Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Let's vote for a guy!

Edward McClelland, over at Salon, takes on the sticky issue of gender politics in the current election.
In most cases, the Obama-McCain guys don't prefer the male candidates because they explicitly, or consciously, want to keep the presidency an all-male club. But when they talk about McCain and Obama, they bring up characteristics that guys admire in other guys: independence, plain-spokenness, charisma, a willingness to take a stand, an ability to gain the country's respect. They don't object to a woman in the White House, they say. They just object to Hillary. Even though, in this election, that's the same thing.

. . . Yet Obama also wants the government involved in healthcare. McCain thinks it should stay private. Obama wants to raise the minimum wage every year. McCain voted to abolish it. Obama wants to bring our troops back from Iraq by 2010. McCain says they may stay another 100 years. Obama is a dovish, big-government liberal who takes the kinds of positions that have earned Democrats the "Mommy Party" label. But he's not suffering for it the way Hillary Clinton is. He's not even suffering the way other male Democrats have. Al Gore was mocked for the fashion consultant who put him in "alpha male" outfits, John Kerry for his sugar-mama wife. Obama is especially popular with men under 45, beating McCain by 7 points.
I'm not entirely sure what to make of this. I think there's some validity to the criticism that McCain and Obama really are very different candidates and Obama is, well, a lot more like Hillary Clinton than John McCain. If you like Obama's positions, than why would you move to McCain rather than Hillary?

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