Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, as we’ve maybe said a time or two, is an elitist who never stops complaining about the elites and an insurrectionist who even now pretends ignorance about what he was part of on Jan. 6. No, he told Axios, he doesn’t regret that fist-pump to rioters who would have killed Vice President Mike Pence had they found him. “I don’t know who came into the Capitol or not,” he said, all innocence. “If they did come into the Capitol and they violated the laws, they’re criminals, and they should be prosecuted — and they’ll get no support from me.” If?
None of the above, however, makes it OK to answer his ridiculous recent steak tartare speech about the left’s supposed War on Men by questioning his sexuality.
The Missouri senator’s lecture to the National Conservatism Conference was his usual all-you-can-eat buffet of victimhood. Men are so fragile, he argued, that a harsh word can turn them into layabouts and porn addicts.
“The left want to define traditional masculinity as toxic,” he said. “They want to define the traditional masculine virtues — things like courage and independence and assertiveness — as a danger to society. Can we be surprised, that after years of being told … that their manhood is the problem, more and more men are withdrawing into the enclave of idleness and pornography and video games?”
Nobody sees courage as dangerous, or Hawley as courageous. But too many mocked him with innuendo that he’s gay. And that this is coming from people who would not tolerate that kind of talk from a conservative makes it even worse.
“Josh Hawley kisses his wife like his parents are making him eat broccoli for the first time,” tweeted writer and producer Chase Mitchell.
“I hope no one photoshops Josh Hawley in drag makeup,” tweeted former GOP consultant Rick Wilson. “That would be totally wrong for the champion of American masculinity. Totally. Wrong.”
“Lol,” tweeted former Rep. Katie Hill, Democrat of California, “like anyone thinks Josh Hawley is masculine.”
Matthew Dowd, chief strategist for the Bush–Cheney 2004 presidential campaign now running for lieutenant governor of Texas as a Democrat, tweeted, “To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, being masculine is a lot like being a lady, if you have to tell people you are, you probably aren’t.”
And on and on and on.
Questioning Hawley’s masculinity is an ugly, odd and ineffective way to respond to someone who’s arguing for a return to old-fashioned, world-dominating, women-subjecting, good-old-days manhood.
These throwback attacks feed into the homophobia that progressives are fighting every day.
To do this is to inadvertently join our junior senator in seeming to pine for 1950s-style notions of what a man should be. Do we really want the retro-sexual comeback?