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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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