McCain's Sex (and Woman) Problem

How do you square this:

I told her with a little luck she could be the only woman ever to serve as both as First Lady and Miss Buffalo Chip.

link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4X6XqNeF 1o

With this:

I will be a pro-life President and this presidency will have pro-life policies.

link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLRGfNJRX 40

Not even the most flexible of Rovian gymnastics can resolve these two John McCains. It's contradictory to take a position that human rights begins at conception, and then wink and nod to activities like topless biker beauty contests whose sole purpose is to aid and abet the out-of-wedlock act that is a necessary pre-cursor to conception.

Or is it?

The vast majority of pro-life people I know (and being married to a Catholic I know quite a few) have one consistent position on sex: it's wrong unless it takes place within a marriage. To that end, there are other positions they necessarily take on public morality in order to halt the sexualization of our culture and give young people - as they would argue - a level playing field to make these choices absent overwhelming peer pressure.

They don't support the local sex shop down the road. They speak out against billboards featuring scantily clothed teenagers in suggestive positions. Some of them even support John Ashcroft's decision to "clothe" the statues in the hall of justice by draping fabric over marbelized bare breasts.

And they don't - I repeat, don't - support topless biker beauty contests (much less offer their wives to participate in them).

Agree or disagree with these folks, but at least their public views on sex match their religious views.

So what's up with John McCain?

Let's take a look at other public statements he has made about sex:

In an appearance before the National League of Cities and Towns in Washington D.C., McCain supposedly asked the crowd if they had heard "the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die?"

The punch line: "When she finally regains consciousness and tries to speak, her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, "Where is that marvelous ape?"

link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/07/15 /sources-recall-mccains-jo_n_112955.html

As Countdown reported, McCain's campaign neither confirmed or denied the joke, but insisted if true this was just an instance of "McCain being McCain".

Now, let's move on to another infamous joke, uttered by John McCain:

"Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
Because her father is Janet Reno."

link: http://www.salon.com/news/1998/06/25news b.html

If - as John McCain believes - human rights begin at the moment of conception, how in the world does this "joke" even enter his mind, and when it did why did his superego not immediately reject it?

These two jokes - and McCain's alleged instance of calling his wife a word that rhymes with "hunt" - show a consistent and disturbing character trait of the presumptive Republican nominee: his lack of respect for women. This trait is public, has a considerable history, and may explain McCain's "pro life" position.

If one didn't respect women enough to stop one's self from joking about heinous and sinful acts of violence committed against them, if one didn't respect women enough to stop one's self from besmirching the Office of the Attorney General - much less the feelings of a young, teenage girl - and if one didn't respect women enough to stop one's self from calling one's wife one of the most hurtful slurs against women in the English language...

...why, indeed, would one respect women enough to feel that they had both the ability and the right to make profound ethical and moral decisions that affect their private lives all by themselves, without the government - and John McCain - stepping in and telling them what to do?

Had John McCain shown any respect for women, had he actually had any type of public persona that backed up his moralizing on his pro-life position, I would respect that. I would disagree, but I would respect where he's coming from, as indeed I respect many religious, pro-life people among my friends and family.

But this isn't where John McCain is coming from. And when we elect a President one of the things we are doing is electing a leader that will set some of the tone in our culture. A leader who holds a pro-life position, not because of their religious beliefs but out of a lack of respect for women, does not help either the country or the pro-life movement.

And that man shouldn't be our President.

Tags: abortion, christianity, John McCain, pro-life, Recommended (all tags)

Comments

34 Comments

Cynical?

Or does he just have an issue with women?

Or both?

by grannyhelen 2008-08-19 08:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Cynical?

I don't know exactly, but I really wish the first words I saw coming back from lunch weren't "McCain's Sex".

by TCQuad 2008-08-19 10:04AM | 0 recs
Lol - now that made me laugh!

Still chuckling ;-)

by grannyhelen 2008-08-19 10:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Cynical?

