Somewhere To Belong

Not long after I hit the “publish” button for this post, I started thinking a little more extensively on the phenomenon represented by blogs such as Talk Left, No Quarter, and Taylor Marsh. They each have their own little quirks; over at the stomping grounds of Taylor Marsh, there’s an unusual love for Fox News blowhards, No Quarter has forgotten where the line of racial decency existed, and the dynamic duo of Jeralyn and Big Tent Democrat have elevated goal post shifting to high art.

Whenever these blogs come up in polite conversation elsewhere on the left side of the blogosphere, there’s a somewhat mournful tone, if not outright angry. We lament how partisan our fellow partisans have gotten, and some of us swear never again, turning cold shoulders like jilted lovers.

And yet, while blogs like these have turned into some sort of hybrid between laughing stock and cautionary tale, interestingly enough their traffic has only begun to soar.

There’s a reasonable explanation for this, I promise. Especially since after John Edwards (who really had a pretty considerable portion of the netroots support) left the race, it seemed as though most of the blogs that did decide to back a candidate chose Barack Obama. This kind of left Clinton supporters in the lurch. Grand lefty bastions like Talking Points Memo and Daily Kos quickly became hostile territory, and if the campaign itself looked like it was getting a little rough with an occasional elbow here and there, the blogosphere was already declaring all out war.

With friendly real estate seeming to shrink by the day, these blog reading Clinton supporters had only these few blogs left to turn to.

One thing that bothers me is that there will be no healing for the blogosphere and its patrons. The politicians are likely to harbor long term grudges in secret (kind of like how I imagine Al Gore views the Clintons), the less enthusiastic party members and voters will likely forget after at least a month of this primary season all the harsh words and animosity, but we here in what Skippy likes to call Blogtopia (excuse me, blogtopia) at least to appear to have already opened permanent rifts.

I really don’t like this.

I’m far from the smartest or cleverest blogger out there, but what makes the netroots strong is that we pull together to form this amorphous community where no one blogger has to be the most knowledgable or the best communicator, but instead we create a kind of constant thrum that pushes the message and spreads the knowledge.

So on one level, the idea that for me at least these three blogs amongst others will be forever severed from that kind of communal knowledge bank is a sad thing.

But there’s another thing that bothers me which is the readership. They have traveled onto the seemingly welcome shores of vitriolic pro-Clinton blogs, and since that’s the only place where they feel welcome, they open themselves freely to the message that is provided there, one that, in the worst case, truly inspires outright hatred (for an excellent observation of this, please see The TM Experience). And this animosity reverberates.

I understand that at this point I may appear to be the pot calling the kettle black. I’ve definitely had some moments where I at least feel like I match these folks in vitriol. But here’s what goes on in my mind; I begin not wanting to hate Hillary, not wanting to hate her supporters, and desperately desiring to treat both with more than a miniscule modicum of respect. Then something happens, and I lose all control over those desires, I go off the deep end for a bit, and then I pull myself back.

Rinse and repeat.

I’m currently in pull back mode right now.

The point to all of this rambling on my part is that it occurs to me that a lot of the poison that is being spread across the internets right now is a result of the fact that the only places Clinton supporters have to go on the internet are the same places that really charge up the hate and bile but good.

So I’m trying to think of ways to make what is largely a pro-Obama site (we’re not 100%. Mac, last time I checked in was undecided, and I’m hazy on Matt’s opinion still whose prime desire is to not see a McCain presidency) one that is still mostly pro-Obama, but at the same time welcoming to Hillary supporters. Is such a thing possible? If so, how?

(editorial blessing by DrGail)

22 Responses to “Somewhere To Belong”

  1. It really is fascinating reading. The commenters and some, though not necessarily all, of these Pro_clinto bloggers have basically declared the majority of progressive sites an ‘old boys’ club and claim that they are now dead to them. So they have chosen to abandon Talking Points Memo, DailyKos, Huffington, and the like because they are misogynistic and biased. So they are biased.
    The interesting complaint you see among these folks is that this primary has opened their eyes to the ‘horrible sexism and misogyny’ that exists deep in the heart of these progressive bloggers, and they there needs to be a stronger female presecence (which I don’t think is necessarily wrong, mind you, but the implication is that if only more bloggers were female, Clinton would have more support among the netroots)..
    Wait..you..you are MALE! Je’accuse! Je’accuse!

