Thursday, December 24, 2009

Oh joy, just what we all needed: PUMA 2.0

aka: "Shut up, Hamster."

Srsly okai.

Or, I guess, I had a long sit, as my partner drove. I read Deoliver47's post about 'Ms. Hamsher' and it rather annoyed me. I've lived for most of my life amongst those people who now go by "tea baggers" (their own moniker) and I knew that no matter what happened in politics, I could never accept an alliance with such hate-filled individuals and I couldn't understand a progressive that might advocate such a move. Then I read a diary that said Ms. Hamsher had gone on Faux and Friends to appeal to their audience to 'kill the bill'. It wasn't much of a diary (sorry diarist!), so I checked the Fox site itself and damned if it wasn't true. Not only had she gone on Faux, she'd not even asserted herself to decry what the party of "no" had done to decimate the hcr bill. She talked about how the bill would increase costs to the middle class and would effect your current coverage and "causes it to be worse"; it sounded like right-wing talking points.

So, despite my struggle to remain objective, I was getting a lil subjective. When I logged on tonight, the first diary I saw was about Ms. Hamsher joining forces with Grover Norquist to force Rahm Emmanuel to resign. Grover Norquist? Really? I'm sure readers here know who Norquist is...founder, supported by President Reagan, of American's For Tax Reform; opposition of President Clinton's attempt at health care reform; Contra and North supporter; co-author, with Messr. Gingrich, of the "Contract with America; Abramoff aficionado; supporter and promoter of President G. W. Bush. Need I say more? That sort of perked my ears.

But it wasn't until a poster noted that Ms. Hamsher had tweeted about Senator Bernie Sanders losing his seat unless he killed the bill. Losing his seat. The only self-professed socialist in the political spectrum. Losing his seat because he wasn't progressive enough? Bernie Sanders, promoter of single-payer health care? That guy who passionately argued for, and offered an amendment that would provide health care and dental coverage for every American? I almost couldn't believe it. But I clicked the linky, and sure enough...there it was, in all its glory...


Grover Norquist is a lifelong Right-Wing warrior. Destroying all progressives and any progressive/liberal agenda is his life’s work. He is very good at and has been finding useful idiots to help him divide and conquer progressives for over thirty years.

Norquist started this work with Jack Abramoff at his side. One party rule has always been their goal and Democrats and liberals have always been their blood enemies. Destroying progressives and everything we believe is their life's work. It is what they do.

Grover is deeply connected to Abramoff. Perhaps nobody goes back as far with Jack as Norquist...

...These two created Ralph Reed and inflicted him upon the world and they spawned a host of other lobbyists, activists, media whores, think tankers, staffers and politicians that make up the extreme conservative movement in America. Jack Abramoff’s ability to lobby and be successful as the point of the spear for the K Street Project depended upon Norquist and his weekly gathering of DC conservatives (Jack’s in jail, but these weekly meetings go on—perhaps Ms. Hamsher will be Grover’s featured guest at a future meeting). The sweatshops, sexshops, human trafficking and systematic labor abuse on the Marianas Islands have Grover Norquist to thank for their protection by Republicans just as much as they have Abramoff to thank (and Jack kicked back funds to Grover as part of the circle of "thank yous"). Norquist should be in jail, but he was protected by McCain, Rove, Bush and Congress. Now he is still out on the streets of DC and making fresh "alliances" with gullible and foolish people within the progressive movement. Sadly, Jane Hamsher is one of those foolish people.

...And the heart of her alliance with Norquist is the fact that she is lending her support and credibility to the conservative conspiracy theory that the financial meltdown was caused by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae lending money to poor people through the Community Investment Act and Community Banks. It is an article of faith among conservatives that Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama forced Freddie and Fannie to engaged in risky loans and that these two mortgage giants forced the big banks to do the same. And then the system crashed. See, in wing-nut world everything bad that happened to the economy was caused by poor people taking advantage of the system. This is a scandal that the wing-nuts want exposed just like they want that whole birth certificate thing exposed, and the ACORN thing exposed, and the death panel thing exposed, and the government’s dirty hands on your Medicare thing exposed, and the socialist takeover of America exposed, and the...

