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Archive for July, 2008

You know you’ve made the big time when you’re being insulted on Pandagon!

Posted by pocochina on July 5, 2008

I knew I trimmed my blog habits for a reason. But I didn’t have a whole lot of work to do today yesterday, so I stumbled on this utter nonsense.

First of all, this doesn’t come close to a Swift Boat analogy, and it’s disingenuous for anyone to pretend that a group of bloggers who’ve announced their voting preferences and reasons for those preferences are in any way comparable to the hateful, mendacious, merciless campaign to trivialize Senator Kerry’s service to his country. Second of all, NOT ALL PUMAS ARE FEMALE. Funny how assuming all women lined up behind Senator Clinton was stupid when it was other people deriding women as lying, deluded simpletons, but now that it’s a feminist Obama supporter doing so, those inconvenient people need to be ridiculed as much as possible, and the easiest way to do so is to ensure your audience knows they’re all women.

And if these Clinton supporters, as Obama supporters suggest, are at best tepid Democrats, or DINOs – aren’t we supposed to think that’s a good thing? Wasn’t Obama going to be the One that reached across the aisle or whatever to bring moderates and conservatives into the fold? It’s a good trait in his appeal to voters, but a pernicious one in hers? Huh, there’s a word for that, I can’t quite reach for it.

But hold on to your hats, kids. It gets better. Because she found one contribution, during one quarter, to McCain, all PUMAs are McCain ratfucking Republican operatives. Never mind the ones who are life long feminists, who were harassed off DKos for their support for a Democratic candidate, never mind some of the most powerful voices in left blogistan for intersectionality in the feminist movement. They don’t exist, if they do they are stupid. This especially hurts coming from someone who has worked hard to carve a career out of the damned near impossible work of explaining to a reluctant world that women are real people who are not fucking stupid. There are reasons not to support the Democratic nominee. There are a lot of good, rational reasons not to support him. There are good rational reasons to support and even like him, too, and since women are people who are generally (a) different and (b) still rational, it’s really not totally unreasonable to assume that some women will come to different conclusions than others.

For that matter, where the fuck was this outrage a year ago, when Obama so very seriously informed everyone that he’d get all her votes, but she wouldn’t get all of his – read “vote for me or my people walk.” A candidate running for the Democratic nomination surely deserves more criticism for his outright embrace of a potential split in the party than do a group of private citizens.

For that matter, the PUMAs have done exactly what focus groups have spent generations wishing the American public would do. They’ve explained what they believe in and what a candidate would need to do to gain their votes, if it’s possible at all (and for some of them it’s not, and guess what, that’s their decision to make, not anyone else’s).

And again, this exposes some fundamental problems between the “Obama candidacy” and the actual Obama candidacy. The blogger in question slings around all kinds of loaded emotional language – again, from someone who’s spent years righteously howling into the wind that women are no more or less emotional than any other humanoid type creatures, and especially at the myth that women working in support of women’s causes have just had our feelings hurt, rather than having made reasonable decisions towards our actions, it’s both ironic and painful – to obfuscate any legitimate concern the PUMAs have, make it all about the individual’s actions rather than the collective injustice, and then dismiss those emotions as over the top craziness. Shameful. And It’s especially ironic coming in support of Obama’s candidacy. He chose to run a campaign which appealed heavily to emotions. That’s fine. It’s not to say that I think he’s an empty suit (I don’t) or that I find him in any way intellectually lacking (again, I don’t). It’s a morally neutral decision the campaign made in order to capitalize on the strengths of the given candidate. That’s the game (the game he says he loathes, oh, how it pains him to do so ruthlessly and unscrupulously, but I digress). But when people appropriately respond to an emotional campaign with emotion, it’s pretty crummy to try to bully them into supporting that campaign by telling them that their feelings are stoopid.

And while Amanda and I were pecking away at our respective keyboards (hers more respected and well-known, but mine no less valid or feminist), Barack Obama was off proving himself hugely worthy of feminist criticism. (As of this writing, Pandagon has reported on the Very Important Matter of Governor Crist’s engagement, but not on a major presidential candidate’s crass disgust for female human life. And Pandagon used to be one of my favorite RJ advocacy blogs.)

Since I’ve started writing this post, the PUMA post has, apparently, “blown up.” Well, no, not so much as the blogger’s erroneous assumptions were pointed out to be such, and she responded by writing another post about how stoopid and irrational PUMAs and all their filthy associates are. Which is where the title of this post comes in. A commenter quoted large portions of the post I wrote after the primaries,+ and other commenters responded by claiming that I’ve only been writing about politics since February (O RLY?), that I’m a member of the PUMA movement (which has actually appeared nowhere on this blog), and that it was my only post of substance or some such rot. Yup. Because I disagree with these commenters, I don’t exist and never have, and if I do, it’s only because I’m just too silly to understand big kid politics!

