My previous two pieces on the pro-Hillary robocalls have evinced a larger-than-usual number of responses, some of them quite angry. I wrote an early version of this post in a reply comment, but perhaps it would be as well to expand upon those thoughts here.
One piece of hate mail ran thus:
"I hate to tell you, but MOST PUMAs have never even heard of your site. Today is the first day I heard of it, and I never hear anyone discussing it."
Well, throughout 2008, this site got a lot of traffic -- and a lot of hate mail, including death threats.
This is not bragging. I usually do not do the things that other bloggers do to increase visibility. To the contrary: In that same period, I asked other sites (including Raw Story) to de-list Cannonfire from their blog rolls.
Why? Because Obama-loving clowns would often write in and accuse me of being in it for the money. To which the obvious response was: What
At that time, everyone knew that I was not a huge Hillary fan. Quite a few anti-Obots belonged in the "Hillary supporter by default" category.
Let us, with a sigh and a roll of the eyes toward heaven, give the rap one last time...
I never thought that Hillary Clinton would be a bad president. But the idea of dynasty has an obnoxious reek, and when the wife of a two-term president runs for president herself -- well, it seems too much like a cheap attempt at a constitutionally-forbidden third term. Also, the Clinton name seemed damaged: The anti-Clinton barrage of the 1990s, unfair though it was, had inflicted some genuine wounds.
In short, Hillary's ability to win in the general election was open to question.
Thus, in 2007, I took an ABC -- Anyone But Clinton -- attitude. I even supported the little-known Obama, even though he aroused my suspicion.
Then came the "darkened video" smear on Kos. This site mounted a detailed technical rebuttal to that canard. Many people read and discussed that particular post. Nobody attempted to refute the argument (which I had run past an old friend who edits video professionally) -- at least, not on technical
grounds. But the Obama supporters nevertheless reacted with a level of mindless outrage and vitriol that reminded me of the Free Republic crowd at its most bloodthirsty.
That's when I understood that a kind of madness had overtaken progressive circles. Anyone who criticized Obama was slammed as a racist.
Hero worship is always to be disdained.
So this blog switched allegiance to Edwards. A mistake, yes, but at the time, we did not know what we know now. The populist stances he took on the campaign trail still deserve admiration.
I supported Hillary only when she was the last thing standing between Obama and the nomination. As the campaign progressed, her sheer resilience commanded respect.
PUMA sprang up. It was, arguably, necessary. But...well, let's just put it this way: No joiner I.
Do not count me among those worship Saint Hillary. There's a difference between respect and worship.
Frankly, my former respect for Hillary has diminished to a considerable degree. She has done things (perhaps has had
to do things) as Secretary of State that deserve heavy criticism. She would have done better had she remained a senator.
To repeat: Hero worship is always to be disdained.
There apparently is a residual PUMA underground which maintains an altar dedicated to Saint Hillary. It's a cult of sorts. The cult no doubt receives covert funding from the Republican party, just as Democrats used to toss a little money each year at the Libertarian party (which siphoned votes from the Republicans).
At any rate, most of these cultists get, and merit, little attention.
Any hint of libertarian rhetoric makes my eyes turn bloodshot. That rhetoric -- sometimes blatant, sometimes subtle -- glides in and out of the pseudo-PUMA sites.
I prefer Corrente's "too liberal for Obama" stance, although lambert's puerile fantasy of a third party also pisses me off. My preferred strategy has been consistent: Let's take over the Democratic party and transform it into an anti-libertarian powerhouse.
As the earlier post pointed out, there were always two PUMAs. One was a genuine grassroots attempt to topple Obama, while the other was a GOP ratfucking operation. These days, the ratfuckers seem to be in control.
One of the remarkable aspects of the real
PUMA movement is that it attracted some remarkably gifted writers. In particular, Dakinkat and Riverdaughter are born talents -- and I say that even though I doubt that RD even likes me. (Those two ladies don't get along these days. Not sure why. Not my affair.) If one of the pseudo-PUMA sites publishes wordsmithing of that caliber, let me know.
Whenever a previously unknown commenter, usually anonymous, drives by and thoughtlessly insists that we all must
vote against Obama, I smile in recognition. Just another ratfucker.
Ratfuckers are always easy to spot. They don't do nuance. They don't do subtlety. They don't mount careful arguments of the "on the one hand X, but on the other hand Y
" variety. No, their business is propaganda, pure and simple.