...If you want to fight with Rahm Emanuel, fine. If you want to pretend that he is your chosen personification of evil on this earth, go ahead. Whatever. But, if you decide that your hatred of Rahm is stronger than common sense, if you decide that you must join Jane Hamsher in making common cause with a shitbag like Norquist to attack Democrats, the President and his agenda, well then—and I mean this in the most civil way possible—go to hell. You have let your anger and your desire to piss farther and harder than you think Rahm can piss cloud your judgment.

Honestly? I'm listening to people on the left who are against the hcr bill as it stands now, even though I'm leaning toward the "hold your nose and support it, after making it as good as possible till the very end, because whatever that is is as good as we're going to get." But, joining up with Grover "drown the vulnerable anyone who gets in my way the government in a bathtub" Norquist to try to unseat Bernie Sanders because Sanders isn't progressive or aggressive enough in upholding progressive values. Because the guy who's been actually doing work, even brought up a bill for single-payer, has said this bill is worth supporting; and you think you know better, so you're gonna go side with the people who don't think we should have health care (reform) *at all*. Ooooookayy.

As for Obama and (some of) the Congresscritters supporting this bill (Lieberman can also be devoured by roving wolverines, yes, that goes without saying):

Listen, if I'm going to be supporting actual moderate-to-conservatives/self-aggrandizing cynical corporate sellouts going under the progressive flag whose "help" in this case not only doesn't much but may (*may*) even make things worse, I'm at least going to stick with the ones who aren't complete fucking boneheaded losers. That would be the ones who got elected into office, have some proven ability to find their ass with both hands, and are at least *trying* to make some kind of useful policy that will *help* *some* actual people be better able to not, you know, die. Hint: P.R. disasters like the Lieberman blackface stunt do not count as "progressive activism." They do count as "boneheaded loser moves."

p.s. how the hell did I get on Hamster's mailing list, anyway? No, I'm not signing your stupid petition. GOE AWAY.


p.p.s. This, dammit.

If anyone thought that Obama's language about bipartisanship and compromise were just a ploy to get elected, and the fierce passionate liberal would then pull away the mask, they were deluded.

To me, Obama's open, bipartisan and cross-ideological tone was never just a pose. It was how he intended to govern, defining a mild, modified liberalism as centrism and putting the opposition on the defensive. A fierce, aggressive liberalism, the counterpart to the high point of conservative exercise of institutional power in the middle of this decade, was not going to succeed. Recall, that such an approach ultimately failed conservatism.

However, Republican senators' refusal to participate in any meaningful way in the health-care conversation, with the small and notable exception of Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe's single, hesitating vote when the bill was before the Finance Committee, is a painful revelation that Obama can't govern the way he campaigned. And that revelation is in itself a kind of cost, a useful illusion now lost. As recently as a few weeks ago, every savvy Hill insider would tell you that health reform might get 58 votes and fail, or it might get 61 or 62 votes. But it wouldn't, couldn't get exactly 60 votes, just because some Democrats -- Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landrieu -- would insist on Republican cover. The biggest surprise of the last week is that health reform had to hit that target 60-vote target exactly, and that it did.

Health care's passage shows exactly how small the target is for any future Obama initiative, from cap-and-trade to financial reform. With no room for bipartisan compromise, and also no room to tell Joe Lieberman what everyone surely wants to tell Lieberman, the path forward is hard to see. As long as Republican opposition holds, even with the occasional press-release exception such as Sen. Lindsay Graham on cap-and-trade, there will be no room to the right and even less room to the left..


K said...


I mean--I hate the hell out of the current bill. HATE it. Oh, how I could go on!

But somehow the "solution" of allying with teabaggers and trying to oust Bernie Sanders, of all people, never occurred to me.

Am I missing something?

I know some bloggers did jump on Jane and imply she was selling out a few weeks ago, but, well, day ending in "y" and all that. If that HuffPo post is her (over)reaction to that, it needs a rethink.

