Mitt Romney, Sex Symbol?

Is this guy sexy?

I was going to include this in my morning post, but I forgot. The National Review’s latest cover story is a bizarre homoerotic tribute to Mitt Romney’s sexual prowess in which Kevin Williamson makes a simple-minded evolutionary argument that women should adore the Republican candidate for president.

What do women want? The conventional biological wisdom is that men select mates for fertility, while women select for status — thus the commonness of younger women’s pairing with well-established older men but the rarity of the converse. The Demi Moore–Ashton Kutcher model is an exception — the only 40-year-old woman Jack Nicholson has ever seen naked is Kathy Bates in that horrific hot-tub scene. Age is cruel to women, and subordination is cruel to men. Ellen Kullman is a very pretty woman, but at 56 years of age she probably would not turn a lot of heads in a college bar, and the fact that she is the chairman and CEO of Dupont isn’t going to change that.

It’s a good thing Mitt Romney doesn’t hang out in college bars.

I happen to have actually studied some evolutionary psychology, and it’s true there is some evidence that males and females select mates based on different reproductive goals. Females are more likely than males to choose good providers–men with college degrees, and good future prospects. Males are more likely than females to choose females who are young, healthy, and physically attractive and thus more likely to be fertile. However research on college students also shows that, for both males and females, the most valued characteristics in mate selection are attributes like kindness, good personality, and sense of humor. The sex-differentiated characteristics are less important–at least for college kids.

But Williamson is just using something he heard about evolutionary theories on mate selection to excuse his masturbatory fantasies about a man he clearly finds extremely attractive. And since Williamson has a huge man crush on Mitt, we women should feel the same way.

From an evolutionary point of view, Mitt Romney should get 100 percent of the female vote. All of it. He should get Michelle Obama’s vote. You can insert your own Mormon polygamy joke here, but the ladies do tend to flock to successful executives and entrepreneurs. Saleh al-Rajhi, billionaire banker, left behind 61 children when he cashed out last year. We don’t do harems here, of course, but Romney is exactly the kind of guy who in another time and place would have the option of maintaining one. He’s a boss. Given that we are no longer roaming the veldt for the most part, money is a reasonable stand-in for social status. Romney’s net worth is more than that of the last eight U.S. presidents combined. He set up a trust for his grandkids and kicked in about seven times Barack Obama’s net worth, which at $11.8 million is not inconsiderable but probably less than Romney’s tax bill in a good year.

Williamson latched onto a biological mating theory also, the Trivers-Willard hypothesis, to claim that Romney’s reproductive history–he’s the father of five sons–proves he’s a much more manly man than wimpy Barack Obama, who just has two measly daughters.

It is a curious scientific fact (explained in evolutionary biology by the Trivers-Willard hypothesis — Willard, notice) that high-status animals tend to have more male offspring than female offspring, which holds true across many species, from red deer to mink to Homo sap. The offspring of rich families are statistically biased in favor of sons — the children of the general population are 51 percent male and 49 percent female, but the children of the Forbes billionaire list are 60 percent male. Have a gander at that Romney family picture: five sons, zero daughters. Romney has 18 grandchildren, and they exceed a 2:1 ratio of grandsons to granddaughters (13:5). When they go to church at their summer-vacation home, the Romney clan makes up a third of the congregation. He is basically a tribal chieftain.

Professor Obama? Two daughters. May as well give the guy a cardigan. And fallopian tubes.

I guess Williamson has forgotten that George W. Bush also had two daughters and no sons. How does that fit into his evolutionary argument?

Anyway, if Williamson is right, women should be falling all over themselves to vote for Romney, right? So why aren’t they? Williamson thinks that Mitt just needs to stop worrying about being ostentatious and embrace his inner rich guy. He should take lessons from another former Massachusetts Governor, William Weld, who flaunted his old money with “panache.” The problem with that is that Romney isn’t old money and he’s been disgustingly ostentatious about his wealth (which Romney equates with “success”) throughout the 2012 campaign. And quite a few voters are pretty repulsed by that.

