This Week In Male Hetero Fail (Thus Always To Tyrants Edition)

This is my boomstick! Not my transvaginal probe. Swear to god.

A friend and I were in a local restaurant/bar last night, eating, talking, trying to get some shit for school done. It was pretty quiet, being a Sunday night, I guess, save for one boisterous exception: a group of aggressively moronic dudes playing darts right behind our fucking table.

Now I have no problem with the individual elements here: dudes, darts, and beer. Fine. But this group took the elemental combination to new heights by tossing homophobia into the mix, which. Awesome. They’d divided themselves into two teams for their game, and their team names? The “gays” and the “lesbos.” Yes, in fact, they were so proud of these monikers that they not only repeated them [loudly] at every possible turn but also inscribed them on the wee chalkboard on which one of their ilk was keeping score.

So I don’t know for certain that these men were exclusively hetero; indeed, you could make a pitch for such aggressive posturing as being a cover for some sort of latent anxiety related to their own sexual identity, much less that of others.

Still. I strongly suspect.

So their dickishness [and my inability to formulate any sort of real-time response, vocal or otherwise], got me thinking about all of the male hetero fail that’s swirling around my home state of Virginia these days.

It’s not fair to consign all of heterosexual maledom into a universal. So take that as my caveat. [Indeed, a friend recently rapped my virtual knuckles for referring to him as “hetero” in a way that he took as a bit of an insult, which, ok, it may have been, but only unconsciously so. Hence me performing my bias so openly here.]

However, a handful of white, heterosexual men–many of whom ostensibly represent the fine people of Virginia–have been doing their damnedest over the past few weeks to make that truism harder and harder to uphold. So to speak.

Most of this idiocy centers around our state government’s attempts to pass a law that would have required any woman seeking the LEGAL medical procedure of abortion to have a transvaginal ultrasound. Oh, yeah. You’ve surely heard about this by now, thanks to the efforts of Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, and The Rachel Maddow Show. Thus always to tyrants, indeed.

Currently, Republicans control both houses of the legislature and the governor’s mansion in our fair state. And although the person who drafted the state-mandated penetration bill is a woman, many of the bill’s loudest and most prominent supporters were the white men who dominate Virginia’s House of Delegates and our Senate.  Our right-wing social experimentalist governor, Bob McDonnell, had been touted as a potential running mate for the GOP’s eventual nominee [*cough*Mitt Romney*cough*].

However, once the transvaginal nonsense broke into the mainstream–both in Virginia and in the national press–McDonnell backed down from his heretofore vociferous support for the bill [and its equally insidious cousin, a so-called “personhood” bill that would redefine human life as beginning at conception. Good times!].

Now that the state-mandated penetration bill has been killed and the “personhood” bill has been sent back to committee [effectively tabling it for the rest of this year], you may be asking: of what new male hetero fail do you speak?

I speak, dear reader, of Delegate David Albo, who ostensibly “represents” district 42 in Fairfax, VA. Let me allow the gentleman from Fairfax to speak for himself–and it’s worth quoting in full, via Gawker:

I got Rita [Albo’s wife] some red wine, sat next to her, used my patented cool move. I invented this, it’s a United States patent. I went, “Ohhh, I’m so tired!” I then turn on the TV to find the Redskin channel. I know you think that’s weird, but my wife loves the Redskins more than she loves me. Got my theme music going, my red wine, looking at the Washington Redskins and I start flipping through the channels. And through the channels you have to get through the news stuff. And all the sudden on my big screen TV comes this big thing and a picture of a bill that has “Albo” on it. I went, “Wow! Holy smokes, it’s my name as big as a wall!” And the very next scene was a gentleman from Alexandria’s face as big as my wall going “trans-v-this” and “trans-v-that” and “they hate women!” and “we’re gonna—in that bill—she’s crazy!” And I’m like this with my wife. And the show’s over, and she looks at me, and she goes, “I gotta go to bed.” So if the gentleman’s plan was to make sure there was one less Republican in this world, he did it.

[If you have the stomach for it, you can watch the video of this display of rhetorical impotency here.]

As the commenters on Gawker’s story point out, Albo can’t even SAY THE WORD VAGINA, yet he professes a desire to legislate how and when the state should have access to it.

What’s almost as bad, I think, is his apparent assumption that if he wishes to have sex [shudder–why am I thinking of tentacle porn?!], then his wife should [by right] be in the mood. And I also love his assumption [a peek into his figured world, perhaps?] that it’s the talk of the transvaginal probing legislation that gets his wife “out of the mood,” as if she was already in said mood, given all of his careful preparation for seduction. Hey, at least he recognizes that talk of state-mandated penetration is, you know, less than alluring–as might be, dare I suggest, her knowledge that he supports such legislation of women’s bodies. Might not really make her want to, you know, give you access to her vagina, dude, knowing that you spend all day thinking up way to virtually worm your way into those of women all across the state. Just a thought.

