Right-Wing Machismo: Fake or Myth?

Here is the transcript of a spot-on observation by Bill Maher from his HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher (if you are an HBO subscriber, you can see the video). The original posting is at  the Daily Kos.

Bill Maher Takes Apart the Right-Wing’s Fake Machismo

Last night, Bill Maher delivered a great New Rule about what Republicans confuse for manliness.

And finally, New Rule: Conservatives must be told that President Obama saying he wouldn’t let any son of his play pro-football is not controversial — it’s common sense, like telling your kids not to play in traffic. But on the right, any critique of our holy religion football is blasphemy, because real men don’t point out facts, or consider consequences, and brain injuries are fun! That’s what makes Terry Bradshaw such a character. (audience laughter) And a Sarah Palin interview so entertaining. (audience laughter)

Now last Sunday, apparently there was some contest among the footballers, which I caught out of the corner of my eye while I was baking for my Downton Abbey party. (audience laughter) And the brutality of the games prompted the President to draw attention to football’s violent culture. And then came the backlash. The National Review said, “If the President thinks the NFL is too dangerous for his fictitious son, what about the military?” Right, because defending your country and kickoff returns are the same thing.

/I don’t know where Republicans get this weird delusion that they’re the party of manliness, but this is Rush Limbaugh’s bedroom.

(audience laughter and applause)

Talent on loan from God. Furniture on loan from Liberace. (audience laughter)

And yet somehow conservatives — who boast by far the bigger list of non-serving chickenhawks — see themselves as the tough guys. But it’s rarely a real manliness, it’s more the pathetic bluster of a blogger in his bathrobe demanding that Obama “man up and bomb Iran!” while his mother fixes his macaroni and cheese.

None of this is going to get better until Democrats stop letting Republicans claim they’ve got the big balls, just because. For one, I never quite got how my life would be better with increased ball size. (audience laughter) If you need to stick your balls in to get things going, you’re doing it wrong! (audience laughter) And two, Democrats have to start being the party that redefines toughness as restraint. And stop responding to Republican taunts that have goaded Michael Dukakis into a tank, John Kerry into a duck hunting outfit, and Hillary Clinton into Iraq.

Because it’s not really masculinity conservatives love, anyway — it’s bullying. Somehow we’ve gone from Teddy Roosevelt’s “speak softly and carry a big stick” to Chris Christie’s “speak loudly and be a big dick”. (wild audience cheering and applause)

Fox News’s manly He-Man Brit Hume said liberals don’t get Christie, because he’s a, quote, “old fashioned masculine muscular guy”. (shocked audience laughter) Or maybe four muscular guys in a garbage truck.

But bullying isn’t a masculine virtue; standing up to bullies is. (wild audience cheering and applause) Ignoring society’s least-abled people is not masculine; taking care of them is. (audience cheering) But to macho people like Rush Limbaugh, who said Obama not letting his son play football was “irresponsible”, or Glenn Beck — another fountain of testosterone — who called on Obama to “stop being a chick” about football, this is what it always comes down to: Obama is a pussy like all Democrats are pussies.

It’s all part of their narrative that (spoken sarcastically) “we will keep you safe, cuz we’re the real men who aren’t afraid to send your kids off to die in wars of choice. And the Democrats are a bunch of nancy-boys who think of war as some sort of last resort. They believe in engagement, and other pansy concessions that could lead to dialogue, or even worse, peace.” (audience laughter and applause)

The former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, published his memoirs this month, and wrote something that seemed to be absolutely devastating about Obama, that he wasn’t enthusiastic about our war in Afghanistan, and that for him, it was all about getting out. That’s bad?!? Gates said George Bush was a good President because he “had no second thoughts about Iraq”. (audience laughter) Right. Because to have second thoughts, you first have to have first thoughts! (wild audience cheering and applause)

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