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Book Review: The Bloggers on the Bus

I was delighted to be sent an advance copy of this book about a month ago and then promptly fell headlong into a combination of blog burnout and exercise exhaustion.  What I thought was going to be a short primary season when I started this blog in January 2008 stretched into a mega marathon of almost continuous political commentary that has carried long past the election results.  The reasons for this are obvious: the party itself changed last year and we at The Confluence were there to witness that change, document it, comment on it and have felt the full effects of it.

In his book The Bloggers on the Bus, Eric Boehlert takes a survey of what will go down in history as one of the most important elections of our lifetimes and the effect, if any, that the blogosphere had on it.  The book is well written and fairly well balanced.  Boehlert profiles many well known bloggers on the left such as Big Tent Democrat, Jane Hamsher and Digby as well as some friends of ours like Alegre of Alegre’s Corner.  Through these profiles, Boehlert traces the emergence of the left blogosphere from the depths of the darkest days of the Bush Administration.  Then he follows the trajectory of commentary through the 2007-2008 election season and documents how that blogophere’s good intentions ended with a whimper.

The Confluence doesn’t have a starring role in this book but we are mentioned at several points.  Boehlert seems to not quite know what to do with us.  We were pro-Clinton bloggers but although we continued to advocate for Hillary until the convention, since the RBC hearing we had advocated for ourselves, the disenfranchised voters of the Democratic party.  At one point during the discussion of sexism, he refers to us as “parisan”, by which I think he means advocating strongly for one faction.  But he lumps us in with Taylor Marsh whose 180 degree switch from Clinton to Obama was dizzying and disconcerting to her readers.  We stayed faithful to our Democratic principles while those who were labeled partisan along with us swung with the wind. How did we end up in the same category?

PUMA he touches on hardly at all.  I understand he had to cut out quite a bit of material but the grassroots PUMA movement, which was virtually an online phenomenon  (pun intended), did have a small but significant impact.  However, PUMA was a viral movement and there are many incarnations of it, some of which did not reflect the intentions of the originators.  The unParty, as I like to call it, was bound to change and evolve after the election, but our goals are still to advocate for accountability, enfranchisment, Democratic principles and the election of more women to political office.  I can understand Boehlert’s sin of omission with respect to PUMA.  It’s difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.  The lines were blurred, sometimes deliberately, and without sounding too conspiratorial, perhaps by forces we don’t even know. Better to just not mention it at all.

What many readers will find fascinating about this book is the section dealing with the blog wars of 2008 and the response of the blogs to the overt sexism and misogyny of the high profile bloggers.  I don’t like the term “A-list” bloggers because some of these blogs have abandoned their former principles in pursuit of the Machiavellian goal of pushing their candidate over the finish line by any means necessary.  Oh, sure, it worked all right.  But the trail of destruction that it left behind in the party is going to take a long time to heal.  The effect on the left blogosphere is even more profound.  Boehlert does an admirable job in underscoring the parties responsible for the demise of Progressive Blogosphere 1.0 when he concludes this chapter with a quote from Paul Krugman who insinuates that he will never trust Markos Moulitsas again.

At some point in the book, Boehlert says that no one saw the ferocity and emotionalism coming.  I beg to differ.  I was present at the candidate’s forum sponsored by YearlyKos in 2007 in Chicago.  I went to the convention an Edwards supporter and left  a committed Hillary supporter.  I’ve documented before how impressed I was by the depth and breadth of her responses at her breakout session.  But what really nailed it for me was my observation of how John Edwards was able to manipulate the crowd during the forum itself.  It dawned on me at that moment, while the bloggers around me were booing and jeering everything Clinton said while mindlessly applauding everything Edwards said, that DailyKos and other blogs like it had become the equivalent of a giant focus group, one that the Edwards’ campaign, and subsequently the Obama campaign, data mined relentlessly for the words that would trigger the desired response.  Edwards struck me as a one-trick pony, insincere and unscrupulous.  What I witnessed was no less than the priming of a mob.  The next day at the breakfast open mic, I brought up my concerns and cautioned my fellow bloggers to be careful of people who appealed to the emotion.  It’s too easy to lose your sense and ability to think rationally when you’re in the midst of passion.  Kos, McJoan and the others squirmed uncomfortably in their chairs on the dais while I spoke.  I’m sure they got the point but they didn’t intend to act on it.  You can look it up, Eric.  I’m sure the session was taped for posterity.

