I knew my confidence was well placed when I watched him stand on the rubble of the World Trade Center, with his arm around a hero of September 11th....
--John McCain's convention speech last night
Now New York construction workers are very special people.... And they're big, real big. Their arms are bigger than my legs and their opinions are even bigger than their arms.
...one of them really went into great detail and upon conclusion of his remarks President Bush said in a rather loud voice, "I agree."...
So he reached over, embraced the President and began hugging him enthusiastically.
A Secret Service agent standing next to me looked at the President and the guy and instead of extracting the President from this bear hug, he turned toward me and put his finger in my face and said, "If this guy hurts the President, Giuliani you're finished."
Meekly, and this is the moral of the story, I responded, "but it would be out of love."
--Rudy Giuliani's convention speech last night
I'm sorry, but you don't have to be Richard Goldstein or a gender studies major to find it striking that two speeches last night invoked male physical contact as a sign of masculine greatness -- mere weeks after the Drudge Report started a snickering campaign about physical contact between John Kerry and John Edwards ("Can't Keep Hands Off Each Other").
As I said last week, in my high school you carefully avoided any act that looked "gay" -- unless you were a jock, in which case you were free to touch other jocks, or even parade around in drag. I didn't want to touch other males, but I resented the fact that that stricture was imposed by teenage louts who had a separate set of rules for themselves.
I still resent that. And I resent the fact that our politics is allegedly run by adults, yet the conservatives are doing the same thing the football team did in my high school.
The snickering about physical contact between Kerry and Edwards was a sideshow, of course; the main front in the battle to emasculate Kerry was the Swift boat liars' campaign to strip him of his medals. And that, in turn, was a set-up for the parade of macho men we're seeing this week: Giuliani, Schwarzenegger, Cheney, Bush. They're all war avoiders, of course. But they run this high school, and they've given themselves permission to hug.