Clinton and Sanders Voters: Rules of Engagement

Here’s a story the Rude Pundit might have told at some point – who knows after a dozen years of daily shit – but it bears telling here: Back in 2007 and 2008, the Rude Pundit was all about the Obama love.  He went for Obama before it was cool because he saw that the man was gonna lead a movement that the country desperately needed.  He went into it eyes open, aware that Obama was a slightly left-of-center Democrat, not the second coming of one Kennedy or another.

To that end, the Rude Pundit spilled much blog seed criticizing Hillary Clinton, especially for her attacks on Obama.  At one point, the BBC contacted the Rude Pundit to ask him to represent people who didn’t think Clinton should run for president (an appearance he declined because they completely got him wrong).   Yet even so, he praised Clinton for her primary victory in New Hampshire.

In January of 2008, at Eschacon, a gathering of liberals in Philadelphia sponsored by Atrios’s Eschaton blog, the Rude Pundit was scheduled to perform.  A blog friend came up to him in the hallway of the conference hotel the day before.  She had tried to convince him that Obama couldn’t possibly win, that Clinton was the way to go, and she had a warning. “Just wanna let you know,” she said.  “If you start going after Hillary tomorrow night, a couple of big butch lesbians said they are going to rush the stage and stop you.”  The Rude Pundit went back to his room later that night and furiously rewrote his script, revising his “42 Ways Not to Have Sex with Ann Coulter” to be an all-out, barnburning attack on Clinton.  “Fuck them,” he thought.  “Come at me.”

The next day, all throughout the events, the Rude Pundit realized that, whether or not we agreed on the Democratic candidate, we were in this together.  He hadn’t said or written anything to be shitty to Clinton supporters so far.  Why start now?  Why should we turn on each other?  How useless that seemed, especially in the wake of the destruction wrought by George W. Bush.  He stowed the Clinton stuff and degraded the shit out of Ann Coulter, and a splendid time was had by all.

The Rude Pundit thinks about that every single time someone gets viciously upset that he doesn’t have the oh-so-expected high hard-on for Bernie Sanders.  Yesterday, after writing that Hillary Clinton won the debate, he was inundated with people trying to prove him wrong.  “Sanders won every online poll and focus group,” they told him.  Online polls have no scientific basis beyond who is moved to click on them. Relying on them to prove your point is like saying your Mom says you’re a good singer.

“You’re just saying what the corporate media says and they contribute to Hillary,” said others, to which the Rude Pundit can only say, “Um, if corporations wanna pay me, call me.  Otherwise, I’m goddamn unallied.”  This is not to mention that he’s capable of keeping two thoughts in his head. He can say someone won a debate and is a great candidate yet not be committed.  Hell, in 2012, he said that Mitt Romney beat Obama in their first debate.  Oh, no.

Then this email arrived last night in the inbox with the confusing subject “So you’re shilling for Shillary now.”  It reads, “Go fuck yourself, Lee.  Might as well wear your confederate flag with pride.  Shillary is a republican.  You are a fucking asshole and I hope you die.”  The temptation is to respond with suggestions of various large farm animals that can fuck the writer in the ass, as well as a few variations on what he can fellate and the semen he can choke on.  But where does that get us, huh?

We’re on the same side, gang. We want one of the Democrats to win.  The Rude Pundit, for his part, believes that Hillary Clinton will win the nomination and he really likes Bernie Sanders.  Hell, Bernie did pretty damn good at the debate.  Ain’t that shit complicated, huh?  Yeah, he’s still working it out in his head, so, you know, calm the fuck down for a little while.  We’ve got some time before we even get to most of the primaries.  But maybe let’s set down a rule or two so the left doesn’t tear itself up between Hillary and Bernie supporters.

For instance, how about this: The candidates are fair game, but their supporters deserve the benefit of the doubt.  You can tear in to Clinton as much as you want about her Iraq war vote or her crappy response to the question about Edward Snowden.  Or you can point out everything you want about Sanders’ stand on gun control.  But maybe, just maybe, figure that their supporters are acting in good faith.

Maybe focus your ire on the people who deserve it, like racist maniac Donald Trump or scary ass Ted Cruz or creepily desperate Marco Rubio.  Use your energy to take their followers apart.   Fuck those people.

Yeah, yeah, the Rude Pundit knows, Christ, he knows. In this age of the shithead comment thread, the hastily hocked-up blog post, and the “I’ll kill your mother’s corpse after I rape her” tweets, it’s asking the impossible.  But there are motherfuckers who really need ass-kicking.  Kick them.

Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on October 15, 2015, on The Rude Pundit, a website featuring commentary by Lee Papa.  It was reproduced here with the consent of Mr. Papa.

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