Terry Francona, liberal avatar/nutruing parent
A few weeks ago, Digby had an interesting post about George Lakoff's favorite framing device strict parent vs. nuturing parent:
If I have a beef with Lakoff it’s that the one frame he’s most known for --- the Republican “strict father” and the Democrat “nurturing parent” --- is one of the most unfortunate metaphors for the progressive cause that I can imagine. [...] I don’t think it’s a very good frame to begin with because it isn’t honest. Let’s not pretend that the real frame isn’t “strict father” vs “nurturing mother.” The frame doesn't really make sense otherwise. And, rightly or wrongly, this frame makes the tension gender based, and in doing so it defines progressive leadership as female leadership, something that is an indistinct and still evolving archetypal image. This puts progressives at a disadvantage because people don't immediately associate women with public leadership just yet. That will, of course, come to pass in the not too distant future (I hope.) But framing isn't a matter for wish fulfillment. To work, it must be immediately recognizable. The fact that Lakoff didn’t use the obvious "father-mother" construction indicates to me that knew that this was a problem.
I disagree that "nuturing parent" is a predominantly female leadership style. Edit: More importantly, I don't think it is recognized as a female leadership style. Lakoff is contrasting frames for conservative vs. liberal governments. The frame isn't that conservatives and liberals are one family with a father and a mother.
Unfortunately, all useful state/government/leadership frames will appeal to some kind of masculinity. The frame is really between "rigid dad" and "nuturing dad." The implicit question is 'Which kind of dad would you rather have?' Someone like Bill Clinton or someone like Richard Nixon? (Digby suggests "rigid" as an alternative to "strict." I think he's onto something.) I think Lakoff faced a problem because he wanted to oppose the strong-male "strict father" to the male-to-neutral "nuturing parent."
Terry Francona is a shining example of the "nutruring parent" leadership style: tough, fair, team-focused, supportive, non-vindictive, and, now, dazzlingly successful.
Go Sox! Go nuturing parents! Go Kerry!