But really, Williamson is just working his way up to his own climax:

Reassuring arch-patriarch — maybe one with enough sons and grandsons to form a pillaging band of marauders? Hillary Rodham Clinton told us that it takes a village, and Mitt Romney showed us how to populate a village with thriving offspring. Newsweek, which as of this writing is still in business, recently ran a cover photo of Romney with the headline: “The Wimp Factor: Is He Just Too Insecure to Be President?” Look at his fat stacks. Look at that mess of sons and grandchildren. Look at a picture of Ann Romney on her wedding day and that cocky smirk on his face. What exactly has Mitt Romney got to be insecure about? That he’s not as prodigious a patriarch as Ramses II or as rich as >Lakshmi Mittal? I bet he sleeps at night and never worries about that. He has done everything right in life, and he should own it.

Stomach-churning, isn’t it? Is this how most conservative men think? And I’ve just given you the gist of the piece. There are three pages of this nauseating verbiage.

Look, I don’t think most voters–at least women voters–don’t look to their presidential candidates to fulfill their sexual fantasies. Maybe women are actually smart enough to vote based on issues that are important to them. Mitt Romney is not going to turn on the average college woman. He’s a dork, and so is Barack Obama for that matter. He looks like what he is–an arrogant, shallow, emptyheaded former CEO with an exaggerated estimation of his own importance. He’s also a liar and a bully. What’s attractive about that? Amanda Marcotte has some good points about all this about this in a post at The American Prospect:

The delusion that regular Americans look to politicians and see Sexy persists in East Coast media circles, despite its evident ludicrousness and a number of debunkings. It leads me to believe that the problem stems from the bubble mentality that prevents pundits from remembering the world outside theirs, if only for the sake of comparison. In the media circle around D.C. (one that sadly extends to New York), President Obama is “cool,” Paul Ryan is “hip,” and Sarah Palin is scorchingly hot. These myths persist, even though the flag-waving, apple-pie-eating persona that politicians must adopt to survive precludes any realistic hope of being an actual sex symbol like George Clooney and Angelina Jolie.

Recently, in an otherwise excellent piece in The New York Times, Maureen Dowd demonstrating exactly this sort of bizarro-world thinking, described Paul Ryan as looking “young and hip and new generation, with his iPod full of heavy metal jams and his cute kids.” By “heavy metal jams,” Dowd presumably meant Ryan’s beloved Rage Against the Machine, a band that was relevant two decades ago and only sounds “heavy metal” to people who think all rock music released after 1967 is a wall of undistinguished noise. Ryan wears khaki pants with checkered shirts! He sounds like a 16-year-old virgin imagining what sex must be like when he talks about reproductive rights! You can only consider him hip and sexy if your only point of comparison are the residents of a nursing home. And yet Dowd didn’t come up with this assessment all on her own; she got the strange notion that Ryan is hip from the Beltway discourse, where it’s assumed he’s dreamy because he has blue eyes and works out.

I don’t read the right wing media much, and after reading Williamson’s embarrassing ode to Willard and realizing that the National Review thinks it’s worthy of a cover story, I don’t think I’ll be going back for more very soon.


44 Comments on “Mitt Romney, Sex Symbol?”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Mitt Romney is winning the “rich goober” vote (men on internet sugar daddy sites)

    • northwestrain says:

      Yep — the white male rich vote.

      But not the majority of women — 3 to 1 for 0bama. Which agrees with the Aggression Research using mice as the research subjects. Most females reject the hyper aggressive bully males.

  2. northwestrain says:

    I read that article and was hoping you would deconstruct the trash.

    A lot of conservative males are madly in love with Romney.

    But he doesn’t have traits that most women look for. Too often really rich just means that the guy is a bully. Beating the crap out of weaker people doesn’t turn women on — in fact the vast majority run away.

    Romney is full of aggression — and the research in the Journal Aggression (I think that’s the name) has published several studies on male aggression. Romney is a bully who is used to getting his own way.

    Oh Nixon had two daughters — just adding to the list.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Clinton had one daughter and I’d say he’s an alpha male.