You know why propaganda works?
Some years back, a psychologist did an experiment. The subject was given a card bearing a line two inches long. Then he was given a second card with three lines printed on it: The top one was one and 3/4 inches long, the middle one was two inches, the third one was longer. Which line (he was asked) best matched the line on the first card?
When left to his own devices, a subject will say "The middle line." Every time.
But if you put the subject in a room filled with people -- all actors, placed there as part of the experiment -- who insist that the top line is two inches long, then the subject will pick the top line. Not always, but almost always.
It's part of human nature. We simply do not want to be outcasts.
The drive-by commenters who invade various blogs to push a propaganda line are fulfilling the same role as the actors in that experiment.
We saw a lot of pro-Obama "actors" in 2008. They were pretty obvious. We later learned that there are internet services which can artificially create public opinion using blog comments. David Axelrod, Obama's campaign chieftain, runs one such "astroturf" firm. If you study the comments appended to just about any 2008 post, on any Democratic-leaning blog, you'll easily spot the "Ax" brigade at work.
But Axelrod is not the only one. There are plenty of astroturfers out there, and many of them are employed by the GOP.
Do your own thinking. Don't let a crowd talk you into an answer that does not match the evidence of your eyes.
Mistrust simple statements. (Yes, I recognize that the preceding sentence contradicts itself. Isn't that cute?) The more complex and thoughtful arguments deserve greater consideration.
Here are my thoughts on 2012.
Back in 2008, the Republican candidate was John McCain, a fundamentally decent man who holds to views I don't like. In the end, I could not vote for him. Yet I still think the country would have been, in some ways, better off had he won. Although we probably would still be in an economic downturn, at least the bad times would have redounded to the discredit of the Republican brand name.
Let's face it -- by this point, the recession belongs to Obama. He didn't create it, but it was his to fix. And he hasn't fixed it.
Had McCain won in 2008, the way would be clear now for a truly
progressive Democrat to effect radical change.
But now we have the problem posed by the tea party, an obnoxious conflation of libertarianism and Christian fundamentalism, the two most dangerous trends in American pseudothought. This movement pretends to revere the founders, yet it wants an end to democracy. Many of them favor secession and Dominionism. Newt Ginginch has always favored "nonlethal" means of crowd control -- which means that he has anticipated the insurrection that must necessarily accompany the transition to outright oligarchy.
Any Republican candidate too heavily stained with tea must be opposed. The country can survive four more bad years under Obama; the country can't survive insane fools like Michelle Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry -- or Ron Paul. Libertarianism is a destroyer of nations. By intent
. By definition
Obama is a terrible president. A sell-out. But he is not insane and he is not a fool. The genuine hatred he arouses in libertarians remains a point in his favor.
Romney...? I'm simply not sure. We shall study; we shall see. Right now, he looks like a Mormon version of Obama.
As a general rule: If forced to choose between Horrible and Horribler, I'll go for Horrible. And if you try to force me into a different stance by hitting me over the head with your bag of cliches...
...hm. Is that rat
Speaking of rat, the following comes from Hillaryis44
This Kook [the link goes to this very Cannonfire post] who is attacking us as “Republican ratf*ckers” is a self confessed Obama fan and Hillary hater. He says “I was not a hugeHillary fan…. I didn’t like the idea of dynasty… I simply thought that the Clinton name was damaged… I took at that time an ABC — Anyone But Clinton — attitude. I even supported Obama.” And this fool is preaching to us????
Quotation can be slander if you gerrymander. Is this lying idiot seriously trying to convince people that I am a "self-confessed Obama fan" and a "Hillary hater"? Does that characterization bear any resemblance to the previous posts on this site? Does the pseudoquotation as given here bear any resemblance to what I originally wrote? (And I never wrote a post attacking Hillaryis44 -- until here and now.)
Here's how to spot a Republican ratfucker: LYING. Ratfuckers LIE.
From the same post -- and note that this bit is not gerrymandered or taken out of context:
It’s like Hillary supporters who reject Obama but still support what was once the “Democratic Party”.
That group includes the Clintons themselves, of course. Also:
Matt Damon who attacks Palin and others as stupid, we have called stupid.
Wow. What writing! Worthy of a C.B. DeMille screenplay. Maybe the text sounds less stilted in the original Akkadian.
Obviously, the people behind Hillaryis44 are hoping for a Republican senate. That is the purpose of the site.