The “wimp factor” — a label that was once applied with derision to George H.W. Bush — might be back to haunt the Republican Party.And how wimpy do they look when they have -- gasp! -- a woman gaining a lot of notice this week.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty are the putative front-runners among the declared 2012 candidates. They both have many attributes. But neither man is liable to be confused with John Wayne.
This has become even more noticeable now that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn) has entered the race and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has once again ramped up her profile (though she remains on the sidelines for now). Both women seem to have a stronger elemental appeal to conservative activists than do their male rivals.And both of them would kick Obama's ass up and down Pennsylvania Avenue without breaking a sweat.
But according to today's media meme, these strong women make the guys look like wimps. Funny, but we never hear this drivel when dainty men populate the Democratic Party. What, was John Edwards some kind of he-man or something?
Palin’s elevation of “Mama Grizzlies” as an archetype of female ferocity, and Bachmann’s frequent imploring about the need to “man up,” serve as reminders that both women are more than willing to raise gender issues in a vigorous way.Oh yeah, muscularity. That's what we want in our leaders. But then if a bunch of Republicans starting flexing and showing how tough they were they'd be scolded for being too macho. Like this guy.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if a Sarah Palin or a Michele Bachmann called into question their opponents’ — Republican or Democrat — standing as men,” said Charles Knight, a writer on gender issues.
Questions about the political muscularity of Romney and Pawlenty were raised once again in the wake of Monday night’s Republican primary debate in New Hampshire.