2006) the generic Democrat starts out likely to trounce the generic Republican, primary voters may have decided that candidates with no record or experience to distinguish them from the generic are probably their safest bet.

christopher said...


Blogger Ron said...

Ah, kwissy... your tact and charm are sublimely obvious...hey, maybe if you wrote more about sex, would dislike you that much less!


I think yer kewt too, wonnie.

Ron said...

Now, now kwissy, just cause your bag is full, shouldn't you just empty it in your house like you always do?

Trooper York said...

A little judicious plastic surgery is often useful in professions where appearance is so important like show business or politics. The secret is not to overdo it like Nancy Pelosi who has had her skin pulled up so tight that she has a goatee.

rhhardin said...

All of this is the reaction of the soap opera women, not real people.

It's all that's on the news, but its importance is exaggerated. The news caters to soap opera women. Its editing function just makes it look like everybody thinks that way.

The narrative being sought to explain it, is only the narrative of soap opera.

Throw away your TV for a year and the world is completely different.

hdhouse said...

Joan... said: (about edwards) "That kind behavior reveals him to be too easily distracted by unimportant details -- appearance is important, but not that important -- and a rather unserious person."

And I think immediately to Jerry Gallo (Callo) in cousin vinny - "I find it unbelievable that you can ascertain, on the basis of this one photograph, that these tiremarks were made by a Pontiac Tempest".

Are we to believe that you came to that conclusion on the basis of two seconds looking through this dirty window, through that crud covered screen, through all these trees with ...what are these called? ..leaves and these bushes...how many bushes?

If Fred or Rudy needed haircuts they probably would spend $100 and that would be with the barber coming to them. Edwards spent 200...that's $100 more..not $200 more than nothing. If Rush didn't persist in calling him "the breck girl" this would be history.

Why is it front burner on your stove? Magic grits?

Balfegor said...

Re: hdhouse:

And I think immediately to Jerry Gallo (Callo) in cousin vinny - "I find it unbelievable that you can ascertain, on the basis of this one photograph, that these tiremarks were made by a Pontiac Tempest".

But . . . but she could. Isn't that, like, the whole point, with the suspension and everything?

hdhouse said...

the question was "could joan"?

AllenS said...

Last night after dinner when I was licking the gravy off of my plate, the thought occurred to me: this must be what it's like to french kiss Nancy Pelosi.

Middle Class Guy said...

Since the photo, Hillary looks like she has a professional doing her make up.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that part of Edwards' problem with his expensive haircut is that it furthers the stereotype of him as a rank hypocrite. He talks of the two Americas, the one where people can live in 20,000 sq ft houses on a nice big "farm" and pay $400 for haircuts, and the other where people can live across the street from the farm in trailers and can afford $10 cuts.

The other thing though is that it makes him look narcissistic. Women can be, but men shouldn't be, or at least not caught being so. So, pretty boy Edwards was caught at it. Rush's Breck comments are made to just cement this vision of Edwards.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Any man who does this has a problem. It's not that he's combing or brushing his hair -- it's that he's doing it for a full two minutes when the first 10 seconds would've sufficed. That kind behavior reveals him to be too easily distracted by unimportant details -- appearance is important, but not that important -- and a rather unserious person.

Thank you for proving my point by illustrating it.

Ron said...

Could we elect a candidate who was substantially shorter than his wife? Doubtful.

Fen said...

I think it has more to do with our culture. Women are not considered to age as gracefully as men, due to greater expectations society places on their appearance.

Likewise, men are likely to be much more critical of an older woman's appearance than a man's.

Compare male and female actors - Sean Connery versus any female his approx age. I shouldn't need to remind anyone that the entertainment market [advertisng $$] routinely pairs a much older leading man with some 20ish eye candy.

Also post a picture of Pelosi as contrast. Look what she's done to her face to appear less haggard.

Pogo said...

The Boomer's youth frenzy has begun to destroy them.

Expect the media stories on delightful aging very very soon.

LoafingOaf said...