And, to top it off, the Daily Caller website threw a video tantrum today over Rachel Maddow’s coverage of Governor Transvaginal Probe and his buddies. Seems the good people of the Caller don’t like Rachel using the word “vagina” on the TV machine. Loudly. Repeatedly. And in the context of GOP policies. [Also, note the totally squeamish way in which the blogger from the Washington Post presents this video. Can’t even bring himself to comment on it beyond a coy: “That’s as much detail as I’m willing to provide on this affair.” And the use of the word “affair”? No mistake there.]

So let’s add “vagina” and “transvaginal probing” to the list of words with which the dominant discourse is very, very uncomfortable–to the list of words I vow to now repeat early, often, loudly, and occasionally even in context–in a way that’s totally different, I think, from the heebie-jeebies that words like “anal” and “sodomy” give to said discourse.

Mittens, you’re great at “World’s Worst”

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In the ashes of last night’s primary in South Carolina, I look back at my (not terribly bold) predictions and reassess. Crowley, for one, is not impressed.

1. Whatever the fuck happens, Newt will declare victory. What do you know? The bastard won by 12%. In his victory speech, he did indeed trot out the “President Food Stamps” racist garbage, name dropped Saul Alinsky (insider baseball much, Newt?), accused the President of not being “American,” and shouted about his intention to “release the American people!” from the evil, “liberal” black guy who lives at 1600. So your standard Newt bullshit.

More interesting to me were his attempts at magnanimousness towards (in order) Santorum, Dr. Paul, and Mittens. This came after Santorum slobbered all over Newt during his concession speech. Hmm. I wonder if they are cooking up some anti-Romney tag team action for Monday night’s debate, or (as the really, really drunk) crowd at Newt’s rally chanted when he mentioned Rick’s name: “VP! VP! VP!”

I am not looking forward to what will surely be a masterful performance of bragadaccio and asshattedness from Newt during this week’s debates. Even my dad, who is firmly onboard the Obama train, keeps (reluctantly) praising Newt for his ability to think on his feet. Which, to be fair, Romney is so very, very bad at that it’s kind of an unfair contest. Maybe Mittens would benefit from some improv classes. Seriously. Hey campaign people, think about that one. Let’s face it: Mitt is already awesome at “World’s Worst.”

2. Romney will lose, then claim his campaign’s goal was just to be competitive. The first words of Romney’s concession speech: “This race is getting even more interesting.” Yes, he went instantly meta! Awesome. He did not, in fact, make the claim I suggested above, but he did emphasize that he and his people are prepared for the long long long primary road ahead; hey, they knew it would be a tough slog, sure. That’s why last week, before the debates, they were calling SC case closed and making noises about moving on to Florida. Oh, Mitt-bot.

What’s amazing to me is how he’s able to operate with his emotion chip missing. He has zero ability to connect with people, it seems, on rope lines, in his speeches, during debates–based on what I’ve seen on the telly, anyway. And I speak as someone who finds it difficult to interact with people; I know what that kind of discomfort looks like, what that awkward laughter sounds like. He’s just not comfortable doing it, and yet that’s like job #1 for presidential candidates. And he’s been running for eight years!! You’d think he would have learned to fake it by now.

3. Santorum will finish last (ahem) and yet refuse to withdraw from the race. Senator Sweater Vest did not finish last–that honor went to Ron Paul, He of The Sweater With Sleeves. Once the polls closed, though, Santorum’s people put word out right away that he would not be withdrawing from the race. In fact, there’s a piece in the New York Times today about how he sees his campaign going on for the long haul. Hoo boy.

I’m torn on this: Santorum staying in is a win for comedy, especially if he keeps trotting out his sons wearing matching sweater vests. But he is also nasty and divisive and, I think, genuinely hateful in his attitudes towards anyone whose performance of sexuality doesn’t meet his god’s definition of heteronormative excellence. And yet–and yet, he seems remarkably willing NOT to point out Newt’s utter hypocrisy in screwing around on two wives and yet lecturing the populace about the awesomeness of his values. I can’t understand this cognitive dissonance as anything other than any kind of hetero–even lying, cheating, non-monogamous, exposing your unknowing spouse to STDs hetero–is better than That Which Must Not Be Named.

The Pull Out Method

The awesome Mt. Atlanticus Minotaur mini-golf course in Myrtle Beach. This is the kind of crazy I can get behind.

South Carolina! Land of mini-golf and nice beaches and NASCAR. I love that MSNBC is touting today’s primary on their homepage as the “South’s first primary.” As if the South is its own country. Y’all, that battle done been fought and lost and you would be well-served to stop feeding the “South Will Rise Again” narrative that lies just below the surface of most goings on south of Richmond, Virginia. Okay?

Remember, the good folks of SC have the Confederate flag flying over in front of their state capital building. So you’re playin’ with fire here. And I say all this as a (reluctant) Southerner, born and raised. Though I did get the hell out of Dodge as fast as I could after high school.