I would have enjoyed this diary more if you explored McCain's impotence problem (like I expected from the title). But rec'd anyway!

by Dale Johnson 007 2008-08-19 11:24AM | 0 recs
Exploring McCain's impotence problem

may take me into areas that no sane woman would venture into ;-)

But thanks for the rec!

by grannyhelen 2008-08-19 11:29AM | 0 recs
I wish

there were 527s for Obama..

you make a great point

by TarHeel 2008-08-19 08:46AM | 0 recs
True...however, as this is a women's rights

issue, there's a number of other groups that could take this on.

by grannyhelen 2008-08-19 08:54AM | 0 recs
His Viagra

ad would be another good one...

by TarHeel 2008-08-19 08:59AM | 0 recs
You could almost see the political

machinations circle inside his head...that was pretty painful.

by grannyhelen 2008-08-19 09:07AM | 0 recs
I think that's why dems

are a little worried.

McCain has several election cycles worth of gaffes ready for ads and pounding but it hasn't happened.

by TarHeel 2008-08-19 09:10AM | 0 recs
I agree...but I also think the

"throw everything against the wall" approach doesn't work very well, either.

This is a biggie...it shows the contradictions between McCain's policies and public persona, and it really shows how very little he cares about women (who are the numerical majority).

If I had to go with one hit, it'd be this one.

by grannyhelen 2008-08-19 09:16AM | 0 recs
Great diary...

I realized that these elements about McCain were disturbing but I thought them dissimilar.  Now that you've put them together as a cohesive whole it makes me wonder how I didn't realize this sooner.  And it makes them even more disturbing.

Thanks for your profound yet simple logic.

by Tenafly Viper 2008-08-19 09:19AM | 0 recs
Thanks! n/t

by grannyhelen 2008-08-19 10:21AM | 0 recs
Not this again

Alright, enough with the Miss Buffalo Chip thing.  It's more insulting to bikers than it is to McCain.  Let's follow the logic here.

A) There is a beauty contest at Sturgis.

B) McCain thinks his wife is beautiful (he'd better, as he tossed his first family aside for her)

Therefore:

C) McCain scored points with a pursued constituency by suggesting that his wife could win their beauty contest.

Bikers live in a fringe counterculture that the mainstream often finds course, crass, and sexualized.  That doesn't mean that they're unamercican, or that their beliefs are necessarally wrong... just different.

McCain's got a problem with women, but it's way beyond some crass sex jokes or offering his wife to be in a beauty pagent (personally I find all beauty pagents, like their reality gameshow spiritual successors, to be pretty demeaning).  No, his problem with women is that he doesn't want them to control their own reproduction.  He didn't support the Fair Pay Act.  He doesn't think women should have equal access to combat roles in the military (an option that could, like dismantling DADT, instantly free up real combat troops to serve in our strained military).

While I am not, myself, a woman, I guarantee you that women are more offended by not having equal rights and opportunities than occasionally being treated in a sexualized manner inappropriately.

So knock it the hell off with the Buffalo Chip shit and write some substantive diaries about McCain vs. Obama in workplace equality and reproductive freedom if you want to pursue that line of thought.

by Dracomicron 2008-08-19 09:43AM | 0 recs
In response to this:

"While I am not, myself, a woman, I guarantee you that women are more offended by not having equal rights and opportunities than occasionally being treated in a sexualized manner inappropriately."

I am a woman, which means I get to see everyday that it is impossible to separate one from the other.  Lack of rights/opportunities cause sexualization, and sexualization in turn makes it nearly imposssible to be taken seriously enough to get more rights/opportunities.  There is no "A is more crucial than B" when the two are so intertwined.  You can't get rid of one without the other, and thus, they are both equally problematic and offensive.

by Elsinora 2008-08-19 09:53AM | 0 recs
I have a hard time believing this

I don't think it's a chicken/egg thing.  Yes, the sexualization feeds the lack of rights, but we can do something about the rights in a way that only generational shift can do for attitudes on sex and gender.

McCain is a dick, to be sure, but it's his policies that are offensive to the American people, not his bad jokes.  Bill Clinton treated women pretty badly in his private life, but he was one of the best presidents we've ever had (if not the best) for equalizing the playing field between men and women in our culture.

by Dracomicron 2008-08-19 10:35AM | 0 recs
It's not a "chicken/egg" thing...

It's a "vicious cycle" thing.  Sexualization of women is the biggest barrier to women's equality.  But because women don't have equality, they tend to sexualize themselves in order to gain some power or leverage in society, which in turn prevents them from gaining any real power.  Never, ever underestimate the power of the attitudinal when it comes to issues of prejudice and discrimination.  Unless you change the attitude (of both men and women), there is no concrete progress.  And most women know it.

