Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, USA
November 01
Currently Vice President of a Midwestern economic consulting firm specializing in energy economics. Independent voter with interests in politics, economics, and sports. Married with no kids.


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AUGUST 13, 2008 11:41AM

Real Men Say Let’s Drill

Rate: 4 Flag

Obama has a manhood problem that he needs to address before November.  He must do well with the Real Man vote if he wishes to win.  Real men want action not words when faced with a problem.  They never ask for directions.  When something is broke they try to fix it.  It does not matter to them if they are capable of fixing it.  They only get outside help when they know that they cannot do it.  They wanted to invade Iraq because we got hit and someone had to be hit back.  Having our special forces help the Northern Alliance take down the Taliban wasn’t going to do it and therefore they got sold on Iraq.  They wanted the troop surge because the alternative was quitting.  And yes, they want to drill for more oil.

Calling for sacrifice as the first option when faced with a problem is for women and men acting like women.  When Obama speaks in favor of conservation and “alternative sources” of energy it is a signal that he is a guy that does not tackle problems like a man.  It is a call for accommodation and sacrifice.    If real men have to make a sacrifice, it won’t be because of a lack of effort.  If they have to make a sacrifice they will deal with it like a man and then talk about the manly virtue of dealing with harsh reality.  The facts are not relevant because in the end real men just need something to do.  Obama needs to give them something to do or he will lose them.

Members of the Democratic Party need to learn something that Republicans have known for a long time: elections are about winning.  Obama was able to defeat Hillary on the strength of his appeal to the educated, liberal, young, and black.  This will not win in the fall.  Hillary was running a general election campaign from the start in which she knew that she had to be manly to win.  She lost the battle while trying to win the war.  Obama is in danger of becoming the next in a long line of candidates that were right on almost every issue but wrong on the only one that mattered - winning.

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" If they have to make a sacrifice they will deal with it like a man and then talk about the manly virtue of dealing with harsh reality. The facts are not relevant because in the end real men just need something to do. Obama needs to give them something to do or he will lose them."

nutshell - yes
Would it help if Obama were to suggest that real men build windmills in their back yards? Sounds pretty manly to me.
Thanks for the comments. For the record, the post was in the spirit of tough love for Obama. I do agree that windmills can be manly, but only after you shut up the people that think that we can drill our way to independence. The best way to do that is to say that you will drill and then add on ten other things in case all drilling doesn't solve the problem (i.e. In poker terms, see them and raise the bet). By the way I don't see why knowing your tire pressure is not manly. Every real man should have a properly maintained car. A really manly man can fix the engine too. I think that backfired on McCain.
If there is a "Real Man" vote to be won, I expect those voters would be most impressed with someone who acts on their beliefs instead of capitulating. Wasn't that the supposed appeal of George W. Bush? Democrats have a bad habit of accepting positions they fundamentally disagree with in order to be popular. This more than anything else makes a candidate look weak.
where are the "real men" of OS to talk about this?

agreed with ealier posters: if t. boone pickens says it's manly, it must be manly.
I'm not so sure. The manly men I know won't ask for help even when they know they can't fix it. And the manly man in the White House is obviously not asking directions from anyone. I think manly men have done a piss-poor job of things. Bring on the sensitive man for Prez and let the manly men go fishing!
There's this persistent myth of the hardy frontiersman being the archetypical American, well-illustrated by Dave's post and his semi-ironic use of the phrase "Real Men". I think he's right that a lot of people buy into this myth. Unfortunately, it's tough to eradicate. I think Bush got a lot of mileage out of downplaying his Ivy League education, showing off his brush cutting skills, and steadfastly ignoring reality to pursue his goals. A lot of us seem to find the dramatic demolition of a building much more interesting than, say, an architect working on its design at a drafting table. We'll probably continue to be in trouble as long as "Real Men" beat out "Smart Men" in elections.
Rob, I agree, but wasn't Bill Clinton both? For as much as he played up his Bubba persona, he didn't deny or downplay his Rhodes Scholar status. Gotta be a way for Obama (or a Hillary Clinton) to showcase that genuine duality.
Good point, Sally. If it's Obama, as in all likelihood it will be, he certainly has the background in principle to play the Real Man card. Except in Appalachia, I suppose.
I think you're spot on in much of your assessment, Dave. Obama needs to call us to action. He needs to inspire us to get out of our SUV's and onto building the wind and solar devices we need. He needs to inspire us to not only end our dependence on foreign oil but to save the environment as well. It is a call to action that "real men" seek.
I suspect that there are not any real men that read much less post at Salon. This is probably because salons are where women go to get their hair done and the real meaning behind the name is way too French for them.

