Condi on the Red Carpet
One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dressed to kill for an appearance at Germany's Wiesbaden Army Airfield on Wednesday. In Friday's Washington Post, Robin Givhan writes, "Rice's coat and boots speak of sex and power. … [T]he mind searches for ways to put it all into context. It turns to fiction, to caricature. To shadowy daydreams. Dominatrix! It is as though sex and power can only co-exist in a fantasy. When a woman combines them in the real world, stubborn stereotypes have her power devolving into a form that is purely sexual." Tim Blair jokes, "they never said that about Lawrence Eagleburger."
Some bloggers are dubious of Givhan, who also wrote the definitive piece on Dick Cheney's winter boots. At Outside the Beltway, James Joyner says the getup "looks like a fairly practical, woman's winter dress outfit." Ed Driscoll suggests that "sometimes a pair of really bitchin' boots is merely just a pair of really bitchin' boots." Michelle Malkin holds Dr. Rice to higher standards: "For a pair of really kick-ass boots, see Moxie," she writes. "If Condi wore those, I could understand the fuss."
Law professor Ann Althouse, subbing for Glenn Reynolds at MSNBC, notes that women of authority are frequently eroticized by reactionary thinkers hoping to contain their power. So, asks Althouse, "is it wrong to talk about powerful women this way?" Her answer is no: "These boots are made for running for president."
Read more about Condi's boots here.
The future of the Republican blogosphere: Two parallel conversations use the legacy of Barry Goldwater to look at the state of contemporary conservatism. New York Post editor Ryan Sager and Ramesh Ponnuru of the National Review Online debate Sager's claims, made here, that the Republican party has abandoned its libertarian wing and embraced the moral interventionism of the religious right. Ponnuru thinks that religious conservatives hold a stronger position in the Republican coalition and needn't compromise with their libertarian collaborators. Semi-retired heavyweight blogger Andrew Sullivan sides with Sager and suggests that Goldwater-style small-government conservatives have mortgaged their ideological dignity for short-term political gain. If President Al Gore had pursued as federalist an agenda as George Bush has, Sullivan writes, "I don't think National Review would have been content merely to nitpick. … I think they would have mounted a ferocious attempt to remove the guy from office."
The Washington Monthly's Kevin Drum and Californian economist Brad DeLong are chatting about Rick Perlstein's 2002 Before the Storm, which credits Goldwater as the godfather of contemporary conservativism. Drum applauds Perlstein's analysis, but Delong writes that Goldwater divided Republican congressional power and thereby enabled the expansive federal programs of Johnson and Nixon. To make possible the Great Society, Delong argues, "was the greatest own-goal and act of political delusion of conservatives in the twentieth century."
Little gold men: A flurry of Oscar blogging appears on the last working day before Sunday's ceremony. Chicagoist has a surefire three-step program for winning your office Oscar pool. At Volokh Conspiracy, Randy Barnett waxes starstruck as he revisits his brush with fame at last year's pre-Oscar party. The Rant King thinks Oscar is a little nervous about this year's caretaker, Chris Rock, but the comedian has plenty of cyber defenders. Pop blogger Karpet Kittens thanks ABC "for giving us Chris Rock as the host to keep us from falling asleep."
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David Wallace-Wells is a writer living in New York.