But even taking Clinton into account, I don't think it's coincidental that the leading Democratic candidates this time around are -- hands down -- the least experienced candidates their party has ever nominated.

Hillary is a leading candidate because she's been one of the most powerful, high profile politicians in America for 15 years, and because many within her party worship the Clinton family (mostly because they worship her husband).

Edwards is a leading candidate because he already ran what was considered by Democrats to be a strong presidential campaign with an appealing message four years ago, and he became high profile when he was almost elected Vice President.

Obama is a leading candidate because many want new blood, a new generation, a change, and to heal the country and world from the massive mistakes the massively experienced folks in Washington made in the wake of 9/11. Obama is offering a kind of change that addresses the concerns many mainstream Democrats and independents have had about the type of leadership we've had in recent years without falling into the Far Left where the Kucinich types are.

All three (who are three distinguishable alternatives from each other) got their momentum rolling, were laying the groundwork, and attracting supporters years ago.

Why would anyone think Chris Dodd (barely known)would leap in amongst the front-runners out of the blue. What does he have going for him in contrast to something that is a turn-off about the three front-runners (who, because they are distinct from each other, already offer alternatives to the perceived flaws of the other two)that would allow that to happen? Few people are gonna care about your candidacy simply because you've hung out in Washington for many years. What does he offer in this race that should make people take notice?


I think this glaring inexperience is in part calculated. True, Edwards, Obama, and Clinton II will have difficulty running on their records, because they don't have any (at least not in their own name). But they are also, unlike Kerry in 2004, spared the trouble of running against their records. And in a year where (as in 2004 and 2006) the generic Democrat starts out likely to trounce the generic Republican, primary voters may have decided that candidates with no record or experience to distinguish them from the generic are probably their safest bet.

Though they have differing amounts of experience as Washington politicians, they all have lifelong records being examined.

One thing on Obama's record that helped him hugely within his party from the get-go is that his statement about the Iraq war before we invaded Iraq looks very good in 2007, and most of the other Democratic candidates wish they had said the same thing.

In general, Obama is coming across to many as someone who can heal America's image on the world's stage while still standing strong against our enemies.

The reason Kerry had problems with his record, and Hillary is having problems with her's, is because they are both huge phonies as leaders, and both have been considered to have gotten it wrong on many of the biggest issues (such as Iraq) in the eyes of Democratic voters.

Kerry had it worst in this regard because Kerry only voted to invade Iraq because he thought it would help him become prez. Hillary at least believed in her vote when she made it, though now it's considered a huge error in judgment that had horrendous consequences for her country and the world in the eyes of her party.

Fen said...

to heal the country and world from the massive mistakes the massively experienced folks in Washington made in the wake of 9/11.

What "massive" mistakes? Richard Armitage? The loss of Atlanta to a terrorist nuke?

Obama is offering a kind of change that addresses the concerns many mainstream Democrats and independents

Details please. What change other than repeating "change" until it loses all meaning. All I've heard him propose is the invasion of a nuclear armed islamic state that would cut off our logistics train in Afganistan..

his statement about the Iraq war before we invaded Iraq looks very good in 2007

Only to those who watch CNN. If you get your Iraq news from the ground, you find out how wrong Obama is, and will be seen as once the dust settles down.

Obama is coming across to many as someone who can heal America's image on the world's stage while still standing strong against our enemies.

More platitudes, no specfics or detail. Can anyone tell me how Obama will "heal" our image on the world stage? Send Assad a fruit basket? Return triumphantly from Tehran waving a piece of paper and declaring "peace in our time"?

garage mahal said...

I think that part of Edwards' problem with his expensive haircut is that it furthers the stereotype of him as a rank hypocrite. He talks of the two Americas, the one where people can live in 20,000 sq ft houses on a nice big "farm" and pay $400 for haircuts, and the other where people can live across the street from the farm in trailers and can afford $10 cuts.

