Democrats can't out-tough the GOP. It's possible that James Webb can do it. But he's sui generis; a Democrat who can win at politics when played under Republican rules. Democrats love those candidates, because they think of presidential elections as an away game, and they're endlessly hunting for the candidate who plays best under those conditions.What then are the Democratic "rules"? Or what's the Democratic "home game"? Ezra mixes the metaphor. Sports don't have different rules at different stadiums. But he doesn't even go on to try to discern the rules or the conditions at the home stadium. He moves on to Obama-promotion:
His policies -- particularly his domestic policies -- have not been half as innovative as his politics. But his willingness to double down on opposition to the gas tax holiday, to battle back on negotiating with dictators, to respond to attacks by pressing the point, has been genuinely exciting. And though he has been confident and even aggressive in all of this, he has not been "tough."And he disses Kerry:
He has not pretended to go shooting, or driven on to Jay Leno's show on Harley. He's essentially been making his own rules.So can you figure out what Ezra wants to say about masculinity as played by Democratic rules in Democratic stadiums? He titles his post "The Politics of Masculinity," and I think his real point may be that Democrats shouldn't try to compensate for what appears to be inadequate masculinity, but try to find where he says that:
To be clear, this isn't a commentary on Webb.Well, then be clear. What is it a commentary on?
But the argument for his elevation to the national ticket -- which is to say, to become one of the faces of the party -- is about the electoral benefit of a hyper masculine, effortlessly tough, culturally conservative (seeming) candidate who can win back those Reagan Democrats and white males.I'd love to have a private, confidential conversation with Webb about what he thinks about the way his party perceives him as some sort of walking bucket of extra testosterone.
As I wrote the other day, I don't think the Democratic Party should be orienting itself towards reknitting that particular coalition.Knitting! Only a Democrat would talk about knitting masculinity.
I think there are other, more plausible, paths to a majority coalition; paths that are more durable because they aren't so candidate-specific, and that could create a political model better for progressivism and for broad participation in electoral politics.That's the last sentence of his essay! Come on, Ezra! Real men don't use semicolons. And more than that: Say what you have to say. Don't pussyfoot around. I think you mean:
We are the Mommy Party. Let's own it. Let's do it! The home game is knitting and cooking and putting bandaids on booboos. Be forthright about it. That's more masculine than driving a Harley or a tank or carrying a gun and a dead duck and nominating a bucket of testosterone for VP.
IN THE COMMENTS: George quotes a part of the essay that I left out:
"He [Webb] is the daywalker, combining a progressive's positions with a southern militarist's affectations."UWS guy said:
A 'daywalker' is a vampire.
What does that sentence mean?
I thought the daywalker line was pretty hip. It also made Webb sound even more bad-ass.Chip Ahoy said:
I find Ezra Klein nearly incomprehensible and in possession of a disordered mind. And yet his readers apparently 'get' him. One said he understood the metaphor of daywalkers, then elaborated incomprehensibly.Newscaper says:
This is hilarious IMO. It doesn't mean what Klein, Mr. [wannabe] Hip thinks it does. The other comment here was right in that by making a semi-obscure (by mainstream stds) pop culture reference to Blade -- the vampire comics and Snipes films, he was trying to sound cool and edgy.
What a dipshit -- he actually botched the metaphor.
A "daywalker" is a vampire who can survive in sunlight and fully mingle with normal people and pass as one. But he's still a vampire.
Sounds like Klein is saying the Dems in general are the vampires who can't stand exposure in the light of day (see other commenter's correct 'prog' vs 'lib' observation), and admitting the Dems are treacherous, blood-sucking parasites -- yep, sounds about right :)
But, one might interject, "But wait, the daywalker Blade IS the good guy in the stories," to which I reply that Blade is only the good guy because he has turned *against* the evil of the other vampires, opposing their agenda rather than advancing it.
Klein's metaphor so totally bites him in the ass, by inadvertently being approriate in a way that is 180 out of synch with his intentions in using it.