When did progressives turn ugly?

Remember the old Hollywood westerns? The ones where the good guys were handsome and wore white hats, and the bad guys were ugly and wore black? Those were the days when truth, justice and the American way all went together. At least we thought they did.

As I got older I began to realize that America wasn’t quite as good and pure as it was pictured in John Wayne movies. But in my heart I still believed in the “good guys” and the “bad guys,” and I believed that liberals wore white hats and that Republican headquarters was located in Barad-dûr.

In 2008 I saw for the first time the ugliness of progressives. It started with Hillary and then moved on to Sarah Palin. This post by Bristol Plain contains the latest example:

Responding to the Viral Sensation, Loving my Brother

I’ve been totally blown away by the responses to my post below, which went viral beyond my wildest dreams. Hundreds of thousands of people have read the post, and it’s been shared – at the time I write this — 88,000 times. Thank you for reading, sharing, and commenting. I received over 1,700 comments, and I’d like to take a moment to respond to some of them. The comments basically fell into one of three categories:

Category 1: “I hate you.”

Example: “JLE” at 7:52 am on March 20:

Bristol Palin you have some nerve President Obama does not owe you anything your a nobody, a young loose cow with kid!!!!! You and your mom are true idiots your Alaskan Hillbillies so go back in your igloos stay out of the public eye we are tired of your UGLY FACED YOUR SON TOO& BROTHER TOO!!!!

At first, the Patheos moderators weren’t letting these types of comments through, but we decided to let you have at least a glimpse of the things people say about my family. (We still don’t approve the dozens and dozens of truly obscene rants. This is a family blog after all!) You can see that Bill Maher is not some lone comedian with a unique perspective on us. Rather, he taps into something evil and dark that resides in the hearts of many people who hate our family. Even after so many years, I’m still a little surprised when people make fun of my little brother. They, however, can’t silence me or my mom. In fact, they motivate the to keep speaking. Evil can’t win!

I don’t know who this “JLE” person is but those words did not come from a good place, they came from an ugly, hate-filled heart.

It would be easy to dismiss a single comment as the droppings of an internet troll, but they are typical of what you can find at far too many progressive blogs these days. Wonkette, Rumproast and Balloon Juice are easily the worst offenders, but scaled down versions of the same kind of hate speech can be found at every pro-Obama blog.

Progressives are supposed to be pro-feminist but I have seen some of the most vile expressions of misogyny at progressive blogs in the past four years. Some of it is truly sickening, and goes far beyond anything I ever heard in a locker room or army barracks.

Nothing good grows from a bad seed.

Palin Power:

A Front-Row Seat to Palin Power

In addition to regularly contributing to NRO’s excellent Home Front blog, my wife Nancy is the editor of the Patheos Faith and Family portal, a multi-faith website that thoughtfully explores, well, faith and family. Last week she added a young, single-mother blogger to the site, a person who could reach a wide audience and was experiencing life as a mother in the glare of unusually harsh publicity: Bristol Palin.

As an editor, Nancy often lives in the more mundane world of Internet punditry — posting blogs, correcting typos, monitoring traffic, and managing a group of talented and eclectic writers. But some days are less mundane than others.

Over the weekend, Bristol wrote a post that asked a simple question: “Mr. President, When Should I Expect Your Call?”


Nancy tweeted it to her few hundred followers (she and I have a rather pathetic contest for twitter followers; right now I’m barely in the lead with a whopping 776), and Bristol facebooked it. Within hours, it had been shared 8,000 times. Already it was taking off.

Then Sarah Palin tweeted.

Patheos’s server promptly melted down. One of the most-trafficked religious sites on the web, its server still spontaneously combusted. A small mushroom cloud was spotted over the server farm. Eleven additional servers had to be brought online to handle the traffic flow, and by the end of the day, 8,000 shares had turned into more than 85,000 (update: 100,000), and the story of Bristol’s challenge to the president had been reported not just in the political and mainstream media but also in the Hollywood media as well. Thousands of tweets, and tens of thousands more Facebook shares from Fox to the Huffington Post to the Hollywood Reporter took the post well beyond the familiar and comfortable enclaves of the conservative blogosphere.