      • northwestrain says:

        Oh yes he is Alpha — and he has the qualities that draws females.

        Actually when considered in light of the Alpha — a female offspring is more valuable — whereas a male offspring means more competition.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Bill Clinton is support for the research–he’s kind and generous, has a great personality and sense of humor. No wonder women like him.

  3. quixote says:

    Gaaaa. Brain bleach, stat! Just from the title.

  4. HT says:

    Sex symbol? not in this millenium. I am over 60 so discount my opinion from a young voter’s aspect, but I can say that neither of my children find any politician sexy. They think politicians are out for one thing only and that would be enriching themselves. As to the “fecundity” of said Romney, was not Invitro fertilization involved at one point or perhaps more than once? Not that I think that is a bad thing, just that it illustrates the hypocrisy of articles like the fan gush you cited.

    • bostonboomer says:

      His sons used in vitro. I don’t think he did, but who knows?

    • jawbone says:

      Sex symbol? The sheer massiveness of Mitt’s head scares me. Huge, long, long head.

      • HT says:

        Not just the length of his chin, but his entire face. It looks like he uses Botox aplenty. I have not once seen a genuine smile and check his eyes (windows to the soul as my dear departed mother used to tell me). Actually, he gives me the creeps as does his best buddy that Ryan guy.

  5. RalphB says:

    Put this in the last thread but it’s funny enough to post twice. Obama did a self-parody while at Harvard that’s hilarious.

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/young-barack-obamas-genuinely-hilarious-self-paro

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Staring into the Void of Mitt Romney

    http://prospect.org/article/staring-void-mitt-romney

    • northwestrain says:

      That was an interesting & frightening reading. —

      This link below was posted earlier — I just got around to reading it. A document dump of details Romney’s money. This information needs to be translated for Accounting illiterates like myself.

      http://gawker.com/5936394/

      “The Bain Files: Inside Mitt Romney’s Tax-Dodging Cayman Schemes”

      Of course to the GOPigs Romney’s theft and hiding his money is a good thing.

    • RalphB says:

      Brutal but likely correct.

  7. RalphB says:

    Carville-Greenberg battleground polling of congressional races looks pretty good so far. Ryan may turn this into a hot mess for his party.

    Early Warning: Ryan Medicare Plan Imperils Battleground Republicans

    Even before Mitt Romney named Paul Ryan to the ticket, our Battleground polling results indicated an erosion of support for Republicans, largely based on Paul Ryan’s plans for Medicare and entitlements. The advantage Republicans held among seniors in 2010 has been completely decimated. Across these Republican districts, incumbents now hold just a two-point lead with voters over age 64—a group Republicans won by 18 points in 2010.

    Not surprisingly, the leading factor in this shift away from the GOP is Paul Ryan’s war on Medicare. By a decisive six-point margin, voters in these districts now say they trust Democrats more than Republicans when it comes to Medicare. Among voters in the 27 most competitive Republican battleground seats, Democrats now hold an 11-point advantage on Medicare.

  8. Seriously says:

    I think he’s going to be in for a rude awakening when he realizes that when you cast your vote you don’t actually get to marry the President. No, really, they don’t pull up a van to the polling place and take us straight to the harem as part of a special Not-Quite-Bachelor Who Wants to marry a Millionaire Electoral Edition (yet).

  9. bostonboomer says:

    Denver reporter says Romney’s campaign staff told her she couldn’t as questions about Akin or abortion.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Boyd told TPM that the Romney campaign offered her station an interview with Romney, one of several local news hits in swing states that Romney conducted via satellite Thursday. A campaign staffer whose name she didn’t divulge told her what questions she wasn’t allowed to ask.

      “They said, you know, ‘the only stipulation is we don’t want you talking about the Akin issue,’” Boyd recalled. She also said the Romney staffer told her the campaign didn’t want questions for Romney about ‘the whole abortion controversy.’”

      Boyd said she resisted.

      “I said to them, ‘Look everybody’s talking about this. It’s going to seem awkward if I don’t ask about it,’” she said. “And they said, ‘Well he’s said all he’s going to say about it. He doesn’t have anything more to say, you won’t be getting any new information so we don’t want to talk about that.’”

