Romney is the Alpha Male and Obama is a Woman (or Something like That)

Wherein a National Review piece leads me to think I am the OTB alpha blogger.

(Note:  I wrote this before I realized that James Joyner and  Doug Mataconis had written on it is as well—the dangers of busyness, I guess.  However, it is written, so here it is–while there is some duplication, I think/hope that I hit on some different aspects*).

In a National Review cover story, Kevin D. Williamson provides one of the oddest stories I have read of late (and I do get around the intertubes, so the opportunities to encounter the odd are plentiful). The piece is entitled “Like a Boss: When it comes to being a rich guy, Mitt Romney should own it” and its basis thesis seems to be that Romney is awesome because he is rich and has had many sons and grandsons:

The offspring of rich families are statistically biased in favor of sons — the children of the general population are 51 percent male and 49 percent female, but the children of theForbes billionaire list are 60 percent male. Have a gander at that Romney family picture: five sons, zero daughters. Romney has 18 grandchildren, and they exceed a 2:1 ratio of grandsons to granddaughters (13:5). When they go to church at their summer-vacation home, the Romney clan makes up a third of the congregation. He is basically a tribal chieftain.

Professor Obama? Two daughters. May as well give the guy a cardigan. And fallopian tubes.

From an evolutionary point of view, Mitt Romney should get 100 percent of the female vote. All of it. He should get Michelle Obama’s vote. You can insert your own Mormon polygamy joke here, but the ladies do tend to flock to successful executives and entrepreneurs.

Let me stop here and note that I have three sons and Joyner has two daughters. Hence, call me the OTB Alpha Blogger!

Ok, enough with the silliness (or, onto the silliness of the piece under review), but the general level of analysis in my last sentence is not all that far off from Williamson’s. While the tone of the piece can charitably be interpreted as tongue-in-cheek, the actually thesis of the piece is pretty much as follows:

Elections are not about public policy. They aren’t even about the economy. Elections are tribal, and tribes are — Occupy types, cover your delicate ears — ruthlessly hierarchical. Somebody has to be the top dog.

The whole piece is about how much money Romney (or, “R-MONEY”) has and how bug his family is. Note: this is the cover piece for the latest edition of National Review, which is supposed to be a representation of intellectual conservatism. Now, I will not feign ignorance and pretend like this is the first time I have personally called into question that description, but I must confess that I was surprised when I realized that this was not some hastily written blog post, but was something that not only went through an editorial process, but is a featured essay.

One rather amazing thing about it is that the piece actually could have been written by a liberal critic of the modern Republican Party, who nominated Mitt Romney (R, Money) as its nominee. This piece feeds into the notion that the contemporary Republican Party is the party of misogyny (boyz rule, dontch know) and the super-rich.

As such, it is odd for multiple reasons: 1) it is simplistic in style, 2) it is not worthy of a cover, especially of an allegedly intellectual publication, and 3) it makes, at least on one level, the opposition’s argument.

Most odd, indeed.

*And anyway, as I note in the piece:  my power and significance has been confirmed by my progeny, so I have every right in the world to post a third piece on this subject and have it headline the blog.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Ken says:

    I kinda think this is some kind of trolling. Or “satire,” in the Coulter/Limbaugh sense, meaning “say what you think, just punch it up a bit, and then laugh when people react.”

  2. @Ken: Perhaps so. It just strikes me as bush-league blogging at best, but perhaps that is simply what NR is now.

  3. mattb says:

    As I posted in Doug’s thread, this seems to me to be a reflection of certain desire among the Conservative base (and it’s there among Progressives as well), of a desire for a “Muscular Candidate.” This isn’t about winning, it’s about fighting back, about the perception of all but beating up the other guy.

    I think a lot of his has to do with the constant preaching — in populist Conservative media — of victimhood. For as long as Limbaugh has been on the air, Conservatives are always the victim (including the long period where they controlled the Presidency and both houses of Congress). And that identification with being victims at all times leads to a certain type of anger (or at the very least frustration). That, plus their frustrations at real changes that are happening in the US, are leading them to look not just for a leader, but a “warrior.”

  4. MBunge says:

    Two points.

    1. Is Romney an Alpha Male? Signs point to no. Look no further than the whole Bain Capital thing where, at every point, Romney’s main concern seemed to be making sure he would always be protected in case anything went wrong. That’s pure Beta Male behavior.

    2. What the *bleep* is Williamson doing with this essay and how did it get past the editorial judgment of a 5 year old, let alone a magazine assembled by professionals? Well, the intellectual decline of Movement Conservatism is a real thing but I think something else is at work here. So many conservatives are so deeply in denial about what their true motivations are that they’ve forgotten why they needed to deny them in the first place.

