Life in the eye of a hurricane

I can’t tell you how strange the past two days have been. (In addition to the flowers, I even got four marriage proposals. I’m mulling them over. The guy with the goats, the one with the cows, or the one with health insurance?) I’ve been reading all the stuff people have written about this unrecognizable me — I even got accused of using a sock puppet (fake user name) to defend myself over at FDL.

People on the intertubes are crazy. (Not you guys, of course. We have this nice quiet little corner of the online universe, although we’ve had a lot of visitors lately.) But generally speaking, there are a lot of intensely crazy people whose every waking moment is dedicated to the proposition that “someone, somewhere on the internet is WRONG, and I must CONFRONT them!!!!”

Geeze. Get a life, willya?

But I do think I need to correct the various media interpretations of The Great Axelrod Event. Let me make clear: I wasn’t being belligerent, it’s not my nature. As I told the White House aide who put the call together, “This is just the way I talk. I’m always like this. I talk loudly, I interrupt. I’m from Southwest Philly, I didn’t go to Yale.”

And I wasn’t being any harder on Axelrod than I’ve been on any public figure. As a reporter, my attitude was always, “Enough of the blah blah blah, let’s get back to my question.” Is that so unusual that it’s worth noting? I guess so. I’m sorry to see that.

I’m also a very literal person. Axelrod was asking us for help, and my reaction was, how do you even expect us to do that when y’all are treating people badly? It wasn’t a sucker punch, it was a logical progression of thought. So no, I’m not some folk hero — unless telling the truth is so unusual now that simply stating the facts is a big deal.

And then I got the “purer than thou” people who are all, like, “Why would you want to help them, you sniveling sellout?” (I guess there’s still hope for me, because I’m not that literal.) Very few situations are completely binary.(i.e. on or off). “Is there some potential gain for my position by a temporary alliance on this particular point?” I’m a negotiator by nature. If you want something from me, here are the ground rules. Then we’ll talk.

Telling Axelrod the White House has to stop punching hippies wasn’t the goal of the negotiation, it was only a ground rule. And I certainly wasn’t buying into the idea that if Congress loses the mid-terms, it’s because the DFHs didn’t clap loud enough.

And while I understand that some of you are resentful that no one else on the call asked that question, come on. Those of you who still have jobs know the drill. Would you confront your CEO at a public event?

Then we have the armchair quarterbacks: “What she SHOULD have done was…..” followed by a long tirade about how I should have righteously listed the wrongs done by the administration. Uh huh. This was a 45-minute call with a senior White House advisor and I got the last five minutes, of course he’s going to hang on the phone and listen to me rip into their record. That would have accomplished a lot, don’t you think?

Whether you understand it or not, I did get Axelrod to think about my point.

The bottom line is, the people criticizing me weren’t the ones on the call. Some people are quite annoyed by that (“Who does SHE think she is? Why was SHE on a White House call? SHE’s a narcissistic blah blah blah….”).

Yeah, whatever.

For whatever reason, there I was, doing what I thought was useful. Your mileage may vary.

P.S. Oh, and let’s not even get into the cesspool of online anonymity and the ensuing lack of civility. Certain types of anonymous cowards will always feel free to say online the kinds of things they’d never have the courage to say to someone’s face.

37 thoughts on “Life in the eye of a hurricane

  1. … unless telling the truth is so unusual now that simply stating the facts is a big deal.

    Simple answer to complex question: Yes.

  2. Those of you who still have jobs know the drill. Would you confront your CEO at a public event?

    While I appreciate you speaking truth to power Susie, I’ve gotta say I’m somewhat disturbed by your off the cuff attitude toward what seem to be a clear case of prog blog payola.

    Not that I necessarily have a problem with bloggers accepting money from campaigns, but they should be upfront about it.

    So, in the interests of transparency I’ll ask two things:

    1) Exactly how long have you been on Obama’s payroll?

    2) Who else was on that call?

  3. I mean this in the nicest possible way: Fuck you. If I was on anyone’s payroll, would I be begging for rent money?

    And in these hard times, I’m not going to judge people for what they do for a living. Perhaps you should work on that empathy thing.