      “It was pretty clear: ‘Here’s our one stipulation,’” she recalled.

      • HT says:

        And this is the man who wants to be the leader of the most powerful nation on earth? What will he say when the foreign press asks him uncomfortable questions, or does he plan on vetting them too?

      • bostonboomer says:

        Let’s hope we don’t get a chance to find out.

  10. bostonboomer says:

    One find from the Bain Files: Leaked Documents Connect Candidate To Adelson, Casinos, Cigarettes

    Romney is invested in Sankaty High Yield Partners II LP, a debt fund affiliated with the private-equity firm Bain Capital, which Romney co-founded. Sankaty has loaned money to a variety of questionable companies, including the now-embattled Las Vegas Sands Corp., according to documents obtained by Gawker.

    Las Vegas Sands, which is owned by famed Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, is currently facing multiple Justice Department inquiries. The first focuses on possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a U.S. anti-bribery law, related to the company’s casinos in Macau, China. The second is probing allegations that Las Vegas Sands failed to report millions of dollars of possibly laundered money transferred to its casinos by two big-time gamblers.

    Romney’s link to the Adelson-owned corporation is also notable because Adelson has become one of the primary bankrollers of the Republican party in recent years. The man, who some refer to as the Republican George Soros, has spent $41.1 million so far to oust President Obama and other Democrats, according to the New Yorker, and he’s promised to spend as much as a hundred million dollars to achieve his goal.

  11. ecocatwoman says:

    IMHO, The National Review story is misogynistic BS. It’s what happens when a lay person attempts to interpret the results of an academic study. First & foremost, if one is going to try to understand human mating behavior/choices one needs to compare that not to ALL animal species, but to those species who, primarily, mate for life & where the male helps to provide for the offspring. You can’t generalize and expect to reach a valid conclusion.

    Secondly, human females don’t “choose” mates/husbands in our society. Females are chosen simply because in nearly every instance it is the male who proposes marriage. Females, at least in some societies, can reject a “suitor.” Seriously, this is a complex issue and could warrant an entire post in and of itself. And if all women voted for the best looking and most accomplished candidate for prez, would John Kerry have won the Democratic nomination? Yeah, I think that now outed sleazebag John Edwards would have won the primaries, hands down.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Actually the evolutionary theory doesn’t predict that women will choose the best looking mate. It predicts that they will choose a mate who will stick around and help raise offspring and have the means to provide for them. But before that, women prefer men who are kind and generous, have a sense of humor and a good personality. BTW, religion is generally last on the list of desired attributes.

      I understand your point about women being less powerful in society. Obviously mate selection is partly determined by culture. But women are choosier than men in terms of who they’ll have sex with. So they actually do have a lot of control in mating. Plus, plenty of women propose marriage. If they had to wait around for some men to think of it they’d wait forever.

      There isn’t much evidence that humans mate for life either. Humans aren’t particularly monogamous. They may take one mate at a time, but there are lots of cultures with completely different mating habits then those in the U.S.–lots of ancient cultures were polygamous. It depends on the environmental conditions the society adapts to.

      • bostonboomer says:

        And yes, the NR story is insulting to women and misogynistic.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        Very few species actually mate for life. We humans, especially the religious ones, like to think we are naturally monogamous. That’s basically what I was speaking to. And in polygamous societies (and I don’t know of any that have women with multiple husbands) isn’t it customary for the male to do the “selecting” of a suitable addition to his stable of brood mares? And in societies where the marriages are arranged, isn’t it usually the parents, especially the fathers, who work out the trade (my daughter for your stuff)?

      • bostonboomer says:

        Evolutionary theories don’t consider societal influences. But of course there are social influences on everything. But natural selection still plays a part in all human behavior. And there are cross-cultural studies that show gender differences in mating behavior. I’m not disagreeing with you. All I did was to explain one evolutionary theory. It’s not my theory.

        There have been few cultures that practice polyandry (women have more than one husband). They are rare though.

