Behar matters, because millions of "Nice, White Ladies" (ala Sandra Bullock's character in "the Blind Side", phrase credited to Steve Sailer, follow her every utterance. In "Seize the Fire: Heroism, Duty, and the Battle of Trafalgar," author Adam Nicholson notes that anxiety over status, always uncertain, motivated almost every action that the middling, on-the-make class of captains that made up Nelson's navy took in conducting their lives and particularly, engaging the enemy. Even a hint of "wrongness" in how "honor" (which was basically status as a "correct sort of person") was perceived could and did destroy a career and life.
In the same way, millions of middle and working class White women feel the same anxiety. Though the bad economy is baneful, it has yet to hit most of them personally, and the feeling is that the "correct sort of person" would weather the storm. Men out of work, well that is merely (particularly if they are White) confirmation that the men were unworthy in the first place. Women are now the majority of the workforce, layoffs hitting 80% of men, and women working in "protected" occupations such as health care, education, government, and corporate office jobs, far more than men, do not feel the full impact of the sorrowful economy Obama has worsened.
For such women, Joy Behar and her fellow harpies on the View offer a guideline to who is in and who is out. It is like High School, that never ends. Filled with political correctness and a minefield of mis-steps. The NBC-TV show "the Office" depicts a clueless White guy for such women to laugh at, making un-PC comments, actions, and moves. Whenever I've been at the Doctor's office in the morning, and there is a TV on, the View is always on. Indeed if the TV is off, the nice White lady (usually fifty plus) working at the desk will turn it on. If the Office significantly never shows women making PC mistakes, the View offers a guideline of who to hate to be a "cool woman." Behar famously called Sharon Angle a "bitch" and said she would go to hell. Well, that mattered. Because most of the White working class women in Nevada take their cues from Behar and women like her (Katie Couric, visiting the "great unwashed in the middle of the country" and so on). Status anxiety indeed increases, once the power of sexual attraction fades with age and men no longer pay attention to a woman. Joy Behar and Katie Couric merely replace the grand ladies of Jane Austen's day, who dictated fashionable and unfashionable behavior. That's not a surprise. Much of old social functions have been replaced in one way or another by electronic media.
Clueless post of the day must go to Mark McKinnon who wrote "Stop Calling Them Sluts" (regarding conservative women in politics). Well, it worked didn't it? Only Nikki Haley came out a victor, and that one she had to eke out against weak competition that she should have walked all over. White women don't like, for the overwhelming most part, Conservative women. Meg Whitman was called a whore, because it worked. Christine O'Donnell, and Sarah Palin, were called sluts, because it worked. [Both are toxic to women, and O'Donnell's ill-advised ad saying she did not go to Yale was a disaster. White women are probably the most status-conscious group on the planet, and view Ivy League credentials as magic, as of course do highly feminized elite men like Tom Friedman. There are relatively few Tom Friedmans, thankfully, but most White women set everything on status, and they are many where Friedman type men votes are few. Like Nelson's captains and "honor" having the right status is all, between social ruin and prosperity.]
Anyone who ever saw an episode of "Gilmore Girls" would know what a huge mistake that was, by O'Donnell. The popular WB-CW series featured a "hip single mother" and hip young daughter, both obsessed with the latter getting into Harvard or Yale. A modern day princess story (the mother and daughter were estranged heiresses to a fortune, pursued by often drunk, but always rich and hunky guys, video of one below). When O'Donnell said she didn't go to Yale, she got a lot of White male voter approval (not all of course) but sunk herself with White women. She might as well have said she didn't like romance novels at Twilight convention.
Linda McMahon and Sharon Angle were called "crazy" and it worked. Carly Fiorina was called names as well, and it worked. Senator Ma'am was re-elected. Women detest other women, who are conservative, and are thus excluded from the female media clique of the View, Oprah, the New York Times (Maureen Dowd eviscerated the female conservative candidates) and of course, Saturday Night Live and Tina Fey. Tina Fey, more than anyone else, made Sarah Palin poison to women.
The big caveat: While Ayotte leads by 10 among women, other Palin-backed mama grizzlies — notably Angle and O’Donnell — are getting crushed by their male opponents among women voters. Whether that’s best explained by differences between the candidates or by the vagaries of each state, I’m not sure, but rest assured that GOP strategists (and Team Palin especially) will be studying Ayotte’s formula for success verrrrry carefully this winter.