For all the abuse heaped upon her since her mother first became famous, Bristol Palin has only been the target of a small percentage of the slime directed at Sarah. There is a reason for that. Despite what Obamanation says they fear Sarah Palin, and for good reason.

President Obama has a whole section of his staff devoted to politics and propaganda. They carefully plan his every word and move, and with the help of the Journolist media they try to sell the country the belief in his infallible greatness. He commands the bully pulpit.

Working from Alaska with little or no staff and using Twitter and Facebook, Sarah draws headlines and crowds. Obama spent over a billion dollars building and maintaining his image as an inspiring leader. Sarah didn’t spend a dime.  Obama is a poser.  Sarah is the real deal.

It’s no wonder they hate her.

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41 Responses to When did progressives turn ugly?

  1. Lulu says:

    I have no training in psychology of any kind but I have observed people closely for a very long time because I am kind of old. This kind of hatred comes from insecurity. They are afraid of something. Not measuring up in school or sports, their parents approval or love, social success, relations with the opposite sex (or same sex), and on and on. Their coping mechanism is their superiority which they use to mask their fear. This fear, anger, hatred stunts people. Some people overcome it and become wise. Many never do and you have to deal with them as they are. But when someone strikes out with hatred towards someone they do not even know, about something they do not know much about, it is really about something they are very insecure about themselves.

    • votermom says:

      Great observation. We all have insecurities that can be exploited and manipulated. I definitely blame the leadership which deliberately incites this hate; instead of lifting up their followers and inspiring them to follow higher principles.

  2. I have pondered this question for 4 years. I was a dyed in the wool Democrat for 40 years. It was practically religion in my house. And I was all in too——I ran for Congress twice as their candidate (’94 and ’96) and I also ran for the Ohio House in 1998 as the party’s top seeded challenger. I was on the party central committee, I raised copious money for them, I wrote a book about fundraising and travelled around the country hired by Democratic state party chairs to teach their candidates, activists, and others how to be an effective fundraiser. To have run off a party insider such as myself from the party in 2008 (like so many others) was no small feat, perhaps arguably a bigger accomplishment than electing the first African American president.

    I remember as a Congressional candidate in the 90’s, I raised alot of money against a superstar Congressman, more than anyone had ever raised against this man (now our current Ohio governor John Kasich). As such, when you have money in a race, you have alot of options. The biggest argument I had with my party at that time was whether to go negative on TV or not. Believe it or not, as recently as back in the 90’s that was a debatable subject. It was a WEDGE issue among Democrats!!! Lots of Democrats felt that going negative (especially for a woman) was the wrong thing to do, that it denigrated the process and went against all of the things that being a Democrat stood for. We were going to win by the power of our ideas, not by going into the gutter.

    However, there was a parallel conversation going on within the party that the Republicans were masters at the negativity game, and that we needed to fight fire with fire or we would continue to lose. This attitude gained momentum when in 1994 the Republicans swept the elections and the Gingrich wave came in. That Gingrich gang was adept at negative campaigning, and many Democrats felt that that wave had materialized because we Democrats were asleep at the switch and gave the entire field to the Republicans by not challenging them on their own turf by responding to their negative advertising in kind.

    It seems like a quaint little argument at this point. I ended up going negative anyways, a decision I have never regretted. However, I took endless flack from many in my party for making that decision. Negative campaigning as recently as the mid-to-late 90’s was still a controversial subject in the Democratic Party.

    I don’t know exactly where and when the tipping point was reached that changed all of that. I have resisted the analysis that it was the Obama Chicago-style politics that ruined everything. But I am not so sure anymore about that. Certainly the Obama campaign brought a whole element actively into the party that wasn’t previously there. That statement could be misinterpreted as racist, but really, race has nothing to do with it. From the delicate sensibility of the decade of the 90’s to the horrific goings on in 2007–08, something indeed changed. There was of course Bush derangement syndrome (I confess I was a victim of it) which made many good Democrats decide that it was a case of “whatever it takes” to defeat Bush including going against some of their cherished principles.

