Protesting Patriarchy - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Protesting Patriarchy

Comics in the 1970s had a simple explanation for Richard Nixon’s landslide victory over George McGovern: Yes, Nixon looked to voters like a used-car salesman, but McGovern looked to them like the kind of guy who would buy a used car from Nixon.

Still a sap, McGovern, having bought Hillary’s lemon last year before the Obama model rolled out, implied this week that her electoral troubles are due to intractable sexism.

“I have a feeling that in this country where we’re at today in our thinking, it’s going to be harder to elect a woman than to elect a black man,” he said to AP. “I wish that weren’t true….I’d love to see Hillary as president.”

He explained that men tend to trust black males more than women to protect the country: “Some guy will say, ‘Well, I think that’s too big a job for a woman, I don’t think she can handle those terrorists.'”

McGOVERN IS INADVERTENTLY condemning fellow liberals here, since they are the ones favoring Obama over Hillary in a Democratic primary. Apparently, if his pronouncement on the interior state of their souls is true, liberals are lagging behind Elizabethan England in their appreciation for female leadership skills.

First Gloria Steinem, then Geraldine Ferraro, and now George McGovern suggest that Democrats are choosing patriarchy over progress. Even a black male is more acceptable to voters than a female candidate, snorted Steinem in the New York Times in January.

“Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life, whether the question is who must be in the kitchen or who could be in the White House,” she wrote, arguing that black male candidates benefit from such sexist cultural factors as:

[A]nything that affects males is seen as more serious than anything that affects “only” the female half of the human race; because children are still raised mostly by women (to put it mildly) so men especially tend to feel they are regressing to childhood when dealing with a powerful woman; because racism stereotyped black men as more “masculine” for so long that some white men find their presence to be masculinity-affirming (as long as there aren’t too many of them); and because there is still no “right” way to be a woman in public power without being considered a you-know-what.

Bubbling barely beneath the surface of this Democratic primary, as left-wing orthodoxies smash up against each other, is a seething feminist resentment of black males. Gloria Steinem looks up at Obama and sees Clarence Thomas glaring back.

The resentment in McGovern’s case is less visceral, but his implication is that even liberal Democrats are not yet properly catechized in egalitarian theory. They will take black patriarchy at 3 o’clock in the morning rather than gamble on a hysterical woman who mistakes a Bosnian welcoming ceremony for sniper fire. (The comic Sinbad, another black male for Steinem to resent, ratted Hillary out on that one.)

McGovern’s suggestion, however, remains mystifying, as the Dems’ system for scoring suffering since the 1960s, which he helped to set up, has always assigned more points to race than sex, even taking into account Steinem’s angry aside that black males got the vote before women.

ACCORDING TO Robert Novak, Thomas Eagleton told him that McGovern stood for “acid, amnesty and abortion” in the eyes of middle America. Eagleton could have added affirmative action to the list. Obama’s voters are simply enacting this agenda, seeing in Obama a sturdier vessel for radical liberalism than Hillary could provide.

It is ironic that Hillary’s automatic assumption of sexism on the part of voters, which led her into hawkish support for the Iraq war, made her defeat to a male dove possible.

The ideology of the left is based upon identity, not ideas, and was therefore bound to degenerate into political cannibalism, as feminists and racialists scurry for power. But to the extent that a consistent idea is at work in liberalism, Obama represents it better than Hillary, conclude Democratic primary voters.

To the faux-radical set, who cut their teeth campaigning for McGovern, Obama is not a reassuring strong male but the decades-long culmination of pure liberalism.

George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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