Placing the 2008 election in the context of political development reveals the gendered nature of the presidency and presidential elections. The institution of the presidency is predominantly masculinist. It privileges conventional masculine attributes of strength, determination, and decisiveness. Yet the degree to which the institution requires masculinist leadership attributes varies throughout political development and according to different types of time. Viewed through a chronological linear lens, developments in “historical time” magnify the most masculinist aspect of the presidency—the role of commander in chief. On the other hand, in 2008 “political time” signals the end of the neoliberal era and a shift away from confrontational, partisan politics toward the building of a new consensus that emphasizes domestic welfare. As a result, the nature and stage of the regime cycle or moment in political time favor feminalist features of leadership such as collective engagement, cooperation, and conciliation. In the 2008 election, these two types of time collide, and the collision helps explain the gender-specific character of the campaigns, the candidates, and the next president.
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