The Daily Caller's Mark Judge took advantage of this quiet August Tuesday to troll the internet, declaring Barack Obama the the first female president. The thing is, calling the commander in chief a woman has been done before, and done better.
In 2008, The Daily Beast declared that the then-candidate displayed "qualities and values that women bring to organizational life." In 2009, the ironically-named arch-conservative blog American Thinker tried it on for size. The Washington Post has done it twice, courtesy of Kathleen Parker in 2010 and Dana Milbank in 2012. And now Judge implicitly leverages that same rhetorical device, the now-hoary declaration by the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison that Bill Clinton was the nation's first black president, a claim intended to demonstrate Clinton's familiarity and sympathy with African-American culture and community. By now, though, Morrison's metaphor is a trick used by lazy hacks, which we've enumerated in the past.
Judge was aided in his effort by a book with the evocative title The Art of Manliness - Manvotionals: Timeless Wisdom and Advice on Living the 7 Manly Virtues. (It's here, if you want to buy it, but it is recommended you wait until the end of this article before so indulging.) The titular seven virtues were sifted from the history of our great civilization by Brett McKay and his wife Kate, who live in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Credentials: "Brett McKay is a man. Kate McKay loves manly men.")
Judge doesn't do the book many favors. His column begins with an explanation as to why he came to believe the president's virility should be measured against the sort of academic work that one might find inside a B&N under a bright yellow sign declaring it 80 percent off. As Judge puts it, he first noticed that Obama wasn't a real man when Obama refused to get mad in response to unidentified acts of terrorism. (Mark Judge looked into the eyes of JFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis and saw "rage and the desire to kill" — an intensity that he hasn't seen in Obama. This is actually what he claims. Also that the form is exemplified by Star Trek's Captain Kirk.) So Judge trudged to the lavatory, grabbed his copy of Manvotionals, and started scanning through the checklist of the seven virtues. Here's how Judge assessed Obama's fit with the second one on the McKays' list.
Discipline. “There is a deep down, underneath all the work I do, I think there’s a laziness in me,” Obama told Barbara Walters in 2011. We still don’t know what grades Obama got at Columbia.
There you go. Obama is lazy because he once said so, and probably because of all of his vacations and because he might not have gotten straight A's in college. And since he's lazy and is "a poster child for affirmative action" who "gamed the system," he's feminine. (To his credit, at least Obama didn't become a racist after someone stole his bike.)
The rest of the piece goes on just like this, which is to say, Mark Judge matching seven made-up virtues with standard anti-Obama boilerplate of the sort you find in big, bold type stamped on unflattering images on your cousin's Facebook wall. (The seventh manly virtue? "Manliness.") We've heard all of these complaints before; here, they're just reshuffled into a seemingly fresh framework. If Judge couldn't be bothered to come up with a new conceit for a column, it's hard to fault him for regurgitating the column's contents as well.