Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Out with status quo enforcers

Enforcers of the status quo have been spinning yarns. From Violet:

Salon is pulling out all the stops to explain that the silly PUMAs are just venting when we say we won’t vote for Opossum. Walter Shapiro is up first with a piece that is breathtaking in its derision. . . Predictably, Shapiro displays zero understanding of what’s actually at stake, and of why women are uniting to exert their leverage over the Democrats. In his estimation it’s all just “ruffled feelings.” ...

...Next comes Rebecca Traister with a piece that is, I believe, intended to be slightly more sympathetic, but is ultimately just as bad. First she explains that, just as we learned in Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, angry ladies simply need to “vent.” Our words don’t really mean anything; we just need someone to pay attention to our hurt fee-fees. With that setup, she goes on to enumerate some of the things women are pissed about, but assures her readers that none of it actually matters....

...Traister’s piece is a study in Third Wave feminism, and the reason she has no comprehension of what’s happening is because PUMAs are moved by the spirit of Second Wave. We’re the women who know that sexism doesn’t go away if you lie back and play nice; we know we have to fight and we’re ready for it. Third Wave, on the other hand, is all about accommodation: accommodating patriarchy, primarily — reassuring men that women might fuss a little bit but they won’t actually rock the boat. Maybe a few frowns under the lip gloss, in between the boyfriend’s porn tapes and episodes of Keith Olbermann, but that’s about it. Just a few little glossy frowns.

Somebody’s got a surprise coming.

Oh, yes indeed-y.

Rebecca Traister of Salon referred to "grumpy old women" leaving out some people whom Joseph recognized:

Point 1: It's the gent, not the genitalia. Traister defines the phenomenon purely in terms of "ladies who love Hillary too much." Sisterhood is powerful: Hence, the PUMAs. It's a menopause thing, or so sayeth Traister.

Bullshit, sayeth I. Larry Johnson owns testicles, as does your humble narrator, as do a lot of other folk in PUMA-land. This is not a girls-only club. This is not about estrogen solidarity. In the end, this is not even about Hillary Clinton....

...It's about Obama. He's just not the right guy. He's just not the acceptable guy. The case against him resists easy summary, but one image may suffice: He moved Democratic Party HQ to Chicago.

For many years, Chicago corruption was the one aspect of Demo life that every party loyalist outside Illinois preferred not to think about. Whenever conservatives would spit "If you're so pure, what about the Daley machine?" -- we would whistle and sputter and tap our feet and try to change the subject.

And now: Barack Obama has moved the Democratic Party to Chicago.

Joseph also noticed Traister's "bare mention" of "the daily spew from Kos, TPM and Democratic Underground throughout the months of February, March, April and May."

2008 may be the last election in which pundits can pretend that the traditional media matter more than the online media. After this cycle, let's all stop kidding ourselves. Stop acting as if the overpaid blowhards on the teevee deserve more respect than do the unpaid blowhards in blogland or the paid-off blowhards who run the best-known political websites. The Daily Cheeto, god help us, gets more hits than FOX or MSNBC get viewers, and is therefore just as deserving of our antipathy.

It's the blogs, stupid.

And boy -- were the blogs stupid. And ugly. And vicious. And vile. And just plain loathsome.

The PUMA meme, like the term itself, was born online. Anti-Obama sentiment would never have congealed into a movement if his followers had not behaved in such a repulsive fashion, if they had not cried "Racism!" at every perceived heresy.

For months, they disparaged the legacy of the best Democratic president since FDR. The so-called "left" regurgitated every right-wing hate-meme and wacko anti-Clinton conspiracy theory of the 1990s....

Riverdaughter apprised the assault on PUMA:

Holy Hemiola! We got some serious attention today, didn’t we? First, Salon’s tagged teamed Rebecca Traister and Walter Shapiro against us. Shapiro was especially offensive with his bad boyfriend, “Where else are you going to go?” Downright creepy. Then HuffingtonPost got into the act with Will Bower (By the way, Will, our PUMA posts are time stamped. Just sayin’) Even Big Tent Democrat got into the act. But what was amazing was the sheer number of people who were fed up with the way this primary season has been going and thought it was time to take action against the DNC. If the comments I read today were any indication, the PUMA message of “It’s my vote, you’ve got to earn it” has a lot of followers.

If you read Bob Somerby of The Daily Howler, whom I consider our most reliable witness, remember this: pundits make stuff up. M'yeah, they bloviate without much evidence if any. If they have proof, they twist it to fit their "novels."

The press corps and the pundit class don't investigate and report. They peddle influence with an agenda: enforce the status quo, which is the death knell of a free press and an anathema to democracy. We saw this dynamic in the march to war.

Now the busy bees of the fauxgressive brigade have concocted imagined stories about what PUMAs oppose.

I can't speak for others but my opposition is:

  • about protesting a party that's sexist, corrupt, and out of touch

  • about throwing out party leadership by abstaining from their Anointed One

  • about a nomination process that used undemocratic means, i.e., caucuses, that made the Democratic party's name a joke

  • about the injustice of punishing MI and FL but giving NH, IA, and SC waivers when those states also violated the Rulz

  • about the dismissal of women and the working class by claiming we have no other political option other than voting Democratic

  • about the DNC rigging the nomination to wrangle their cash cow

  • about nominating the least qualified candidate of the field

  • about Obama's complicity in a dirty-tricks campaign of false racial smears, sexism, and okey doke politics

  • about manipulating the press propaganda machine to favor The One

  • about embracing homophobes and playing the LGBT community for suckers

  • about voting for "the lesser of two evils" that insidiously enables evil, hypocrisy, and complacency

  • about rejecting the extortion of my vote through intimidation and fear-mongering

  • about protesting the abandonment of constitutional principles for political capital.

I'm probably forgetting other important motives, but in short, I am fed up and revolting against corruption, sexism, exploitation of racial tensions, homophobia, and the plutocracy of both parties.

The disenfranchising, undemocratic status quo doesn't deserve our votes. The Democratic party must get our votes by earning them.

Obama as party leader indignantly expects that people who didn't vote for him should recruit people who didn't vote for him! Can you believe it?! He hasn't earned their votes yet he feels entitled to their support. Why? Party loyalty. Not an oath to the Constitution, as the FISA compromise clearly illustrates, but fealty to the party line. FTS!

Obama is the status quo packaged as change.

PUMAs crave change that we believe in and that we will exert.

To the barricades!