With less than two weeks till Election Day, rightbloggers have rolled out what they perceive to be the Heavy Cannon for their assaults on President Obama. For example: When Obama operative Jen Psaki appeared on an MSNBC show and joked to the host that “the good news for you is I showered this morning after two days on the plane,” the Washington Free Beacon headlined, “Obama Campaign Stinks.”
In a more somber mood, they’ve also accused Obama of willfully murdering the Americans killed in Benghazi, for which he should be “arrested as a non-state, non-uniformed enemy belligerent, tried in a military tribunal, and upon conviction be put against a wall and shot by a firing squad,” etc.
But never mind that right now: Last week the really big excitement in rightblogger world was a pro-Obama internet ad by a TV star touching on the topic most likely to drive them absolutely insane. Well, besides black people, we mean.
Girls creator Lena Dunham did the solo spot that playfully compared voting for the first time to a woman’s sexual initiation. “The first time shouldn’t be with just anybody,” she says in the ad. “You want to do it with a great guy. Someone who really cares about and understands women… You don’t want a guy who says, ‘Oh hey, I’m at the library studying,’ when really he’s out not signing the Lilly Ledbetter Act,” etc.
It’s an old gag, going back at least to Ronald Reagan in 1980 (“I know what it’s like to pull the Republican lever for the first time… I can tell you it only hurts for a minute and then it feels just great”). Nonetheless, to expect rightbloggers to get the joke would have been asking a lot under any circumstances. As this was close to election time, which always exacerbates their tender feelings, they became deranged by it.
At Conservative News and View, a confused Roseanne Salantiri thought the ad was “suggesting that women vote for someone based on their appearance,” and added, “if women were really voting based on looks, in my opinion, Romney would leave Obama in the dust.” Mrrrowr! “If I were a woman today,” postulated Rush Limbaugh, “I would feel insulted each and everyday.” (No comment.) “For extra creepiness, [Dunham] has the same last name as Obama’s mother,” recalled Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit.
“Yawn… I’m not ‘outraged.’ I’m bored,” said Michelle Malkin before embarking on hundreds of ultra-outraged words (“They’ve demanded RESPECT! and wheedled about the ‘war on women’ while dressed as giant VAGINAS!” etc.)
It got around that Russia’s Vladimir Putin had a similar “first time” ad out earlier, which briefly excited the brethren. “#MyFirstTime ad by #Obama is similar to an ad #Putin did,” tweeted Minnesota GOP Deputy Chair Kelly Fenton. “They must share the same advisor: #Satan.”
When the Reagan sex joke was brought up to them, they didn’t take it well. “The left’s comparison does not withstand scrutiny,” sputtered Paul Mirengoff at Power Line. “Was Reagan using sexual innuendo here? It’s possible…. the words certainly don’t demand such an interpretation.” Mirengoff must have wondered what everyone was laughing at on “The Match Game.” Also, Mirengoff said, Putin’s and Dunham’s ads “have much in common in their use of scarcely-vailed sexual references.” Maybe they were both shot in Colorado.
The ad convinced some rightbloggers that Obama was after their daughters.
“BARACK IS BANGING YOUR DAUGHTER,” cried Bride of Rove. “It’s hard to imagine any woman not being revolted, anyone with a daughter not being scandalized,” harrumph-harrumphed Jennifer Marshall at the Heritage Foundation.
“First he asked for your wedding gifts, then your yard sales and now he has asked for your daughters,” said Breeanne Howe at RedState. “Obama has young daughters. But that didn’t stop him from releasing this commercial,” thundered Ben Shapiro of Breitbart.com. “Because this is what Obama thinks of your daughters.” (His colleague John Nolte tweeted, “How could a president with two, young blossoming daughters release an ad as disgusting as this.” Blossoming? Someone’s been on the Sasha and Malia beat a little too long.)
Shapiro also tried some sex humor of his own: “[Dunham] actually saved herself for Barack Obama (she’s 26) – she could have swiped her V(oting)-card with John Kerry, but he was too limp a candidate, apparently.” High-fives all around the rec room!
Also going for yuks was Fox News funnyman Steven Crowder who, affecting a lisp and some approximation of drag, told viewers he was voting for Obama in order to “stay on my parents’ insurance till 26, burden countless generations to come with my debt, and not even pay for my own birth control.” Later, Crowder riffed further on Twitter that Dunham was a “loose, dependent tomboy.” Look, squares, this material got big laughs down at the klavern.
Conversely, other rightbloggers seized the moment to express conservative support for women. “I support a woman’s right to survive her mother’s pregnancy without fear of a sex-selective abortion,” tweeted Joshua Treviño. Get those bumper-stickers printed stat!
