Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tears of a Clown

I want to know what this is all about. 

In 1972, Ed Muskie's presidential campaign derailed when he became emotional defending his wife against slander.  We can't have a man in the Presidency who will cry when someone says his wife is a foul-mouthed drunk - now, can we?

Also in 1972, Thomas Eagleton had to step down after being nominated for the Vice Presidency, when McGovern found out he was on Thorazine; Eagleton's doctors told McGovern that they had grave concerns about Eagleton's mental health.  (Aren't you glad they can't do that any more?)  We can't have a crazy man in the Presidency - now, can we?

In 2006, Howard Dean allowed himself to scream in frustration, after coming in third in the Iowa caucuses, and eliminated any possibility of higher office.  I've often felt that we'd be in better shape if the President occasionally went into a room and screamed, but nobody listens to me.

With all this evidence that our political leaders must be Strong, Silent types who never emote in public - suddenly we have Speaker of the House John Boehner, who leaks like a sieve at the least provocation.   Why is it now Just Fine that a man who cries in public is third in line for the Presidency?  Have we really evolved that much, or is it only Democrats who aren't allowed to display emotion?  Think about it.


  1. Karen, don't you find it ironic that you're making an appeal for acceptance of politicians who show emotion yet you've ripped into Boehner for his emotional nature? Considering Democrats see him as an easy target and continue to criticize him for it, I would argue that we have not evolved that much and that is is Democrats who are making a big deal about it.

  2. I agree that we haven't evolved very much.

    My point was that in my entire adult life, I can remember 4 instances of male national politicians who publicly displayed emotion. Boehner, the latest, is the ONLY one who has not been summarily eliminated from public life after the first display. Boehner is also the only Republican.

    It's true that this could be coincidence and/or a result of a change in public attitude toward public male displays of emotion. I'm cynical enough to think that the Republicans are giving him a pass on this because they think having him as speaker will benefit them. Of course the Democrats criticize him for it; that's how our politics works. The interesting thing about him is not that he cries but that his tears seem to have to effect on his political influence.

  3. Most displays of "public emotion" are just that--displays. They don't represent real emotion, but the ability to summon up fake emotion when the situation calls for it. This is called being an effective, seasoned politician.

    The truest kinds of emotion are those where the perpetrator is unprepared. Consider Dubya's pathetic "What, Me Worry?" look when he was photographed just after being told about the Twin Towers disaster. He was right where he belonged--in the kindergarten room. He didn't have a clue--"Where's Cheney?!"

    Most political emotion is fake. Maybe that's why we tend to look at it with a jaded eye.