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Monday, March 30, 2009

The Further Adventures of the Angry Spud - It's Not Who I First Thought

But I've got another theory.

I was going to do this as an update, but it deserves its own separate post. I got a full denial from my primary suspect in The Angry Potato mystery. Actually, it was an email passed on to me by a third party. I am waiting to see if I can get permission to reprint it, with steps taken to preserve the person's identity.

This, however, leads me to explore my second theory, which now seems more plausible in light of some new posts to that site. I'll get to that in a minute.

Bear in mind, I have no smoking guns. This is all circumstantial evidence based on speculation that seems logical. But I don't have "I've got your IP address and can prove your identity" type evidence. Nor do I care about the actual identity of the individual doing this. I simply love a good mystery and think this type deconstruction of circumstantial evidence is fun. In fact, it's almost as much fun as reading a good murder mystery.

With those caveats, here's my theory. More and more, I'm convinced that if this isn't the work of a disgruntled former blogger on the lefty side, it is a Republican posing as a Democrat. First of all, it's not as if Republicans are strangers to dirty tricks. Neither are Democrats, by the way. But here's why I think this is a GOPer's dirty trick.

First there is motive. They have the most to benefit from sowing seeds of dissension and mistrust among Democrats. The timing is perfect. There have been real fights among progressive bloggers and diarists. So whoever is doing this thinks that now is the time when it would seem plausible that a Democrat had ratcheted it up to the next level.

But if you read between the lines, whoever this person is always somehow makes the Republicans look better than the Democrats. No matter what the issue. When he's not engaging in pure vitriolic ridicule that is. Here's one example.

For background, the post refers to a proposal in Congress put forth by a very conservative Republican representative, Daryl Issa of California, to change the federal law so that if the first lady participates regularly in any policy group, she would be required to announce it and the meetings would have be public.

As Democrats pointed out, this could be viewed as an attack on Michelle Obama because it could be perceived as treating her differently than Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, or Laura Bush. Why this law and why now?

Here's what the angry little spud said:
It’s about time Democrats stop reaching for the race card every time they get confused. Not everyone who disagrees with you is a racist. If I said, “Vivian’s blog is crap,” besides the fact that it’s untrue, does it make me a racist because Vivian is not a potato? But Blogwhore Central immediately jumps to the fact that Obama is black. That in and of itself indicates some deeply widening sense of racism (of otherness). Let me offer a different take on this issue, and Retweet you’re welcome to copy and paste all you want if you can figure out the big-boy words:
Here's the mashed brain spud's spin:

Finally we have a First Lady who is more than a ceremonial garden statue. Michelle Obama has such potential to change our government, and yes our lives as American citizens, that Republicans are pushing to include her policy work within the same transparency framework as the President and Vice President. It’s an excellent opportunity for the better half of our Presidential Duo to elevate the role of the First Lady, and I believe that with Obama’s claim for more transparency, this bill should be embraced and expanded to grant greater power to the Office of the First Lady. And even if Republicans don’t see it that way, and their motives are not as pure, Democrats should take their bill and do something productive with it instead of bitching about motives.

It’s time for the Democratic party to man up and stop the name calling (I don’t count obviously because I’m better than you, and like T-Mac, I made you who you are today), stop the automatic race-card escalation, and take a step back before you start typing. I’m not saying there aren’t racists in every level of our government (there are, and there always will be, especially as we see more minorities reach the highest peaks of power), but for Christ’s sake, take a moment and try to make your point in a creative and original way, instead of just bouncing up and down on the bed yelling “racist.” If anyone has the right to talk about racism, it’s Vivian Paige, and not you white boy. But you’ll notice that the realities of life have helped Vivian develop the ability to disagree agreeably (while not looking like a total crackpot).
First thing to notice is the accusation that Democrats always play the race card against Republicans. Whenever we have a legitimate beef that something might be unfair or racist, the first thing the Republican blogosphere does is jump up and down and accuse us of injecting accusations of racism or sexism. If you read certain conservative blogs, it's a constant complaint against us and a constant theme of theirs. Indeed, I think the whole Angry Potato site is a parody portraying what Republicans think Democrats are, rather than a site that is authentically written by a Democrat.

The other thing I noticed, as a clue, is how genuinely kindly this blogger treats Vivian Paige. Now, I think Vivian is one of the better bloggers on the blogosphere. But she is one of the few progressive bloggers who also gets the genuine admiration of rightwing bloggers. In fact, it's the one area where I actually agree with them and am impressed with their good taste - it's, unfortunately, only a temporary lapse from their usual bad taste :).

Seriously, whoever is doing this site does admire Vivian but has little good to say about almost any other Democrat, including a high school aged Young Democrat. It would be pretty rare for a fellow Democrat, regardless of whom he was supporting in the primary, to post something this nasty about a kid.
It seems another netroots activist (that’s a guy with a blog and a C+ in high school civics) has switched to the T-Mac campaign. That’s like secretly switching someones gourmet coffee with a steaming cup of shit. Here is the dirty details:
Then there is this video that was put up after it was announced that AFSCME endorsed Terry McAuliffe. The video parodies a union boss and uses all the stereotypes portraying him as an obscenity spouting union goon. No Democrat would use that particular video, but I know which prominent Republican blog put it up recently. In fact, it was an RNC generated video, for which the RNC later apologized.

Because the mashed brained spud seems to particularly resent Lowell and Josh and the BC crowd, some have speculated that this is somehow coming out of the Brian Moran camp. But I don't think so because the tiny tatter tot has thrown rotten potatoes at every single Democratic candidate and campaign running - McAuliffe, Moran, and Deeds. In other words, he doesn't actually like any of the Democratic candidates.