Yes, policy is important.  But policy is shaped by perspective, and McCain's perspective on/attitude toward women is abysmal.  Bill Clinton was a mixed bag in terms of perspective: he treated many lower-class or lower-wage women shamefully, but on the other hand, his respect for successful, driven women like Madeleine Albright and Hillary has always been readily apparent.  In other words, while he may see any individual woman as being a sex object, he doesn't generalize that to all women--he has no difficulty in recognizing women's accomplishments.

by Elsinora 2008-08-19 11:21AM | 0 recs
Tough to argue this stuff...

...when both sides agree pretty much on the problem and most of the solutions.

I guess what it comes down to for me is that we need to paint McCain as a mysogynist based on his horrid record on supporting women, while eliminating the unfair perception of Obama, who has an essentially perfect record regarding womens' rights, as sexist that was perpetrated in the primaries due to a hypersensitive media and agencies interested in Hillary Clinton's candidacy.

Dwelling on specific instances of interpersonal sexism just encourages opponents to say, "Well Obama called that woman 'Sweetie!'"

by Dracomicron 2008-08-19 11:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Not this again

Phantom rec for not demonizing the fringe. Folks should read Hell's Angels by Hunter S. Thompson, it's a great read.

by Cincinnatus 2008-08-19 10:12AM | 0 recs
I have...

...and it is a great read. It doesn't change the fact that I believe McCain's "pro-life" stance has more to do with his attitude toward women than his religion. Pair that "pro-life" stance with agreeing to the sexualization of the culture and that's not really a good way to handle the issue of sex in society.

by grannyhelen 2008-08-19 10:28AM | 0 recs
Re: I have...

Oh yeah, totally with you there. McCain's a son of a bitch, and his attitudes toward women are disturbing and archaic, as are some of the attitudes in biker culture. Really, the contrast is even more striking. For the people at the rally this is how their lives are. McCain, on the other hand, has had every advantage and is supposedly more "civilized", and yet he has no trouble buying into these aspects of their culture. Guy's a caveman in a fancy suit.

by Cincinnatus 2008-08-19 10:36AM | 0 recs
"Caveman" doesn't even do it justice...

...he's like the prudish Victorian man who idealizes women a la Pygmalian...

...and then hits the brothels at midnight (prostitution was one of the few ways open to women to earn a living, and I seem to recall it was a big source of employment for a large percentage of poor women at one point in Victorian England).

by grannyhelen 2008-08-19 10:47AM | 0 recs
Ummm...the point is that he really does

have a problem with women, and it's not just the Buffalo Chip thing, or the jokes, or the word that rhymes with hunt...

...but it's also his policies, including - imho - his pro-life stance.

I am a woman, and I see not having equal rights and inappropriate sexualization as tied, in that the folks that discriminate in one area are the ones that engage in inapprorpriate sexualization.

by grannyhelen 2008-08-19 10:25AM | 0 recs
We're mostly in agreement

Well, here's a thought experiment: would you rather be paid 100% of what a man makes and get called "toots" by your boss, or make 60% of what an equally qualified man makes and always be treated with respect in conversations with your co-workers and superiors?

Would you rather have control over your uterus and be harassed by construction workers on your commute, or be forced to bring unwanted babies to term, but have people on the street respect your dignity?

I understand that it's not an either/or proposition, and that one does feed the other, but I firmly believe that the best way to change the sexualization and social patronization of women is to attack the legal inequalities that lead to it. If a young woman can make as much money doing the same jobs as a man would, she might not feel forced to work in the strip club to feed her kid and put herself through school, for example.

The nasty cuss words and transsexual jokes are flashy, but they don't get into the meat of why McCain is bad for women.  I think it does a disservice to the casual reader to dwell on those issues.  We should focus on the crunchy details of McCain's opposition to equal rights for gays, women, and minorities.

by Dracomicron 2008-08-19 10:51AM | 0 recs
If you read some of the beginnings of the

women's rights movement, including John Stewart Mill (who elegantly argues this point), they felt that societal inequality between the sexes arose, in part, from sexualization of women...

...some of them even equated marriage to slavery at that time, because of the way the laws were skewed to remove women of their rights once they entered the married state.

