If Bill Clinton was our first black president, “then Barack Obama may be our first woman president,” writes Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post. He's not exactly girlie, but he's “suffering from a rhetorical-testosterone deficit.” Much as Toni Morrison wrote that Clinton “displays almost every trope of blackness,” Obama displays feminine tropes. That “suggests an evolutionary achievement,” says Parker, but it's costing him politically.
Culturally, we expect men to compete, and women to sit down and talk things out. “Obama is a chatterbox who makes Alan Alda look like Genghis Khan,” Parker writes. Just look at his reaction to the BP spill. Instead of taking immediate action, he weighed options, debated, and looked weak in the “masculine-coded context of the Oval Office.” Deep down, we expect leaders to be manly, because it's “normal” and hence reassuring. Unfortunately for Obama, “he's not exactly causing anxiety in Alpha-maledom.”