    My friend T, a life long Republican, has observed that a strange thing overtook the Democrats at some point that made them inflexible and caused them to turn on anyone who didn’t agree 100% to the Democratic dogma. I’m not sure when that point was reached. I was so very active in the party that I honestly never saw that until the Obama machine came to town. And my friend K, another lifelong Democrat who left the party, says that the approach to Democratic dogma has turned into a religion and has fallen to the intolerance that some religions have with dissenters.

    I have also seen that alot of Democrats are people who have not been incredibly socially successful in their youth, you know the smart nerdy types, and they have found their cohort by belonging to the Democratic Party. And by being part of the in-crowd for the first time in their lives, they want to stay in the in crowd at the expense of some important principles including freedom of speech. What I mean is that they are so concerned with being part of the group, they are willing to jettison some important beliefs and look the other way to stay “popular” and in the in crowd. No matter how smart these people are, they are still human beings, and it seems that human nature includes being hardwired to follow certain group behaviors. History is littered with examples of this group behavior and what it can morph into.

    The new Democratic Party of Obama’s is an unwelcoming place for sure. And it bears little resemblance to the party I fell in love with. In my opinion, that change happened relatively recently, and none of us who left the party saw it coming.

    • Oswald says:

      “Going negative” does not require lying, demonizing or name-calling. If you have to do those things to win, maybe you should lose.

      • threewickets says:

        As Cynthia says, going negative used to be the Republican thing. Long before Palin.

    • votermom says:

      Thanks for sharing, Cynthia. It certainly feels like it’s not the same Dem party we once knew.

    • threewickets says:

      As I recall the decade, it was the Gore loss, 9/11 and Iraq, Nader activists, Obama messiah, Obots gulping koolaid, financial armageddon.

      • Lola-at-Large says:

        That’s how I recall it too. It started with the Naderites. They were a heavily-young-male demographic and they were pissed off as hell that Bradley didn’t place and wasn’t selected by Gore, so they went all-in for Nader as a protest vote. Funny how just 8 years later they were calling my protest racist, bitter, not-in-my-best-interests, etc. But back then they were going to ring a new era of politics that would break the two-party system.

        • threewickets says:

          And the schmuck Bill Maher was a big Nader promoter, especially back in 2000 when it made a difference. Now Maher spends his days bashing women candidates and sucking up to Obama. He carries the flag for that frat boy, Chomsky worshipping, Naderite culture.

    • Lulu says:

      Thanks for your insight. I was a local county Democratic official in a rinky-dink town. I helped recruit people to run, and I raised money also for years. I think some of the changes in Democrats is reflected in cultural changes that may be more concentrated in Obama-centric Democrats.

      “And my friend K, another lifelong Democrat who left the party, says that the approach to Democratic dogma has turned into a religion and has fallen to the intolerance that some religions have with dissenters.” I agree whole-hardheartedly with your friend but there has been this element in both parties for ever. A fanatic is a fanatic. Their inflexibility and emotional investment in their beliefs is what makes them a fanatic. They are unwilling or unable to self examine because it causes discomfort or pain. This is why the purge of the impure-Democrats in 2008 marks them as such and why they are having such difficulty admitting what they have done. Downsizing a political party by design is insane and ,well, fanatical.

      • WMCB says:

        HONK! That sort of zealotry always disturbs me, from either side. When politics becomes religion, and disagreement becomes blasphemy and heresy – with the accompanying emotional response and vicious shunning and silencing of the heretic – then you are dealing with very dark forces in the human psyche, indeed.

        Nothing good has ever come from playing to fanaticism.

    • DeniseVB says:

      It sounds like a familiar journey, and congrats on running for office Cynthia !

      I first started noticing the changes in our Dems during the rise of the Deaniacs who started the internet revolution. That was as early as 2001 ? The beginning of the pack mentality and the infamous “you’re either with Howard Dean or the hell with you”, later to become the mantra for any Dem candidate’s supporters. It rolled over onto sites like DU and Dkos, then the Clarkies moved in, and the Kerrys hated ya back just as hard. I jumped on a little known candidate’s team in late 2003, that was John Edwards. He was sweet, inspiring and I liked his supporters. 2004 was vicious and vile. Oh, and Obama gave a speech that year 😉 And that began the next cycle of a cyber bloodsport called the Dem primaries.