In fact, he's spending an awful lot more time trashing Democrats than Republicans. And then, just today, he came up with this beauty that is supposed to be a hit at Republicans from the Democrats' point of view.
Democrats must act now to prevent the destruction of one of their most precious resources. Forget global warming and endangered pelican sperm, I’m speaking to you today about Jeff Frederick. Under Frederick’s leadership, the Titanic that is the RPV is ramming icebergs like an alcoholic drinking perfume snuck into rehab. If something isn’t done soon, Virginia may lose one if it’s most treasured gifts to the Democratic Party. To help you understand what this means, lets imagine an alternate universe.

It’s April 1, 2009, and the RPV has ousted Jeff Frederick along with his entire staff. The announcement goes out that he is replaced by Shaun Kenny. Within the first month, Kenny has managed to create a comprehensive plan to right the ship, including uniting the activists, created a coherent message and a network of bloggers and local party chairs to disseminate this message, and has committed to a return to values. Within another month, people begin to realize that Kenny wasn’t paying lip service to RPV values when he starts releasing guides and instructions to the different parties, including talking points and a comprehensive direction of new ideas and solutions. By the summer, Kenny is so tied into the campaigns that he’s practically a staffer.

By the time the election is over, Kenny has united the party and created a fundraising machine. He has started working on campaigns to bring in minorities and independents who identify with his message and values. In the election, he doesn’t take back the Senate or Governor, but he holds the majority in the House, and starts building a strong base of candidates for the 2010 races. By 2012, Virginia is firmly in the red, the Senate is back under Republican control, and there has been a net change of one or two Congressional seats. The RNC is taking note and pushes Shaun’s message to all 50 states. Once again, the Republican party stands for something that people can identify, it learns to keep its mouth shut and its idiots in the closet, and the tide starts turning nationally.
See, he's not really trashing the Republicans at all. Somehow, in every supposed anti-Republican post he does, they somehow come out ahead. In his posts about the Democrats, we never do. And whoever it is certainly admires Shaun Kenny. I don't know many Democrats who would actually declare Kenny a hero of the Republican Party or care that much who becomes their chairman. That's Republican inside baseball.

And it's why I don't buy for a minute that this comes from a Democrat regardless of which faction he claims to be in. Another reason I don't think it's a Democratic blogger is that there's no Democrat, except for Vivian, who has ever earned this guy's respect, including Jim Webb. I only know of one Democrat left who still dislikes Jim Webb and she doesn't blog.

The Angry Potato also isn't the only site masquerading as Democratic-written. There's another site that claims to be from a Democrat and even from a supporter of one of the candidates. It's called StopPatEdmondson, and I've long suspected that that site also is a Republican dirty trick. It's a twofer. It ridicules and humiliates Pat and harms her opponent, Jody Wagner, by claiming to be one of her supporters. Let me tell you, no candidate would want a supporter publicly saying or writing such outlandish things about an opponent. Indeed, that site embarrases and harms Jody's campaign more than it does Pat's. So, it's easy to conclude it's an enemy of Democrats not one of them.

The dirty tricksters are out in full force this season. And I'd look to Virginia Beach to find at least some of them.


spotter said...

While you're think this through, here's some good reading.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Thanks Spotter. But only happy and loving potatoes are healthy. You never want to feed your family angry potatoes. They will give your loved ones heartburn :)

MB said...

I don't think the identity really matters. It is, in fact, dead on in its criticisms. So instead of focusing on the form, I'd think a bit more about the substance.

MB -

(the comment login requirement is annoying)

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

First, sorry for all the extra precaution, MB. But there is a troll who is seriously deranged and insulting - no not theangrypotato - but somebody more whacked out than just normal satire or ridicule. I prefer to keep him off my site. Among other things, he uses foul language, which is ok for his site; that's his choice. But I don't use language like that on my blog. It's my editorial decision.

As for theangrypotato, I'm not so sure that he's always dead on. More important, I think there's a difference between satire, which he has done very well, and ridicule. He also does ridicule very well but it's a different and crueler category. Some of what he says is hyperbolic, unfair, and innaccurate - I do pay attention to substance.

Further, I've seen his posts moderate since I criticized him and speculated that he might be a Republican. I don't think it's in response to me, but there has been a different tone, more emphasis on pointing out positive progressive bloggers rather than just ridiculing those he dislikes, and a more evenhanded approach to Dems and Repubs.

I'm not really that interested in outing the person (although being naturally curious, I would love to know his/her identity, but that's just idle curiosity), but I think if you're going to stand there ridiculing somebody, it's somewhat cowardly to do it from a position of anonymity. After all, every one of the people he has attacked is publicly known to the blogging and political communities, even when they use pen names.

We know who they are. Whatever their faults, they stand up in public and put it out there for people to criticize, attack, or applaud. Theangrypotato has the luxury of making fun of those people while protecting himself from the same.

I'm not arguing whether it's his right to do so. As long as he's not committing slander, threatening, or harrassing people, of course he has a right to keep his identity secret. He's not breaking the law.

BTW, lampooning somebody is not slander because most people know from the context that it is not a true statement or meant to be believed. So, while what he does may be mean, it doesn't rise to breaking any law or causing any harm beyond hurt feelings. I get that.

I just dislike cruel humor, which is different from satire.

When he simply satirizes, and lets up on the blue language, he's a good writer and I enjoy his posts too.

Scott Nolan said...

The bitter spud was pretty charitable towards me with my own groping guesses...

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

I have another theory about who it is. But I don't want to turn into a serious conspiracy theorist, so I'll let it lie.