The same seems to be true for Nikki Haley (who under-performed), for Linda McMahon, for Carly Fiorina, for Meg Whitman, as well as Angle and O'Donnell. White women will simply NOT accept conservative women, be they RINO-esque as in Whitman/Fiorina, or populist. Indeed, the more populist the worst because White women voters detest emotionally any younger, attractive female politician who is not "upper class" and liberal, approved by the taste-makers like Behar or Oprah or Couric.
Nice White ladies do not like conservative women. And conservative women can easily be defined as "White Trash" by almost anyone. Even burnt out Seventies reject Jerry Brown who the Dead Kennedy's nailed to a T. When Brown beats a Rino-esque candidate like Whitman, who poured money into the race, out of her own personal fortune, you can see how powerful that definition really is.
Nice White Ladies also don't like bashing illegal immigration or illegal immigrants. As that issue certainly hurt Meg Whitman (being "mean" to her illegal alien maid by firing her when she found out she was illegal, and paying her $23 an hour). So too, Hickenlooper's big win in Colorado over Tom Tancredo, mostly on the White women's vote, makes Illegal Immigration a loser. Most Nice White Ladies side with illegal immigrants, who don't threaten their jobs, and provide cheap nannies and carwash services. Besides, if White guys were "worthy" they'd be successful anyway (most White women really don't like most White men).
This is an important point. Just as the habit of Black male celebrities to mostly marry/date/entangle themselves with White women speaks to how Black men really view most Black women (as not very sexually desirable, obviously), how White women vote speaks to how most White women view most White men (not very highly, obviously). This should surprise no one, given how depictions of White guys as total idiots, and losers, except a few Alpha heroes, mostly broody hunks, in the media and critically commercials, form feedback loops. First, the depictions of White guy as loser, mostly (except a hunky hero) speaks to how most White women actually feel. Second, the constant repetition of dorky, loser icky beta White guy, reinforces those feelings, except for an Alpha few.
Nice White ladies don't like most White guys. Especially older, less hunky White guys who don't have the social approval of the taste-makers in the media. Joy Behar could not really tee off on Marco Rubio. He was both non-White, and too hot.
Republicans can get the votes of most White guys, without much effort. The Republican Party already is the party of White guys, pretty much, excluding the SWPL set and the Tom Friedman elite. But White women, are a problem. Republicans cannot win without them, and even with them, it is a squeaker. California is a harbinger of things to come, because though I doubt seriously that White women did not provide the critical margin for Brown and Boxer's victory, their base was Latinos. Who reliably vote Democratic. Sharon Angle's support of anti-illegal immigration measures no doubt cost her some Latino support, but Latinos (Mexicans really) would have voted for "super-Amnesty" Harry Reid anyway. The large presence (including likely illegal alien voters) means as a practical matter, Republicans must get every single possible vote. They have none to spare.
[Reid plans to introduce into the Lame Duck Congress a super-Amnesty, which Obama will sign. It is doubtful that Republicans will filibuster in the Senate, seeing the results in Colorado and Nevada, where anti-illegal immigration candidates Tancredo and Angle went down in flames. White women voters by and large, mostly support illegal immigration and oppose any effort to stop it.]
That being said, Republicans can win the votes of White women voters. They merely have to study popular culture, particularly the female/gay ghettoes of TV, to see what women viewers find attractive.
First, Republicans cannot under any circumstances nominate women. Because White Women voters, detest as "low class" any Conservative female candidate, and it is ridiculously easy for folks like Joy Behar and Tina Fey to define female conservatives as "whores," "bitches," and "sluts." The smears WORK with women, as any one observing High School girls will attest.
Second, any candidate must be youthful and vigorous as well as male. Youth and vigor go a long way, towards projecting an image of forcefulness and possibility. Yes, women voters do make judgments on age and perceived virility. I will never forget one focus group (conducted by Frank Luntz for Fox News) woman (a young Asian woman) mocking McCain's age and infirmities and awe-struck by Obama's "vigor." JFK versus Nixon, again. See again the Gilmore Girls Youtube clip. It got 130,000 views. Astonishing.
Or put it as Curtis Sittenfeld (who is a she, despite the name) did.
After an excruciating eight years of Bush, the thrill still hasn't worn off for me of once again having an intellectually nimble president, not to mention one who doesn't pride himself on going with his gut when it comes to foreign policy. Whenever I watched Bush speak extemporaneously, I'd feel alternately embarrassed by and for him. [Ed: because Bush was a beta White guy] I'd be tempted to cover my eyes, as if watching a clumsy figure skater botching double Lutz jumps. And whenever I interacted with someone from another country, I'd feel compelled to mention that I hadn't voted for Bush. [Ed: aka, this guy is not my boyfriend, just a friend.]