        • ecocatwoman says:

          And I’m not disagreeing with you either. I’m more familiar with behavior of non-human animals. The NR author was comparing humans & non-humans regarding mating behavior, which is why I chimed in. Regarding humans, IMHO, societal influences are critical in understanding human behavior, mating or otherwise. Personally, it’s easier for me to understand critters than it is for me understand humans.

      • HT says:

        ecat, me too. I don’t think I will live long enough to understand the impulses that drive other humans. It’s easier to understand animal behaviour, thanks to people like Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey et al (women I might point out) but even Margaret Mead would be hard pressed to explain the strange behaviour exhibited by the current Republican party.
        Animals I can understand (milly the wonder dog teaches me every day something new which is incredible as I’ve had animals for the last 60 years) but humans – I’m not even sure anymore that I want to understand them – too much hate.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Evolutionary psychology explains why human behavior is so difficult to understand. They argue that, like every animal species, we adapted to our environments over centuries. We are still adapted to the ancient environment when we lives in small nomadic bands of hunter gatherers.

        But humans, unlike other animals, have developed advanced civilizations with large cities, agriculture, etc. Natural selection happens very slowly, so we are living in environments that we aren’t fully adapted to. Human behavior is still strongly influenced by the environments we originally adapted to. So our behavior often seems irrational and not appropriate to our modern societies.

  12. RalphB says:

    Paul Ryan, Lying Guy! He’s got that part down pat.

    TNR: Paul Ryan, Numbers Guy?

    Speaking near Fort Bragg, N.C., Paul Ryan today blamed President Obama for the looming defense cuts in the budget “sequester” scheduled for Jan. 1
    […]
    Anyway, Ryan said: “Defense spending is not half of all federal spending, but it’s half of the cuts approximately in the sequester. We disagreed with that then, and we disagree with it now.”

    Can you guess what’s wrong with this statement?

    Give yourself a gold star if you said, “Defense spending is not half of all federal spending, but it’s more than half of all discretionary spending.” And discretionary spending was the only spending included in the sequester; entitlements, which is where the big non-defense spending lies, were excluded.

  13. RalphB says:

    I needed a laugh and this did it. Wingnuts your parents couldn’t have warned you about because they didn’t exist back then.

    TBogg: SpongeBob Wept

    In this case, it’s Nancy French, most famous for writing the book ‘Shit Bristol Palin Mumbles’.

  14. peregrine says:

    I’m too late for the party. Anyway, I’ll add that the last time I was skimming posts they had found a shirtless picture of Ryan, to become the swoon guy to attract women. Both are not kind, their personalities suck, and no humor exist.

    Romney, and Ryan, are dolts.

    • peregrine says:

      According to Brian Williams (NBC Nightly News), there will be a program at 10 o’clock tonight about the Mormon Church.

    • HT says:

      So glad that others find Ryan as milque toast as I do. Both of those men are strange.

  15. mjames says:

    I find them all physically, nauseatingly repulsive. Ryan is a grotesquerie, a mass of deep, deep furrows below his caveman brow (which matches his caveman intellect). Romney is as uptight and frigid as an ice floe, hideously unsexual. Put a bed of hot coals under him and he wouldn’t melt. Obama, as I’ve always said, is a neuter. Nothing there at all. That leaves the alcoholic and we all know how well alcoholics perform.

    I know. I know. How superficial of me. But that’s what articles like this arouse in me. I give what I get. This “man” is going to tell me who I find attractive? Irresponsible multiplying is sexy? Never a hair out of place is sexy? And which one of these manly men is going to cop to oral sex? I mean giving oral sex. And I mean doing it right. Ha ha ha ha ha. I’ll take my long-time handyman lover any day. And I’d vote for him before any of these jerks too, because he has a heart and common sense, not because he’s a sexpot.

    Now back to my mindless TV, which holds more insight than Mr. Williamson.

  16. I’m sorry, BB. I can’t read this.
    Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are NOT hawwwwwt.
    I cannot believe we have to sit thru the American media taking cues from Turdblossom(RovE) and Frank Luntz on who is frickable.