Fred Thompson Not Teh Sexy?
Garance Franke-Ruta assures us that, media swooning notwithstanding, Fred Thompson is not a sexually appealing man. I’ll defer to her greater expertise in the field, especially since I already had my suspicions. I’m with her, too, in thinking that “you smell the English leather on this guy” is at best a backhanded compliment.
As to the larger notion that the fair sex is looking for the same qualities in a president as a boyfriend, Belle Waring wonders “are women voters, taken as a whole, really so much like retarded kittens in our motivations?
It seems to me that there are two theories along these lines, one plausible and the other not. The latter is the Dan Quayle Theory: that women will vote for a man simply because he’s handsome (for a politician). That’s rather silly, if not downright insulting. On the other hand, women may be more inclined to vote for men that make them feel safe. That is, they’re looking to vote for an idealized version of a father figure rather than a dreamboat. The type, the “Man’s man,” is attractive to male voters, too, under the “Guy I’d Like to Have a Beer With” formula of presidential selection.
In this context, Thompson may indeed be, if not sexy, quite attractive. He’s, as even Garance concedes, very tall. He’s also got the deepest voice of any of the major contenders. And he manages to affect the “Regular Guy” persona that people seem comfortable with better than most.
Arguably, this is a damned silly way to pick a president. But when was the last time that we didn’t do it that way?
UPDATE: Zathras, commenting at Belgravia Dispatch, is even more cynical:
The current President could not have been elected had he not been the son of the last Republican President; the leading candidate to succeed him could not occupy that status were she not the wife of the last Democratic President. The three leading Democratic candidates for President have between them not accomplished as much in public life as any one of the three second-tier candidates has by himself — but the top three are all celebrities, and the next three aren’t. The top three Republican candidates for President include two guys who bailed out of public life just as the war on terror was getting started, one to cash in on his 9/11 celebrity, the other to goof off in Hollywood.
You won’t hear any of these people discussed very often in terms anything like this — not in the media, not even by their political opponents. Celebrity status has become in this country a kind of political magic cloak; it doesn’t matter how good you are as long as you can somehow make yourself famous.
A bit overstated, methinks, but there’s more than a kernel of truth there.