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Hullabaloo


Monday, November 23, 2015

 
"Strength and stamina"

by digby


Trump:

“They only understand strength,” Mr. Trump said. “They don’t understand weakness. Somebody like Jeb, and others that are running against me — and by the way, Hillary is another one. I mean, Hillary is a person who doesn’t have the strength or the stamina, in my opinion, to be president. She doesn’t have strength or stamina. She’s not a strong enough person to be president.”


I wrote this last April:

As we’ve seen many times over the years, foreign policy and national security are particularly tricky for Democrats even when one is a certified war hero like John Kerry (or even John Kennedy). Even the hardcore Cold Warriors of the Democratic Party suffered for the fact that the right had associated them with socialism during the Great Depression and turned that into sympathy for Communism. By the time the ’60s were over, they were routinely portrayed as cowardly and treasonous for opposing the Vietnam War and characterized in “feminized” terms such as “weak” and “emotional.” (Here’s a particularly crude example of the genre of recent vintage.)

All Democratic politicians have had to fight that stereotype ever since then. And all Democratic presidents have struggled while in office to deal with it. Even the dramatic killing of Osama bin Laden under President Obama failed to stop them from calling him a weak and feckless leader, even to the point where they are willing to risk nuclear war to make their point. This dynamic has, over time, succeeded in making Democrats more hawkish and Republicans downright reckless.

So where does this leave Hillary Clinton? She seems to have as good a resume for the Commander in Chief job as any woman could have with her close proximity to power in the White House for eight years, her eight years as senator and four years as Secretary of State. The only thing missing is a stint in the armed forces — which is also missing on the CV of most of the Republicans presenting themselves as fierce warriors, so it should be no harm, no foul there. (The exceptions being Texas Governor Rick Perry, a pilot in the Air Force, and South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham, a member of the Air Force JAG corps.) But stereotypes are very hard to dislodge; even with her reputation for toughness, and despite her sterling resume, Clinton will be pushing against something very primal. The Republicans know this, which is why some of us have been pretty sure they would try to frame this election as a national security election if they could. Those elections always give them an advantage in any case, and if a woman is the standard bearer it stands to reason that advantage would be even greater.


This isn't just about being a woman,of course, it's also about being old even though Trump is older than Clinton. And he's the one without any stamina --- he whined like a toddler after that 3 hour debate and had to take several days off afterwards. He holds on to his podium like it's a walker and about halfway through he slumps over it like an elephant who's been hit with a tranquilizer dart. The man is a pampered billionaire, not an athlete, and it's obvious.

But this will be a theme among the Republicans, no matter who is it. Rubio, for instance, is already hitting hard on the age factor.

Trump has articulated the feminized "weakness" argument in his crude fashion. He used it against Bush the way Republicans have used it against Democrats like Gore and Kerry for many years. Using it against a woman is entirely predictable.



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