Other blogs have commented on Digby’s admission that she was “chicken shit” at fighting off the tsunami of Obamamania that headed her way in 2008.  It wouldn’t be fair to single her out.  I’ve always thought Digby was one of the best writers the progressive blogosphere ever had.  But she had an opportunity to lead last year and she blew it.  That goes for Jane Hamsher as well.  Those of us who were caught up in the madness and escaped to stake a claim on new, remote asteroids of the blogosphere can state with confidence that being out here in no-man’s land wasn’t so bad.  The rejected found each other and rallied.  We didn’t give up our principles.  We understand why Digby did it, or, shall I say, we understand the excuse.  Yes, the misogyny was intense, but I have always maintained that blogging is the perfect medium for women.  Those mean, misogynistic comments are nothing but black dots on a monitor.  They can not hurt you.

They *can* hurt your ad revenue though.  This, I think, is one of the reasons why the blogosphere fell apart last year.  When someone else has control of your livelihood, it’s much harder to take a principled stand.  We saw what happened to Josh Marshall.  At one point during his kidnapping, all of his blogs were plastered with Obama campaign ads.  Obama paid for the TPM music and it, in turn, played what Obama had written.  Who could blame Josh?  He had two toddlers and college to think about.

DailyKos was another story altogether.  The blog format was too easily manipulated and the administrators took a hands-off approach to settling disputes.  I take that back.  They settled disputes by purging the site of Clinton supporters, yours truly included.  One of the reasons this blog doesn’t have a ratings system is because we have seen how easily people can become addicted to reward and praise for saying the right thing.  Conversion diaries dominated the recommended list and the newly converted were love bombed with recognition.  Those who didn’t fall into line were threatened with expulsion from the fold.  Those of us who grew up in fundamentalist religious families recognize these cultlike behaviors for what they are- emotional manipulation.  When we saw it happening to our blog homes, like DailyKos, MyDD and DU, we were right to be concerned.

But we are not at all suprised by Boehlert’s conclusions.  The progressive blogs have become feckless.  The left blogosphere was co-opted by the Obama campaign.  It would be incorrect to say that Obama didn’t reach out to the blogosphere.  It most certainly did, with relentless astroturfing, paid trolls and sophisticated psychological tricks that I recognized as being lifted directly from the manuals of the Personal Power courses that I have taken at work.  Boehlert and his colleagues at Media Matters have employment security in the future.  They now have to split their time between watching traditional media as well as the propagation and dissemination of propaganda through the reshaped progressive blogosphere.  This book is a good start at getting a grip on where it all went wrong.

Highly recommended.


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83 Responses

  1. RD IS BACK! **** So good to see/read you. Your blog burn-out is completely understandable. I don’t know how you’ve done it so well, so consistently, for so long. Take as much rest as you need, but know that you are greatly appreciated and missed when you are not here.

    Last year was sheer madness, but it’s good to know that someone is trying to make rational sense of it all from a balanced p.o.v. Emotion, money and fear are potent weapons.

    • Great post RD – glad to see you writing again – I missed your missives

  2. I was never a kossack so I missed a lot of what happened over there. I just remember that one day everything seemed normal and then the next you were an Obot or you were a pariah.

    • I thought it was more gradual. I actually never got banned from any of the sites. I actually just left after it became apparent that there was little to no interest in intellectual honesty . I asked a lot of questions and once it became apparent I was never going to get any answers I moved on to seek answers elsewhere. I kinda prefer drawing my own conclusions anyway. I’m not big propaganda fan. One of the reasons I like it here is because the site allows me to do that and doesn’t insist I have to agree with the conclusions drawn by the front page posters. It’s okay to disagree as long as you aren’t disagreeable in the manner you do so.

  3. One of the reasons I will not support O is due to the deliberate and vicious manipulation of the blogosphere using deceptive and anti-democratic methods. They saw the potential power of pure propaganda, and used it in the most nefarious ways, paying hordes of young, impressionable people to disseminate lies, bully and intimidate, and fuel misogyny, rac*sm, and fraud. And I repeat–it was deliberate. Unforgivable.

