The “Love Me Daddy Complex”

On Howard Stern’s show, both before and since satellite, he tends to bring in young women who are strippers or porn stars; this is a well-known fact of life and some of us appreciate Howard for it. It doesn’t really translate over the radio airwaves all that well, but the descriptive powers of Howard and his gang usually paint a vivid picture. These girls come in and inevitably take their clothes off and the gang then remarks about how hot they are. And then Howard usually asks about their home life; what happened to them that they feel the need to do this? This is, as true fans know, the fun part of the story.

Almost always, these girls would come from families in which the father was absent, or negligent, or abusive, and Howard would giggle knowingly at the “Love Me Daddy Complex.” It’s not funny, of course, but in the context of the situation you have to laugh. These girls are trying to get the attention they never got at home by taking off their clothes, or more. And some of their stories are so ridiculously over-the-top that you can only marvel at them.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, Glenn Greenwald has a fascinating look at Dick Cheney’s enablers, mainly Jonah Goldberg and Tucker Carlson, and this phenomena is clearly evident in their awe of the man behind the curtain. Greenwald’s point is more that they “search endlessly for strong, powerful, masculine figures so that they can feel those attributes and pose as one who exudes them,” but I think we have a bit of the “Love Me Daddy Complex” going on there as well. I have no idea what these men’s relationship with their fathers was, or is (I’m pretty sure Goldberg’s father is dead), but the way that they fawn over Cheney’s contempt, secrecy, and general disdain for the powerless (that’s everyone else, to Dick) tells me that something is missing in their own lives. Who else in their right mind would cheer this behavior?

Has it been proven that either of these man have not taken their clothes off for Dick?

As for the “love to have a beer with the guy” mystique that many, many (too, too many) Republicans used to defend both Cheney and Bush, I can only say this: I would love to have a beer with Bill Clinton, sure thing, and I would love to chase skirts with him too, why not? But if I said that I voted for the man–twice–for those reasons, or that it ever even crossed my mind until just now, I would, rightly so, be embarrassed and incredibly dim.

I bet Barack Obama would be a good guy to have a beer with too. Hell, Rudy Guiliani or John McCain might be interesting to drink with. Romney, not so much. But are we going to continue to be this stupid, America? Listen, future President in 2009: I’ll drink the beer. You stop the war in Iraq and fix the mess Bush has left, OK?


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