So what Edwards really needs to do is no longer work for poor people, and become a Republican. Problem solved! No hypocrisy then. Same with Global Warming -- if they would just shut up about trying to improve something they wouldn't be labeled as hypocrits. Technically, he could even spend YOUR money, [and not his own] on carting his mistresses around and bury your money in obscure agencies. Easy! Why don't all Democrats just be Republicans? Seems so much easier.

madawaskan said...

"Telegenics" has been a known entity in the political sciences. Since when?

Well...in the Sixties there was a debate-people who heard it on the radio thought the Republican won-people who watched it on the television said that the Democrat had won.

That Democrat was Jack Kennedy-and so the theory goes that since that day-no one has won the elected head of state in the prodominantly English speaking countries of the USA and England since that time.

Look at all the failed campaigns of the Conservative party leaders, Hague, Duncan Smith, and Howard-

all bald.

The Conservatives haven't won since Maggie Thatcher-plenty of hair- and John Major who ran against-you guessed it- the bald Labour party leader-Neil Kinnock.

(They might be wising up though because Cameron has hair but still less than Gordon Brown.)

So according to this theory-Romney will win the Republican nomination( with his Hawaii Five-O Jack Lord hair-credit to Jayson Javitz of Wizbang blog ) and Hillary better get cracking and get her hair on or the Silky Pony might beat her by a, erh, hair.

And that's how the hair theory goes folks and yes for some reason Australia and Canada don't count-it ruins the theory-damn it.

So go turn the world on it's head and vote for the bald guy Rudy and if you want to be with it and hip-indiscriminate you might say-then the bald guy or gal to vote for on the Democratic ticket is well... no one.

Those bastards!

madawaskan said...

Wait...there is Biden.

Damn it!

titusct said...

I think it is more a problem with democrat women vs republican women, dont we all agree fellow republicans?

Pelosi, Hilary, Harman, Feinstein, that other democrat commie Babs from California are all really just hags.

But the republican women are hot babes. Liddy is amazing; Babs Bush stunning; Laura fierce and such an individual look; Jean Schmidt has beautiful patriotic suits and lovely hair; and Phyliss Schafly in her bouffant and channel suit makes me wet. And Lynn Cheney what a bod-love that lady.

John Stodder said...

My take:

The reason the Hillary picture has gotten so much attention goes beyond the mere fact of her age showing through. It is because she looks so beaten down, so depressed. Maybe that's unfair -- it's just a moment in time, that picture. But it fits into the narrative of her campaign story as most political observers now understand it: The clear front-runner whose basic strategy now looks weak and ill-considered. The ruthlessly ambitious pol who thought her time had finally come, only to see it eddying away. It is a picture of defeat.

The unlikeliness of Biden and Dodd comes from a separate phenomenon, which is the disqualifying effect of a long Senate career. Not only do you have a mammoth paper trail to explain, but also a habit of language that is too considered, too indirect, leaving too much room for manuevering, and normal voters don't like it.

The Senate-derived candidates who are viable are either barely senators (Obama, Clinton), were barely senators (Edwards, Thompson), or have developed a following that transcends their senatorial identity (McCain). Arguably, Biden and Dodd have much more distinguished records as senators than any of the above candidates, but somehow that makes them less credible as presidents.

This rule holds for most of history. Only two senators have gone directly from the senate to the White House, Harding and Kennedy, neither of whom were much of a factor in the Senate. Since JFK, only four nominees have come from the Senate: Goldwater, McGovern, Dole and Kerry. The first two had appeal transcending their senatorial careers, and still lost, and the next two were hobbled by their senatorial careers. "I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it" is the kind of line a non-senator could never have uttered.

madawaskan said...

Great- I only see this huge glaring mistake after publishing.

This should read-

That Democrat was Jack Kennedy-and so the theory goes that since that day-no one who is bald has won the elected head of state in the prodominantly English speaking countries of the USA and England.

And I did that possessive It thing.

Turn the world on "its" head.

There.

I believe in the Tim Gunn theory-"make it work".

That's why for my comment forget that Biden exists because really who's going to vote for a guy who's been in the Senate 35 years when you can vote for Obama who's only shown up for what- 35 votes?


