Obama Has an 'ESPN Masculinity'

That explains why he's doing so well in spite of everything: David Brooks
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2012 11:34 AM CDT
US President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign fundraiser May 14, 2012 at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Why is the race between President Obama and Mitt Romney so close? In the New York Times, David Brooks cites a number of polls that seem to indicate Obama shouldn’t even be in the game: Americans have little faith in the economy, the country is shifting to the right, the president’s main policy initiative—ObamaCare—is quite unpopular. Yet his approval numbers are relatively high: “Obama is far more popular than his policies,” Brooks writes.

That’s because he “has displayed a kind of ESPN masculinity: postfeminist in his values, but also thoroughly traditional in style—hypercompetitive, restrained, not given to self-doubt, rarely self-indulgent.” His administration has rarely appeared pathetic; he himself has refrained from becoming melodramatic, instead remaining formal and decisive while still appearing in touch with the middle class. "He has defined a version of manliness that is postboomer in policy but preboomer in manners and reticence," Brooks writes. Click for Brooks’ full column. (Earlier today, Obama earned the title of "our first woman president" but lost "first gay president.")

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