  2. In my defense, we’ve just brought on board three female bloggers… um… one of whom runs a site called, wait for it… “Positively Barack”.

    I know…

    Mindbending, isn’t it?

  3. J says:

    I hear ya!

    I did not dislike Hillary before this whole election began. In fact the idea of her being our next President was exciting. But then came Obama along and he was clearly my choice. I still did not dislike Hillary that is until the campaigning began.

    I feel like she and her campaign made it impossible for me to like her much less support her as my 2nd choice. I guess that is what makes it so confusing for me at least. I can’t understand how her supporters are still on board. Sniper fire lies? Pledged delegates are not really pledged? Just the obvious desperation is a turnoff not to mention that shamrock scarf or Howard Wolfson’s sweater choices.

  4. Well, I’m not going to talk about fashion, but you know, that’s where it’s at right there with everything else you said.

    I can’t support McCain, and if somehow, some way, Hillary does win, I have to support her, but the entire group, from Hillary down to her supporters makes it very difficult.

    And I’ve said it over and over again, the people I blame first are her senior campaign staffers. The next big group are her high level supporters and bloggers.

    These are the people that have really poisoned the well.

    I just pulled myself away from reading the comments thread over at MYDD, and I mean it’s ugly, and all of this for a post that made a very valid point that Obama has thus far shown much more chops at building the Democratic party up than Hillary has.

    Half a dozen comments in, the whole discussion devolves into who wronged who the most, and which candidate’s supporters are the worst.

    I’m just sitting here thinking, jeez, is it really this bad?

    So I don’t know… I might do a post tomorrow, see how it goes, try and make this a pro-Obama site that Hillary supporters can come to. I still got to raise the idea up my inner flagpole and see if anything salutes first.

  5. tas says:

    You know, I’m really in the fuck’em camp. If these people don’t have common sense and want to launch racist attacks against Obama, then fuck’em I’m not on the left side of the political fence just so I can defend a bunch of clowns who act exactly like winguts, demostrating vast abilities in overtly partisan, uncritical thinking. If the rabid Hillary supporters are willing to lie for their candidate and misrepresent anyone that disagrees with them, then fuck’em.

    And while I don’t think the majority of Hillary’s supporters are completely insane, a lot of this attitude does start at the top, too. With Ferraro and that rabid mutant infant who still won’t retract his words, Bill Clinton himself injecting racism into this campaign at key moments. Truly fucking pathetic if you ask me. There seems to be a culture of hate going from the top down in the Hillary campaign.

  6. I totally agree with the bit about the culture of hate. B-b-b-but isn’t the cure for hate… LOOOOOOOVE!?!?!

    I kid… I’m loopy… I was on an energy drink high for the past seven hours, and I came down about an hour too soon.

    Nah, what I’m talking about is, you know, okay, we’re going to criticize team Clinton up and down when they cross the line. We’re going to criticize the bloggers who pull racist crap like NQ, or Taylor Marsh who is BFF with the FNC. But if you’re a Hillary supporter and looking for decent if still contentious treatment, maybe there’s a spot for ya here?

    Prolly wouldn’t work anyway, though… I mean, and here’s the thing, if Obama is really closing in on Clinton in PA, look for within three to five days of the vote Team Clinton pulling out something completely nasty, after which I will be on the warpath again.

    I suppose we just got to pray that we can reconcile when this whole shootin’ match is over.

  7. tas says:

    On whether or not there’s a sensible pro-Hillary blog out there, I haven’t run across one. It’s upto them to create it, not us — and it speaks to the character f their side if such a haven does not exist.

  8. Cee says:

    Tas,

    I just read the comments at your blog from Susan’s favorite new videographer. Good gawd! I missed seeing them because I stopped reading most of what she scrathed out over there.
    She has been called on her sources several times. I suppose now she is beyond giving a damn. This is all about Hillary. If her victory means appealing to those in the low end of the gene pool, so be it.

    Kyle,

    Clinton supporters have to wake up. They’re going to continue to hate us Whole Food shoppers until they do and there is nothing we can do to reach them.

    Put on your thinking cap. What is the nastiest thing the Clinton cabal can do next?