It so far isn't going to be any of the registered Democrats answering the pollsters.

Henry said...

Part of Ross Perot's shtick was his $5 haircuts. Apparently, haircuts resonate value.

JAC, the problem with your theory is that it's ridiculously easy for a male candidate to adhere to an acceptable aesthetic standard. $100 haircut, tailored suits in blue, gray, and black, red or blue ties, and shave twice a day.

Gore hurt himself unnecessarily by trying out brown. Edwards hurt himself unnecessarily by going overboard on a haircut. Nothing in the campaign culture pushes the male candidates to go beyond the status quo. To do otherwise is an unforced error.

Fen said...

So what Edwards really needs to do is no longer work for poor people, and become a Republican.

What makes you think he worked for poor people?

"As a lawyer, Edwards went for the big payoffs, making millions suing doctors, hospitals and corporations and building a net worth he’s reported at about $30 million. Edwards wasn’t an anti-poverty lawyer, and he did little pro bono work."

http://jre-whatsnottolike.com/category/personal/law-career/

Bruce Hayden said...

So what Edwards really needs to do is no longer work for poor people, and become a Republican. Problem solved! No hypocrisy then. Same with Global Warming -- if they would just shut up about trying to improve something they wouldn't be labeled as hypocrits. Technically, he could even spend YOUR money, [and not his own] on carting his mistresses around and bury your money in obscure agencies. Easy! Why don't all Democrats just be Republicans? Seems so much easier.

So, you are suggesting that running a bunch of Ob/Gyns out of state through using junk science to get large malpractice awards somehow helps the poor. Ever stop to consider who pays for the malpractice insurance increases caused by this? Or who has to drive to the next state to have babies?

And, yes, that is precisely what Edwards wants to do, spend my money on combating poverty. I would feel better if he were to spend his own first. When he has given away enough money that he would be as poor as I, then I will gladly follow his lead. But of course, that isn't his plan. Rather, he wants to spend my money to buy votes for him winning office.

Besides, he has yet to advocate anything that would improve the lot of the poor long term. Rather, most of what he has advocated has long been discredited as feel good liberal attempts that inevitably work to worsen the problem they are supposedly trying to solve. But, of course, that is likely the goal anyway, building a (bigger) class of those dependent upon Democratic politicians and government spending (our money) to survive. In other words, the programs of his that I have seen would work to increase poverty (and Democratic votes), and not lessen it.

Synova said...

"Ever stop to consider who pays..."

*snort*

Synova said...

The first Dem debate I happened to see this year Edwards looked like his wife cut his hair. It really looked chunky, like hat hair or something.

So I think he may be trying to have bad hair but we have good memories and won't let him.

My daughter has a really short cut (she shaved her head for charity a couple years ago and decided she really liked not dealing with it) and I stuck my hand in her head and tossled her hair. When I quit her friend looked at her and said, "Your hair looks exactly the same as it did before your mom did that."

And it did.

We expect men to have hair that minds itself. And if more of us girls had sense we'd demand the same.

LoafingOaf said...

Fen,

All I've heard him propose is the invasion of a nuclear armed islamic state that would cut off our logistics train in Afganistan..

There you go again. I remember posting to you in a thread where you were attacking Obama's comments about Pakistan. Apparently the only thing you had heard about his proposals were as filtered through right-wing partisan blogs, and if you wanna know one thing Obama offers change from it's from people like them (and you) and their (and your) left-wing equivalents.

See the bottom few messages at this link.

If you click over, you'll be reminded of how you misrepresented Obama's speech as calling for an "invasion of Pakistan, full-scale like Iraq," and you defended this misrepresentation by holding up something that had been posted on Obama's web site that claimed Obama was talking about an "invasion." You claimed this was the Obama campaign's "clarification" of his remarks, which was not true at all.

What it was was an AP news story that was posted in the "In The News" section on Obama's web site, where they simply post outside news stories about Obama. Obama's actual clarification of his speech attacked articles such as that one from the AP and stated clearly that he was not talking about an invasion. When this was pointed out you fled the thread.

