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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Re: Sinking Fast

posted by on April 29 at 7:51 AM

That speech Rev. Wright gave yesterday at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.—the speech that may have delivered a fatal blow to the Obama’s chances? A supporter of Hillary Clinton set it up. That’s infuriating, huh? Pretty damn ruthless. But, you know, it has a certain swiftboat-or-be-swiftboated quality that is not without appeal. While Obama can’t seem to do what must be done to defend himself and his campaign, Hillary Clinton has made it clear that she will do and say anything in defense of herself and her own campaign.

And that would include, it seems, standing silently by while a prominent supporter uses anti-gay slurs. From The Smoking Gun:

With Hillary Clinton standing at his side, North Carolina Governor Mike Easley today described the Democratic presidential candidate as so tough that she “makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy.” Easley’s compliment, as it were, may offend some voters since the word “pansy” is often used in a derogative fashion to describe a male homosexual.

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But this won't sink Hillary's campaign. Why? Because the media hasn't told me so!

Posted by UNPAID BLOGGER | April 29, 2008 8:11 AM

Let the racists talk about race. It's what drives them after all.

Posted by elenchos | April 29, 2008 8:15 AM

Pansy != faggot

Posted by TheMisanthrope | April 29, 2008 8:18 AM

1. As a Clinton supporter I, like Barbara Reynolds, will not crap without direct orders from the proper chain of command.

B. Males, homo or hetero, who fear breaking a nail typically to be labeled pansies. Contrast with males, hetero or homo, who have much mass and wear much black leather typically not to be labeled pansies. It's a PR thing.

Posted by umvue | April 29, 2008 8:25 AM

i had no idea thats what pansy meant. learn something new everyday.

i thought it described all males who are wimpy.

Posted by SeMe | April 29, 2008 8:29 AM

Most of the people I know completely agree with this, and most of them are going to have an extremely difficult time voting for Hillary in the Fall. And it's sad because a lot of them were excited about politics at the outset of this election cycle for the first time in a long time.

Posted by quilsone | April 29, 2008 8:32 AM

Everytime something new comes out of the Clinton campaign I just close my eyes and keep repeating "John Paul Stevens, John Paul Stevens" and hope I'll not be so angry with Clinton I can still vote for her in November even if I will probably change my voter registration from "D" to "I".

Posted by Jason | April 29, 2008 8:33 AM

It's gonna be pretty ironic if the end result of a HRC nomination is the complete and utter overturn of Roe v. Wade.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | April 29, 2008 8:37 AM

Can I get a real third party? Maybe call it the Progressive party? And a real voting system to go along with it, like ranked voting? Fuck hillary and the rest of the dem party who is supporting her. I'm looking at you, Murray/Inslee/Cantwell/Sims. Unlike others, I believe in accountability and holding you responsible.

Posted by hahaha | April 29, 2008 8:42 AM

Reaching... Reeeeaching...

Posted by DanFan | April 29, 2008 8:46 AM

I watched "The War Room" last night, and you know what the funniest fucking thing is about that film? All of the gutter-politics bullshit that the Clinton campaign got from H.W. Bush is the EXACT SAME gutter-politics bullshit that the Clinton campaign is serving to Obama right now.

Way to go Hillary! You're proving that Democrats aren't any better than Republicans after all!

I have to agree with Jason @7 - the only way I'll be able to vote for HRC in November without vomiting is to chant my new mantra "John Paul Stevens".

Posted by Hernandez | April 29, 2008 8:56 AM

EVerything clinton does the closer she is to mccain, and she can't out mccain mccain!

Posted by Bellevue Ave | April 29, 2008 8:59 AM

To the general public (most everyone outside the Stranger office, apparently) pansy has always meant a wimp, without regard to sexual preference. To suggest this is an anti-gay slur is just trying to stir up another insipid controversy that doesn't exist.

Let's focus on real issues, huh?

Posted by tomcat98109 | April 29, 2008 9:04 AM

Though I am by no means a fan of HC, I have to agree with @10 that this seems to be a bit of a reach. There big picture is damning enough; no need to undermine it with dubious specifics -- as noted, Reynolds "first pitched inviting Wright to the press club two years ago."

Likeise, I offer that "pansy" is more often used in the " weak or effeminate man or boy" sense than the "male homosexual" sense. Unless you can, you know, prove the speaker is a homophobe.

Posted by jayhoytt | April 29, 2008 9:05 AM

The word "pansy" has indicated an effeminate male since Elizabethan times and its usage as a disparaging term for a man or boy who is effeminate (as well as for an avowedly homosexual man) is still used.

Posted by The Internets | April 29, 2008 9:11 AM

Hillary will be the nominee. And, my fellow African Americans join me in sitting out this election. Time for a re-boot of the Democratic Party or a the creation of a valid third party.

Posted by 4 years of McCain | April 29, 2008 9:26 AM

Come on! Pansy is not a homo-exclusive word! Its like calling someone a "pussy" or a "scrote" or whatever we're using this week!

Posted by Wes | April 29, 2008 9:29 AM

The quoted blog post includes the disclaimer "I don't mean to suggest some kind of plot," but you blythely assume that it's an act engineered by the Clinton campaign. You might be right. Or you might not be. You don't know. And you must know that you don't know. You... you... rhododendron!

Posted by Stinky | April 29, 2008 9:39 AM

@16 We evil white rich men thank you for your non-participation. Please continue to not vote so we may finally reinstate full slavery in the United States in everything but name. Just like my father and his father dreamed to do. We're soooo close. Thank you for not supporting our opposition.

Posted by John McCain | April 29, 2008 9:47 AM

She still can't win.

No matter how you slice it.

And that, as they say, is that.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 29, 2008 9:49 AM

Pansy has always been linked with being gay.
If it wasn't why would a few gay boys call themselves "Pansy Devision".
It is derogatory just like the word "Pussy" means to be weak like a woman. It is derogatory and used by some jerks to make themselves feel powerful and better. But it is also used by gay men as a joke towards other gay men or to take ownership of the word and defuse it.
Words change though I hear "Pansy" is now being used to describe a species flower. Crazy huh?

My Dad (old and English) still uses the word "queer" to describe something odd and not gay at all. He uses it all the time but then he has been kinda clueless and out of touch most of his life. But then we call him an "old bugger" which is only half right. He is old but as far as buggering goes I don't think so. But I could be wrong he has hidden many things in his life from his family and was very chummy with his buddies during the war (WWII). So who knows, all I know is words change. I am sure many would love to have the word "GAY" back but ya can't we hijacked it long ago and something tells me it is not going to go away.

Posted by -B- | April 29, 2008 9:56 AM

So, the great uniter could not reign in his preacher of 20 years, how is he going to make the RNC or Putin behave.

"Hillary did it". Can you people give the man some credit? He dissed his old preacher of 20 years, you applauded when he called him his crazy old uncle stuck in the past. The man is defending himself cause the Obama man used him. (political savy and Obama=), not even street smarts.

Obama is politically naive and an amateur. He played with fire of American politics: Race and religion and messed it all up.

Posted by Clea | April 29, 2008 10:00 AM

"Pansy" an anti-gay slur? Really? Out of context, I would have said people generally use it to mean "weak" (physically or emotionally). In context, that's definitely what it means (given the contrast to Rocky).

Now, if he had said "makes Rocky Balboa look like a faggot", then this would be an issue, but, pansy? You're really reaching here.

Posted by Julie | April 29, 2008 10:08 AM


I guess we're all in the same boat, because Hillary's comments on Iran show her to be an incredibly naive amateur. If Obama had saber rattled so vehemently, Hillary would be all over him for not knowing anything about foreign policy. But Hillary gets a free pass again. If she does manage to get the nomination, McCain is going to slaughter her on experience.

Posted by keshmeshi | April 29, 2008 10:09 AM

As distasteful as it may be to vote for Clinton, I want universal healthcare, I want out of Iraq, and I want an end to torture and irresponsible fiscal policy. So we're just going to have to suck it up for the issues that are important to us. I will not hand the election over to McBush just out of spite. Obama is fatally wounded and will not beat McCain and as much as it pains us to acknowledge it we all know that is is true.

Posted by Phil | April 29, 2008 10:46 AM

Hillary's campaign is assuming that blacks & gays will vote for her in the General, because she just doesn't see them voting for McCain or sitting it out. She's forgetting about the pesky problem of the youth and new voters, who have not yet had the pleasure of holding their nose in order to vote. And feminists who recognize that she's set back the cause of women by decades. Not to speak of all those girls who can do math, and know that it's all over except the shrilling.

Posted by nebbish | April 29, 2008 10:58 AM

I understand why Obama supporters are pissed at Hillary right now. Even though this particular thing does seem like a stretch to link to her, it's true she would kick her grandma down a staircase to get elected. In the past I've really liked that about her. But... but...

All I ask Obama supporters is that if somehow she does get the nomination, see how she runs against McCain, see if she can turn that incredible drive against McCain, look at her positions, and consider voting for her in the fall.

As always, I will enthusiastically support Obama if he gets the nomination.

Posted by Big Sven | April 29, 2008 10:58 AM

I'll vote for HRC over McCain, whatever. But its still not clear to me how she is going to get the nomination. She clearly thinks she can, and most of you seem to as well. She's 150 (or so) delegates behind and in every primary or caucus coing up she's going to get further behind. She may pick up one or two in Indianna but that will be more than offset by happens in NC. Everybody talks about the Superdelegates like they can do whatever they want but most of them hold elected positions that they'll want to keep. How is this going to come to pass?

Posted by Mikeblanco | April 29, 2008 11:10 AM

I agree w/ Sven @27, with the caveat that the article Dan linked to said that the Hillary supporter tried to get Wright TWO YEARS AGO.... the article pretty clearly indicates that this DOESN'T come from the Hillary camp. So, while I understand why Obama supporters are pissed, they're wrong to be pissed, at least in this instance. And Dan, much as I love you, shame on you for trying to make this one more wedge between Obama supporters and Hillary supporters. Obama dug his own grave on this one, Hillary didn't even hand him the shovel.

And to those folks to say that they'd rather vote for McCain over Hillary.... that's just stupid. Sorry, but it's utterly stupid. My mama called that cutting off one's nose to spite one's face, and that's what it is.

Posted by Casey | April 29, 2008 11:16 AM

As a resident of the 1920s, I con confirm that pansy is indeed synonymous with homosexual.

Posted by markemmert | April 29, 2008 11:18 AM

If we can't use the word "pansy" as another word for "wimp" -- the terrorists have won.

As a brother in homosexuality, I don't find the term offensive -- at all.

Wright has been speaking at MULTIPLE events lately to defend himself after getting pwned by the press. And that pesky "Clinton supporter" -- who invited him to one of those events -- has been trying to get Wright to speak there for a couple years now.

Sweet Jesus, Dan - with all your Obama hole rimming, you're quickly morphing into the left's very own pansy version of Ann Coulter. Stop the insanity!

Please come back to your senses, Dan. You used to be smart up until, oh, say, four months ago. Please come back...before it's too late.

Posted by TJ | April 29, 2008 11:32 AM

@17 how about: Come on! Pansy is not a homo-exclusive word! Its like calling someone a "faggot" or a "bitch" or whatever we're using this week!

it might not be homo-exclusive, whatever all that entails, but it clearly is an insult based on the prejudiced notions of masculinity and femininity. whether it means to call a man "gay" or to call a man a "woman", pansy really doesn't have a positive connotation. it either has the connotation that a gay man is inferior to a straight man, or that a woman is inferior to a man. the fact that it is not articulated well, but holds meaning in a seemingly harmless word, does not change this.

he could just as easily have said, "...makes rocky look like a weakling..." or a quitter. or even a wimp. the weaklings, quitters and wimps of the world might take offense, but what are they going to do about it?

Posted by infrequent | April 29, 2008 11:36 AM

Perhaps if you babies quit your sniveling for two seconds and actually looked outside your extremely-narrow scope of vision, you'd realize that the word "pansy" is used FAR more often to describe straight dudes than gay ones. Seriously, are you people THAT uptight and PC, or have you just never stepped outside of the LGBT center? Barf. And if anyone, and I mean ANYONE, doesn't vote for the democratic candidate simply because Hillary or Barack didn't get the nomination, I hope you all fry in the deepest pits of a hell that doesn't exist after the entire Middle East decides to nuke us because that fat fucking fuck John "Hey, do remember how I was tortured? It means I'm a great guy!" McCain. If this election has made me realize anything about American politics, it's not some lame whimpering bullshit about how we need a "viable third party" but rather that Americans truly are retarded, even most of the liberal ones, and need a SEVERE fucking priority check.

Posted by ugh | April 29, 2008 11:38 AM

Look, sometimes you have to choose your battles. I'm in the Army and I hear much more offensive stuff than this all the time. If someone starts seriously arguing against gay rights or women's rights, or says something over-the-top obnoxious, I call them out on it. But if a guy referred to another guy as a "pansy" in my hearing, and I responded by chewing him out for "using an insult based on prejudiced notions of masculinity and femininity" no one would ever take anything I had to say seriously again. Hillary is another woman struggling to make it in a male-dominated field. I expect her to support gay rights and women's rights, but I don't expect her to respond to a compliment by pouncing on one of her supporters for his lack of understanding of gender theory.

Posted by Lydia | April 29, 2008 12:07 PM

that's too bad, lydia.

Posted by infrequent | April 29, 2008 12:25 PM

I'm far more annoyed by Hillary's implied slurs about San Francisco. She could have criticized Obama for his "bitter" comments without going there.

Posted by keshmeshi | April 29, 2008 12:30 PM

you can go overboard. i'm not sure i'd make a deal out of this at all either. but i do know two things: 1) even if i choose not to make this a battle, the meaning is nonetheless present, and 2) holding governor's to the same standards as soldiers is a great idea!

Posted by infrequent | April 29, 2008 12:45 PM


i'm not elite.

Posted by infrequent | April 29, 2008 12:47 PM

Dan Savage, are you kidding me??

I am a huge fan of yours, but this beats all I've ever seen. You've printed at least one letter that used "pansy" to mean "weak"... and certainly didn't feel the need to educate us all then. I don't understand why it's OK when used there, and wrong when used here. I've really, honest to God, only heard it used to mean "weak" and I'm sure that was his intention.

Posted by NCGirl | April 29, 2008 2:49 PM

infrequent @32. In my view, "pansy" is the equivalent of "weakling" or "wimp". And probably in view of the guy who said it, too. Maybe I'm not familiar with the historical context of the word, but, in my context (the modern era, living in a large metropolitan area), that's all it means.

Posted by Julie | April 29, 2008 3:04 PM

Actually, re-reading the post... I don't think Dan cares a flip about the word "pansy." The post is about swift-boating, and he's just stepping up to do his part.

Obama's pastor thinks that the government invented AIDS to kill black people; Hillary is supported by gay-bashers... it's all part of the sad farce. If this is we do people just trying to captain our own team, who needs Republicans?

Posted by NCGirl | April 29, 2008 4:06 PM

julia and lydia: so, pansy isn't bad for foul-mouthed soldiers, and pany isn't bad for the refined metropolitan types. that's great.

dictionary definition.

i maintain we all know exactly what this word means. and even if dan used it, uh, he gets a pass. i hope i don't have to explain why.

Posted by infrequent | April 30, 2008 8:42 AM

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