But when I see Obama on television, I'm unfailingly struck by his intelligence and charisma, by his easygoing humor, by the magnificence of his megawatt smile. He just makes me proud, and perhaps this is where I should admit that if there are two categories of Obama critics—conservatives who never liked the guy and have in some cases become unhinged since he was elected, and centrists or Democrats who voted for him but now feel let down—I suspect that, in the visceral nature of my response to our president, I have more in common with the unhinged nut jobs. By this I mean that my Obama admiration is a kind of emotional inverse of the right-wing Obama antipathy: I can pretend it's all about policy, but in truth, it's much more personal. Where his detractors dislike him because of, say, that Muslim vibe he gives off, I like him for similarly nebulous, albeit slightly more factual reasons.
I like that he's married to—and seemingly still quite taken with—a strong, opinionated, gorgeous woman, and that he has two ridiculously cute daughters. I like his mind-bendingly multicultural extended family. I like that in a campaign interview in Glamour magazine, he could fluently and unabashedly talk about Pap smears. I thought that the beer summit of 2009 was delightful. I was even excited when Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, not realizing until pundits explained otherwise that I was supposed to be aghast at its prematurity. And I wasn't a bit offended by Obama's alleged 2008 debate gaffe—a line the otherwise irreproachable Frank Rich mentioned yet again in a column as recently as September—in remarking to Hillary Clinton, "You're likable enough, Hillary." Oh, and did I mention that I actually voted for Hillary in Missouri's Democratic primary? I was one of those Democrats who thought it'd be nice to have an entrée of eight years of Hillary, with Obama as a vice-presidential side, followed by eight years of a more seasoned Obama as the main course. I was always an Obama admirer, but maybe the fact that I was initially rooting for Hillary has prevented me from feeling the disappointment in his presidency expressed by certain Obamamaniacs. So swoony and ardent was their Obama love during the campaign that it couldn't be sustained; my more measured affection, by contrast, has grown over time.
At this point, I love Obama so much that I recently thought if it were 1961, I'd probably display a bust of him in my living room. Then I realized I'm already displaying the 2010 equivalent: On my living room wall, I have a framed version of that famous November 2008 New Yorker cover of the O moon over the Lincoln Memorial. Meanwhile, on my desk, I keep a printed-out photo I first saw on the Huffington Post in May 2009, of Obama in the Oval Office, bending over so a little African-American boy could rub his head. The boy, it turns out, was the child of a White House staffer, and the reason Obama was bending was, according to the caption in the White House's Flickr account, "The youngster wanted to see if the President's haircut felt like his own."
I don't care if it's good PR—the picture still practically brings tears to my eyes. It reminds me of the sense of excitement and possibility I felt in November 2008, as if in electing Obama, we Americans were acting as our best, smartest, least racist selves, as if there really was change we could believe in. And, OK, so it's been a long two years since then, and for a lot of people it's been an undeniably hard two years. But I'm just not convinced that's Obama's fault.
Now, the above quote is nauseating. But the whole story is worth reading in full. For better or worse, most White women feel this way to some degree. They idolize and idealize non-White men, and find White guys pretty pathetic excepting a fortunate Alpha few who project dominance.
Which brings us to the third thing Republicans must do. Whenever and where ever possible, nominate attractive young non-White guys. Black guys are preferable, then Latinos. But never, ever, nominate an older White guy. White women will simply detest him.
This is hard for men to understand. The depth of contempt and disgust older White guys generate in White women. [Women of color of course, vote Democratic in such high margins they are not worth reaching for by Republicans.] Women prize youthful vigor and potency among all other qualities. Look at the words above. Of course the woman is frankly pathetic. But like the middle aged hausfraus lusting over Justin Bieber or the hunks of Twilight, they are what they are. If Republicans want to win, they must gain enough of their votes. As much as White guys revere fatherly authority (the NFL in particular is built on this, along with College Football), White women find it a joke. Just look at any sitcom. The father is always a joke. Whom the wife barely tolerates, if that. Incompetent and useless.
Guys see an older man with authority, and they respect it, mostly, if it is wielded right. Mack Brown of Texas, the late Bill Walsh, Joe Paterno, Mike Shanahan, all come to mind. White women view them, mostly, as tedious guys they feel no sexual thrill for. This is reality, and Republicans have to adapt to it.