So a few predictions for tonight’s craziness:

1. Whatever the fuck happens, Newt will declare victory. I’m telling you, even if he loses by 10 points (which Nate Silver says ain’t very likely), he’ll get up there and blast the media and shout about how much ground he was able to make up so fast. He will call Romney a “Massachusetts Moderate.” He may even whip out the “I will beat President Food Stamps in a debate” garbage, especially if he wins.

2.  Romney will lose, then claim that his campaign’s goal was merely to be competitive. There’s some great stuff out there today about Mittens’ attempts to “manage” expectations and to manufacture momentum by busing in Mormon college students from Virginia and DC to make his rallies look fired up and ready to go. I’m puzzled as to why Mittens said yesterday that he was “cautiously optimistic” about winning today; but then I also have no idea why he told right-wing radio host Laura Ingram yesterday that “of course the economy is getting better” when his entire campaign is based on the notion that Mitt is the only one who can SAVE the economy. Which would appear, by his own admission, to not need saving. Truly bizarre.

3. Santorum will finish last (ahem) and yet refuse to withdraw from the race. Despite all of the press nonsense last week about his “momentum” in SC, Rick is going nowhere fast. He’ll go on to Florida, but you have to wonder how much money they have on hand–FL is an expensive media market and the primary is almost always defined by TV ads. We shall see.

Yeah, not so much.

Will Rick Santorum emerge as the Anti-Monitor?

Based on my fail rate in the 2012 primaries to date, my future as a political pundit–who makes predictions based, as commenter KKai put it, based on no firsthand knowledge or fact–is surely limited. Unless I want to work for Fox News.

A quick review of my predictions for the NH primary and their utter incorrectness:

1.  Turnout will be strong, but not earthshaking. Bzzzzzzt. Totally wrong. Turnout was actually down from 2008, dropping from about 240,000 then to 225,000 this year. In NH, you don’t have to be a registered Republican to participate in the GOP primary; voters registered as independents may also participate, though doing so means that they can’t also vote in the Democratic party’s primary. Got that? So some pundits have argued that Ron Paul’s voters [all 56,000 of them] shouldn’t really be considered GOP voters–they are, the argument goes, mostly independents who won’t go for the GOP in the general election–and thus should be excluded from discussions of turnout for this primary. As Jon Stewart so beautifully illustrates, though, playing these kind of what if? mindgames with numbers is at best stupid and at worst delusional. What I will say is that if I were the state GOP chairperson, I would be working like mad on my GOTV [get out the vote] plans for November.

2. The media will declare Paul and the ghost of Jon Huntsman the winners, even though they’ll come in 2nd and 3rd. Again, not so much. While some in the media celebrated Paul’s strong showing [I’m looking at you, Andrew Sullivan], many others–assisted by the spin machine of the GOP establishment–were quick to dismiss him as a fringe candidate with no chance of winning the nomination and thus not worth discussing. And Hunstman? Poor, poor Huntsman. He sucked it up big time. His third place finish was so far out in the boonies that he became just a sad little dot in the rearview mirror as the press corps races off to South Carolina. Interesting guy, some actual credentials that might translate to 1600 Pennsylvania, but a godawful candidate with a painfully poor campaign machine.

3. Perry will come in dead last and give a truly epically embarrassing “concession” speech. Nope. He beat out Buddy Roemer and, given that he was campaigning in South Carolina on the day of the NH primary, Perry wasn’t around to strike a blow for freedom in the war against the Orcs. Oh well.

4. The results will come in much faster than in Iowa. It wasn’t even close. NBC News called it for Romney at 8:00 pm, just as the last polling places in the state were closing. I suppose was technically correct here, but I thought it would take more than 60 seconds after the polls closed to declare a winner. So fail for me too.

5. Buddy Roemer will get on TV on a program other than The Rachel Maddow Show. Sigh. Sadly, he did not.

6. Santorum who? Yes! I got this one right! Senator Sweater Vest was a non-entity on Tuesday night, placing a distant fourth. Now, you’d never know that based on this glowing [and, ok, really well written] profile from the Washington Post of Santorum’s primary organizer whose been working in South Carolina–the story makes it sound as though Ol’ Rick is ready to rise from the grave again and seduce the good people of South Carolina into making him the true anti-Romney. We’ll see what comes out of the Christian conservative pow-wow that’s happening this weekend–maybe the anti-Romney forces will find their voice in Santorum. We shall see.

[ETA: Well, the gig is up. The “Evangelical Super-Group,” as Dave Weigel dubs them, voted today to endorse Santorum. But, as Weigel points out, this is sort of akin to making wishes into a rainstorm: the group is not planning any focused movement or specific action to back up their endorsement. So, you know, FWIW, these folks declares themselves Team Santorum. Until he drops out, or Gingrich wins South Carolina, or until Romney crushes them all under the boot of Bain Capital. But, until then, Tony Perkins and company? They’re all in.]