    Here’s a former cheerleader, who suddenly realizes that Obama’s promises aren’t worth the toilet paper they’re written on. He leaves out many examples: FISA, rendition, military tribunals, DODT, DOMA, Freedom of Choice Act etc.

    Obama’s trail of broken promises

    The prophet of hope now doesn’t even bother with explanations when he reneges on his campaign pledges.
    By David Sirota

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2009/06/06/sirota/

    • The truly sad this is the destruction is lasting – the psychological toll it has had on those “trolls,” the hatred built within them and their mindless adherence to what they were told.

      Total behavior modification in the worst way.

    • You have to admit it is funny watching them as they realize they were boned.
      Tip of the hat to who ever coined the name Barack Obunko.

      • I find it sad moreso than funny. If there had been a commitment to issues rather than political personalities last cycle things might have been different.

  4. Welcome back, riverdaughter!
    IMHO, the three best writers in the left blogosphere are Digby, Anglachel and you.
    Hmmm, what do all three have in common?

    • Nothing, at this point.

      • good 2 see ya back RD

      • Well, you are all still carbon-based life forms. :mrgreen:

      • Agreed. To your everlasting credit.

        I read RD but long ago stopped reading the other two.

        And, this was a particularly well constructed review of events from your perspective. It will be interesting to see how the ‘sphere evolves. Or not.

  5. What a terrific review, RD! It’s great to read you again.
    We need to send the link to Eric Boehlert. I’m going to tweet it right now.

    • This really is an excellent review and a good deal of what is missing in the other discussions is covered. I still don’t get how many folks missed all that psychological manipulation and the obvious staged ‘outpourings’. You could time them from blog to blog to blog. Some speech or event would happen. There would be total silence. Then at the same time, all the A list blogs were flooded with the same talking points. Most appeared to be cut and pasted from some email.

      It was a season of groupthink, imho.

  6. Related – go read Eriposte’s latest:

    http://www.theleftcoaster.com/archives/014153.php

    • The fact that the President would want to control messaging and external organizations that might oppose his stands should not be a surprise in itself. That is what Presidents and most politicians do. If anything, Obama has been very consistent on this right from the beginning and most of the so-called “progressive” activists and “netroots” made it very clear during the 2008 primary that this wasn’t something they particularly cared about. I am not entirely sure what Jane means in her comment about CAP and MM becoming “little more than arms of the White House”, but she is right that the desire for access to the powerful often subsumes issue-based agendas. This is a structural problem but it cannot be blamed on Obama. The blame rests squarely with the leadership of the organizations that have made an explicit decision to become “little more than arms of the White House” or have decided, based on the alleged fear of upsetting their members, to not take a more active role in pushing the Obama administration to the left.

      • Yes.

      • myiq: eriposte responded to you on your Ms. post at 12:30 below.

      • What?! This is just the same old justification for all things Obama. It’s never his responsibility. He just happens to be innocently standing nearby as the grateful recipient of all these behaviors. So, can we also say that Goebbels just used communication methods that were available to advance the agenda of his leader too? I mean, it is the same mendacious strategy used by the O campaign throughout: the end justifies the means, and if that includes voter suppression, fraud, bullying and intimidation, rac*sim, sexism, and relentless propaganda, well, then, it’s all “just politics” folks! Are there no standards at all? Have we come to that? I just answered my own question.

        • My point being, this was not just pushing Obama’s policy positions, leadership qualities etc.–it was a premeditated character assassination of a woman who has contributed heroically to the Dem Party for almost 40 years. How is that not Obama’s responsibility, whether the bloggers responded to their financial seduction or not?

        • I think his point is that the nutroots and progressive activists were more than willing to become tools.

          That’s not Obama’s fault, he just took advantage of it.

        • fif,

          My interpretation of the quote above is that Obama cannot be blamed for the willingness of organizations to be used by him. Their willingness to do so is a feature of social structure.

          This does not mean that Obama cannot be judged for his willingness to use these organizations thusly.
          I think eriposte’s point is that they compromised themselves by not doing what people like you are doing, which is rejecting Obama’s play for power.

          s

        • Myiq,

          I disagree with eriposte. The fact that Obama was willing to take advantage and win at any cost is a reflection of his charecter.