If Obama is so stupid about Pakistan, I'd think you'd be able to attack his policy proposals without misrepresenting what they are. But misrepresenting the proposals before you "knock them down" is what you are stubbornly sticking with, partisan online soldier that you are.

That tells me you're afraid of him. As you should be, since the White House's own assessment declared Bush's Pakistan policy a failure around the time Obama made his speech. Do you think Bush would win a debate with Obama on Pakistan policy?

The point of my post above was not to "debate the issues", just to say why three Democrats were the front-runners in their party's primaries. There's no need to debate, say, what the massive failures of policies have been since 9/11, since it's just a fact that many Democratic primary voters believe there have been massive failures.

Joan said...

John Althouse Cohen thanks me for illustrating his point: "In a sense, men have a higher standard to meet: first, they're supposed to look good ... but then they need to somehow convince people that they haven't put any effort into looking good."

But that's not what I said. I said 10 seconds of fussing would've sufficed for Edwards, and he primped for an entire 2 minutes. He passed from normal through affected through parody to self-parody to plain old overkill. It's very difficult to sit and watch that entire clip. The guy is obsessed -- and his hair looks exactly the same at the end as it looked after the initial once-over, so it was just a fussy waste of time.

hdhouse wonders if/how I can tell so much about Edwards from "2 seconds", but it wasn't 2 seconds, it was 2 minutes. Two minutes is a loooong time to be primping like that, for either a man or woman.

It's not like I'm the only person who ever presumed to judge Edwards on his performance there. I recognize we all have quirks, but that particular quirk is not one I would like my president and commander-in-chief to have.

LoafingOaf said...

"Obama is coming across to many as someone who can heal America's image on the world's stage while still standing strong against our enemies."

More platitudes, no specfics or detail. Can anyone tell me how Obama will "heal" our image on the world stage?


As just one example Obama has discussed, it would heal America's reputation tremendously if we had a White House that can be trusted to be relying on sound intelligence before military operations, invasions, and wars.

Apparently you aren't noticing that people now laugh at America when America says we have "sound intelligence" about a threat in the world that needs to be acted on. This is extremely dangerous for America.

Obama wants America to be smarter, more respected, more sensitive, more admired, and more truthful on the world's stage.

Pogo said...

Joan,
I agree. It went from "so what?" to "yipe!" to "what the hell?" in that achingly long video.

It was creepy.

Pogo said...

What about us folks who don't want to "heal" America's image on the world's stage?

I want people scared to death of us, like the old man with the lawn signs that you Do Not Walk Upon His Grass.

Who gives a damn if France or Belgium or China likes our image? To hell with that!
I'll take abject fear over the false reassurance of saying They like us! They really like us!

Synova said...

"Do you think Bush would win a debate with Obama on Pakistan policy?"

Yes, and Hillary would win a debate with Obama on Pakistan, too.

Heck, probably even Kuchinich could win a debate with Obama on Pakistan, though that it's quite as likely.

Synova said...

Obama might win a debate with Murtha on Pakistan simply for knowing where Pakistan is on a map.

jeff said...

"So what Edwards really needs to do is no longer work for poor people, and become a Republican. "
When exactly did he start working for poor people?

"it would heal America's reputation tremendously if we had a White House that can be trusted to be relying on sound intelligence before military operations, invasions, and wars."
You would be referring to the accepted world intelligence as it stood in 2001? Actually, it would heal America's reputation tremendously if we just started sucking up to the rest of the world. Until the next natural disaster. Or the next war among white people. (those other wars don't really bother those who speak for "the world")

"Apparently you aren't noticing that people now laugh at America when America says we have "sound intelligence" about a threat in the world that needs to be acted on."
These would be the same people laughing at America when America was warning about communism.

I am with Pogo here. I vastly prefer to be regarded by the world the way we were regarded on 9/12. You think other countries were nice to us because they felt our pain? They were nice to us because they knew they could abuse us up to a point and when that point was passed, they wanted us to be damned sure they had nothing to do with it.

titusct said...