“Young female voters, moreover, are portrayed in nakedly stereotypical terms [in the ad]” claimed Cathy Young. “…They seem to care only about birth control and perfect weddings.” (The wedding part, Young helpfully explained, was when Dunham reminded us Romney is against gay marriage. What little girl doesn’t dream of someday going to her gay friends’ wedding?)
Taking the briar-puffing approach was the New York Times‘ Ross Douthat, who predicted that “tomorrow’s feminists may look back on his campaign’s pitch to women and see… a weirdly paternalistic form of social liberalism, in which women are forever single girls and the president is their father, lover, fiancé and paladin all rolled into one.” The original follow-up graf about tomorrow’s feminists also coming around, unlike their uppity forebears, to Douthat and his “Chunkier Reese Witherspoon Feminism” was inexplicably excised by his editors.
“If you need any further proof we live in a fallen world destined for hell fire,” ululated Erick Erickson of RedState before the Golden Calf of Casual Sex, “consider the number of people who have no problem with the President of the United States, via a campaign ad, ridiculing virgins and comparing sex to voting.” Erickson also claimed the ad as proof that Obama had given up on all voters, including “men who have daughters” and “moms,” except “his core base of singles, gays, and minorities, including college kids he is desperate to get back to the polls.” Interesting strategy! We’ll see how it works.
Also hopping on the whither-morality bandwagon was Ace of Spades (“It continues to be weird that Democrats want so bad to have sex with their cult leader”), though to be fair Spades has weighed in on these issues before, e.g.: “Every post on that site, in fact, contains a link that’s very NSFW… Something has seriously gone wrong in this culture… a steady diet of MTV sex shows, Sex & the City, and the like now has many, verging on most, young girls pretty much behaving like gutterwhores… Ten years ago? Virtually impossible to get a young girl to do this,” etc etc etsplurt.
Donald Douglas of American Power accused Obama of “running a campaign ad implying that young women who don’t let themselves get pressured into sex are ‘super uncool,'” which he found “more than enough to make any normal person’s head explode.” “If this video is so clean-cut and not meant to be offensive,” reasoned Carrie K. Hutchens of American Clarion, “why didn’t the president just put one of his daughters into the video in place of Dunham or in addition to her? After all, he wants his daughters to be able to get abortions at will.” Wasn’t that in the last State of the Union?
“I weep for the future if this ad is representative of the way our next generation of leaders will think and act,” said Save Jersey. (Dunham has a hit series and just got a $3.5 million advance on a book — is that how you want to waste your lives, kids?)
Of course, many of the brethren attacked Dunham herself, and not mainly in political terms.
NorCal Blogs called her a “pasty skinned, tattooed, guy hair cut wearing, coffee house dwelling, Asian design loving, lesbian folk music listening, hippie apparel wearing, Patchouli smelling, hipper than thou demeanor young 20 something woman.” W.F. Price of The Spearhead called her “…a homely, tattooed New Yorker… I don’t know whether Ms. Dunham was in heat when she filmed the ad, but it definitely lends some credence to the idea that sexual impulses have a strong effect on female voting behavior.” Well, that’ll teach Dunham to demean women.
Being religious, Restore DC Catholicism called Dunham “Obama’s Voting Bimbo… Lena Dunham is a professional actress – or at least considers herself to be,” they added. (Dunham was nominated for an Emmy as lead actress in a comedy series this year.) “I can only imagine that in this lovely economy (delivered to us courtesy of the Messiah Most Miserable), Dunham is hard up for work so she glommed onto this Obama slop-job,” said RDCRC. “I can’t imagine this will look impressive on her resume.”
“I know Lena Dunham,” claimed “J.I.” at Radio Patriot, though J.I. didn’t say where they had hung out, “and she’s very smart, creative, funny, perceptive, and wise beyond her years. But like a lot of young people her age, she’s heavily preoccupied with sex.” J.I. added that, in response, “conservatives could adopt a ‘Get out of my bedroom!’ argument against this political sex obsession,” after explaining that he or she was against gay marriage and wanted Roe v. Wade repealed.
Emily Zanotti found Dunham’s own story about her actual first sexual experience and her lack of interest in seeing the boy afterward, and snarled, “Sooooo she’s kind of a total bitch who used a dude.” We look forward to his tearful tell-all and breach of promise suit.
All told, most of the brethren were convinced that the ad was Good News for Mitt Romney, who to his credit had nothing to say about it. Yet some were ill at ease. At Commentary Alana Goodman was rattled by a tweet from fellow rightblogger Philip Klein: “Wonder if pt of Obama ad is to bait conservatives & hope over the top reactions will fuel culture war/fire up base.” “Who knows?” fretted Goodman. “The Obama campaign could benefit from a big, fake media controversy to reenergize its ‘war on women’ theme…”
Well, for that to work, rightbloggers would have to be oversensitive to the point of persecution mania… say, maybe this Obama knows what he’s doing, after all.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 28, 2012