          His argument is akin to saying it isn’t the shoplifter’s fault that he shoplifts, it’s the fault of the shopkeeper. After all, the shopkeeper puts all that merchandise out there where anyone could just take it.

    • Just read that. It’s outstanding! I hope some sense is returning to left blogistan.

    • I like this part:

      The most striking example today is the Sonia Sotomayor nomination. From everything I have read about Judge Sotomayor she appears to be a person of sterling character and intellect and a very competent and accomplished jurist. However, she is not exactly a “liberal” judge and in some cases, might even be to the right of the Justice whom she will replace in the Supreme Court (David Souter). Where are the blogswarms and where is the activism to push Obama more to the left on his Supreme Court nomination? I recall a time when the “netroots” and progressives used to be extraordinarily concerned about the conservative tilt of the Supreme Court and the once in a generation opportunity to change it – now, other than repel Republican attacks on Sotomayor, I don’t see a lot of people even bothering to push Obama to pick someone who might be more progressive.

      The progressive (1.0) blogosphere is cheering on while Obama picks someone who could severely degrade rights.

      But the cynic in me says maybe that is their strategy. A p’ed off readership is a consistent readership. Making sure people remain perpetually p’ed off is good for business.

      And BTW, I noted with amusement that there was nothing in Progressive 1.0 yesterday about Obama nominating a right wing anti-choice person for his expanded “faith based” group. Progressives should be inflamed about that. Not a peep at the cheeto….

  7. Boehlert seems to not quite know what to do with us.

    What he should have done is recognize the drive for integrity which fueled the PUMA uprising. We got characterized as a bunch of angry bitter you-know-the-routine-by-now, a means of invalidating our deep and very valid misgivings about Obama and the Democratic party machinery. From reading various online summations, my impression of Boehlert’s book is that he wimped out in the end and soft pedaled the core ruthlessness of BlogObama world. At any rate, if you stand for anything, RD, it’s integrity, a priceless trait. We’re lucky to have you.

    • At any rate, if you stand for anything, RD, it’s integrity, a priceless trait. We’re lucky to have you.

      You can say that again.

    • Yup, Booman characterized the Confluence just today as a bunch of dried up bitter knitterz for Hillary who refuse to acknowledge POTUS. Simple minds have to use simple frames. That’s all I gotta say on the subject.

    • If the focus is on the blogosphere, he was correct to keep his emphasis on how the bloggers lost their heads and capitulated. I’m by no means letting Obama off the hook. He wasn’t innocent by any means. And just because he personally did not promulgate *most* of the misogynism doesn’t mean he didn’t bear the obligation and responsibilty to put an end to it. I would have thought more highly of his character if he had. But he didn’t and that more than anything else told me exactly what I needed to know about the kind of president he would turn out to be.
      But the book was about the blogosphere. The progressive bloggers should have known better. They knew the signs, they were familiar with propaganda, they were warned about how authoritarianism works. They decided to chuck all of that away for their 15 minutes of fame and power lust.
      And here we are.

      • yup, any body who has seen or experienced the Republican hate machine at work should’ve recognized and denounced the tactics, not joined and enabled the democratic party version of it.

      • Misogyny was never defined in the blogosphere and that allowed people to use arbitrary standards to define what it was. It created a situation hwere people could say that it was okay to call Clinton and Palin “cu*ts” and “bitc*es” because they were those things. as if anyone in the blogosphere would justify rightwing supremacists calling Obama “ni*gg*r” because he really was one.

        It allowed a situation where the cultural restrictions on the First Lady’s tradtional role were allowed to define what it was Clinton had done as First Lady without seeing the misogyny involved in that diminishment – as if the title First Lady defined the role.

        I don’t know that a loud enough megaphone was available to penetrate the din, but had Digby and Hamsher and a few other taken a principled stand as to a definition of misogynistic rhetoric and repeatedly called for that standard to be embraced, it would have made a difference.

        • I wrote Jane several times telling her to tell folks to tone down the hateful and misogynist rhetoric before I finally left FDL. She kept acting like it was me just not being tough enough. I was appalled!

