January 7, 2007


The invasion of the alpha male democrat (Ryan Lizza, January 7, 2007, NY Times)

Nancy Pelosi's carefully crafted introduction to the American people last week seemed to reinforce some stereotypes of the so-called mommy party. On the day she made history as the first woman to be elected speaker, she appeared on the House floor, surrounded by children and bedecked in pearls.

But even as this nurturing image dominated the news, the swearing-in ceremony on Thursday was notable for another milestone in gender politics: the return of the Alpha Male Democrat.

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.

The question, of course, is whether they have heterosexual political views or are willing to ac cede to liberal interest groups and govern as, at best, metrosexuals. In two years they won't just have McCain vs. Hillary at the top of the ticket but voting records they have to defend. It's unlikely enough they can buck the national tide anyway, but if they haven't voted like Republicans they'll have no shot at re-election.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 7, 2007 11:14 AM

These so-called "alpha-male Democrats" are all newly elected. They'll soon discover what happens when puppies challenge the real pack leader.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 7, 2007 2:41 PM