Completely agree with Synova on Obama and debating Pakistan.

Heck, if Obama went on Are you Smarter Than a 5th Grader he would lose.

Also, put him up against any republican in congress and he would lose a debate.

Synova said...

"I vastly prefer to be regarded by the world the way we were regarded on 9/12. You think other countries were nice to us because they felt our pain?"

Well, I think "the world" probably had the same reaction that I had or something similar enough it makes no difference. It was to direct this thought toward whoever had carried out the attacks... "Morons! Do you have any idea what you've DONE?!"

Followed by a whole lot of fear (though I wasn't too worried about this) that the US would "go postal" and wondering what would be left standing afterward.

Bush, of course, didn't "go postal" at all, despite calls to bomb Afghanistan back to the stone age (and various remarks that doing so was an oxymoron).

Mortimer Brezny said...

Also, put him up against any republican in congress and he would lose a debate.

Not so sure about that. He tore Condi Rice and John Bolton new assholes in their confirmation hearings.

Synova said...

Ah, yes, confirmation hearings... where Senators get to administer gratuitous punishment to individuals until they feel a person has paid an adequate price before they are confirmed.

Balfegor said...

Heck, if Obama went on Are you Smarter Than a 5th Grader he would lose.

Obama's problem is not that he's ignorant. We're not talking about wannabe-intellectual C-students like Kerry or Gore, here. The man's academic record speaks for itself. His weaknesses are something quite different. He's a shameless panderer (ethanol, rollback secret vote on unions, trade war with China, etc.) And his vision is all handwaving, nothing concrete. It's all about how, just by being himself, he's going to transform politics and America's international reputation and blah blah blah. I don't buy it.

I like some of his advisors. But unfortunately, I don't get to vote for them. He's the candidate they're stuck working through.

Henry said...

Wrong. Obama's problem is that he's principled -- he opposed Iraq and opposes it still.

In 2008, that stand on principle will make no sense.

Balfegor, your parenthentical list is discouraging, but par for the course. It's like watching Guliani get fierce on illegal immigration, or Clinton (HRC) get protectionist despite the Clinton (WJC) free trade accomplishments.

I'm impressed by Obama's handwaving act, myself. All the great plans and platforms of the candidates are writ in sand. Obama truly seems to bring a different world view to the competition. I don't agree with it (see above), but I'm glad he has one.

Freeman Hunt said...

In a sense, men have a higher standard to meet: first, they're supposed to look good ... but then they need to somehow convince people that they haven't put any effort into looking good.

Younger women face the same pressure. The idea is to look effortlessly beautiful which is awfully hard and largely based on genetic chance. Maybe age makes things easier to meet beauty standards, if one wishes to, as then women are at least allowed to have "work" done.

titusct said...

I think we can all agree that republican women are hotties and democrat women are hags.

Hattie said...

This is so much more important that dealing with substantive issues, isn't it.

garage mahal said...

Oh c'mon Bruce, I'm too cynical to argue on any candidate's behalf, let alone Edwards. My post is in response to this illogical and asinine notion that any Democrat can't represent an idea without themselves living dirt poor and in a cave lit only by oil lamps. First of all, it would be rather stupid of him to pay $400 for a haircut if he was poor. Likewise, I'd like to see him pay the $400 myself, wouldn't you? It could be you. Why is the stylist that got paid $400 from Edwards be less than another profession's goods or service -- or would like to see the super rich pay $10? I get paid well by a semi rich guy that's why I'm sayin. And I could care less who he claims to represent or care for, as long as he keeps handed over that motherfucking jack I'm happy!

Mortimer Brezny said...

Younger women face the same pressure. The idea is to look effortlessly beautiful which is awfully hard and largely based on genetic chance.

I have never understood how that is pressure. Either you fit the mold or you don't. There's nothing you can do about it. So there's no pressure to do anything. Rejection isn't pressure: it's rejection.

rcocean said...

"I think we can all agree that republican women are hotties and democrat women are hags."

Leaving aside the fact that most Hollywood hotties are democrats and the Gore Girls were total babes...

