I thought that the David Letterman controversy had pretty much died out after the embarrassment of the Fire Dave Rally earlier this week. An estimated fifteen to fifty people turned out to attack David Letterman and socialism while supporting Jay Leno and Fox News. By this time pretty much anyone with the ability to think had figured out that this was a smear campaign from the lunatic right which really had nothing to do with a couple of jokes which were tasteless but not as bad as jokes told by other comedians. Only the brain-dead had failed to realize that the joke made no sense unless it was about Bristol Palin, as opposed to the younger daughter as the right wingers claimed. It turns out that there is one group which is sufficiently out of touch with reality to fall for the right wing smear campaign and believe the controversy has anything to do with treatment of women–the PUMAs.
I had noticed during the controversy that PUMA blogs were repeating the smears, figuring it was primarily in revenge for all those pant suits jokes which Letterman had told about Hillary Clinton. While Letterman has told fewer jokes about Bristol Palin than the other late night comedians, nobody came close to Dave in making fun of Hillary’s pants suits. The connection of the PUMAs came out after The Politco reported that Olive Garden had canceled advertising on Letterman’s show. Just as I was about to change my dinner reservation to Macaroni Grill, The New York Times reported that the report was not accurate.
As this story was breaking, Balloon Juice commented on the involvement of the PUMAs in trying to get companies to boycott Letterman. DougJ followed up with a second report on Great moments in PUMA history. Doug concluded, “I can’t quite wrap my head around the whole PUMA thing, so maybe John or Wonkette or someone with a better understanding of the PUMAsphere can explain all of this.”
Both Wonkette and Balloon Juice showed examples of the smears which the PUMAs are now launching against companies which advertise on Letterman’s show. Wonkette explained their warped logic: “If these companies don’t cancel their contracts with CBS, the logic goes, then they will be considered Willow-rapers too.”
The PUMAs are just delusional enough to believe the smear campaigns, which started on the right and motivated by a desire to silence those they saw as critics of their reactionary views, and had nothing to do with any support for feminism. The PUMAs might surprise some in joining with right wingers who back anti-women policies such as banning legal abortions and restoring shirt hanger abortions, along with restricting access to contraception. But why worry about issues that really matter (or even freedom of expression) when you have a chance to smack down the sexist guy who made fun of Hillary’s pants suits?
This should really come as no surprise. During the 2008 campaign I described the PUMA movement as essentially far right wing in their outlook, being as hostile to the reality based community as the Bush and McCain crowds. If anyone doubted that I was right about them last summer, this should give them reason to reconsider.