    Mike

  5. mattb says:

    @MBunge:

    What the *bleep* is Williamson doing with this essay and how did it get past the editorial judgment of a 5 year old, let alone a magazine assembled by professionals?

    See Newsweek and the cover story from this past week to appreciate how this isn’t just the national review being the national review.

  6. Rob in CT says:

    Shorter: MY candidate could totally beat up YOUR candidate, so there!

    [Foxworthy imitation] You know you have nothing when… [/Foxworthy]

    Or, perhaps even more appropriately. “Here’s your sign.”

  7. DRS says:

    I think there’s a tone of “my dad can beat up yourdad” to the NRO piece. It’s sandbox politics.

  8. al-Ameda says:

    Professor Obama? Two daughters. May as well give the guy a cardigan. And fallopian tubes.

    Mitt Romney is such an Alphas Male that he’s installing a car elevator in his home so that he won’t have to walk up a flight of stairs – Alpha On, Mitt!

  9. DRS says:

    RT in C: which of us was channelling?

  10. Rafer Janders says:

    Professor Obama? Two daughters. May as well give the guy a cardigan. And fallopian tubes.

    George W. Bush? Two daughters.

  11. grumpy realist says:

    And articles such as this one you quote are supposed to convince us that the Republican Party and its supporters honor women and treat them as equals?

    I also wonder about the intelligence (?) of NROs editors for letting this out. Of course, they still publish Jonah, the goof who gave us that stinkpile of a book “Liberal Fascism.” (Jonah probably still honestly believes he produced a work of intellectual depth and research.)

  12. grumpy realist says:

    @Rafer Janders: Probably doesn’t work. The neo-cons are still mad at Dubya because he didn’t nuke Iran. Obviously a pussy.

  13. B. Minich says:

    I was eagerly awaiting the comments of the Alpha Blogger of OTB, so your duplication is not a bad thing. After all, look at those sons!

  14. Rafer Janders says:

    This piece feeds into the notion that the contemporary Republican Party is the party of misogyny (boyz rule, dontch know) and the super-rich.

    It’s not a notion. It’s a fact.

  15. Commonist says:

    Cheney: two daughters.

    Dubya: three (right?)

    Bruce Willis: four daughters

    NRO contributors and readers: filthy animals that are a threat to American society.

  16. swbarnes2 says:

    I think there’s another important Republican value put forth pretty clearly here. You have fallopian tubes, like half the species? That’s mockable, because only obviously inferior persons have those.

  17. al-Ameda says:

    I’m surprised that Williamson didn’t suggest that Romney could better relate to the ‘common man’ or to younger voters in particular, by marketing a new shoe – a Nike “Mitt Love” priced at $300. This price point would ensure that the kids of successful parents would purchase the shoes.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    As such, it is odd for multiple reasons: 1) it is simplistic in style, 2) it is not worthy of a cover, especially of an allegedly intellectual publication, and 3) it makes, at least on one level, the opposition’s argument.

    At this point all I can say is, “Don’t take away the shovel.” and “Keep digging, boys.”

  19. Lynda says:

    Romney is the ‘alpha male’ and ‘from an evolutionary point of view, Mitt Romney should get 100 percent of the female vote’?

    I’d give pretty good odds that Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin could each whip Romney’s alpha a**.

    This female vote is going to be given based on actual policies rather than pseudo psychology.

  20. I was always under the impression that the word “charisma,” when used in a political context, was a polite term for sex appeal. For example, “Sarah Palin shows great charisma, especially among older male voters.”

    Mr. Williamson, if you need to argue that your candidate should have it …

  21. grumpy realist says:

    @john personna: Romney has always reminded me of “Mr Cellophane Man” in the musical Chicago.

  22. DRS says:

    Remember the ’80’s? British commentary: “Margaret Thatcher: the only man in the country”.

    I have a suggestion: next time we do this primary thing, let’s not have votes or straw polls or whatever. Everybody line up, drop trou, and we get a measuring tape and settle things right away, winner take all, if you know what I mean….

  23. @grumpy realist:

    I did not see that movie 😉

  24. An Interested Party says:

    It just strikes me as bush-league blogging at best, but perhaps that is simply what NR is now.

    DING! DING! DING! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner…

    I’d give pretty good odds that Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin could each whip Romney’s alpha a**.

    Not to mention Williamson’s…

  25. al-Ameda says:

    @Lynda:

    I’d give pretty good odds that Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin could each whip Romney’s alpha a**.

    Or tie him to the bow of the yacht and off load him in the Cayman Islands

  26. anjin-san says:

    Alpha male Ronmey’s campaign is instructing local TV stations not to ask questions about Akin.

    “I want to be President – no difficult questions please.”