If Bill Clinton was our first black president, as Toni Morrison once proclaimed, then Barack Obama may be our first woman president…

It isn’t that he isn’t “cowboy” enough, as others have suggested. Aren’t we done with that? It is that his approach is feminine in a normative sense. That is, we perceive and appraise him according to cultural expectations, and he’s not exactly causing anxiety in Alpha-maledom

Generally speaking, men and women communicate differently. Women tend to be coalition builders rather than mavericks (with the occasional rogue exception). While men seek ways to measure themselves against others, for reasons requiring no elaboration, women form circles and talk it out…

Granted, the century is young — and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Obama’s rhetoric would simmer next to George W. Bush’s boil. But passivity in a leader is not a reassuring posture.

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It’s hard to know where to begin. Does this mean that Hillary Clinton would not have been able to deal with the BP Oil crisis? Or that Hillary Clinton is better at speaking like a man that Obama (hello again MoDo!) Or that Obama is paying the price for speaking intelligently? Or that Joan Walsh was right, and this nation has been so infantalized by a combination of overreaching government policies and the media we really just crave a daddy who will tell us it’s all right. No grey area allowed.

Perhaps it’s that grey area that’s been causing the trouble all along. The grey area of empty coverage space needed to be filled. And the grey area of where Obama fits in the national storyline. At some point it will be easier to make a list of the things and people Obama hasn’t been compared to in the mediasphere’s continuing effort to pinpoint exactly who Obama is than it will be to comprise a list of the actual comparisons. In the meantime, it’s hard not to wonder if this column is a preview of what we can expect from Parker and Spitzer’s new CNN show…lord knows the world is dying to discover whether Eliot Spitzer thinks Obama is man enough. In the meantime I suppose we can be grateful that no Bambi references made it into this piece.

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Two years ago – June 2008 – the press was still grappling with how Hillary Clinton had been portrayed in the press. Sarah Palin was still two months away, but mainstream figures were only just admitting that there *may* have been some sexism in the coverage of the first female contender for a presidential nomination. It took Katie Couric saying so in June 2008 to shake up the media enough to wonder, gee, are those dames nattering like a first wife outside probate court actually on to something? The case didn’t crack like a nut between the steel-plated thighs of a Hillary Nutcracker, but still – by now it’s pretty well accepted that those of us whining like so many nagging housewives were documenting something real. And if you don’t agree, you can go iron my shirt.