        • Sexism/misogyny are acceptable forms of bigotry.

          Racism (even the imagined kind) is not.

  8. Whew! You’re back!

    Well RD & Co. You nailed a lot of things here. I recall the exact mo I found the Conf. In the WP backdrop. It seems to me I couldn’t see any good press in the LAT for Hillary, at all. So I began to search the press online? None there either.

    I had read an editorial called “The Magic Negro” in the LAT — at that point I had NEVER even heard of Obama. Truly. I remember being so shocked to see the word Negro like that — I mean WTF? This is California! So I began to investigate? I read about you and Alegre being kicked off and a writer’s strike that went on just post the big strike to the south and then it became truly a feminist thing that you had to start your own place. You reminded me, on the page, of women I knew in High School — writers.

    The Conf. became a place of refuge, as did a handful of your links. I had no idea you were such a huge part of the blogosphere? Seriously.

    But every day I read you, and then all the others who showed. I watched the whole thing unfold, and the whole thing is documented thanks to WP. Forever.

    The voices became “friends” —- Gary, who was gay, Boston Boomer, Klown, Dakini….and so on. Friends because I feel we all felt the same values as Dems? Dems of our era.

    Cinie and Uppity were huge voices. HUGE. Investigative.

    We all came aboard with our various skill sets.

    This is the first time we ever saw somebody target market their way to the top using advertising techniques in the web. Struggling newspapers were paid hugely. For those ads that were everywhere — everywhere! All over the country. It was the launch of a brand that eventually became a chia pet. As it filtered down.

    There is only one big problem now though as NK points itself in our direction. Everyone else (world leaders) saw how that got accomplished, webly, no? And now…

    All those paid off TV stations, papers, far-left dems, and so forth who pushed all this through? Well. Just wait. You see, at this point they are all going to compete for market share. All the various world ideologies and unforch religious fundamentalists who want to see it their way.

    I liked Edwards too. Then Hillary (based on the good years of the 90’s)…(for the country). The way I felt was that we were in a war (horrible) and we had to have seasoned leaders get us out.

    Every day some new scandalous gaffe happens ala Pelosi, nuclear, photo releases , torture et al. Every day the country sees the splitting going on. And, we see clowns on the news and no real reporting, any place. On any of it.

    Any of it.

    I feel that any of us who grew up with WWll as ancient history and Vietnam as a shaping force — who have lived in relative peace until the last eight years? Well, this is a Cuban missile crisis mo for us.

    At the same time as the economy is tanked and all the rest of it.

    Little non-thinking genobots?

    Perhaps weren’t thinking past the partying or various payoffs.

    Grown up Progressives? We knew what was at stake.

    That red phone moment? Yeah. I’d say we are there on various and multiple fronts in metaphor. Oh and, there is a younger gen than O’s right now. Anyone who wants to find out about that should pick up a copy of that PW Singer book “Wired for War.”

    I think whatever happened in the blogosphere over the last long year and a half is telling about where the country finds itself. All tangled up with little sense of direction — just like the tail end Boom grew up. Only now? They are at the helm.

    Let’s just hope that the other world leaders spare us at this point.

    hugs…….

    from someone who will ever be astounded at what I saw happen as PUMA formed, and to all the people who were and are part of that?
    I remember reading Violet who said feminism had died.

    Nah.

    But, if anything the Conf. taught ’em it hadn’t!

    The Conf. is the fabbest. Because it is real!

    • Even after all this, my biggest problem with Edwards is that he failed to keep his promise to remain neutral.

      I didn’t go to the netroots thing though. Perhaps my perception would have been different had I actually met him.

      Anyways, I don’t feel manipulated by anyone. My decision to support each of the candidates was based on where they stood on issues.

  9. I think to some degree one of the major roles the blogosphere played in this election was to expand and record the type of emotional blackmail, insults, threats, and outright harassment that similarly marked the 2000 and 2004 elections. I can clearly remember some significant cultish behavior on the part of Bush supporters and the heinous “if you’re against us you’re against America and we’ll all get blown up and killed” routines. With the 2000 election I had almost forgotten the absolute rage over Bush’s win (muddled by all the 9/11 stuff) until I saw Farenheit 9/11 and the tape of people egging the cars on Inauguration Day.

