Friday, October 05, 2012

GOP Machismo Watch: Democratic Presidents Do Not Cause Embassy Attacks

One persistent conservative fantasy is that Republicans are tough and Democrats are weak. And, like so many conservative beliefs, this one is immune to disconfirmation by empirical evidence.

Here's Adam Serwer on the question. CHECK OUT THE CHART.

Also note Serwer's deft expression of the conservative fantasy in question, that:
...somehow sufficient man-musk from an American president can dissuade any potential terrorist from laying his finger on an American diplomat.
These conservative tough-talkers are never, of course, tough themselves. Romney's physical altercations seem to be limited to one instance of three-on-one gay bashing. More importantly, they seem to fail to realize that, though weakness is an invitation to attack, an overly-aggressive posture makes you at least one of the crazy guys, and often one of the bad guys. The ideal is to speak softly and carry a big stick--and that has been the Democratic approach in my lifetime. Tone deaf on this issue, as on so many others, conservatives think that soft-speaking + big-stick-carrying = weakness/wimpiness, and favor a laughable/crazy, overly-aggressive, strutting, preening macho national demeanor, suited only to bullies and not to reasonable men nor nations. "Weakness is provocative," they like to say, and that's almost true (though "provocative" is not exactly the right word). But macho bullshit is extremely provocative. I've never, ever in my life found myself taunting or provoking a weak-seeming guy into a confrontation, but I have found myself doing so to macho assholes--and I'm not alone in that. Romney and company want America to be the guy who deserves an ass-kicking, rather than that calm, rational guy who doesn't want any trouble but can handle it if it shows up. That latter guy is analogous to the nation Democrats want us to be. No one anywhere of any significance in American politics wants us to be cowering wimps. Only conservative's insanely distorted view of the world makes speaking softly and carrying a big stick look like cowardice, just as the reasonable and judicious man looks like a coward only to the macho asshole. (You'd think, with their John Wayne fixation, conservatives would be able to get this bit right...)

The overall problem with American conservatism, let me note, is not so much that it is wrong about this point or that point, but that its perspective on the world is distorted overall, like an image in a fun-house mirror.

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