The recent slew of “man up” and similar comments coming mostly from Republican candidates makes this 2008 Stephen Ducat piece from the Huffington Post perhaps even more relevant than when it was written:
The racist lynchings of the 19th and 20th centuries featured castration as a central component of those ritualized assaults. The same appears to be true of contemporary rhetorical lynchings visible in the right wing media-scape. First aired on April 23 of this year as a news item, the latest ad by the Grand Dragon of GOP character assassins, Floyd Brown, is only the most recent example.
Brown, who succeeded in turning Black rapist murderer Willie Horton into Michael Dukakis’s running mate, is now going after the testicular credibility of Barack Obama. The ad cited a vote Obama cast as an Illinois state senator against a bill mandating the death penalty for gang-related murders — a bill the state’s Republican governor later vetoed for being overly broad, vague, discriminatory, and for lacking any deterrent effect. The spot’s narrator concludes, “When the time came to get tough, Obama chose to be weak. So, the question is: can a man so weak in the war on gangs be trusted in the war on terror?” The closing shot is that of the rubble at New York’s post-9/11 ground zero.
Not surprisingly, Factcheck.org found it to be a mendacious hodgepodge of distortions and misrepresentations. Of course, what Brown is after is not veracity but the generation of emotion in his audience, principally anxiety. As he had successfully done with Dukakis, the aim is to emasculate Obama and thus to induce in the electorate a fear that the Democratic nominee will be unable to function as a manly protector.
Read more here.