Friday, September 24, 2010


Based on what a lot of people seem to be saying in Betty Cracker's Rumproast thread, I was silly to respond positively to Susie Madrak's use of the term "hippie-punching" in that conversation with David Axelrod, and I sure as hell was supposed to be appalled when she said, "We're the girl you'll take under the bleachers but you won't be seen with in the light of day."

Betty said in comments to my earlier post on this subject,

... has Mandrak done anything for the past 2 years besides complain about what a piece of shit Obama is? She's entitled to her opinion, of course, but it just seems a bit rich that she's not only assuming the "punched-hippie" avatar but claiming that if weren't for all the abuse, she'd be an effective advocate for the administration.

She should have said, "If Obama adopted the Kucinich platform
in toto, it would be much easier to motivate my vast readership." And that's all well and good as far as it goes. But on the other hand, if my granny had wheels, she'd be a go-cart...

Well, OK -- I confess I haven't read Susie much in recent years. That's an excellent reason to argue that Susie was the wrong messenger. But that doesn't mean it was the wrong message.

A principal argument in the Rumproast thread is that Susie was making this all about her feelings. That's not how I interpret the term "hippie-punching." Sometimes hippie-punching consists of insulting words, but often it's deeds -- it's choosing to reject a course of action because it's being proposed by the left, whether by annoying bloggers or by Simon Johnson and Paul Krugman. It's trying to position yourself as not one of them. It has real-life policy consequences.

Yes, it's a somewhat abstruse term -- an in-group reference bloggers understand. Maybe that means Susie shouldn't have used it. But haven't a lot of Republicans made it their business to master teabagger lingo, just because they know it's useful not to alienate the hardcore base?

And I don't blame Susie for saying, "We're the girl you'll take under the bleachers but you won't be seen with in the light of day." I've got no patience for responses like this, from Betty's thread:

Could somebody please reassure Susie that there are no circumstances under which anyone would want to take her under the football stands?

That's sexist -- and it's not the point. You want a time-honored, G-rated version of this? OK, I'll try: Democrats don't dance with the ones whut brung 'em. Progressive activists worked hard to elect Obama and a lot of congressional Dems, and many of those winning candidates blow the activists off. That's all Susie meant. (That's not about her feelings, either.)

Zandar, in a post about this, said:

Republicans fear their base. Democrats despise theirs.

Here's my take:

Republicans treat the ideologically pure righties in their base like a dog at a picnic -- they often tie it up while they talk with fellow humans, but they don't deny it food and water, and once in a while they get up and throw it a Frisbee.

Democrats treat the ideologically pure lefties in the party's base like ants a picnic -- they either ignore them or pay attention to them just long enough to brush them off.


And what sucks is that I hate this infighting. I'm sour on Obama these days, but I'm not hardcore about it -- it would take very little to turn me around (really, just an occasional win for progressivism, and a little more effort to rebut the right's 24/7 trashing of even long-established progressive ideas, like Social Security and New Deal Keynesianism). I cheer on certain acts by lefty purists, but overall my sympathies aren't with those purists. Lately I feel stuck in the middle -- I feel more realistic than the Firebaggers, but I feel angrier than the Rumproasters. I don't know who's in my vicinity -- Jon Stewart? The "exhausted" woman at the Obama town hall?

No comments: