The debate of the week is whether Howard Dean is a metro-sexual. According to the Denver Post,
during a breakfast speech in Boulder, Dean declared himself a "metrosexual,"
the buzz phrase for straight men in touch with their feminine sides, as he
touted his accomplishments in "equal justice" for gay and lesbian couples.
He then told...an anecdote about being called handsome by a gay man.
It’s hard to imagine any scenario in which Howard Dean's sexuality would
be a welcome topic over any meal, especially breakfast. Dean has a capacity
for going several steps too far, with speed that would surpass an Olympic
Dean need not have declared himself a metro-sexual. With the exception of
Al Sharpton (and possibly Senator Hillary Clinton), no Democratic presidential
candidate could be credibly accused of masculinity. Reference Senator Kerry's
dainty eating when confronted with a Philly cheese steak, Senator Edwards'
fondness of male cosmetics, or Senator Lieberman's demure response to every
outrageous statement made by Sharpton. Were Sharpton to rant about "blood
sucking Jews" again, I wonder how quickly Lieberman would respond, "Amen
brother." Even Gen. Wesley Clark is not exactly possessed of testicular fortitude
given his repeated waffling on every issue, his indecisiveness and his down
right bitchy jabs at the other candidates. Clark is no Patton, and neither
is Dennis Kucinich; he prays to the "goddess of peace!"
None of the "Nine Dwarves" could be confused with John Wayne as the archetype
of American masculinity, but where are the men on the Republican side of
the aisle? In the Senate, they are few and far between. Witness Senator Orrin
Hatch's tearfully impotent rage as Senator Patrick Leahy plays keep-away
with yet another judicial nominee. Even Majority Leader Senator Bill Frist
lacks a substantial spine. Frist crumples like wet tissue in the face of
opposition. When the highly qualified circuit court nominee Miguel Estrada
gave up, the Democrats won. Frist's response was to hope the Democrats would
feel shame and agree to play fairly.
Regardless of their faults, the political heroes of the past were men. Consider
Andrew Jackson, who fought duels over points of honor. More recently, consider Senator Joe McCarthy, Senator
Barry Goldwater and especially FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. These men fought
for what they believed and let the consequences be damned. Today's politicians
are, as Ann Coulter so artfully puts it, "girly boys."
If there was one real man in the Senate, Senator Robert Byrd's wandering,
vitriolic rants would be answered by someone with the guts to say, You were
a Kliegle in the friggin’ Ku Klux Klan! You have no moral authority here!
Or, when Senator Kennedy accuses President Bush of lying, bribery and going
to war for political gain -- a charge that is demonstrably false -- he would
be stood up to. There is not one senator serving today that has the guts
to remind the people of Chappaquiddick. No one has the guts to tell him to
go jump in a lake! If there was an Andrew Jackson in the Senate, he would
most likely stand before Senator Kennedy and say, You have impugned the honor
of the President of the United States, you have degraded the man and the
office and you are giving aid and comfort to our enemies. Step outside and
let's settle this like gentlemen!
Politicians would be wise to note the popularity of Donald Rumsfeld, and
Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger, two purely masculine figures. They
should remember Colonel Oliver North's popularity when he stood strong in
the face of a liberal witch hunt. They should also remember President Bush's
surge in approval when he reacted in a masterful and manly manner to the
terrorist attacks. Courage, duty and honor are the qualities found in our
heroes, from George Washington to George W. Bush, and millions of pioneers,
cowboys and soldiers in between. These are the images we aspire to and the
figures we love. No societal fad of metro-sexuality or feminism will replace
that, not in the America I know.
Judson Cox is a college student and political columnist.