Jenna Bush vs. Chelsea

Laura Ingraham vs. Rosie

Peggy Noonan vs. Eleanor Clift

Ginsburg vs. O'Conner

Hutchinson vs. Hillary

Coulter vs. Whoppi Goldberg

Advantage Republicans.

titusct said...

Don't forget K Lo rocean.

PSGInfinity said...

It's been frustrating watching everybody dancing around the root cause of the disparity: fecundity.

Your typical man is able to fulfill his role, impregnation followed by providing resource(s) deep into his sixties. A woman, by contrast, is a dicey proposition by her late thirties, and completely washed up by fifty or so. (Both cases deliberately ignore recent medical advances because our biases evolve slower than our technology).

To riff off a notorious thread; both are depreciating assets, but women depreciate twice as fast.

rcocean said...

I'm trying to forget KLo since she hates Christmas.

More comparison:

Malkin vs. Helen Thomas

Young A. Huffington vs. Old A. Huffington.

Again Advantage Republicans.

Synova said...

"Obama's problem is not that he's ignorant. We're not talking about wannabe-intellectual C-students like Kerry or Gore, here. The man's academic record speaks for itself. His weaknesses are something quite different."

From what I can tell I agree. I don't think Obama is dumb and I'm sure that there are debates he could win.

Just not about Pakistan.

That was a specific example.

All someone would really have to say is, "So, Barak, how do you propose supplying and supporting Afghanistan then?" (As someone up-thread brought up.) Because I'm nearly certain that he wouldn't have a clue how to answer because he hasn't got a clue that we actually have to do something as mundane and practical as move freight or how much we have to move freight because for him it's all ideals and idealism... unless he answered, "We shouldn't be in Afghanistan either," which comes to an easy counterpoint, "So, you agree that your plan for Pakistan would destabilize the region?"

Which it would.

Synova said...

Oh, and I do mean *debate*.

Not this silly have a moderator ask a question and let the candidate try to sound intelligent for their alloted time.

reader_iam said...

... he wouldn't have a clue how to answer because he hasn't got a clue that we actually have to do something as mundane and practical as move freight or how much we have to move freight ...

Yeah, except that one can say the same thing about CEOs, administrators, newspaper publishers, and almost any other high-level (or even roughly 2/3 up the band classification, being generous) leadership positions in connection with any number of details of how the hell something is supposed to get done, actually, on the ground, in real time under real conditions.

Almost no field does "move up the ranks" from the practical, on-the-ground implementers anymore. It tends to be more about the manager-as-profession "thang."

What, you think that's not so?? And why would we think that such a general trend would not be expressed in the political profession, as well?

reader_iam said...

Interesting, how many people in the age cohort of two-hundred-fifty-X come 'round this blog. Not interesting enough to take advantage of the fecund possibilities, but still.

Synova said...

"What, you think that's not so??"

I don't know what gave you that idea unless it was a generalized sweeping statement and not addressed at me.

OTOH, does a presidential candidate really have an excuse not to understand, for example, where money comes from or why milk is so expensive or not be interested enough to have at least *heard* of the logistical realities associated with anything in Afghanistan before letting us all know that we ought to talk tough and send troops into Pakistan?

How the bleeding heck does he expect to supply troops going across the border from *Afghanistan* into northern Pakistan while setting up a situation where whoever rules Pakistan has to try to act like they aren't under America's thumb?

Borrow Santa's reindeer?

Seriously, Obama's Pakistan remarks, unless he has backtracked *wildly* and is now saying something entirely different, were just about up there with Murtha suggesting we can do anything useful in the Middle East by basing out of Okinawa.

There's not understanding the infrastructure and mechanics and logistics of practical life and then there's not understanding that any of that even *exists*.

A CEO that clueless couldn't run a profitable business because he or she would at *least* have to realize they had to hire someone who *did* understand how to move product and get it to arrive on time.

Fen said...

