Copy-editing the election: Jonathan Chait writes:

Republican campaigns to impugn the character of Democratic presidential nominees have two major themes. The primary one is slipperiness or flip-flopping.... The secondary theme is to portray the Democrat as effete, intellectual and un-manly. ("Effete" is a common epithet used against Democratic presidential hopefuls of the last two decades, along with "Harvard Boutique," "Blow-dried," "drag queen," and "Breck Girl.")
What's interesting is that effete doesn't have anything to do with gender. It originally meant "no longer fertile" (it's related to fetus); more broadly it means "tapped out, sapped of strength, past its prime, exhausted." But it sounds a bit like effeminate, so Republicans can use it to mean "unmanly" and everyone will get the point.