I am hoping that Obama can somehow bridge this "real man" vs. "smart man" divide. without completely alienating either group. Bill Clinton started down this road with his Bubba and "I love McDonald's" regular guy appeal but will probably be remembered more as a womanizing policy wonk. Kerry had war credentials, but he cashed all of that in when he testified against the Vietnam war. I don't think Gore ever had it but somehow got the best popular vote % anyways. (I may be wrong, please let me know what was manly about candidate Gore)

It would be good to have some sort of movement that refines the expectations of manhood to include more thinking before acting. It would be a bonus to have other forms of competition besides sports become more popular. My wife often complains that it is totally crazy that our University's football coach gets paid more than any professor and probably the Chancellor. My response has always been that this will change once they hold chemistry lectures in stadiums and sell season tickets.

I hate having to appeal to groups that I tend to disagree with but the reality is that each one on them has as many votes as I do. Short of disenfranchisement or holding the Dayton 500 on the first Tuesday in November, I see no options (sorry, could not resist the hyperbole opportunity). The rulers are chosen by the majority (usually) in a democracy and the majority does not necessarily know the best course of action. If you are a thinking person, you look for those with whom you agree; if not you vote for who you trust. The problem is that thinking people need to choose viable candidates and this is not always their first choice. The GOP has been winning because they are kicking butt with those who value trust and there is nothing better than war to increase the demand for trust. It is a shame that reason does not play a bigger role in American Politics, but sometimes winning is more important. I think that this is one of those times.
I'm trying to wrap my mind around the Real Man archetype, as defined by Dave, because it sounds like many women I know; particularly my mother-in-law. While I'm hesitant to attribute such a strong negative image to a particular gender, I can understand how the narrative of a knuckle-dragging, hairy-chested, budweiser-swilling, daytona 500-watching Neanderthal allows us to denigrate a particular class of people whose mores we do not comprehend. How can they think in such a manner? What twisted world views they have! How much better we enlightened ones are, so informed and democratic voting! Tut-tut, cheerio, my good man.

When my son was first born, my mother in law came to me and declared that the Henner-spawn would make a lovely firefighter. I was thinking astrophysicist, but that wasn't Real Man enough for her. Were I to ask her the appeal of the Real Man ideal, she'd probably give me a Steton-based advertisement - a glossed Ronald Reagan character without any true substance. I feel the truth has more to do with how Real Men are projected onto the national consciousness. We America. We Real Strong. Tame West. Kick Britain Ass. Kick German Ass. Built Ford Strong. Listen Bruce Springsteen. Rawr.

Movements away from this Real Man narrative are derided (Katy Perry's Ur so Gay, for example). I don't think that all male behavior that is not Real Man is necessarily considered Woman-ish. Much is classified as the even more horrible homosexual (That's like, so gay you fag.)

Bit queer, if you ask me, that those who do most of the Real Men type talking on the national stage very frequently are more of the Smart Man class than the actual Real Men. My mother in law, at least, has a blue-collar background. What say we of the overweight, wealthy, white Republicans (Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, et al.) with homosexual tendencies (Larry Craig)?

As an aside, the other day I commented to my mother in law that I was so happy the Obama campaign grew a pair of minerals and went after the Corsi allegations. I did not mean to imply that being aggressive was the sole providence of testicles. Let me henceforth declare minerals to mean both the balls and eggsacks.
Dave, I think you need to get booked on Comedy Central as soon as possible, before this wears off.
The Associated Press is reporting tonight that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is receptive to drilling. Offshore.

She's got spunk, which is a manly virtue isn't it? In a woman?

I like that.
Salons aren't only places where people get their hair done. But I guess a bit of ignorance of French isn't much a worry for the real men of the world, too busy as they are putting up walls. So to speak.

As for university football teams, well, I wouldn't know. I attended a rather stuffy old school indeed, one thankfully not defined by its sport team--even less for the price of its season tickets. After all, four years is an awfully long time to spend at any one place just for the thrill of athletic entertainment.

All this talk of manliness seems rather wishy-washy to me. Beer bellies and budweiser; watching other men race in loud cars; building shit for no reason than simply to do so; making a point to cut the stoutest of characters with nary a mind to carry the old sod. Pity for such distortions, really. I guess I was a different kind of child--I thought it rubbish then, and find it even more rubbish now, to find comfort in such inanities when a touch of brains could do a body good.

I found a touch of the ol' Marcus Aurelius more indicative of greatness than I ever would in, say, a Michael Phelps. Great swimmer; stupid chest-thumping. And have you heard the man speak? Makes you wonder how far we've come in selecting our heroes: an entertainer over a philosopher-king? But I digress...

Man or woman, take your pick: it is the facts that are precisely relevant, because the art of doing something is hardly in the action alone; it is in the hope of doing it right, doing it with purpose and precision. That desire for order isn't a 'manly' virtue: it's a natural human instinct.