  9. J says:

    I just want to UNDERSTAND how a Hillary supporter connects with her?

    I guess the less I knew of her the more I liked her but now that I’ve come to know her (only through the media, we’ve never hung out) but the more I’ve come to know her the less possible it has been for me to like her.

    Obama has always been someone I wanted to get to know so I read his books but Hillary never moved me the same way. So what I”m hoping is that someone out there can explain to me how Hillary moved them and why they support her b/c of that?

  10. That’s a question I’ve always wanted to know the answer to, J. Always did.

    Cee… hmmm… I’m not sure what they can do next, may require more than a thinking cap.

    Tas… Perhaps you’re right. But then we’re talking about basically an entire support base of trolls…

    Sorry if this is rushed… working now.

  11. Cee says:

    J,

    Bitterness and stupidity. Doesn’t Bush also have a base of 29%?

    I read the following from MyDD.

    Brazile: HRC supporters are destroying her candidacy

    Below is the alleged email that fired up Donna Brazile:

    “I do support Senator Clinton , But should she not be the Democratic party nominee, I am extremely positive i won?t be voting for Barack Obama now or in a GE. Mc Cain is looking much better to me” “Some of those reasons are: 1.Rev Wright ,trinity churches black theology , supporting Farrakhan and hamus and the whole obama?s 20 year relationship etc. 2 Million man march with Farrakhan which was organized and participated by in front and center by Barack Obama 3. His relationship with William Ayers/weather underground 4. His long and complicated relationship with Antoine ?Tony? Rezko 5. His arrogances are trouble some and should not be a trait of a world leader?s image 6. He supports Nuclear energy and protects them 7. Although he say?s he?s Patriotic, I don?t see evidence of that 8. He?s been lying about many things ( I want and need a president I can TRUST) 9. He lacks Economic and Foreign policy expierence 10. His support of his brother ?Ondinga, his lack of denouncing and rejecting what odinga supporters did in Kenya 11. he can?t admit he takes special interests money 12. there IS plenty of evidence that he is a muslim, being muslim alone does not bother me, but lying about it, trying to hide it does 13 His manipulating the FEC committee (lack of one, lack of control on finances) 14. It?s apparent that his wife Michelle also shares these above things with him and she is not ?first lady of the usa? material.” “Those listed above are also reasons that if he is YOUR nominee as to why I also will NOT BE DONATING to Obama or the DNC. I am sure your aware that at least 29% of Clinton Supporters agree with me, as I am sure there are still a Good Portion of John Edwards supporters that will Follow suit”

  12. Dynamic says:

    Check this out: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/4/2/15328/50940/492/488703

    The best thing we can do is be open; be honest; address the concerns of Hillary supporters and treat them like the progressive brothers and sisters they are.

    As I like to say: What Would Obama Do? Would he jump down their throats when they parrot one of her (admittedly silly) talking points? Or would he attempt to understand their issue and try to work towards consensus?

    Half the problem this primary season has been that Obama’s supporters aren’t half so magnanimous as Obama himself. Let’s live up to the standard he sets. Let’s practice what he preaches.

    It IS a big tent, and everyone IS welcome.

  13. Dynamic says:

    Just read through the comments and I have to say, if we keep saying “we want to reach out to Hillary supporters BUT this and that and the other thing…” well that’s not reaching out at all.

    I know you guys are all very decent people, and I think we’re all genuine in our desire to see the Democratic party triumph. But we need to take the next step – let’s be genuinely curious about what drives a Clinton supporter, and let’s try to genuinely work things out.

    I mean genuinely.

    We are disgusted with some of the Clinton campaign’s moves, sure. I bet some of them are too. Let’s ask the question and see why they stay with her.

    Would you be willing to consider putting up a diary on MyDD and inviting Clinton supporters over here for a dialogue? I think it might be interesting at the least, and it would be a proactive step that nobody else is really doing.

    And it might just be the sort of thing the party needs to start the healing now, while there’s still time.

  14. DrGail says:

    I really think Dynamic is on the right path here, and I love the phrase “what would Obama do?” If he truly is the kind of leader we think he is, we can illustrate that by following his example.

