Tuesday, January 15, 2008

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Feminists, prepare for your field day

Gideon Rachman's most recent Financial Times column opens with a query about Hillary Clinton's lust for power. And then we get to this section:

I got an insight into the thrill of power recently, when I had lunch with a friend who had helped to handle a national emergency in Britain, working from the emergency bunker known as Cobra – which sits beneath the Cabinet Office near Downing Street.

“What was it like?” I asked him. “Brilliant,” he replied. “There are all these video screens and generals and admirals sitting around in uniform. You have to say things like: ‘It is 3.45pm and I am now bringing to a close this meeting of Cobra emergency command.’”

Is my friend uniquely juvenile? I suspect not – just unusually honest. He certainly believed that all the other officials around the table were delighting in the little rituals of crisis management. “I guarantee that everybody around that table had an erection within five minutes,” he mused.

Extrapolating slightly, my friend developed what you might call “the erection theory of British foreign policy”. His argument was that British government’s bias towards the “special relationship” with the US, in preference to the European Union, has something to do with the thrilling nature of American power. “If you fly into Camp David on a helicopter,” he assured me, “it’s instant arousal. But if you have to go to a European summit in Brussels, its so depressing you’re impotent for a week.”


UPDATE: You have to love a comment thread that contains the phrase: "Look, I'm as pro-erection as the next guy, but...."

posted by Dan on 01.15.08 at 11:00 AM


The inference I draw is that in a culture with a relatively smaller set of opportunities, a chance to achieve a long-lasting erection is given more value
than in a culture with a large set. But then how to explain Ireland ?

posted by: john townsend on 01.15.08 at 11:00 AM [permalink]

Perhaps this gives Nye's concept of "soft power" a whole new meaning?

posted by: Charli Carpenter on 01.15.08 at 11:00 AM [permalink]

Does that make the guy in the article the Cobra Commander?

Does Destro get a seat at the table at the Cobra Command center? He is from Scotland, originally.

posted by: peter on 01.15.08 at 11:00 AM [permalink]

So America's "hard power" leads to Britain's "hard" power?

posted by: Fel on 01.15.08 at 11:00 AM [permalink]

Look, I'm as pro-erection as the next guy, but it still takes a certain mindset to get an erection flying into Camp David. I think it's egg first, then chicken, not the other way around. And regarding Sen. Clinton's lust for power - of course she wants power. No one runnning for president of the most powerful country in the world is power-shy. Hell, someone who didn't want power would make a terrible president. This is an example of the sexist double-standard she is held to (and I say that not as a fan - I'm a Democrat and will vote for her in the general election against any Republican with a chance at the nomination - but I wouldn't vote for her in the primaries.)

posted by: Bob on 01.15.08 at 11:00 AM [permalink]

Do Obama, Edwards, Romney and McCain 'lust after power'? Or are they just civic minded individuals willing to take 4-8 years out of their lives to help us? Why single out Hilary?

As far as I can see, the only non-power hungary dude is ... Ron Paul. He wants to take the office [or Office] and start devolving its power.

posted by: Mitchell Young on 01.15.08 at 11:00 AM [permalink]

Somewhere in a history of the Third Reich I read an anecdote of Goering boasting that at Party reviews, he could maintain the Nazi salute for much longer than that wimp Goebbels.

If it's apocryphal, I don't want to know.

posted by: Monte Davis on 01.15.08 at 11:00 AM [permalink]

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