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Man's Men

I don't know that I agree with Mark Kleiman that Barack Obama's masculinity won't be an issue in the coming election. On the one hand he's tall, but he's kind of, well, scrawny looking. But also, the political space I think he's trying to occupy--building understanding and reconciliation between hostile voter grops--is generally seen as a woman's role. And he's running against a much-decorated fighter pilot renowned for chasing women until his walker started getting in the way. I'm not saying it will be decisive, but it's probably something Obama needs to address,a nd I'm not sure how they will.

Update A surprising number of commenters sent here by other blogs seem to believe that implying I am a lesbian is a gross insult. An even more surprising number seem to think that it is a wicked "gotcha" to point out that I too, am kind of on the beanpole side, as if this fact had perhaps escaped my notice. For the apparently large number of commenters who have just immigrated from Mauritania, American women are not usually flustered and ashamed when you tell them how skinny they are.

Most distressing of all, however, is the fact that they seem to have completely missed the point. I am a Barack Obama supporter, albeit of a rather tepid variety, worried about a potential issue in the general election, not a detractor looking for nasty things to say about him. I don't think it's weird or crazy to worry that a Democrat promising to end the war and trying to project a super nice-guy image may lose the testosterone race to a fighter pilot promising 100 more years. This does not imply approval of philandering, other fraternity-boy antics, or the 100 years war.

You may now return to crafting insults about the indeed sizeable gap between my front teeth.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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