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PUMAs, swiftboated and not

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, July 3, 2008 3:35 EDT
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So, that PUMA thing blew up. Naturally, people are casting around looking for any reason to suggest that the stereotype—hysterical women too dumb to know what’s good for them voting for McCain out of spite because Clinton lost, thereby inadvertently proving that women are probably too stupid to vote, much less run for office—is true, even in the face of evidence that there’s rat-fucking going on. I never said that there was no way any woman could be that dumb—women are not superior to men, just equal to men, so we have our share of dumbasses. Just that it’s overblown and that the overblown nature of it is suspicious, due to likely rat-fucking and disingenuous media trend-spotting.

Rick Perlstein, historian and expert in Republican dirty tricks, explains it all better.

No, it’s not that some of the Hillary die-hardism isn’t utterly organic, the product of sincere dyed-in-the-wool Democrats. But that was Buchanan’s point in 1971: None of this stuff works unless you build it off divisions that already exist in Democratic circles. You exacerbate them. You light the fuse. You make it easy for good Democrats to rationalize that they’re doing the right thing, as Hubert Humphrey rationalized to the president on election night in this private conversation that he was doing the right thing when he implied he helped sabotage George McGovern for the general election.

So people asked me what good exposing Astroturf does for the handful of real women that are so bitter they’ll flush the lives of those on the Republican hit list such as Iranian citizens, not to say the rights of women, down the toilet with a vindictive vote (or refusing to vote) that helps McCain to victory? Well, it helps show them that they’re being taken for a ride, for one thing, which might make them reconsider their foolish, selfish behavior.

Let me put this straight: Voting for McCain, or helping him win by throwing your vote to anyone but Obama or refusing to vote, is worse than doing all these things in passive or active support of Bush in 2000. Supporting Bush, actively by voting for him or passively by voting for Nader, was somewhat understandable, because he didn’t actually let the voters know that he was gunning for abortion rights or to invade Iraq. I mean, you should have guessed that, but it’s not immoral to be naive. But McCain cracks jokes about bombing Iran and has been eager to show his anti-choice bona fides. Really, he’s left even passive supporters no excuse for themselves.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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