I'm not even necessarily against the idea of trying to win over teabaggers, provided they're winnable, and I have no idea how few or how many of them are. I'm all for the outreach where it's possible--I have to be, right? I just don't see where targeting Sanders makes any sense. And, yeah, you'd think we could learn something from PUMA 1.0.

I dunno. Weeeeird.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Yeah, this is some crazy shit. I don't get it at all. Hamsher always struck me as pretty realistic and level headed, and this makes no sense.

The only thing I can think of is that this is some kind of strategic dealio, where Hamsher and her allies think that by going all wackaloon apeshit, they will provide cover for progressive congressional dems to try to force some more progressive shit into the bill in the conference committee. You know: "Well, sheesh, if we don't get this thing more progressive, those Hamsherite loonies are gonna take my fuckin head off."

belledame222 said...

If you look at the "blackface" incident it makes more sense. she's just an arrogant tineared jerkass.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

What was the "blackface" incident?

belledame222 said...

Another instance of Hamsher being "helpful," only...really, really not. And continuing to be a jerkass when called on it.

belledame222 said...

oops, second link broke, but it's hyperlinked in the OP here

belledame222 said...

and if you really want to play the "so fringey you make the less fringey look sensible by comparison," you go find (or create) some uberleft people to sign up with. ANSWER, the reanimated corpse of the Weathermen, some goddam thing. You don't sign up with Grover Norquist and go on Fox News and expect Bernie Sanders to go "right then, clearly I wasn't being socialist enough."

fucking asspillbox

belledame222 said...

if anything, it's...ironic...that Hamsher is perhaps more similar to her supposed enemy Lieberman than she thought: selfishness and fuck-you spite and stubbornness win the day.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Oh, jeez. I missed that blackface shit when it happened. YUCK.

And, yeah. I agree totally that if you do want to play the "dangerous left fringe that needs to be placated", you don't do it by joining forces with the likes of Norquist.

K said...

You don't sign up with Grover Norquist and go on Fox News and expect Bernie Sanders to go "right then, clearly I wasn't being socialist enough."

Right. "Noooooo, what will I do if I lose the FOX News viewing audience?--Er, wait."

I don't "know" the lady at all; I never got much into FDL and things like the Lieberman blackface and TRex's "mind your betters" treatment of Liza did not encourage me to read it. The thing is, if there's a selfish motive to her behavior, I can't see what it is, unless her goal is to end up as well-regarded and beloved as Camile Paglia.

belledame222 said...

Hey, it works for Paglia.

I think either way it comes down to not really thinking things through. The short term benefits are a bunch of attention and *feeling* like you're accomplishing something. By the time you've moved on to the "oh, shit, what about the longterm," there's something else new and exciting and shortterm to take its place. All it costs is actually accomplishing anything that *helps* anyone in any concrete way. Else, that is. But yeah, if all you care about in your personal career is continuing to survive, well...

Mandos said...

Isn't it absurd? First of all, around left opposition to the bill, we see this Grand PUMObamabot Coalition forming around every ridiculous character you can think of, and THEN Jane decides that she's going to team up with Norquist.


Anyway, I've created my own rubberneckery on this issue (of health care), which has actually inspired TWO WHOLE BLOG POSTS on my neglected blog and may inspire a couple more.

Anthony Kennerson said...

Now...I'm one of those on the Far, Far Left who is squarely on the "Kill the Bill" side of the debate (because I don't think that the seemingly progressive aspects of this bill will last as long as the Big Insura/Big Pharma bailout/individual mandate will, and the Repubs will take full advantage of the anger anyway in 2010 and 2012)...but that doesn't mean that I don't think that Jane Hamsher isn't full of (sh)it on this issue.

Yeah, right...I might think that Bernie Sanders might have defended his single payer amendment a bit stronger rather than have it pulled off from the tactics of Doc Colburn; but dethrowning the only actual independent Leftist and Socialist in the Senate for...a conservative Democrat, or even a Republican??? Really, Jane??

