Sunday, May 01, 2016


We all know the drill with Maureen Dowd -- all Democratic men are women and all Democratic women are men -- but Donald Trump is a Republican, so I was surprised to see her trying to fit him into this template:
Just as Barack Obama seemed the more feminized candidate in 2008 because of his talk-it-out management style, his antiwar platform and his delicate eating habits, always watching his figure, so now, in some ways, Trump seems less macho than Hillary.

He has a tender ego, pouty tweets, needy temperament and obsession with hand sanitizer, whereas she is so tough and combat-hardened, she’s known by her staff as “the Warrior.”
Scott Lemieux is right:
The idea that a “tender ego” and “needy temperament” (or, for that matter, “obsession with hand sanitizer”) are inconsistent with masculine bluster is hilarious.
But it would be naive to think Dowd understands that.

In any case, this characterization of Trump comes a few paragraphs after Dowd asserts that he and his advisers "seem like a latter-day Rat Pack, having a gas with tomatoes, twirls and ring-a-ding-ding." So Trump is a delicate woman and a boorish man?

Why, yes:
... Hillary never expected to meet this mix of dove, hawk and isolationist. She thought she would face Marco Rubio, a more traditional conservative who would out-hawk her. Instead, she’s meeting Trump, who is “a sheep in wolf’s clothing,” as Axelrod put it. Like a free-swinging asymmetric boxer, Trump can keep Hillary off balance by punching from both the left and the right.
I Googled "asymmetric boxer," wondering if it was a reference to a martial art I wasn't aware of. What I found instead was this:

I'm going to assume that's not what Dowd's referring to here.

What she means is this:
You can actually envision a foreign policy debate between Trump and Clinton that sounds oddly like the one Obama and Clinton had in 2008, with Trump playing Obama, preening about his good judgment on Iraq, wanting an end to nation-building and thinking he could have a reset with Russia.
Right -- the same guy whose Facebook page now prominently features Bobby Knight praising Trump for being willing to go nuclear:

The column ends in a mess of contradictions:
Despite gossip when [Clinton] was first lady that she did not like people in uniform, the truth is the reverse: She gravitates toward “nail-eaters” ... and loves the gruff, Irish, bearlike demeanor of Jack Keane, a retired four-star general and the resident hawk on Fox News who helped define her views on military issues and is still in touch.

As secretary of state, she hit it off with Gen. Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus. And she loved to have a stiff drink with Bob Gates and John McCain.

She has a weakness for big, swaggering, rascally he-men.

Like Donald Trump.
So, relative to Clinton, Trump is a woman, and relative to Trump, Clinton is a man, which we can see from the fact that Clinton cozies up to real men like ... Trump, the woman?

I'm confused. Even Ann Althouse is confused. ("Loving he-men -- is that not feminine? There's quite a jam-up of gender stereotypes here.")

I think Dowd is the real asymmetric boxer, in both senses of the term: like the pugilist she's imagining, she flails at Clinton from every direction, and like the item of intimate wear pictured above, she's trying to be clever and sexy and is an embarrassing failure at both.


Nefer said...

"Just as Barack Obama seemed the more feminized candidate in 2008 because of his ... delicate eating habits, always watching his figure,"
That is just demented.

Unknown said...

It's amazing that Dowd gets big money to write crap like this.

M. Bouffant said...

Oh, she's like a boxer alright. Three words: Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Paul Montgomery said...

I believe she meant "ambidextrous".