  4. I think jawbone nailed it. I think it’s great. You’re a direct and honest person, IMHO. You deserve every bit of ‘fame’ you get. Now that people are looking, forget what you said yesterday and say something else to shake their preconceptions. I just hope they’re clicking on the ad buttons πŸ™‚

  5. Obama’s payroll! Mmph!

    Oh. well. damn. Now I gotta wipe up the coffee I just spit all over my monitor.
    And emoticons, too? What a lot of new stuff we’re learning about SB this week.

  6. Sorry if I misinterpreted your comment. Usually when people say ‘CEO’ it means they are employed by the person’s organization. Thank you for clarifying that you are not being paid by the Obama campaign.

    You do, however, certainly suggest that others on that call are employed by Obama. Again, I think readers of these blogs have a right to know whether the opinions expressed are their own or whether they are influenced by outside political groups, don’t you?

  7. Susie, you’ve stirred the pot and made some people uncomfortable, and you know how blogtopia is even on a regular day. I think it was brilliant, and I believe that Molly Ivins would be proud of you.

  8. Sorry, idiots come with the job. And the fame thing? Ain’t it a bitch. How many years of writing righteous stuff and THIS is what get’s your name in the papers (so to speak). OMG, I just remembered. What was your last astrological bit on? An abrupt change in direction or something like? Does this count?

  9. I hope you get some new regular readers out of this. I do think you performed a valuable service. Now Axelrod, and maybe even Obama, know what “punching hippies” means. It is even possible (though unlikely) that they won’t do it again.

    ya done good

    I hope you are included in the next conference call.

  10. No, I didn’t suggest any such thing. I was using an ANALOGY. That is, something that is similar in some ways, but not in every way, and not literal. My point is that people who collect a paycheck answer to their employers. What is so mysterious about that? For instance: Greg Sargent, who was on the call, works for the Washington Post. David Dayen, who works for FDL, works for Jane Hamsher. The people from the Center for American Progress work for them. And so on.

    If the people on that call worked for Obama, would Axelrod be on a call pleading for help? Use your head.

  11. Jeez. Keep it up and I guess I’ll have to become a believer. Remember the words of my sainted mother, ‘It’s a great life . . . if you don’t weaken.’

  12. Some of us have been so beaten down by the Obamanuts and their buddies in the so-called progressive blogosphere that we flinch at every perceived wrong. And perhaps over-react.

    But there does indeed seem to be a whole lotta knee-jerk reactin’ goin’ on.

    I think I remember a time when we would read something, reflect on it, and then react. I don’t see much of that any more. Too many people want to be the quickest with the snarkiest rebuttal, and reflection be damned. Understanding, even, be damned.

    And yes, telling the truth is so totally out of the realm of acceptable behavior these days that doing it can easily create a sensation.

    Carolyn Kay

  13. If the people on that call worked for Obama, would Axelrod be on a call pleading for help? Use your head.

    Again, thanks for answering my question about who was on the call. I’m not sure your claim that you were simply making an analogy completely jibes with your statement that, “in these hard times, I’m not going to judge people for what they do for a living,”, but I do appreciate you addressing my concerns.

  14. Keep up the good work.

    I decided since I am happily married not to make an offer of marriage so I just donated some money.

    Technical question: I understand how some people are unfamiliar and could misinterpret a Southwest Philly locution, but how do you communicate on a conference call when no one can see how you are waving your hands ?

  15. Without ‘waving your hands!’ Oh no you di-int! Ahahahaha. Is there an emoticon for ‘SNAP!’? I haven’t had this much fun on the internet since Colbert did the Press Club dinner.

  16. The thing I love about Al Franken is that when he’s around the real nutjobs in the Senate, you can almost see the thought balloon over his head that says: “WTF?!?!?”

  17. ‘Zactly. Then the media covers Franken for rolling his eyes, instead of the wing-nut lying through his teeth. And to top it off, the MSM gets all depressed and shit cause no one thinks them relevant anymore. He said rolling his eyes.