And an alliance with Grover Norquist??? Why not just go to the next level and suggest a joint press conference with Dick Armey, Jane?? Or, better yet, why not just recruit Orly Taitz to lead the campaign against this bill??

And the idea of Obama pulling Rahm? Dream on.

Here's an idea, Ms. Hamsher: stick to grafting burqas on female bloggers meeting Bubba Clinton and bad blackface smack and telling bloggers of color to "respect their betters" (see Liza Sabatier of Culturekitchen), and leave the political strategy to those who actually know how to think. We on the Independent Left can do our thing pretty well without your "assistance", thank you very much. Cyalaterbye.


Jenny said...

Most obnoxious of all is the fact that she started out being a hardcore public option supporter:

Natailya Petrova said...

My labor lawyer dad and labor lawyer stepmom are against the current bill. It imposes a 40 percent tax on existing high quality plans ~ which they claim are mostly to be found with unions. I am currently covered under the Teamsters plan, and am a bit apprehensive about what the tax will do to the benefits provided by it. This is just one of the counter-productive taxes I am perplexed by in it. If the Democrats really wanted to go the social democratic route; they'd have concentrated taxation on the super rich or something ~ some of whom are already on the taxpayer's dime right now anyway.

Let me say that I know some of the people on the "right" demonized by Daily Kos denizens or whatever. I have friends prepared to resist the individual mandate aspect of the current bill. It's very heartening for me to see Progressives criticizing that aspect of the bill in conjunction with the corporate dominated health insurance industry. What is disquieting to me is that this isn't across the board. Erza Klein speaks like a detached technocrat contemplating how much abuse you need to heap upon people to make them comply. "We can just increase the mandate".

To what? Seize somebody's car? Throw them in jail indefinitely? A human being of independent mind and integrity does not budge. They can be physically destroyed, but you won't have a productive happy person to provide resources for whatever scheme you're pushing. Human sacrifice should have gone out of style with the Aztecs, but it hasn't. We're still unable to rise above it and achieve true harmony.

Natailya Petrova said...


I guess my point is that the hostility and polar tribalization of people into Progressives vs "Tea Baggers" or whatever dehumanizing term can be really darkly comical for someone who isn't a Progressive or a rightist to watch. If the right includes Libertarians or Randians; the notion that they reject reform is patently false. What they propose is free market reform. A person may find that untenable, but they should take the arguments seriously/objectively. Some people basically assert "support more government or you want people to die".

belledame222 said...


Short version: it's not to do with being for or against the bill that has me exercised, it's that Norquist has and always *has* had an agenda that has fuckall to do with social democracy or anything of the sort. And siding with him and trying to put the kibosh on Bernard Sanders is a fucking stupid, stupid thing to do. Full stop.

belledame222 said...

as for why I'm not terrifically sympathetic wrt arguments against ridiculing tea partiers as a movement. this here speaks to it pretty well.

Natailya Petrova said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim said...

I think your blog will always be one of my favorites, Belle -- no one says it like you do! Happy New Year, old blog buddy!

Natailya Petrova said...

Interesting review of Norquist's history, Belle

He seems to show up at Libertarian events here and there. I actually know a Libertarian who said "just not another tax loopholes with Grover Norquist" session hehe

I did not know he had been so close to the GOP establishment.

Natailya Petrova said...


Thought you may find this relevant to your original post!

Chomsky isn't really a generic liberal democrat, IMO

This article seriously understates the degree of his leftism. Chomsky is most definitely a "I am a socialist and proud" kind of dood.

Natailya Petrova said...


You'd probably be pleased to know I am more sympathetic to the "liberal-tarian" social reference group than right-wing populism. A bit disturbed that some of my Libertarian colleagues are so paleo sometimes. I get the anti-establishment vibe that people want to push, but the attacks on "liberal elitists" or "new class liberals" seem as ugly as attacks on all "capitalist scum". I am often amused by the stereotypes that some people I talk to have of Progressives.

: )

Abigail Gonzalez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.