Daddies in a Panic, and Mommy, Too
The mind reels at the mind.
The Times’s science section devoted itself yesterday to the topic of Desire, the myriad ways in which the human mind causes the body to get turned on.
It now seems that instead of desire leading to arousal, as researchers once believed, arousal may lead to desire.
The brain, as D. H. Lawrence once wrote, is a most important sexual organ, and men and women have extremely varied responses to sexual stimuli.
As Natalie Angier, The Times’s biology expert, noted, research has shown that women differed from men “in the importance they accorded a man’s physical appearance, with many expressing a comparatively greater likelihood of being aroused by evidence of talent or intelligence — say, while watching a man deliver a great speech.”
This could explain why many Republican women are so frustrated. They have been deprived of the bristly excitement of hearing their men on the stump delivering great speeches for quite some time now.
The Daddy Party, sick with desire for a daddy, is like a lost child. John McCain, handcuffed to the Surge, announced yesterday he has the support of Henry Kissinger. Why not just drink poison? As the Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi slyly said, “Leave it to Mitt Romney to shoot himself in the foot with a gun he doesn’t own.”
Rudy Giuliani, already haunted by the specters of Bernard Kerik’s corruption and Judy Nathan’s conjugal confusion, yesterday made things worse. He did the same thing John McCain did in South Carolina in 2000, a sickening pander the Arizona senator told “60 Minutes” Sunday that he did “for all the wrong reasons.” As Marc Santora reports from Montgomery, Rudy said he would leave the decision about whether to fly the Confederate flag over the Alabama State Capitol to the people of Alabama.
Even cable news showed little interest in President Bush’s big speech on Iraq yesterday, as he continued to excoriate Democrats for hurting the troops by trying to get an exit strategy, a day after Moktada al-Sadr’s spokesman denounced the Liberator as “the father of evil, Bush” while Sadr thugs burned and shredded American flags and shouted, “Leave, leave occupier.”
Four years ago, the conservative commentator Kate O’Beirne thrilled at the sight of President Bush strutting in his flight suit and mocked Bill Clinton’s doughy thighs, noting, “Women don’t want a guy to feel their pain, they want a guy to clean the gutters.” But on “Meet the Press” Sunday, she sorrowfully admitted that Republicans had lost their national security swagger because of Iraq, and now have “a real brand name problem” and “a competency problem.”
“It used to be people thought they might not much like big government, but they can run it,” she said of her party’s leaders. “Now they seem to like it fine, but not be able to run it at all.” A point underscored by this week’s Time cover: “Why Our Army Is at the Breaking Point.”
As Adam Nagourney and John Broder report in today’s Times, Republican leaders are despondent and jittery as they watch their major candidates strain in sycophantic ways to prove their ideological credentials even as they see W.’s administration and war turning into an ever-tighter noose. Watching the Democrats’ fund-raising advantage with alarm and astonishment, they concede it will be tough to hold the White House.
Mr. Nagourney and Mr. Broder quote Mickey Edwards, a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma who now lectures at Princeton, saying that the party does not have any candidates who are compelling. “I just don’t know,” he adds, “how they can run hard enough or fast enough to escape the gravitational pull of the Bush administration.”
Except for Larry Birkhead, all the “Who’s your daddy?” brio this week belongs to Senator Barack Obama, who told David Letterman he would not be Hillary’s second on a ticket, and who remarkably managed to beat her on primary fund-raising with a more democratic and recyclable pool of donors.
That feat of strength led to the hilarious spectacle of Terry McAuliffe, who had been using the Bush-Cheney line of you’re-with-us-or-agin’-us to try to bully Democratic fat cats into giving solely to Hillary, telling ABC’s Jake Tapper: “Ultimately, forget the money. You’ve got to get the votes. And right now, Hillary wins in that category.”
Like the panic in the Daddy Party, the crazed sputtering in the once-dominant Mommy Camp is something to behold.
Hillary has been wielding Bill as a bludgeon on support and money. If you were ever behind him, you’d better fall into line behind her. But doesn’t that undermine her presentation of herself as a self-reliant feminist aiming to be the first Madame President? If you can only win by leaning so heavily on your man for your muscle, isn’t that a benign form of paternalism?