    In truth, I don’t think Hillary’s campaign is going very far outside the bounds of what has happened in prior primary campaigns, even within the Democratic Party. It just seems that way at this point for a couple of reasons:

    1. Obama’s style of campaigning is so different that Team Clinton’s approach stands out in stark contrast
    2. We’re all so fed up with the direction BushCo has taken the country that we’re eager — nay, anxious — for a change
    3. The rise of blogtopia makes it possible for people to vent in really public ways

  15. Mark says:

    On the misogyny claim. The last thing I was working on before my hiatus was a post that pretty much blew that claim out of the water. I had taken a look at the exit polls from a huge chunk of primaries.

    What I found was that Hillary’s gender was having a net positive effect on her support. In other words, the exit poll data showed that people were more likely to vote FOR Hillary because she’s a woman than they were to vote AGAINST Hillary because she’s a woman.

    Meanwhile, the exit poll data found the opposite was true for Obama. By which I mean that the exit poll data clearly suggested that more people were voting AGAINST Obama because of his race than were voting FOR Obama because of his race.
    In other words: very few of the pro-Obama people are sexist; but a lot of the pro-Hillary people are racists.

    Unless, for some reason, people are more willing to admit to being racist than they are willing to admit to being sexist. Which would mean that racism is more acceptable today than sexism. Which would kind of undermine the argument that sexism is this massive problem in the US today.

    So, there you have it: those making the claim of misogyny have a choice. Either they acknowledge that Obama supporters are not sexists, or they acknowledge that sexism is not that much of a problem in the US today.

    For some reason, though, I doubt that they will be willing to listen to cold, hard facts. Which means they will choose option C, which is the one that is demonstrably false: sexism is a major problem in this country AND it is hurting Hillary much more than racism is hurting Obama.

  16. terry says:

    I cannot stand the sexism argument. It’s such a cop out. I’ll be honest, I don’t like Hillary Clinton and I didn’t like her even before she started campaigning for President. And it has nothing to do with her being a woman and everything to do with her being…Hillary Clinton. I don’t think they deserve to be in the WH again and I don’t want the drama and baggage that is inevitable if she is the nominee.

    The media and some in the blogsphere like to dumb everything down for their audience. If you’re not voting for them it must be either race or gender.

    It’s just possible people won’t want to vote for Obama because of his stance on issues.

    And people won’t vote for Clinton because….

    she lies

    🙂

  17. justsaynototaylormarsh says:

    J above expressed my Hillary Problem:

    “I guess the less I knew of her the more I liked her but now that I’ve come to know her (only through the media, we’ve never hung out) but the more I’ve come to know her the less possible it has been for me to like her.”

    If I had never watched her debate, I might have stayed neutral in the race. My nieces and nephews, all in their 20’s early 30’s, are a SOLID block for Obama, so that impressed me (eight of the eleven were apathetic before Obama), but I know too many racists so I assumed Obama could not win.

    I began to educate myself on Obama and I watched Hillary Clinton twists what he said and his positions all into a shape that I recognized as being Typical Clinton.

    Billy Rector had to die. Women who had sex with Bill were lying bimbo’s; sure Bill’s attack on Monica Lewinsky was a lie and a powerful man denouncing his concubine as THAT WOMAN!!!, but Hillary had a point about their enemies.

    But how much is enough with The Clinton’s? Marc Rich Pardons? Deals with Dictators? Voting to give The Village Idiot his own Iraq War so he could show his dad who was the bigger man?

    For 16 years, I defended The Clinton’s; I voted for each twice (NY State). And always that pattern: The Clinton’s do something either distasteful or reprehensible, and I excused it by attacking their enemies or options. Hillary couldn’t vote her conscience on the war because she had to show Bush she had the cajones to be Commander-in-Chief.

    Hillary couldn’t tell the truth about Obama’s Health Care Plan, which is that it is also an attempt to cover everyone and would go through gyrations when it made its way through congress; she couldn’t say Robert Reich analyzed Obama’s Plan and thought it was MORE likely to cover everyone than Edwards (my candidate) or hers.

    But Hillary lied about what Obama said about Reagan and the Republicans, and when caught she said, “Well, that’s what it sounded like to me.”

    I suddenly thought, “No more.” No more making excuses for The Clinton’s.

