The president’s primary problem as a leader is not that he is impetuous, brash or naive. It’s not that he is inexperienced, crude, an outsider. It is that he is weak and sniveling. It is that he undermines himself almost daily by ignoring traditional norms and forms of American masculinity.
.. He’s not strong and self-controlled, not cool and tough, not low-key and determined; he’s whiny, weepy and self-pitying. He throws himself, sobbing, on the body politic. He’s a drama queen.
.. Half the president’s tweets show utter weakness. They are plaintive, shrill little cries, usually just after dawn. “It’s very sad that Republicans, even some that were carried over the line on my back, do very little to protect their president.”
.. “The Republicans never discuss how good their health care bill is.” True, but neither does Mr. Trump, who seems unsure of its content. In just the past two weeks, of the press, he complained: “Every story/opinion, even if should be positive, is bad!” Journalists produce “highly slanted & even fraudulent reporting.” They are “DISTORTING DEMOCRACY.” They “fabricate the facts.”
.. It’s all whimpering accusation and finger-pointing: Nobody’s nice to me. Why don’t they appreciate me?
.. His public brutalizing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions isn’t strong, cool and deadly; it’s limp, lame and blubbery. “Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes,” he tweeted this week. Talk about projection.
.. John J. Pitney Jr. of Claremont McKenna College writes: “Loyalty is about strength. It is about sticking with a person, a cause, an idea or a country even when it is costly, difficult or unpopular.” A strong man does that. A weak one would unleash his resentments and derive sadistic pleasure from their unleashing.
.. The way American men used to like seeing themselves, the template they most admired, was the strong silent type celebrated in classic mid-20th century films—Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Henry Fonda. In time the style shifted, and we wound up with the nervous and chattery. More than a decade ago the producer and writer David Chase had his Tony Soprano mourn the disappearance of the old style: “What they didn’t know is once they got Gary Cooper in touch with his feelings they wouldn’t be able to shut him up!” The new style was more like that of Woody Allen. His characters couldn’t stop talking about their emotions, their resentments and needs. They were self-justifying as they acted out their cowardice and anger...His inability—not his refusal, but his inability—to embrace the public and rhetorical role of the presidency consistently and constructively is weak... “It’s so easy to act presidential but that’s not gonna get it done,” Mr. Trump said the other night at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio. That is the opposite of the truth. The truth, six months in, is that he is not presidential and is not getting it done. His mad, blubbery petulance isn’t working for him but against him. If he were presidential he’d be getting it done—building momentum, gaining support. He’d be over 50%, not under 40%. He’d have health care, and more... He seemed to think this diarrheic diatribe was professional, the kind of thing the big boys do with their media bros. But he came across as just another drama queen for this warring, riven, incontinent White House. As Scaramucci spoke, the historian Joshua Zeitz observed wonderingly, on Twitter: “It’s Team of Rivals but for morons.”
It is. And it stinks from the top.
Meanwhile the whole world is watching, a world that contains predators. How could they not be seeing this weakness, confusion and chaos and thinking it’s a good time to cause some trouble?
Imagine if Donald Trump were a woman. You simply can’t
“What works for them [men] won’t work for you [women],”
.. “I’ll go to these events and there will be men speaking before me, and they’ll be pounding the message and screaming about how we need to win the election. And I want to do the same thing. I love to wave my arms, but apparently that’s a little bit scary to people. And I can’t yell too much. It comes across as ‘too loud’ or ‘too shrill’ or ‘too this’ or ‘too that’.”
.. The first presidential debate should be studied by future generations – who, I dearly hope, will have a more evolved attitude towards gender than we do ..
.. Imagine it was a woman. Picture a woman up there on the podium last night shouting over her rival, jabbing her finger in the air, denying she’d said things there was ample evidence of online that she had said. Imagine a completely inexperienced woman insisting she had better political nous than someone who had been at the forefront of politics for decades.
.. After all, according to a tweet Trump retweeted last year, “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?”
.. Some of her supporters have already complained that she didn’t jump on some of Trump’s more deranged statements, such as that not paying federal income tax is “smart”. But she couldn’t – because she’s not trying to appeal now to her supporters but to the undecideds who might well find that kind of attack “too shrill”.
.. She instead, wisely, let him hang himself with his words, and restricted herself to some side-eye smiles to the camera and nudges to the fact-checkers.
.. Chuck Todd, from the ostensibly neutral network NBC, actually complained that Clinton seemed “over-prepared”. Because nobody likes a woman who performs too well, guys.
A Republican congressman griped that “she just comes across as my bitchy wife/mother”, which serves as a convenient reminder that people who are sexist about Clinton actually just hate women.