    The online journal that the blogosphere has created will be the permanant record of what went on and history books will no doubt contain references to it.

  10. After witnessing the print and broadcast media’s attacks on the Clintons and Al gore then Bob Somerby’s refutation, I rather naively, thought all the ” Progressive/liberal” bloggers were as honest.
    Boy, was I hoodwinked.

    The other lesson I took from the 2008 primary season was that some Dems were just as susceptible to brainwashing as any republican.

    I know one thing, I won’t be back until the caucus system is eliminated and delegates are awarded on a statewide basis.

    • That is to say that those bloggers were as honest as Somerby.
      Turns out they sold their souls for the promise of thirty pieces of silver.

      • I knew Obots had jumped the shark when they started bashing Somerby for telling the truth.

        He wasn’t even bashing Obama.

  11. I will never forget the Primary of 2008 and all the Pro Hillary blogs. PUMA was formed out of anger. I remember all the nasty Obots and the horrible things they said about women.
    I remember being so angry on June 3, 2008 as I watched the Media steal the election from Hillary.
    I never forgave Obama and probley never will.

  12. The crimes and follies of the Chimperor and Darth Cheney combined with the elections of 2006 to deliver a wakeup call to the Corporate Misruling Class. A preponderance of the CMC realized they had blundered badly in installing Dubya and Darth, so badly that the GOP was temporarily disabled.

    Hence, the CMC used GOP and Madison Avenue propaganda techniques, along with plain old bribery and thuggery, to launch a hostile takeover of the Democratic Party, which succeeded all too well.

    If the GOP has not recovered by the time the CMC gets through draining the Democratic Party like it did the GOP, I wonder what will the CMC do then?

    • I expect that was one of the reason Bloomberg was floated last cycle. They are watching the number of Independants. I expect them to launch a third party choice. Then some of us are going to be faced with the decision to vote for it to strategically change the dynamic of a two party system or deal with having bad and worse as our choice ad nauseaum.

      I’m going to cross the bridge when I come to it. I keep reminding myself that FDR wasn’t what his supporters were expecting when they elected him. We are due for an FDR. At least, I hope we are.

  13. Fascinating review. Well done.

    • long time no read Brad, how’s the movie biz doing?

      • Fine. THE WATERMELON has received national distribution, a new project has just been accepted by a major company at Warner Brothers, and I’m shooting a feature a black comedy in Georgia this coming fall. Keeping busy. Thanks for asking.

        • that’s great! onward and upward!

        • Pleased for you Brad.

        • Quite frankly I’m surprised to see you over here after hanging with the stalker boyz. Why the chameleon act? I actually bought your video and was going to do a review over here until I saw your associations with those hater sites.

        • (yawn)

          Thanks for the honor of your presence.

        • Gee Brad,

          I’m going to break my self-imposed silence to say that I really don’t care for either of your faces.

        • It’s not a chameleon act. I came in here to acknowledge an enjoyable piece of writing by Riverdaughter. I’m not going to get into it with you or anyone else, PUMA or non-PUMA.

          For the record, the RRsters (I don’t want to be booted for using forbidden words) know me as a continuing Clinton supporter, and treat me with tremendous civility despite our few differences. I’ve acknowledged (on blogradio shows) my early missteps when trying to come into TC, and take full responsibility for my subsequent rejection. As far as AoD goes, there are two side to every story.

          I repeat that I enjoyed Riverdaughter’s post, that’s all I came in here to say. I’m done.

          Enjoy your weekend and your summer, and carry on.

  14. Eric’s history is slightly off, as Eriposte discussed with him. The early crystallization of the liberal Internet presence was MediaWhoresOnline that relentlessly humiliated “journalists,” and the VRWC. Both sets of whores are in it for cash and social status rather than truth.

    Guess what? That’s the exact diagnosis of what happened to most liberal bloggers. They became their enemy and lost all credibility. The Obama campaign ruined the principled basis of the modern Democratic Party by exposing the low character of many of the players.