      The treatment of Hillary, then Palin pretty much ended my journey with the Dems. It stopped being about issues, it was about control and an eerie kind of candidate worship beyond Obama’s resume of nothing accomplished. I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, it left me 😀

    • HELENK says:

      thank you for your sharing your experiences. As a democrat for almost 50 years, I could not believe the democratic party in 2207-2008.
      I have been questioning myself on was I blind for so many years and just did not see what the real democratic party was or did it change.

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy says:

        Right there with many of y’all. Thank you, Cynthia, for the great comment, which seems to have encapsulated many of our experiences. I still cannot believe what the party has become.

        As Denise said, the treatment Hillary and Sarah received, along with the blatant unethical behavior of the DNC throughout 2007-8 did in my lifelong affiliation with the Dem. Party, too…

      • I’ve asked myself that same thing Helenk—-many times. In the end I felt duped, and I wondered what was wrong with me that I never saw what was going on. I’m thinking now that no one saw it, and those of us who left were the equivalent of canaries in the mine. We just saw it first. And there ARE alot of us. If Hillary had 18 million votes, the conventional wisdom is that 20% of her voters left the party. That’s 3.4 million of us, not a small number.

        • HELENK says:

          I could not believe that the party I supported for so many years, thought so little of the people of this country.
          Our votes meant nothing, our work meant nothing, our beliefs meant nothing.
          The damage that was done will take years to undo, if it can be undone.

        • Erica says:

          3.4 million is a stunning number, but I don’t doubt it. As Obamamanic as the Bay Area is, I still know a number of people who are unhappy with 0 and saw through the charade.

        • I know HelenK. Our work for the party in the end was irrelevant—-we were booted out as old and ridiculous for having aspirations for a female president. But the day will come when they want us back. Part of me says good luck with that!!! But I imagine that if Hillary runs again in 2016, and I’ve ALWAYS felt she would take another crack at it, who knows what I’d be willing to do for her? I was ALL IN as I’m sure you were on her campaign. I believe she was the best of the bunch, and not a day has gone by that I haven’t missed her being our president. I still feel the same way, but could I work with the current hypocrites in the party?

          Howard Dean called me several times in 2008 to discuss the problems people like us were having with how the party conducted itself in 2008, and he told me that wherever he went in those days he was innundated by women like us talking about what we were going through. He said his phone was ringing off the hook with the same thing. Why they didn’t do more than they did to fix the damage, I don’t know. In the end, they didn’t need our votes to win, so I guess they figured they could cut us loose without any damage. And sadly, they were right. But they lost alot of good people they didn’t need to alienate….3.4 million isn’t insignificant!!

  3. votermom says:

    PPP tweeted this yesterday

    • I guess the ugly comments on this tweet just keep proving all of our points on many various pieces we all write, particularly the one today about when did progressives get so ugly……

    • votermom says:

      Here is the poll.


      The talk of a brokered convention never seems to die down and one interesting finding on this poll was that Sarah Palin is far more popular than any of the actual Republican candidates in the race. Her net favorability is +48, with 68% of voters rating her favorably to only 20% with a negative opinion. That compares favorably to +29 for Santorum, +19 for Romney, and -26 for Paul.

      Palin is someone GOP delegates might be able to unify around in the case of a hopelessly deadlocked convention. She is seen positively by Gingrich voters (85/7), Santorum supporters (80/10), and Romney ones (57/27) alike. That’s a contrast to Romney who is disliked by both Santorum (38/48) and Gingrich (32/54) voters and Santorum who is disliked by Romney (38/48) voters and only seen narrowly favorably by Gingrich (46/42) backers.

      Obviously, she must be destroyed.

  4. threewickets says:

    David Ignatius in WaPo yesterday. Young Jewish man from Orange County, CA becomes AQ’s public relations guy.

