Machismo and the President

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When President Bush, dressed in a flight suit, and carrying his helmet strode the deck of an aircraft carrier, one overexcited newspaper writer described him “hot, virile.” Video of John Kerry snowboarding or wading through the rushes with a shotgun is designed to draw undecided people to see the manly side of guy who spends most of his time in a suit and tie.

The two men running for president seem to favor motorcycles and chainsaws over the motorcades or the Roosevelt Room. Presidential races are fought over the substance of domestic policy and foreign affairs. Aren’t they? Or are we watching a contest to decide who is the most macho man? Quien es Mas macho?


Geoffrey Nunberg, Stanford Linguist and author of the forthcoming book
Joan Hoff, historian and former president of the Center for the Study of