Carol Platt Liebau: Just Not Getting It

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Just Not Getting It

Today, Ruth Marcus shows us once again why she just doesn't get it. In this week's offering, she attempts to tie Harvey Mansfield's new book, Manliness, to the liberal lament about the Bush Administration, arguing "What this country could use is a little less manliness -- and a little more of what you would describe as womanly qualities: restraint, introspection, a desire for consensus, maybe even a touch of self-doubt."

Well, speak for yourself, Ms. Marcus. When I have to choose a leader to defend me and my family and my country from Islamofascists who would love nothing more than to hack off our heads with butter knives, I'm not really looking for an "introspective" leader, plagued by "self-doubt", in constant search of "consensus." (What would reaching "consensus" with Al Qaeda look like, anyway? "Here -- you can enslave or chop the heads off the women, but only the blondes, 'kay?").

In fact, you could argue that some of the biggest blunders of the Bush Administration have come -- not from excessive manliness -- but from a misplaced desire for consensus. No Child Left Behind was supposed to build bridges to Teddy Kennedy. The Medicare drug bill was supposed to appeal to Democrats who had been decrying the drug burden on the elderly. All the spending was supposed to reassure those who feared that conservatives lacked compassion (as defined by the willingness to spend others' money). The effort to forge "consensus" in the UN resulted in delaying the Iraq invasion, which in turn may have provided Saddam with the opportunity to hide his WMD's in Syria.

In any case, those who want to see how the warm and fuzzy-sounding qualities of "restraint" and "desire for consensus" and "self-doubt" work out in crisis situations, play a mind game -- and imagine that President Logan, from the popular television show "24", was actually in charge in America (God forbid). He's "restrained" -- he can't decide what to do. He "desires consensus" -- he can be swayed by whomever he speaks with last (a quality likewise attributable to his "self-doubt"). In short, he's weak. He's a wimp. In real life, people like that have no business in The White House.

It's always hard to understand why women like Ruth Marcus have such antipathy to qualities traditionally associated with "manliness" -- and why they care so much about the absence of public hand-wringing, mistake-admitting and self-doubting in the Bush White House. I respect that kind of manliness; it's not necessary to see the President gnashing his teeth and rending his garments or, worse yet, staging manipulative "introspective moments". In the end, I care about whether the President is getting the job done -- or making headway. Not about whether everyone is ready to sit down in a circle and sing kumbaya together.

Ruth Marcus and people fear and dislike manliness in President Bush, and they detest its perceived presence in The White House. But guess what? So does Al Qaeda. If I were President Bush, I'd be willing to endure Ms. Marcus' fear and dislike in exchange for securing Al Qaeda's. Good trade.


Blogger Duke-Stir said...

Yeah, we like presidents with big brass ones, brain optional.

"Bring 'em on!" was a nice touch.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Bachbone said...

Compare "Bring 'em on!" with "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is. If the--if he--if 'is' means is and never has been, that is not--that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement....Now, if someone had asked me on that day, are you having any kind of sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky, that is, asked me a question in the present tense, I would have said no. And it would have been completely true."

The former is short, sweet, to the point and conveys the intended message in no uncertain terms. Even a non-English speaker knows what is meant.

The latter imparts the user's intent quite well, also, except that intent is to mislead, obfuscate, rationalize and muddy the waters. Mr. Clinton made a typical liberal error. He thought he was smarter than everyone else and could talk his way out of anything.

2:16 PM  
Blogger Duke-Stir said...


You just can't dwell in this century, can you?

But I will have to agree with you on this...

"Even a non-English speaker knows what is meant."

Translation: make bombs and try to kill our troops.

9:31 AM  

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