Now, things have obviously gotten better, but I think it's instructive to go back to this history to see the roots of the injustice - Mill would argue that men, having physical power over women, originally created the injustice in uncivilized society, and that civilized society simply made laws to make the injustice palatible.

So, I gotta tell ya...I really can't separate the inappropriate sexualization from the discrimination. If you haven't read Mill on this, it's thought provoking: http://books.google.com/books?hl=en& id=fVwSsCdK26AC&dq=John+Stewart+Mill +women&printsec=frontcover&sourc e=web&ots=spVLkZnmgc&sig=o3-IEe5 ZVTNsOQVjeZO90i-HMuA&sa=X&oi=boo k_result&resnum=4&ct=result

Definitely worth just perusing Chapt 1...

by grannyhelen 2008-08-19 11:09AM | 0 recs
Oh, you're right on that

I don't doubt that the smaller average physical size of women, coupled with the fact that they were often heavy with child, led to much of the inequality that we see today.  I thought about mentioning this before, but I had another point to make, and brevity is the soul of wit :)

That said, the origins of the inequality don't necessarally apply to how we fix it, in my view.  The prevailing conditions of brute muscle mass and time spent pregnant are no longer factors in who has power in today's society.  A pregnant woman can work and make money.  A small female can be trained in akido or own a stungun and defeat a much larger male attacker.  

Humans are stubborn and traditionalistic; hence the persistance of inequality beyond its functional utility.  Much like how Millenials scratch their heads when faced with discrimination issues and wonder what the fuss is about (hell, they have gay dating shows on MTV now), the more we take away the trappings of discrimination like lowered pay or selective service/military combat equivilency, the less inclined people will be to fall back on caveman stereotypes.

My mother is a 70's era feminist, and my little sister, who is 20 now, despises feminism because she believes it's antiquated and serves no purpose now.  She sees no sexism at the university that she attends, at least none that requires a movement to tackle.  For all my Y chromosome, I'm a bit of a feminist myself, and I feel like I see the issue a little more clearly than either my sister or my mother, because I'm slightly removed.  Granted, I might miss some details, as you can imagine, but this is how I see society moving now.

by Dracomicron 2008-08-19 11:35AM | 0 recs
I think we just see this from two different

angles - which is perfectly fine. Actually preferable.

I think if one looks at domestic abuse there's still an issue of physical dominance between the sexes that isn't resolved by the other improvements modern society has made for women. And I agree, things are getting better...I just look at McCain and see a throwback.

by grannyhelen 2008-08-19 11:42AM | 0 recs
Sure

As someone who got injured by getting between a man and his domestic abuse, I fully agree with that particular point.  

by Dracomicron 2008-08-19 11:47AM | 0 recs
Ugh...I cringe when I hear things like that.

I'm sorry that happened to you.

by grannyhelen 2008-08-19 11:50AM | 0 recs
It was my own fault

I buzzed a guy into the apartment building I was living in currently at 2 in the morning because I was half asleep and not thinking right.  When I heard the door down the hall smash in, I headed over there to try to make it right.  He punched my while I was on the phone to the cops.  Can you say "obstructing a 911 call?"

I was willing to press charges, and when he saw me at the courthouse, he ran instead of face up to his crimes (the woman, who was the mother of at least one of his children, was of course not willing to press charges, but I had no such problems).  Eventually he got caught and prosecuted by the state, and I have a small scar on the inside of my lip to remind me that there are some evil fuckers in this world, and I should play things smart and safe when other peoples' lives are in the balance.

by Dracomicron 2008-08-19 12:02PM | 0 recs
Wow...

...glad he got caught and you didn't back down. I'm sure the woman was glad, too, even though she didn't press charges. I'm sure she's glad you did.

If only our leaders would play it "smart and safe" when lives are at stake...

by grannyhelen 2008-08-19 12:11PM | 0 recs
Thank you for the rec's everyone :) n/t

by grannyhelen 2008-08-19 10:30AM | 0 recs
Please remember he was against the
Ledbetter act. So much so he didnt even show up for the vote. This act ensured that women would receive equal pay for equal work.
http://momocrats.typepad.com/momocrats/2 008/04/john-mccain-sto.html
by TennesseeGurl 2008-08-19 01:08PM | 0 recs
Excellent point...

...thanks for reminding me of that one.

by grannyhelen 2008-08-19 01:20PM | 0 recs

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