Forgot the bicycle helmet, the mom jeans, the wife scolding us about eating our veggies, the fact that he throws a baseball like he should be relaxing with a mug of cocoa in his footie pajamas — President Obama loses points for style, to be sure, but he has a substance problem too….
Unemployment is a special kind of hell. My own brief bout with it — for a newspaper editor in the 21st century, having had only a few continuous months of unemployment counts as good luck — was easily among the worst periods of my life, and I was fairly well prepared for it, having some savings, no children, and few substantial bills. The first week was like a vacation. The second week brought anxiety, the third terror. I cannot quite imagine what it would have been like if I had had a couple of kids, an underwater mortgage, and less-encouraging prospects of rejoining the work force in relatively short order….
It may be the case that men see Barack Obama as a kind of romantic competitor — not the man himself, but the vision of government he stands for. The more the state steps into the role of provider, the less men have to offer in that capacity. This is especially true of men with modest earnings potential. I doubt that very many of those non-college-educated, working-class white men follow the careers of Hanna Rosin or Maureen Dowd, but the message — “men are obsolete” — infiltrates the culture at large.