Sunday, April 03, 2016

Dainty Creatures

In the court of media opinion, the low point of either Party's presidential race in 2016 has been the competing claims of genital size of Donald Trump and "little Marco" Rubio. A month ago, CNN reported

Donald Trump assured American voters Thursday night that despite what Marco Rubio had suggested, there was "no problem" with the size of his hands -- or anything else.

"Look at those hands, are they small hands?" the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination said, raising them for viewers to see. "And, he referred to my hands -- 'if they're small, something else must be small.' I guarantee you there's no problem. I guarantee."

Rubio in recent days revived a decades-old old insult, mocking Trump for having relatively slight hands.

"He's always calling me Little Marco. And I'll admit he's taller than me. He's like 6'2, which is why I don't understand why his hands are the size of someone who is 5'2," Rubio said in Virginia on Sunday. "And you know what they say about men with small hands? You can't trust them."

Only in America- no, only in the Republican Party. Soon after this series of exchanges Rubio, having failed to convinced the GOP primary electorate that he had won the argument, dropped out of the race. Still, the size of a man's genitals should not be a qualification for President of the USA.

We don't know how Ted Cruz, now Trump's main rival, would have handled The Great Penis Debate. But we do know how he handled The Dainty Wives Debate.The Associated Press observed

After an earlier and vague threat to "spill the beans" about Heidi Cruz, Trump stoked the spat on Twitter when he retweeted side-by-side images of Cruz's wife, with an unflattering grimace, and his wife, Melania, in a gauzy, glamorous pose.

"No need to spill the beans," said the caption. "The images are worth a thousand words."

Ted Cruz, campaigning in Wisconsin, was livid.

"Leave Heidi the hell alone," Cruz said, speaking through reporters to Trump.

"Donald does seem to have an issue with women," he said. "Donald doesn't like strong women. Strong women scare Donald."

Trump was set off this week when a group that opposes him released an ad before the Utah presidential contest raising questions about the propriety of Melania Trump becoming first lady. The ad showed a provocative, decade-old magazine photo of her when she was a model and before she married Trump.

Trump wrongly attributed the ad to the Cruz campaign and warned on Twitter: "Be careful, Lyin' Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!"

Senator Cruz could have noted that his wife's travails were a thing of the past, that she has carved out for herself a  successful career since that time.  He might have argued that he stuck by his wife- his first wife, differentiating him from Trump- and mother of his children through thick and thin.

He could have, but didnt. Instead, he tweeted "if you attack Heidi, you're more of a coward than I thought" and the next day claimed

When Donald gets scared, when he gets angry, when he gets threatened he begins yelling, he begins screaming, often cursing. And he begins to be a bully. So last night Donald threatened my wife, he went directly after my wife.

If Donald wants to get in a character fight he’s better off sticking with me, because Heidi is way out of his league.

He did not clarify what he meant by "way out of his league." Smarter? More attractive? Superior because a Goldman Sachs executive trumps a real estate billionaire?

Yet- or therefore- it was a tactically effective response, largely because it was uncontroversial and consistent with the conservative notion of a woman.

"Leave Heidi the hell alone" and "he's better off sticking with me," Cruz asserted. Otherwise, "he begins to be a bully."  Cruz thus reinforces the stereotype of woman as victim, as does John Kasich, who self-righteously contended "families should be off-limits." They took a similar approach in criticizing Trump over his recent abortion remarks, which Digby recognizes as "infantilization of women." Amanda Marcotte explained that Trump's challengers were "trying to pull" a "trick" by

Claiming that forcing a woman, against her will, into giving birth is somehow respecting her and affirming her dignity. Because nothing says “dignity” like being told you’re nothing more than an incubator whose own life, desires, and autonomy don’t matter at all.

Look, Donald Trump hates women. But Kasich and Cruz hate them more. Trump at least gives women a small amount of credit for being able to make decisions. Kasich and Cruz literally talk about women like they are extremely feeble-minded, quite literally too stupid to know that they all want to be having babies all the time.

The Cruz-Trump argument over wives has not been the most consequential of the campaign. However, it was a very low point, a harbinger of conservative outrage witnessed soon afterward, when Donald Trump haltingly attempted to make a little sense about abortion.

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