This particular passage in Part 1 of Eriposte’s interview with Eric Boehlert at The Left Coaster caught my eye:
“Irrational loyalties,” was how one prominent blogger described the situation from the 2008 primary season. That blogger was taking a swipe at both camps, but I think the larger point stands. I’m still not sure why the debate from the spring of 2008 generated into what it did, and I’m not sure many bloggers today really want to look back and search for answers to that question. I don’t think there’s any question that the blogosphere, at least for a while there, became unrecognizable in terms of walking away from the high intellectual standards it had set for itself in previous years. Obviously, the campaign season was going to create various splits since the blogosphere was not going to automatically coalesce around one candidate. And as I mentioned in the book during 2007, the split was between Edwards, Obama and Clinton and the debates online were mostly rational and earnest and intelligent. But then Edwards got out of the race in January, 2008, and pretty much all hell broke loose right after that and the old blog rules sorta went out the window. Today, online backers of Obama and Clinton say the other was to blame (i.e. they started it.) (emphasis added)
There is no question who is to blame and the evidence is there in the posts and comment threads to prove it. It was the Obots that started it.
I’m not saying that no Hillary supporter ever said anything outrageous and inappropriate about Obama, nor am I claiming that no one on our side ever flamed anyone on theirs. In fact, I’m proud to say I charcoaled more Obot asshats than I can remember. But when I did I was shooting back.
Comb through the archives of Cheetoville and the other “A” list blogs (if you have a strong enough stomach) and you’ll find that Hillary supporters in the blogosphere were badly outnumbered from the beginning. But it wasn’t just numbers – the viciousness of the Obots was (and still is) stunning.
I served in the army and spent a good part of my adult life in male-dominated occupations, so suffice it to say I have heard some pretty salty language before. I’ve also worked several jobs that involved dealing with violence and I have had guns pointed at me more than once and I’m not easily intimidated, especially not by anonymous strangers over the internet.
I have been arguing politics since I was a teenager but I never saw the kind of deranged attacks I saw last year. I was blown away. Any criticism of Obama (or defense of Hillary) elicited insulting tirades and graphic rants from total strangers. I’m not talking about a single troll in a comment thread, I’m talking about pack attacks that went on without interference from moderators.
Over at Cannonfire Joseph Cannon has documented some of the hateful things that were said about Hillary at Cheetoville. The stuff they said about her supporters was as bad or worse. That wasn’t the only place where things were unhinged. I still recall one comment made by a wonktard that compared the vaginas of PUMA women to pulling apart a grilled cheese sandwich. That’s actually one of the less-graphic things I recall, but I won’t repeat the really bad ones.
The Confluence was founded as a refuge for Hillary supporters from the unhinged attacks of Obamanation. I’m not aware of any blogs that were started to give the Obots a safe place to meet and talk, but I am aware of several stalker blogs founded for the purpose of harassing and annoying PUMAs.
At it’s core, PUMA is a coalition of the refugees from the purging of Left Blogistan. Oh sure, there have been some loons and nutjobs running around calling themselves PUMAs but the vast majority of PUMAs are liberal Democrats-in-exile. (I suspect that many of the ones taking the PUMA name in vain are Obot ratfucker sockpuppets)
The idea that PUMA was a GOP operation is absurd. It has it’s roots in the Obot memes that Hillary was really a Republican and was trying to kneecap Obama so that McCain would win. Later they just shifted that lie over to PUMA.
I’m not saying that the GOP didn’t try to take advantage of the split in the Democratic party caused by Obama’s divisive campaign strategy. But to believe that PUMA was a GOP group you would have to believe that the Republicans recruited PUMA leaders like Riverdaughter out of high school and had them spend decades building up liberal cover resumes, waiting for the opportunity to disrupt the Democratic party.
“Agent K, we have new orders. We want you to go online to this place called “Dailykos” and other progressive “blogs” and register as “Goldberry.” Pose as a liberal and begin posting on a daily basis, advocating things like universal health care, gay marriage and protecting a women’s right to choose. Support liberal Democratic candidates too. Win their trust, and we’ll let you know when it’s time to betray them. By the way, keep your day job because you’re not getting paid for any of this”
The Obots can try to rewrite history, but we were there and we remember. They deserve the blame, as do all the bloggers who stood by and silently watched it happen. In case they forget, I plan to stick around and remind them.