Who’s Your Daddy?

Via Steve M., Michael Goodwin writes in the New York Daily News,

Republicans, with their macho men and muscular policy prescriptions, are in decline because they are out of answers. Dems are getting better at seizing their opportunities, and doing it with women playing a leading role.

Put another way, Mommy is taking over because Daddy screwed up.

Oh, please. Macho men as in

or maybe



And let us not forget

… as opposed to Democratic girlie-men like




Give me a break.

Steve M. writes,

Goodwin seems to be using “Mommy Party” as a compliment, which may make him the first member of the political class ever to do so, and maybe that’s good — but I worry, because if voters think the Mommies have taken over, soon this will be declared a huge problem, a threat to our national greatness, and pundits (seemingly from across the spectrum because they’ll include quite a few who claim to be liberals) will be scanning the horizon looking for signs that the demasculinized national nightmare is not permanent and “men are back.” (You remember that phrase from the fireman-fetishizing immediate aftermath of 9/11.) The last thing we need right now is a punditocracy-wide search for macho men to make everything all better — that’s basically how we got into this mess.

There’s a nice profile of Senator-elect Jon Tester in today’s New York Times, btw. It begins,

When he joins the United States Senate in January, big Jon Tester — who is just under 300 pounds in his boots — will most likely be the only person in the world’s most exclusive club who knows how to butcher a cow or grease a combine.

The Republicans have Ahhhnold, but he represents the Hollywood version of manliness. Our guys are the real deal. They don’t have to pose with firemen or borrow somebody’s tool belt to look manly.

I don’t like the “Daddy Party,” “Mommy Party” stuff anyway, and not just because it paints Dems as wusses. If politicians are like parents, then citizens must be the children. Conservatives might think that way, but American liberalism is based on the understanding that citizens are grown-ups who can govern themselves, and they do so through representative government.

Someday I should write a post arguing that male righties have a fetish about manliness because they are so unsure of their own. I sincerely believe that’s true. Until then, do us all a favor and slap down the “mommy party, daddy party” nonsense whenever you run into it, OK?

14 thoughts on “Who’s Your Daddy?

  1. You know- I have never understood why Mommy Party was a pejorative. My family includes a long line of firebreathing steel magnolias, though so maybe that’s why. I mean- when you’ve heard your mother promise someone that “if you call my mother once more and upset her I’ll stomp a mudhole in your ass and walk it dry” or heard your grandmother tell an 18 year old that flipped her off in a parking lot that “you get out of that damn truck and I’ll whip your ass in front of your girlfriend” then you don’t really see your maternal figures are wilting violets.

    I dunno- maybe America needs a mommy party like those firebreathers in my family. It’d be a lot more beneficial than the cloakroom, unmanly Machiavellian courtiers currently nancing about in the shadows of the public stage.

  2. Don’t forget that righties are afraid of strong women. Scares the stuffing out of ’em. That’s why they go into spasms at the mention of Hillary Clinton.

  3. As a strong willed woman I am insulted by the media and the Rethuglian’s who label us as weak. I have a feeling the House is going to get a lot more civil and that cannot be a bad thing. Just another thought, never under estimate the voters in this country.
    They saw that one party rule was not the way our founding fathers wanted it to be and they saw the bad things that it would produce. So thanks again for all who came out and voted and to all the bloggers who put their hearts and souls into this election.

  4. C’mon Maha…Hilary might scare hell out of a bunch of Republican Closeteers, but she’s hardly my idea of a “Strong Woman”…

    Had she been, she would have stayed in Arkansas and run for the Senate against some real opposition…

  5. This framing is particularly ironic in light of Bush’s daddy coming back to try to rescue him from his fuckups (that’s the Time cover, anyway).

    Maybe instead of ‘daddy party’ vs. ‘mommy party’, we should frame it as ‘parent party’ vs. ‘angry irresponsible drug-addled adolescent party’.

  6. “Someday I should write a post arguing that male righties have a fetish about manliness because they are so unsure of their own …”

    I think you just did.

  7. Pelosi has got it.. she’s able to project an internal power and still retain the feminine quailties of softness and reason. Not many women in politics can do that.. Take a look at that cold.hard, and bitter bitch Mean Jean to see what I mean. Could ya cuddle with something like that,guys?.. I didn’t think so!.. not unless you’re into necrophilia.

    My self image psychology growing up was build on the model of a macho man and looking back I can see how hollow it was and is. And if you don’t like that..I’ll kick your ass..you got that, Pal?

  8. Desperation, desperation, desperation. They’re even bringing out their yearly specialty ahead of schedule, the liberal war on shopping, er Christmas.

  9. If we all had a sense if humor (btw, did you see the SNL skit parody of Nancy P – hilarious) Nancy P could suggest that the suffrage movement had reached the point that she is going to ask for judicial intervention according to affirmative action and deny men the right to vote or run for office for a period of time equal to the span that women were excluded. Sadly, such a suggestion made in jest, would be twisted, spun and manipulated. And we all need a laugh.

  10. “… male righties have a fetish about manliness because they are so unsure of their own”. Bingo, you have nailed the whole problem right there. Most personality flaws are in fact overcompensations for feelings of inadequacy. Another example: when Bush always says “I understand that….” or “He understands, as I do, that…”, he’s overcompensating for all the times as a boy that he undoubtedly DIDN’T understand, and/or his mommy told him so. Trying to prove he understands, but in fact proving the opposite.

  11. “Someday I should write a post arguing that male righties have a fetish about manliness because they are so unsure of their own …”

    Jesus’s General has been doing that for years.

    Seriously – no need. It’s completely obvious to anyone except to those who will never, ever admit it. I laughed long and loud when Commander Codpiece landed on the aircraft carrier – but that was nothing compared to watching Ollie North waxing eloquent on Tweety’s “Hardball” (I think it was) about the commanding figure that Bush cut at that moment, and how he had just assured the vote of every female in the US (and, of course, his own vote, too).

  12. Maha,

    I first read about Lakoff’s mommy-party/daddy-party theory on your blog and, like you, I thought it really missed the point on liberalism (although the Strict Father metaphor seems to be spot-on for conservatism). I did a diary at Daily Kos a couple months ago that explored the connection between politics and evolutionary psychology and tried to come up with a better metaphor for the liberal worldview. It’s a five-part diary called “Monkey Morality,” and I’d love to hear your and your readers’ comments on it:


  13. Pingback: The Mahablog » The Power of (Right Wing) Myth

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