Loafing Oaf: I remember posting to you in a thread where you were attacking Obama's comments about Pakistan. If you click over, you'll be reminded of how you misrepresented Obama's speech as calling for an "invasion of Pakistan, full-scale like Iraq," and you defended this misrepresentation by holding up something that had been posted on Obama's web site that claimed Obama was talking about an "invasion." You claimed this was the Obama campaign's "clarification" of his remarks, which was not true at all. What it was was an AP news story that was posted in the "In The News" section on Obama's web site, where they simply post outside news stories about Obama. Obama's actual clarification of his speech attacked articles such as that one from the AP and stated clearly that he was not talking about an invasion. When this was pointed out you fled the thread.

No. I didn't "flee" the thread. I admitted my mistake of confusing an AP article posted by Obama's people on Obama's website. I also asked why the Obama team would post such an article that misrepresented his position without adding some disclaimer or correction. So, in return for my being honest and correcting my mistake, you slime me for something I didn't do. No good deed...

But back to "change". We already have STA teams in Pakistan searching for OBL, so how is Obama's "clarified" strategy any different? How is it this great "change" we've been hearing about?

[...]

Fen: "More platitudes, no specfics or detail. Can anyone tell me how Obama will heal our image on the world stage?"

Loafing Oaf: As just one example Obama has discussed, it would heal America's reputation tremendously if we had a White House that can be trusted to be relying on sound intelligence before military operations, invasions, and wars.

We DID rely on sound intelligence. Some of it turned out to be wrong. You're implying Obama will bring 100% certainty to intelligence operations? That would be cool... how does he intend to do that?

Apparently you aren't noticing that people now laugh at America when America says we have "sound intelligence" about a threat in the world that needs to be acted on.

For starters, the French are not laughing at the recent NIE report re Iran. And again, it wasn't just American intelligence that provided evidence of Saddam's WMD programs.

Secondly, I honestly don't understand this fixation you guys have with world opinion. A need to be liked, to feel popular? When has America ever been able to bank the "goodwill" of the world into something tangible?

Obama wants America to be smarter, more respected, more sensitive, more admired, and more truthful on the world's stage.

Again, more platitudes with no specfics or detail. Can anyone tell me how Obama will heal our image on the world stage?

Synova said...

"But back to "change". We already have STA teams in Pakistan searching for OBL, so how is Obama's "clarified" strategy any different? How is it this great "change" we've been hearing about?"

Hold that thought....

"Obama wants America to be smarter, more respected, more sensitive, more admired, and more truthful on the world's stage."

"...Can anyone tell me how Obama will heal our image on the world stage?"

By being more *truthful* by just saying right out that we are violating a nation's borders and that we have American soldiers on their soil doing whatever they d*mn well please to do.

Obviously.

rhhardin said...

LONDONDERRY, N.H. (AP) - Mitt Romney's eyes filled with tears Monday as the Republican presidential contender recalled watching the casket of a soldier killed in Iraq return to the United States and imagined if it were one of his five sons.

There's a male/female difference for you. Is there a guy in existence who hesitates a second in disgust at that stunt.

That should lose Romney half the population.

Dave H said...

http://www.dailycardinal.com/article/1361

Appearance has an undeniable impact on elections, it would seem.

rhhardin said...

Hillary doesn't look bad in this video ad

Nate said...

I don't know that it's accurate to say that Obama and Edwards are leading among male Democrats because of their appearance. John Kerry won the Democratic nomination in 2004 against a field of better looking candidates (i.e., Edwards and Dean). I'm not saying appearance isn't a factor, but I think it's being overstated.

Fen said...

/echo Loafing Oaf

An example of what I'm looking for from Obama:

"Repair the exercise of soft power. We need to circumvent the failure of multilateral institutions like the UN by creating our own coalition of the willing, democratic societies only."

OR

"Repair our intelligence community. The CIA needs to be reformed, or torn down and rebuilt from scratch. Their job is to gather and analyze intelligence, not sabotogue policy they disagree with, not leak classified info to the NYTs when they lose a turf battle, etc."

NOT

"I'll make America more secure by repairing our image around the world"

Unknown said...

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