It’s not Hillary, Matthew Continetti posits in the Washington Free Beacon, inasmuch as the first black president, as Toni Morrison noted in the New Yorker in the mid-1990s was Mr. Hillary:
“In terms of stereotypes, various psychological studies show that men gravitate to the hard power of command,” Joseph Nye wrote in 2012, “while women are collaborative and intuitively understand the soft power of attraction and persuasion.” He adds, “Recent leadership studies show increased success for what was once considered a ‘feminine style.’” Collaborate, intuitive, soft, attractive, persuasive—these attributes of the “feminine style” are perfect descriptors of Barack Obama’s relation to the world, or at least to those parts of the world that are not Republican or Israeli.
Nye describes the path women must travel to reach power: “Women are generally not well integrated into male networks that dominate organizations,” he writes, “and gender stereotypes still hamper women who try to overcome such barriers.” What he writes about women could also be written about Obama, who disdains glad-handing and networking, who “doesn’t really like people,” who in domestic politics has given up entirely negotiations with the “male networks that dominate organizations” such as the House of Representatives, who every day is hampered by the stereotype that he is brilliant, logical, debonair, pragmatic, witty, world-changing, deeply read, hip.
Yet Obama has overcome such barriers. He is one of a kind. Knowing their struggles, sharing their opinions, committed to abortion whenever and to contraception for all, supportive of equal pay for equal work, practicing the soft power of defense cuts, of negotiations, of needling, of chiding, delivering geopolitical statements from pre-school classrooms, snapping selfies with the girls at state funerals, displaying almost every trope of womanhood outlined by the theoretician of soft power himself, Barack Obama has as much of a claim as the next girl to being the first woman president. Do not “other” him. Love him. Celebrate him. Open your mind, as I have. And Hillary: Take note. We already have a woman in the White House.
And why not? If there’s one thing we learned from leftwing pundits in 2008 and 2012, it’s that Barry Lemon Moodring can be anything, or anyone that you like. As he once said, “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views:”
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