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.
Discipline. “There is a deep down, underneath all the work I do, I think there’s a laziness in me,” Obama told Barbara Walters in 2011. We still don’t know what grades Obama got at Columbia.
Self-reliance. Obama is a poster child for affirmative action. Rather than relying on his own wit or intelligence, he gamed the system, getting into schools and getting jobs — including the one he has now — that he is clearly unqualified for. He may be the only president who has never run a business or been in the military or had a private sector job.
Honor. There is no greater test of honor than how a person reacts in the heat of battle when his fellow countrymen are in danger. In the Benghazi debacle, President Obama has been AWOL since the night of the attack, when no one knows where he was. To say nothing of the lies that have followed from the administration to provide political cover.
Industry. In his sixty years, Theodore Roosevelt was: a police commissioner, a state legislator, and the governor of New York, president of the United States. He wrote over thirty-five books, worked on a cattle ranch, fought in the Spanish-American War, won the Nobel Prize and navigated an uncharted Amazonian river. Barack Obama gets compared to Moses when he sinks a basketball shot. But then, deep down he’s lazy.
Resolution. Did I mention the 129 “present” votes? The only thing President Obama seems resolute is defending positions that are morally repulsive. He is a radical extremist on abortion, the most anti-woman act imaginable, and will not call radical Islam radical Islam. He is, however, resolute in making sure that Catholic institutions pay for contraception. On that there can be no compromise.
Manliness. This a catch-all term the authors of Manvotionals use. It means the act of being a man when all the virtues have come together. Again, it has nothing to do with liking football or scratching yourself or dominating people — in fact, being a bully is the opposite of being a man. Real men like arts and kindness and peaceful resolutions to problems (as long as we win the negotiation — see Ronald Wilson Reagan, Soviet Union). But when it comes time to cast an important vote with profound moral implications, or defend your ship or your country against an evil enemy, a man is ready to throw down. At these times, Obama ducks out or reacts with puerile resentment or flies to academic abstraction. I mean, what would Michelle think?