Every age has its own preferred terms of political emasculation. Teddy Roosevelt called Woodrow Wilson a “white-handy Miss Nancy.” Adlai Stevenson was dubbed “Adelaide.” Michael Dukakis was called a “pansy,” George H.W. Bush a “wimp” and John Kerry — in a subtle feat of gendered rhetoric — an effete “flip-flopper” who “looks French.” It’s not just individual politicians who are painted as deficient in their manhood, either. Ideas and coalitions get the same treatment: Irving Kristol observed in the 1990s that “the American welfare state has had a feminine coloration from the very beginning”; Orrin Hatch once called the Democrats “the party of homosexuals.”
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