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Mr. Sullivan wants a candidate as warm & poetical as M. Thatcher


The unofficial motto for 2016 has been What fresh hell can this be? And that was before Andrew Sullivan stepped back into blogging. I had managed to forget about that particular pet hair on the foundation brush until I saw on the Twitter feed of Mr. Elon Green, the following:

It didn’t connect with me. It was a theme-free pudding delivered by someone you can respect but not exactly warm to. She’s not really at ease speaking in public, and it shows. I get that this is actually her appeal to some: that she’s a detail-oriented pol who works best off the public stage. But a president does need to connect, to inspire and to rally. She may well grow more into this role, or we’ll simply have to deal with prose rather than poetry from here on out. But it didn’t do it for me. And I’m not gonna lie.

Oh for the love of fuck … Where to start when it’s too early to start drinking? Basically, his criticism comes down to Clinton – a person everyone has known for more than two decades, a person who has recently been in the public eye as only a woman running for president for the second time can be – didn’t deliver whatever he was expecting even though he had no right or reason to expect whatever he was expecting.

In short, it is a very male criticism. You didn’t read my mind and do what I wanted you to do! he shouts, or snarls, or snivels at the non-male who displeases him. And this criticism can be delivered at any time, even when delivering it gives the impression that he hasn’t been paying any attention to current events: That was far from the first speech Clinton has given, and apparently her style inspired and rallied enough people that she was the one who accepted the nomination last night.

To view this as a valid criticism, I’d have to believe that he thought she was holding back the good stuff until her acceptance speech last night and still failed to deliver. However, I’m inclined to think the criticism was preordained. But don’t worry, Sullivan takes a lurching step and:

I should address the gender thing.

[Brief break to allow people to knock back a big glass of Lethe water, run away or click to the next post]

Readers lambasted me for every criticism of her speaking style on feminist grounds. And I understand how Clinton carries an enormous weight as the first woman presidential candidate that makes the usual criticisms of her – that she’s pedestrian, uninspiring, and hectoring at times – sound sexist.

But there were many, many women in this convention who spoke far more memorably than she did, who held the crowd in more rapt attention, who were able to modulate their speeches in ways that helped people understand their message better. This is not, in other words, a woman problem; it’s a Hillary Clinton problem. She simply doesn’t have certain gifts of oratory and connection with people that other more natural politicians do. It’s a weakness in a presidential candidate.

Two things.

1. I do not think it is at all inappropriate to suspect the man who was obsessed with proving Bristol Palin was Trig Palin’s mother and who has defended Gaters is being a sexist.

2. He addresses the gender thing in response to people who did not care for such comments as this:

10:41 p.m. And we head into a thicket of prose … and she keeps looking as if she’s sternly correcting a school-room.


10:48 p.m. A smile! Almost a human one!

Ah right. He invokes the image of the mean school marm when talking about a woman and criticizes here smile. People reply with a raised eyebrow and a Really? He starts yakin’ and quackin’ about how some other women did it better. (But not Chelsea, booooring!)

There will be a gender gap in this election of possibly huge proportions. I suspect Trump will turn off more women than Clinton turns off men. But it will be close.

This is one of those statements I would expect from someone who really hates men with the heat of a thousand Hothead Paisans. Or someone who is attempting to justify bad behavior by men.

Because women are turned off by Trump for a number of reasons, some of which are gender neutral (he’s a sack of orange assholes) and some of which are not (he’s a sexist sack of orange assholes). According to Sullivan, however many women are turned off by Trump (and I have to assume he means women who have or intend to vote Republican to make any sense of this),  a “close” number of men who have or intend to vote Democrat, are such fussbudgets that they’ll be turned off because Clinton is too much of a wonk or is otherwise insufficiently entertaining.

Maybe this is all leading up to the publishing of a pre-written article: Why I stayed home on Election Day.

[Update – Thanks (?) to Junker for bringing this to my attention. Fortunately it is now late enough to drink!]

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