    When Hillary’s multiple versions of her heroic actions during The Battle of Tuzla Tarmac came out, I did not have to say, “Other people are worse.” or “There had been snipers there at one time.” or any of the pro-The Clinton’s lies one instinctively tells because Bill and Hillary lie and disappoint so often.

    I was free. I could sit back and see that Hillary Clinton took a great story, about how Our Armed Forces protected her and Chelsea and Sinbad and Sheryl Crow, a great story about how she visited the troops and how much the troops appreciate having people back home remember they are in the field and turn it into another Clinton Lie.

    And why? Hillary did it because Obama said, carelessly, that “having tea” is not the same as foreign policy. So December, 2007, The Battle of Tuzla Tarmac, Field Marshall Hillary slaps a soldier in his bed for his cowardice, leads her troops to the Rhine, and tells Obama off: “I don’t recall anyone offering me tea THAT day.”

    So now, her hosts are rude?

    But really, Obama is not our Savior (or savior). However, he is not that known quantity, one half of The Clinton’s. And when he messes up, you don’t have to say, “Other people are worse” or tell lies. Unlike The Clinton’s, Obama doesn’t attack his enemies. My goodness, as Donald Rumsfeld would say, I am not even sure Obama thinks he HAS enemies.

    (I took the liberty to correct a word, if you don’t mind. I’m about 99% sure you meant “bigger man” up above, but it seems that a rather unfortunate typo happened in its place. K-)

  18. Mark says:

    Just Say No:
    That is a most unfortunate typo in paragraph six. You might want to ask for an edit on that one. (It’s very clearly an unintentional typo. But a worse typo I could not imagine).
    Anywho, you forgot one of Hillary’s most unforgivable actions, which in my view shows more than anything else that she is Bush/Cheney redux: the way she handled universal health care in 94. If you were outraged by how Cheney handled the Energy Task Force, Hillary’s Health Care Task Force was disturbing for precisely the same reason.

  19. J, and Just (please use a shorter name… it’s just such a mouth…or fingerful) pretty much nailed it for me. the more I knew, the worse it got. I actually liked how she performed in the early debates; the susbstance lacked, but the style was perfect, the strategy was great.

    Problem is, i think, when you work so hard to create something as complex as the Clinton persona in the early phase of the campaign, it doesn’t take much to tear it all down.

  20. matttbastard says:

    Where I stand:

    Dear Yankee Progressives: speaking as a global citizen who has been forced to watch helplessly over the past 8 years as your cocaine cowboy resident-in-chief and his motley posse of sociopathic right-wing banditos have done their goddamndest to roll back pretty much every advance in Western civilization that has occurred since the dawn of the Enlightenment, I really, really don’t want to see McSame inherit the third term slot and continue the dubious, destructive legacy (100 years or bust! bomb, bomb Iran! Habeus Whatus?!), all because myopic Democratic activists kept doing the GOP and MSM’s dirty work for them [until] it was too late.

    So how about y’all remember who the real fucking enemy is (hint: not Hillary Clinton [edit: NOR Barack Obama]), before it’s too late, m’kay?

  21. matttbastard says:

    (Oh, and what Timmy said @ 2:28 am and 2:33 am. He’s always been the sensible Yin to my fiery Yang.)

  22. Okay, Matt, and this is what I’m saying, and for the first time I really really really get the Democratic circular firing squad.

    You and I have had countless discussions on this, and ultimately, it comes down to: it’s just not that easy. And I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt to Clinton supporters as well on this. You don’t want this to be all out war, you don’t want to hand over the White House to McCain, so you try, and then you’re side is on the receiving end of a slight, perceived or real, and you lose both control, and the desire to control, wrath upon the offending party.

    That’s where I’ve been for weeks.

    But, one thing I saw in our community mail box was a video put forth by New York supporters for Obama, and it was half of a really great ad. Just regular folks saying why they supported Obama. As I said, it was only half of a great ad, though, because it went one for one, back and forth, “I support Obama because,” then, “I don’t support Hillary because.”

    What I’m saying is, I get it, I really do, but you should know, when you let your emotions get into it, it isn’t as easy as just turning it off. It requires a kind of discipline I admit I lack.

    In any case, I’ve been warming up the anti-McCain guns anyway, and after a week or two I hope to have them in fine, firing form.

    Now if I can manage to string together more than a couple hours of sleep at a time, I’ll be good to go.

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