  18. Yeah, but the MSM as we know it is dying. After all, Al can go over their heads and directly to YouTube now.

    Maybe something better will rise in corporate media’s place. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the original reporting from Huffington Post.

  19. If journalism was what it used to be, the papers/radio/tv/media would be banging down your door. That they’re not is proof that they’re in the bag and that’s why they’re dying. We need people to tell us the truth, and to speak truth to power. We all imagine it’s easy, but it’s not…it’s really frightening when you stand there, naked…just yourself.

    I know to some degree why you’re making light of this, but in reality you’ve given us all a dose of courage to speak out. I’m not sure you realize how rare that is in these strange times.

    I, for one, really appreciate it. Thank you, Susie.

  20. Susie: You’re the bomb. Someone needs to pierce the bubble, I’m just glad it was you. Keep it up! Politely stepping aside for the “Big Guys” only gets you stepped on.
    Regarding the Philadelphia/anger thing: I get a lot of open-mouthed looks because I work with a lot of southerners.(And Southerners, as polite as they are, will twist the knife in your back while serving you sweet tea.)
    My cousin in Oregon found a great t-shirt that says, “I’m not angry. I’m from Philly.”

  21. You rock.

    More, please.

    And if we leftie bloggers are supposed to be on someone’s payroll (Obama?, Soros?) then I guess someone forgot to send me my check…

  22. Good work, susie.

    One little thing abiout internet anonymity: I choose that route myself because I am a nurse. I sometimes write about my work experiences, always under deep cover wirh details changed/omitted because I do not want to incur any HIPAA violations, but I feel I also need anonymity in order just to be able to blog.

    This is a curse, not a blessing.

  23. I tell ya, wow. I’ve followed this for a bit and it must feel like a twisted reality for you.
    On the one hand you’re ‘one of the Elite’ who gets to go on a call with a Sr. Obama Official, and you get to voice/ask opinions/questions directly. And they ask you directly to support them.
    On the other hand, you’ve lost just about everything, are a 99’er, lost your job and therefore health insurance and you ask for donations on your blog just to survive. The Administration so far has not been too inclined to actually help people like you (and me).
    I’d call that a mind fuck – I don’t know what you call it.
    Hats off to you, is all I can say.
    You handled it better than I would’ve. Good for you.

  24. Once again, +1000. You didn’t pull your punch. Maybe not the punch I would have thrown, but as you point out, I wasn’t there, and the way to get a donkey’s attention is to hit it on the head with a 2×4, and I don’t think the exact nature of the 2×4 matters all that much. Of course, the only thing I’d like to help the Ds to is extinction along the lines of the Whigs, but if you think they’re redeemable, have at it, say I.

  25. Yeah, it’s the truth that blows everyone’s minds. I wasn’t surprised you were invited on that call. You’re one of the best writers in the blogosphere. You call it as you see it. It’s that simple. If people don’t like it or understand it, tough s**t.

  26. You’ve still got my support, now more than ever. If I ever get any money, I try to send you a few bucks for lunch. πŸ™‚

    And if you get another chance, tell them that I am done with politics, voting, and trying to tell people the right thing to do. I am just going to get my little home and shelter together to be ready for the coming storms. Tell them that if they want anything from me, they can come here and talk to me politely. I don’t answer the phone, so leave a message, and I will decide if I want to reply.

  27. Oh, yeah, I don’t believe in marriage, love, forever, soul mates or any of that, but if you need someplace to live you can come here and set up your camper. I’ve got no insurance, but I will run a water pipe and an extension cord out to your trailer.

  28. At least once a week, and more like several times a week, I read your blog and say to myself, Thank God for Susie, or I would have to conclude that I am crazy. Keep speaking truth to power and know that many of us readers who don’t have your courage and skill appreciate you for saying what we think and feel.

    So, it’s not much, but I thank you for being you, and I want you to know that I’m grateful to you day by day.

  29. This is why I’m proud to be a Suburban Guerrilla Sustainer. Maybe if you gave out gifties like the public radio stations you’d get more donations!

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