    In the shit storm of data during the Texas caucuses, those of us working on legal problems had a couple of flashes of clarity that have since proven themselves:

    – Obama knew. His Alinsky strategy to do anything within the law was a simple extension of what he did to Alice Palmer and continued through Denver. No one goes to jail for making up a caucus delegate count, and if you appear to have the majority, you get to ratify fake counts.

    – We are worse than the GOP. Or at least the Obama wing of the party is. The GOP has never done to us anything as bad as Obama’s Chicago people did. Bill Rehnquist merely challenged Hispanic voters’ ID; Obama’s people prevented votes and made up their own. As our witnesses show, this was the caucus strategy from Iowa on.

    – We let loose the hounds of hell for subsequent elections and turned what was a fragile electoral legal process into a cage match. The next contested primaries and general elections will be lawless brawls. HIllary superdelegate Rep. Brad Sherman said the ’08 caucuses would make Robert Mugabe blush. Wait ’til next time.

    (A later conclusion is that Jimmy Cart can suck my ****. I was this close >< to gifting my estate to his foundation until he reneged on his alleged dedication to clean elections. The Obama campaign exposed Carter's character flaws too.)

    • The really shocking thing is that they sold themselves so cheaply.

    • As a survivor of a Kansas I totally agree with what you’ve said here. We didn’t allow Obama’s out of state volunteers to take control of our caucus (I was the chairwoman of the Credentials Committee) but – WOW …. they sure tried. And what I heard about the other caucuses was stomach turning.

      I’ll NEVER attend one of those again. (which I guess was one of the goals)

    • I couldn’t believe what went on in Texas. To this day, I can’t believe people aren’t in jail.

      • They probably would be in jail but for the leadership of the TX dem party. Talk about a bunch of chickenshits, they’re the worst. There were 100s of witnessed complaints and they just ignored them.

        About once a week, I get an invite to some function or the other to raise money for them. My response is always the same “F**k you and all your kin”. Eventually they may stop.

        • Yeah, they’re looking for money from me here in Louisiana to help with the redistricting. As if I’ll ever give to the Democratic party again!

    • So happy to see you here PJ. Any chance you might want to guest post?

      • Want and can are two different things;) I hear blog burnout is going around.

        I’ll be up for something sooner or later – the Boehlert book has me tuning my theories.

        Great to see your post. It’s like we’re getting the band back together.

  15. Lying Obot Optical Neuropathy Syndrome (LOONS):

    PUMA-ism is dying. None too soon, either – it’s been a full year. But while all sane estimates suggest that President Obama is building the most progressive presidency in history, these former Clinton malcontents will continue to foam at the mouth about imaginary sexism, until the end. Their latest is a reflection on Obama’s sexist campaign, embodied in, apparently, roughly five quotes.

    “ I understand that Senator Clinton, periodically when she’s feeling down, launches attacks as a way of trying to boost her appeal.”

    “You challenge the status quo and suddenly the claws come out.”

    “Tea parties with ambassadors.”

    “Hold on one second, sweetie.”

    “You can put lipstick on a pig.” “It’s still a pig.”

    Let’s give the PUMAs the benefit of the doubt on this, and agree, for the sake of argument, that these five out-of-context quotes, excerpted from thousands of public appearances spread out over three years, somehow make his entire campaign one long, running insult to America’s women. Still, these perceived offenses stand to naught against real accomplishments, like the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the withdrawal of the “Mexico City Policy,” and the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor, who will be (yes, will be) only the third woman to ever serve on the Court, and a reliable fifth vote to keep Roe on life support. The PUMA’s ‘08 favorite, John McCain, opposes or opposed every one of these policies, vocally, and before you say it, no, being friends with a woman because she looks good on TV doesn’t excuse his anti-feminist positions. In fact, it almost makes it worse: McCain and the Republican Party basically treated Palin as a prop, or a chance for a good news story, hardly an empowering move.

    No, Obama isn’t perfect, nor is his administration. But when judging his record on women’s rights, let’s focus on his actual record, shall we?

    The author is “Ames” (one of our regular blogstalkers)

    • Most progressive in history?

      More than FDR even?

    • LOL-the point being that BO has NO actual record on women’s rights.

      • He has very little record at all – just rhetoric.

        • As Plouffe put it, he didn’t run because he wanted to win, he ran to bring change.

