mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Clinton vs Trump: A Shift In Gender Roles”: This Campaign Has Come Down To Fear vs Getting Things Done

One of the criticisms we’ve heard often about President Obama is that he doesn’t do enough to show us that he feels our pain. That has been a staple of pundits like Maureen Dowd who wrote this about the President during the Gulf Oil Spill in 2010.

Once more, he has willfully and inexplicably resisted fulfilling a signal part of his job: being a prism in moments of fear and pride, reflecting what Americans feel so they know he gets it.

That critique resurfaced over his two terms, most notably during the Ebola scare and the attacks from ISIS. It tends to place more emphasis on reflecting America’s feelings than it does on the actual “signal part of his job” – taking action to address the problem.

I thought about that when I read the report from Greg Sargent on his interview with Hillary Clinton’s chief strategist, Joel Benenson, about how she plans to take on Donald Trump in the general election. This part is revealing:

“This isn’t about bluster. It’s about having real plans to get stuff done. When it comes to the economy, Hillary Clinton is the only candidate with plans that have been vetted and will make a difference in people’s lives.”…

A certain species of fatalism has taken hold among our political classes in general and among Democrats in particular. The idea is that, because Trump has successfully broken so many of our rules…it must mean he has a chance at blowing apart the old rules in the general election, too.

And so, you often hear it suggested that Trump can’t be beaten on policy, since facts and policy positions no longer matter; that he is going to attack in “unconventional” ways, so there is more to be feared;…and that he has some kind of magical appeal that Democrats fail to reckon with at their own extreme peril.

That might be what this campaign comes down to – a contest between someone who is trying to reflect our feelings of anger and fear and someone who is determined to tackle the challenges we face as a country.

Beyond the importance of us getting that one right, it strikes me that these two candidates have completely flipped the script of who might be expected to take which side of that argument. When I was growing up, it was the Eisenhower Republicans who claimed the mantle of being the policy wonks to the Democrats who – even as rabble rousers – were the purveyors of peace and love. Whether you see that through the prism of Mommy and Daddy parties or the Myers/Briggs binary of “thinking vs feeling,” the roles between Republicans and Democrats have been completely reversed.

But the bigger cultural dynamic will come from having a woman be the thoughtful wonk and the man being all about the bluster of feelings. That is why I found the comedy of Samantha Bee to be so prophetic when she said this about the Republican presidential hopefuls as a group: “I don’t mean to sound sexist, but I think men are just too emotional to be president.”

That is a huge shift in our perception about the genders. It might help explain why so many voters still have trouble “getting” Hillary Clinton – she’s not playing the traditional woman role (just as Obama challenged the stereotypes about the angry black man). When she talks about breaking down barriers, one of the big ones she’s challenging is that a woman can be a thoughtful, intelligent leader.

 

By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, May 18, 2016

May 21, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Fearmongering, General Election 2016, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“The Calls For Panic”: There’s Time For Prudence In Addressing ISIS Threat

Over the weekend, the Century Foundation’s Michael Cohen had a terrific piece in the New York Daily News, making the case against pundits and politicians demanding more U.S. military intervention in the Middle East. The same edition of the same paper on the same day had a five-word, all-caps headline on the front page: “ISIS will be here soon.”

There’s quite a bit of this going around. President Obama’s Republican critics haven’t just condemned his foreign policy, they’ve also suggested the White House’s approach will lead to a terrorist attack on American soil. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) went further than most a few weeks ago, insisting that if Obama “does not go on the offensive against ISIS,” presumably in Syria, “they are coming here.” Graham added, “[I]f we do get attacked, then he will have committed a blunder for the ages.”

Rhetoric like this isn’t subtle: ISIS wants to kill us all and that rascally Obama is doing nothing except launching several dozen airstrikes on ISIS target in Iraq. A 9/11 kind of event may be in the planning stages, the argument goes, so the president must strike in Syria immediately.

But how imminent a threat are we talking about, exactly? The New York Times reported the other day on ISIS’s “prodigious” print and online materials, which reveal some relevant details.

ISIS propaganda, for instance, has strikingly few calls for attacks on the West, even though its most notorious video, among Americans, released 12 days ago, showed the beheading of the American journalist James Foley, threatened another American hostage, and said that American attacks on ISIS “would result in the bloodshed” of Americans. This diverged from nearly all of ISIS’s varied output, which promotes its paramount goal: to secure and expand the Islamic state.

The same article quoted a scholar who said ISIS has consistently focused on what militants call “the near enemy” – leaders of Muslim countries like Bashar al-Assad of Syria – and not “the far enemy” of the United States and Europe. “The struggle against the Americans and the Israelis is distant, not a priority,” Fawaz A. Gerges said. “It has to await liberation at home.”

The piece added, “Al Qaeda has often stressed the advantage to the terrorist network of supporters who hold Western passports and can attack in their countries. But a common public rite of passage for new recruits to ISIS is tearing up or burning their passports, signifying a no-going-back commitment to the Islamic state.”

I wonder if Lindsey Graham read the article.

Just so we’re clear, I’m not suggesting ISIS is irrelevant or that U.S. officials should be indifferent to the terrorist threat. The terrorist group is clearly dangerous and the national security apparatus has a responsibility to take ISIS seriously.

But there’s a line of argument that’s emerged in recent weeks that effectively calls for panic – as if Obama’s reluctance to attack Syria without a coherent plan is going to kill us all.

There’s no reason to take such rhetoric seriously. There’s time to get this policy right, whether Republicans and the Beltway media find this unsatisfying or not.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, September 2, 2014

September 3, 2014 Posted by | Middle East, Republicans, War Hawks | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

%d bloggers like this: