Thursday, January 05, 2006

McCaskill v. Talent - The Y Factor is Out

Traditional wisdom says that men do better than women in outstate Missouri, where rural voters are more comfortable with male authority figures than with women in charge. I'm expecting that wisdom to get set on its ear this year, because the gender roles are reversed in the McCaskill v. Talent race.

Ultimately, it's not about Y-chromosomes, though, it's about who voters think has more vigor, more ease with themselves, more of a "kick-ass" attitude. Missourians don't want to be represented in the Senate by some milk-toast school marm. They want a "regular guy" - someone who, when push comes to shove, is able to shove back. In 1992, Kit Bond had no problem with Geri Rothman-Serot, because she didn't have that quality. In 1982, Harriett Woods failed to project an image of strength against the straightforward John Danforth. And Talent gained his Senate seat only by defeating a motherly sweet widow, Jeanne Carnahan.

Look at these pictures:
If you're playing pool at Booche's, and a fight breaks out, which one do you want taking your back? The smooth-complected, puffy-lipped mama's boy, or the fiery former prosecutor?

I'm not saying that Missouri politics comes down to who would win in a cage match, but I'm not denying that, for a certain percentage of voters, that's an unstated factor. And I'm also saying that when voters see McCaskill and Talent side-by-side, those voters are going to see that tomboy McCaskill has a lot more grit than sissy Talent. And it looks like the polls are already showing that I'm right.


Blogger dolphin said...

I think that in any political race externalities such as appearances come into play. They say (though I admittedly haven't seen them) the stats indicate that women (no stats on gay men in this area) disproportionately vote in favor of the "better-looking" presidential candidate, and I would surmise the same would happen among the male voting population should a race between two females occur.

I've heard it suggested that Teddy Roosevelt might have never made it into office has the media technology of radio and television existed to bring his high-pitched squeaky voice into the homes of the voters.

1/05/2006 11:39 AM  

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