That means, ideally pushing candidates like Marco Rubio. Not White. Not older. Vigorous, handsome, and projecting energy. A Scott Brown, or a Rand Paul, can also win, but note Rubio's margin of victory, compared to the other two, in a far more difficult environment.
the picture still practically brings tears to my eyes. It reminds me of the sense of excitement and possibility I felt in November 2008, as if in electing Obama, we Americans were acting as our best, smartest, least racist selves, as if there really was change we could believe in.
For the Professional Class Nice White Lady, and the Working class as well, this is what is most important. Not Jobs, nor the economy, nor even avoiding becoming Mexico Norte in a merely nicer hell-hole as half of Mexico moves into the United States. Its not about "racism" either, since actual, real racism is the province of Blacks and Hispanics:
Nope, KKK riders are not lynching Black people and burning crosses. Nor are they flying planes into buildings, nor blowing people up, nor shooting up Fort Hood, or synagoges, or building victory mosques on the site of their greatest mass murder, or threatening innocuous SWPL Seattle Cartoonists with death (so that Molly Norris had to go into another identity in hiding), or any of that. All of these are done by non-White males.
What the writer Curtis Sittenfeld really cares about, is moral status and thus, status. It is status anxiety. Because her position is uncertain, like Nelson's captains. One wrong move, one failure, and like their "honor" her status can be whipped away. So Republicans must offer, much as it pains me, hunky non-White guys projecting youthful energy. Or be swept away in by Nice White lady votes providing the margin of victory to Obama and Dems.
Yes, this is a definite risk. The danger is ala Michael Steele, or Colin Powell, or Condi Rice, that non-White office-holders will put racial solidarity (against Whites) ahead of party ideology and the support of White voters. The record of Steele, Powell, and Rice suggests that they put "race man" or woman ahead of being both Patriotic and their own party. That is probably a huge risk with Colonel Allen West, who will come under unbelievable pressure to be "Black" and vote with the Congressional Black Caucus. Not the least of which is that "White" equals the lowest of the low, the untouchable, in today's racially driven caste and class system. [Rich liberal White guys are of course, honorary non-Whites, see this guy below:]
Republicans have to face facts. White guys alone voting will not cut it, not in close state-wide races, nor in the race for President. Women can be persuaded to vote for the "hunk," even if he is conservative, but he has to be youthful, vigorous, and the Alpha of Alpha males. Nominating women is a disaster (Conservative White guys love Sarah Palin, but even among Republicans, women dislike Palin compared to men's favorable opinion by 11 points). Folks like Tina Fey and Joy Behar can paint any Conservative woman, no matter how RINO, as "a bitch" and a "whore" and "slutty." And yes, this matters because White women follow them like they do People Magazine and Justin Bieber and Brad Pitt.
The ideal winning candidate is a youthful, vigorous guy who oozes male testosterone and Alpha dominance, and is non-White. The hunk and the moral posturing to allow Nice White Ladies to demonstrate status. [That ordinary White guys are so despised is a subject for another column, but is a fact of life all across the West and undeniable.] Alpha dominance and power, beat wonkery and effectiveness. Fatso Chris Christie, despite his pugnacious Jersey attitude and mastery of facts and policy, is a non-starter. So is wonkery, thin and unattractive Bobby Jindal, who has the attraction (to White women) of not being White (hence status demonstration) but lacks Alpha dominance and physical beauty.
Mitt Romney, is a non-starter for President as much as Sarah Palin. He's too "White" and is not a "cool" (as in TLC's Sister Wives or HBO's "Big Love") polygamist Mormon, rather a boring Donnie and Marie one. For White women, "White" equals boring and low-status. Too much intelligence, an actual understanding of how the modern economic, political, military, and social world all interact, is probably a minus. Women have always preferred simple dominance and assurance over accomplishment, and Obama is proof positive of that.
I'd like to be proven wrong. It would make selecting a competitive candidate against Obama easier. It would allow combative, take-no-prisoners pols like Christie, or Sarah Palin, to put the wood to Obama and make him sweat. But sadly I don't think the exit polls will show I'm wrong. In the end, a widely despised candidate, Harry Reid, who polled below 50% approval, won re-election. Mostly because his opponent, a solid, conservative, utterly conventional middle class woman, was easily portrayed to other woman as a "kook" and extreme. Christine O'Donnell, an inspirational, Horatio Alger figure, lost to a self described "Bearded Marxist" and was portrayed as a "stupid slut" to women voters. Linda McMahon, the brains behind the remarkable rise of the WWE, was poison to women voters and a man who lied about being in Vietnam won.
These are all facts Republicans must deal with. Go hunk. And go non-White.