Dick’s Big Stick and the Democratic Alpha Male

Well, darnit. I got forwarded the Lizza column and assumed it was recent. It’s not. So Lizza should not remember the Cheney comment, because it happened after Lizza’s column. I apologize to Lizza, but not that the manly men Dingell and Murtha were, in fact, in Congress already when Lizza wrote the column. 

Ryan Lizza must have forgotten that Dick Cheney insinuated Nancy Pelosi had emasculated John Murtha and John Dingell.

Cheney, in an interview with Politico, said Murtha (Pa.) and Dingell (Mich.), two of the most powerful House Democrats, "march to the tune of Nancy Pelosi," adding that "they are not carrying the big sticks I would have expected."

That’s because Lizza has discovered, as if it were new, the Democratic Alpha Male.

The members of this new faction, which helped the Democrats expand into majority status, stand out not for their ideology or racial background but for their carefully cultivated masculinity.

"As much as the policy positions is the background and character of these Democrats," says John Lapp, the former executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee who helped recruit this new breed of candidate. "So we went to C.I.A. agents, F.B.I. agents, N.F.L. quarterbacks, sheriffs, Iraq war vets. These are red-blooded Americans who are tough."

Mr. Lapp even coined a term to describe these manly — and they are all men — pols: "the Macho Dems."

The return of Democratic manliness was no accident; it was a carefully planned strategy. But now that the Macho Dems are walking the halls of Congress, it remains to be seen whether they will create as many problems for Democrats as they solved. After all, these new Democrats have heterodox political views that could complicate Democratic caucus politics, and their success may raise uncomfortable questions for those Democrats who don’t pass the new macho test.

Call me crazy, but to suggest that John Murtha isn’t a manly man is as much a slight to his long-term service in the Marines as when Mean Jean called Murtha a coward. And one of the biggest reasons why I have John Dingell representing me in the House, rather than Lynn Rivers, is because Dingell is a hunter’s hunter–a better shot than Dick Cheney, I’d wager.

Somehow, these two manly men have survived–even flourished–in the House for a combined eighty-five years. Yet Lizza would have you believe the Democratic Alpha Male is a recent fad.

17 replies
  1. Phoenix Woman says:

    A prime requisite for a member of the Celebrity Press Corps is a complete and total lack of long-term memory. Makes it easier for Uncle Dick and/or whoever else is speaking “on background” to dump in a fresh batch of bull into their brains, without worrying that any contradictory residue from the old and obsolete GOP talking points batch remains to cause any problems.

    Remember, we have always been at war with Eastasia.

  2. oldtree says:

    I wondered when shooter would begin showing his expertise in homosexuality. Everyone he associates with seems to have something to say about it. Everything except their membership

  3. phred says:

    Ummm, call me crazy, but last I checked, the United States Congress has been dominated by men for forever. I wonder what has people like Lizza in such a tizzy that they need to suggest that manliness is a new thing in Congress? Puh-leeze…

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      That’s one of the reasons why I’m voting for Hillary.
      Is an Alpha Man synonomous (sp) with a “Girlie Man”?

  4. Neil says:

    There’s a pill for that, engorging one’s manly bona fides. We’re back in pre-pubescent America where political parties compare the size of their male members.

    Mine is bigger. No! Mine is bigger. I go hunting. No! I go hunting more, for longer and I shoot more quail.

    It’s all pretty juvenile but the voters like it. Black enough, not black enough. Manly enough, not manly enough. Christian enough, not christian enough. Female enough… and so on.

  5. Slothrop says:

    When you’ve taken 5 deferments from serving your country, as Dick Cheney has, you are disqualified from questioning the manliness of others.

    Cheney’s cowardice continues to this day.

  6. hmbnancy says:

    Hooking into people’s latent fears, the irrational ones.

    This is a Repub meme. I’m convinced its behind most of the anti-Hillary talk.

    Will we ever get past this? Somehow we aren’t supposed to question older white males.

    This is pure evil and very useful to create/sustain wars and wage aggression without being accountable.

    • Hmmm says:

      Classic basic mammalian dominance chains. The most effective of the authoritarians manipulate the inner animal in all of us. They hijack the preconscious and mainly obsolete biological imperative of “follow the leader because that’s my best shot at survival”. Most folks who are susceptible to this mechanism are too busy or ill-equipped to recognize and unpack it. So for lots of folks, it just works on them and they may never really know it.

      John Dean said it far better than I in Conservatives Without Conscience.

  7. merkwurdiglieber says:

    So now Dick and Rove both are mouthing off about ‘you have to deal with
    us’ seems to me an indication of fear on their part… political scene
    changing out from under them. They may knock over the chessboard in
    attempt to avoid defeat.

    • Hugh says:

      OT – CREW asks AG Mukasey to appoint Special Counsel to investigate disappearance of millions of White House emails

      Like that is ever going to happen. Mukasey will probably not respond at all but even if he did he would say that people of good faith have different opinions about what “disappeared” really means and that he can’t give a definitive answer but only outline how he might undertake an analysis of the issue. Of course, if he were read in on what “disappeared” really meant and if it indeed happened, he would regretfully be unable to share his findings as they were classified. He might add that he likes to think all of his prosecutors are special.

  8. biffdiggerence says:

    “Big Stick” talk from Dead Dick?


    With his regimen of medication, Dick hasn’t had a hard-on in twenty years.

    He makes war to compensate.

    “I do not avoid women, Mandrake, but I do deny them my essence.”

  9. brendanx says:


    Speaking of shillelaghs, you’ve probably seen this one, but if you haven’t I enthusiastically recommend Ken Loach’s “The Wind That Shakes the Barley”.

  10. MadDog says:

    More OT from Scotusblog:

    The full D.C. Circuit Court, splitting evenly, refused on Friday to reconsider a July 20 ruling that requires the government to provide a wide array of information it has about Guantanamo Bay detainees when the Circuit Court hears their challenges to military orders requiring their continued captivity…


    …The government did win one small but important point when the en banc Court acted: it agreed to allow access to the intelligence officials’ top-secret declarations only to the judges themselves, and not to the lawyers for detainees or even to the judges’ own law clerks

    Secret Courts…the only way Justice can be served…in secret.

  11. radiofreewill says:

    Cheney’s construction is particularly demeaning and misogynistic – he’s rubbing Murtha’s and Dingell’s noses in Pelosi!

    I circulate amongst my share of ultra-conservatives, and this nasty tendency of Gooper Men to objectify and impugn any perceived weakness as feminine, in base terms, is nearly constant.

    The best thing that could happen to America would be to Impeach Cheney and Bush, and let President Pelosi restore the Rule of Law.

    The Gooper Hypocrites could use being reminded that We are All Equal, and that the Goal of Our System isn’t to enrichen your ‘manly’ Cronies, but rather to do the Greatest Good for the Most People.

  12. alabama says:

    John Dingell? Ah yes, how quickly we forget!–the macho man who spent ten years tormenting the Nobel prize-winner David Baltimore, and who will always be known, in scientific circles, as the lower chamber’s version of Joe McCarthy (back in the bad old days of Roman justice, Dingell would have been tossed into a sack with Dick Cheney, and flung from the Tarpeian rock)…. Murtha, by contrast, is a man of honor–proof that the word “macho” isn’t always a putdown.

Comments are closed.