          “Progressivism: When Vague Insipid Platitudes Make You Feel All Fuzzy Inside–It’s A Lot Easier Than Actually Having to Do Anything.”

    • Heh

      My response to Ames is Sotomayer position is the government has a right to be anti choice and use tax payer funds to be thus, the conscience clause still exists and Obama just agreed to allow the Catholic diocese to have an impact on policy.

      He’ll have to forgive me if I ain’t giddy because the Democrats with the help of FEMALE REPULICANS decided girls actually should earn the same amount if doing the same job.

      If Obama were to run today, I’d still vote against him Sotomayer, Mexico city or not.

  16. I cannot believe the Puma movement was left out of his book. To me it was something wonderful, and totally part of 2008.

    However if RD says the book’s worth reading, perhaps I will try to find a copy.

  17. It’s a relief this book was published. I can’t wait to read it. This discussion of what happened caused me to look up a thread that I participated on at Daily Kos. Dengre, who had blogged for years about the sweatshop workers in the Norther Marianas was an early on Obama supporter – though he did not admit that. He picked up a smear from Byron York about Clinton accepting a $10k donation from the Tam family and how her presidential campaign was being funding by sweatshop owners. He refused to acknowledge how aggressive the Clinton administration had been against the sweatshop owners. More importantly, he never acknowledged that the donation came at a time when Clinton was co-sponsoring a bill to raise the minimum wage and to include the workers of the Marianas in the wage increase, and that she co-sponsored the legislation repeatedly after the donation. And lastly, the donation itself was to her senate campaign – not to her presidential campaign. Obama, of course, never did even remotely this much on behalf of those god-forsaken workers.

    It[‘s a really upsetting thread, but is illuminatory as to what the atmosphere online was. The diary post itself is not from Dengre but the thread quickly deteriorates into a discussion of his previous charges:
    http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2007/8/11/74647/3224/49#c49

    The hate dished out towards Clinton is mind-boggling.

    • But Obama’s millions from Wall Street was no big deal.

      BTW – Hillary raised about $125 million in 2007 alone – I doubt she sold her soul for a lousy $10K

    • I looked at that-it was terrible.

      Smears were vicious on Hillary and crickets about for example, Michelle being on the board of a of a food company where

      she allegedly took part in a 2005 decision to close a pickle and relish plant in La Junta, Colorado, putting 150 mostly Hispanic labourers out of work.

      The small town was devastated.

      “It totally amazed me when they closed it,” said La Junta Mayor

      Don Rizzuto, who had believed that Michelle and her husband were “the champions of the little guy”.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-517824/Mrs-O-The-truth-Michelle-Obamas-working-class-credentials.html

      • saw this at hillaryis44

        Rush calls for hearing into claims U. of C. Med Center refuses to treat uninsured poor

        Rep. Bobby Rush has called for a congressional hearing into allegations that the University of Chicago Medical Center refused treatment to low-income, uninsured patients.

        The issue has been a widespread problem in hospitals throughout the country, Rush said in the May 25 letter to Rep. Ed Towns (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Rush said “the pervasive impact of patient dumping are felt especially in more recent times, when so many Americans suffer under extreme economic hardship and diminishing access to health care.”

        The move puts Rush at odds with several people in President Obama’s inner circle. First lady Michelle Obama, as an executive at the U. of C. Hospitals, helped create the program. White House adviser Valerie Jarrett signed off on the program when she was the hospital board’s chairwoman. White House senior adviser David Axelrod was hired to promote the program. And Obama’s buddy Dr. Eric Whitaker currently runs the program.

        In February, the American College of Emergency Physicians said it was concerned that the policy was “dangerously close to patient dumping” and “reflected an effort to ‘cherry pick’ wealthy patients over poor.”

        Although the facility is in Rush’s district, the call for an investigation is his first move on the issue.

        http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/1606825,CST-NWS-rush04.article

      • well, they can try to rewrite history, but they’re going to have to wipe clean an awful lot of hard drives and websites to do it successfully

  18. Pardon me , I haven’t read the comments yet. I have read excerpts of the book. Does Boehlert mention the thousands of people that were banned from some blogs for disagreeing or rebutting the propaganda?

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