I know I shouldn’t care what some nonsense commenters on some blog I rarely even read any more had to say about me, and on a personal level, I’m ashamed to admit it did bother me, but relieved that it only lasted for a couple of minutes. But this is part and parcel of some very problematic treatment of Clinton supporters in the Librul (TM) community, and especially at the hand of the Obama campaign. Lump everyone into a group, turn that group irrelevant, and then everyone agrees with you! See? Unity! Someone needs to hold Obama accountable for his unending sprint to the right. Large numbers of people who supported him vocally during the primaries have decided that no criticism of Obama (no matter how much they disagree) is the way to go, or finding a way to blame someone else, or simply to pop up on threads all over Left Blogistan, Roe stick in hand. All criticism is then dismissed as griping by emotional sour grapes Clinton supporters. Neutralizing all criticism from the left won’t get Obama elected, it will just allow the criticism from the right to drown us out, and he’ll continue to run that way, and then people who claim they see no difference between Obama or McCain, or that they prefer McCain, will feel more and more vindicated, thus getting more vocal, and Obama will continue to lose lefty voters to McCain, McKinnon, or write-in candidates. And using sexist stereotypes to do so – bitter, emotional, resentful – is sexist no matter who you are. Voters are angry, and they don’t owe anyone anything.

Are there McCain operatives taking advantage of this situation for all it’s worth? CLEARLY. That’s politics, sweetie, if votes are up for grabs, you go for them. It’s not any different than Obama’s outreach* to evangelicals skeptical of McCain. It’s fucking politics. But there are lots of lifelong Democrats who are gasping for air under the weight of betrayals small and large, and it’s mean and small and really not helpful to anyone except McCain to tell them that they don’t exist.

*Outreach: OFB for “caving in at every opportunity.”

+Bunny, if you’re reading this, I can’t stress enough that I don’t blame you for the behavior on that thread; I’m quite flattered that you took the time to read and share the post. This seems an appropriate time to mention that that post has gotten more attention than I’ve ever expected – thank you, everyone who read and linked and commented, I’m humbled and honored that you’ve found solidarity and solace in my words.


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Posted by pocochina on July 4, 2008

“I hate to say I told you so” is, of course, a polite social fiction. Nobody hates to say I told you so, and if someone did actually hate to say I told you so, they’d keep their fucking mouth shut. I, personally, love being right.

But even I wish I wasn’t right about this.

This, in a nutshell, is everything frustrating about Barack Obama.

This is why Roe is not a threat anyone gets to make in this presidential election. This is a dangerous position to take. If I need to explain to someone that abortion is a constitutional right, and one as inviolable and necessary as any and all others, that someone is on the wrong fucking blog. I do not need to explain that nobody, and especially not some smarmy law professor, can always distinguish between mental and physical health. I do not need to explain that all Barack Obama needed to do was stay away from the subject, or tell the fucking truth and say that he’s not anyone’s fucking doctor, he could have actually done what the fauxgressive blogosphere swore up down and all around he was going to do and TAKE A STAND FOR SOMETHING, but instead he chose to announce to the AP that he literally does not give a damn if we live or die. Which – make no fucking mistake – is exactly what this statement is. A restriction on abortion is not just a statement that you think women are not human enough to be more than breeding vessels, it means that you think that women’s health and lives are an acceptable price for your comfortable knowledge that no one in the country is doing anything that makes you feel icky.

It’s not just that this statement buys into right wing frames about abortion. All that does is place reproductive justice in the realm of church and state, the Fourth Amendment, and liberalism itself – causes in which Obama does not believe, but the fauxgressive “left” has deluded itself into thinking that he does.

It’s that there is no position, no matter how extreme, towards which Senator Obama will not eagerly run, seeking a “middle ground.” He looks at politics not as a complex, multifaceted interplay of cultural mores, economic and geopolitical security needs, and social goals, but as a flat, one dimensional continuum that no matter how far or long he must run, no matter what he must sacrifice along the way, he must find the mythical center. Nothing is worth taking a stand for, not even the basic human rights of his children.

And it’s another way in which we can see that one of the OFB’s major charges against Senator Clinton – that she would do anything, no matter what principal it violated, to win – was merely a projection of Obama himself. This is not a burning statement of principle. This is a political ploy in order to continue the battle of the primaries. By the vaginal transitive property,* HRC=all women, and so any whining+by feminists (even feminists who support Obama, and folks, I really hope y’all stretched tonight, because you will be doing some backbends tomorrow) can safely be portrayed as sour grapes by Clinton supporters, thus keeping Senator Clinton in the equation and allowing Obama to continue in his role of Long-Suffering Male Beset by That Bitch Who Won’t Die. This allows him to continue to navigate the gender issue as being “man versus evil woman” rather than “man versus manlier man.” Buying into the tattered, ancient idea of “leadership=masculinity” is, my friends, the very definition of politics as usual, as it has been throughout what we now recognize as the canon of Western history.

Cue the asshole Obama supporters. Oooooh, he’s better than McCain, you know Clinton would be worse, plus you irrational bitches just need to learn that abortion rights aren’t just about you, you selfish bitch, wanting to live and shit, it’s about the BAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYBEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Allow me to explain this in terms you will understand: shut the fuck up. You get to make this decision for me when I get to decide whether or not to spend the next ten months hacking off your shriveled sac with a dirty plastic knife.

Oh. And nice work, NARAL, you fuckers.

We fucking told you so.

*A complicated sociological theorum, in which one woman = all women, except in case of a positive trait.

+Technical term for pointing out the imminent violation of one’s own human rights, especially if one happens to be female.


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