    • votermom says:

      Gadahn hated Fox News (“falls into the abyss”); he liked MSNBC but complained about the firing of Keith Olbermann; he had mixed feelings about CNN (better in Arabic than in English) and made flattering comments about CBS and ABC.


  5. Many honks for this post. A perfect example of the character of Obama and his followers. Hate is all they have.

    • DeniseVB says:

      I noticed that too. A perfectly deserved criticism of the Prez will always attract “hater racist” responses but never a polite rebuttal. Because they can’t 😉

  6. yttik says:

    There’s a big anti-bullying campaign going on right now, with several celebrities speaking out. It makes me crazy because it’s like, hello people! Where do you think bullying comes from? Oh yeah, it comes from adults who teach kids it’s okay to act like this. So yeah, speak out, but you can’t be doing hateful things and trying to bully people you disagree with at the same time, not if you expect your message to have any integrity.

    • WMCB says:

      yttik, their objections to bullying are the same as their objections to racism, or sexism. It is to be abhorred unless used as a weapon against the “wrong” people. It’s okay if you use it against people who are “the enemy”.

      See the conversation above about politics having become a religious identity. One of the hallmarks of religious fanaticism is that behavior that would normally be unthinkable becomes justified as a way to purge evil and pursue the pure ideal.

  7. threewickets says:

    Unforced error from the Romney campaign.

    HOST (CNN): Is there a concern that Santorum and Gingrich might force the governor to tack so far to the right it would hurt him with moderate voters in the general election.

    FEHRNSTROM: Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all of over again.

    • votermom says:

      And then if you manage to get elected despite that, you get to shake the etch a sketch again and do whatever the heck you want as POTUS.
      It worked for B0, why not for Mitt?
      Blank slate vs Flip Flop. The “you call this a choice?” election.

  8. DeniseVB says:

    Finally, some people defending the Brokered Convention 😀


    I think it would be a hoot. Sarah too ! It would probably be a ratings gold mine too. Nothing like an old fashioned bar fight, and the winner takes on fancy boy 😀

  9. foxyladi14 says:

    could be fun. 😆

  10. HELENK says:

    why is this bill on hold??


    Sen Patrick Leahy put a hold on this bill that would let US Marshals find sex offenders that did not register.
    How many women and children would this bill help???

    • HELENK says:

      In March 2011, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) introduced the Finding Fugitive Sex Offenders Act in the Senate. The Act was designed to grant the U.S. Marshals administrative subpoena power so that they could better investigate sex offenders who had not registered as required by law. The FBI already had similar authority for health care and child crime cases; the Secret Service already had similar authority for cases involving threats to officials. The bill was passed through the Judiciary Committee and eventually passed the full Senate as part of a broader anti-crime bill, but was never merged into a conference report with the House.

      In January, the bill was reintroduced and passed through the Judiciary Committee. And now, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has put a hold on it, blocking it from full Senate consideration.

  11. Emily says:

    FWIW, Michelle Obama has been ugly since the day she was born.

  12. Oswald says:

    The entire Obama presidency, in one anecdote

    Energy was a particular obsession of the president-elect’s, and therefore a particular source of frustration. Week after week, [White House economic adviser Christina] Romer would march in with an estimate of the jobs all the investments in clean energy would produce; week after week, Obama would send her back to check the numbers. “I don’t get it,” he’d say. “We make these large-scale investments in infrastructure. What do you mean, there are no jobs?” But the numbers rarely budged.


    A $38.6 billion loan guarantee program that the Obama administration promised would create or save 65,000 jobs has created just a few thousand jobs two years after it began, government records show. The program — designed to jump-start the nation’s clean technology industry by giving energy companies access to low-cost, government-backed loans — has directly created 3,545 new, permanent jobs after giving out almost half the allocated amount, according to Energy Department tallies.

    So where are the new jobs coming from, at least the good-paying ones? From the industry Obama wants to replace as much as possible with “clean” energy: oil and gas. A new report from the World Economic Forum estimates the sectors “added approximately 150,000 jobs in 2011, 9% of all jobs created in the United States that year.”

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