The Corner

Obama’s ‘Fake Macho’

I’ve had a lot of great e-mails on the respective first pitches of BHO and GWB, most along the same lines as this one:

Obama, Rahm, Biden, Gibbs and probably some of the rest of the administration suffer from a severe fake macho complex. I think I’ve just invented a term here, so let me explain. Fake macho is the act of engaging in stereotypical male activities with great fanfare and publicity.

Bush, by all accounts, is a fitness enthusiast. Yet, I don’t remember hearing as much about his activities as I do about Obama. Bush quietly woke up early every morning and hopped on the stationary bike. . . .Thus, his first pitch entailed walking to the mound, throwing the pitch and walking away. It was simple and serious; consistent with activity that is done often and sincerely. It did not come across as purely for show.

By contrast, I know every team that Obama follows in all of his favorite sports. I can tell you how his final four brackets looked the past two years. I know that he enjoys golfing much more than Bush and plays basketball on a regular basis with other guys (and only guys!) within the administration and Congress. Thus, he trots out there for his first pitch and engages in silly theatrics. He even brought his own props! (Oh and look, it is that same Chicago White Sox gag he did last time.) Then Obama throws a horrible pitch, laughs and almost makes a little-girl-like “oops” gesture with his hand over mouth. 

All of this is accentuated by his staff. I know that Gibbs is from Auburn and was disappointed last year when they didn’t make to the tournament and tweeted about his love for Auburn the day Alabama visited the White House. I know that Rahm Emanuel does stereotypical things like yell at people while naked in Congressional gym showers, sends dead fish to political enemies, and spent an evening after an election victory on top of a table shouting a list of people (mostly men) he was going “f***.” Don’t forget my favorite, what is the best way to resolve a manly dispute? Why, over a beer in the Rose Garden!

Certainly some of these are natural things that men enjoy; but endlessly promoting them in a “hey, look I’m a real man” manner is downright creepy. This is fake macho.

I will not myself go so far as to question the masculinity of POTUS, or even his sincerity as a White Sox fan, but I will note that in a post-pitch interview, he had trouble naming a single White Sox player.

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