Condolences to Hillary Clinton, who wanted to be the first woman president. She just missed it.
Barack Obama is the first female president.
And no, it’s not because President Obama doesn’t hunt or drink a lot of beer, or curse and belch. As I’ve written before, quoting H.L. Mencken, every great man has a streak of woman in him. “Find me an obviously intelligent man,” Mencken wrote in In Defense of Women, “a man free of sentimentality and illusion, a man hard to deceive, a man of the first class, and I’ll show you a man with a wide streak of woman in him.” Examples: Lincoln, Goethe, Bonaparte, Bismarck, Shakespeare, JFK. I am not here defending the caveman or moron WWF America.
The problem is, Barack Obama doesn’t have just a streak of the feminine in him; he seems to be a woman, and a feminist one at that, with a streak of man in him.
I first noticed this in watching Obama’s reaction to terrorism. No matter how bland or professorial a man is, there comes a moment when his family or his country is threatened and he shows rage and the desire to kill. You can see it in his eyes — that flare of hatred, the primal urge to eradicate those who would poison your tribe. One saw this in both Roosevelts, in John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and in Reagan when talking about communism’s evil empire. George Bush showed it standing on the rubble of 9/11. An example from popular culture is Star Trek’s James T. Kirk — a man of compassion, selflessness and intelligence, but a fearsome adversary when his crew is attacked. It’s in action movies, which are one of the last refuges of the manly virtues. I mean, in the original classic “Die Hard” movie, Bruce Willis doesn’t wipe out the scum and win his girl back by having a beer summit.
In their book Manvotionals: Timeless Wisdom and Advice on Living the 7 Manly Virtues, Brett and Kate McKay outline six things necessary to attain true manhood: courage, industry, resolution, self-reliance, discipline, honor, and manliness.
Taken together, these virtues can result in an ideal life for a man. As the authors of Manvotionals point out, to the Greeks the ideal life was filled with eudaimonia — a flourishing, or as Aristotle put it, “doing and living well.” This was achieved through Areté, or virtue. Areté was sometimes used interchangeably with andreia, or “manliness.” To live well was to be a full man. Furthermore, in ancient times the health of the state was often correlated to the health of the male leaders in the society. If that’s still the case, then America is truly screwed.
Let’s take the seven virtues and see how President Obama stacks up.
Courage. In Manvotionals, the authors quote a book on manliness that was published in 1911: “Wanted, a man who will not lose his individuality in a crowd, a man who has the courage of his convictions, who is not afraid to say ‘no,’ though all the world say ‘Yes.’” As a Senator, Barack Obama voted “present” 129 times. Some of these votes involved abortion, juvenile justice, and gun laws. Obama lacks courage when it comes to politics, but his real lack of spunk is evident in his abject terror of his wife Michelle. It’s not uncommon for a husband to joke about his wife being angry at him, but Obama obsessively returns to the theme in speech after speech: “Now, I don’t wanna get Michelle angry at me…” On their first date, the couple saw the violent black rage film “Do the Right Thing,” so that Michelle could make sure Barack “was down with the struggle.” With her love of violent movies, her fixation on fitness, and death glare that appears when she doesn’t like what she’s hearing, Michelle is actually more man than her husband. Oh for the days when president George W. Bush gave his wife Laura a loving but firm pat on the backside in public. The man knew who was boss.