Remember when “Victory” was the V-word?

FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2012

Did flying in Ensler make sense: For whatever reason, Candidate Romney seems to be on the move in Michigan. For news on the polling, click here.

Michigan no longer looks like a lock. With that in mind, did flying in Ensler make sense?

Please understand—we’re talking about the politics of that decision. If Democrats care about winning Michigan, did flying in Ensler make sense?

We aren’t asking you what you think about Lisa Brown’s now-famous speech in the Michigan House. (To watch her full two-minute statement, click here.)

We aren’t asking if you support the right to choose. We aren’t asking what you think about the way Brown was sanctioned by Michigan Republicans.

We’re assuming you care who wins Michigan. In that context, we’re asking you if it made sense to fly in Eve Ensler.

Not being experts on Michigan politics, we don’t know the answer to that. But last Monday night, one of the silliest showboats in cable TV booked Ensler to appear on his Hollywood-tinged program. All night long, he teased the upcoming segment:
O’DONNELL (6/18/12): Coming up, in a Last Word exclusive, the Tony award-winning author of The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler, will join us, along with the latest star of The Vagina Monologues, the state representative in Michigan who was banned from speaking on the House floor after she dared to use the word "vagina." That state representative actually performed The Vagina Monologues on the steps of the state capital tonight in Michigan.

O’DONNELL: Playwright Eve Ensler won awards for The Vagina Monologues. Michigan State Representative Lisa Brown got banned from the Michigan House floor for using the word "vagina." And so, tonight, with Eve Ensler watching, Representative Brown performed The Vagina Monologues on the steps of the Michigan state capitol.

In a Last Word exclusive, Eve Ensler and her new star, Representative Lisa Brown, will join me. If you don’t like vaginas, this is not your TV show.

O’DONNELL: Coming up...the author of The Vagina Monologues is here. And in the Last Word exclusive, Eve Ensler’s play was performed on the steps of the Michigan state capital tonight by the state representative who was banned from the House for using the word "vagina."

O’DONNELL: And tonight on the steps of the Michigan State Capital, there was a lot of vagina talk in a performance of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues, starring the state representative who was banned for speaking in the House after she dared to say the word "vagina." They’re both going to join me, next.
"If you don’t like vaginas, this is not your TV show." Sometimes, we just let the analysts laugh at this silly bazoo.

Was Brown banned just for saying “vagina?” We aren’t asking your opinion on that. Nor are we asking if this kind of banning ever makes sense.

We’re asking you to make a judgment about the politics of Michigan. Eventually, O’Donnell introduced Ensler. Do you think this type of approach helps Obama win that state?
O'DONNELL: That was State Representative Brown this evening on the steps of the state capital in Michigan, where she and other women members of the Michigan House performed Eve Ensler’s award-winning play, The Vagina Monologues. The word "vagina" was said more than 100 times.
The word "vagina" was said more than 100 times! Sometimes, we just let the analysts laugh.

Michigan has always been a bit of a blue-collar state. It has had a very tough economy. Candidate Romney may be on the move there.

Our question: Do you think this approach from the likes of O’Donnell helps Obama win?

Down through the decades, we’ve seen the self-indulgence of cultural liberals cost Democrats boatloads of votes. Remember: We aren’t asking what you think of Ensler herself, or of her award-winning play.

We’re asking you about Michigan voters, and we don’t know the answer:

Do you think this approach helps Obama win that state? That is a political question.

How do you assess it?

Please note: Big Ed was very enthused about this plainly brilliant approach. We've haven't seen him this worked up since the days when he was convinced that Walker was on the way out!


  1. If the purpose of O'Donnell's show were to disseminate news and to entertain viewers, Bob might have considered whether booking Eve Ensler produced higher ratings or a better-informed audience.

    Instead, Bob asks whether her appearance would help Obama win. Apparently Bob assumes that the primary purpose of O'Donnell's show is to help Obama win. I think so, too.

    1. David in Cal can't reed reel gudJune 22, 2012 at 3:29 PM

      Bob is NOT asking whether booking Ensler would help Obama.

      He is asking whether the performance of her show on the capitol steps would help Obama win Michigan.

    2. Really? Then why not ask that directly? Why bring in O'Donnell?

      Oh, I forgot. This is the All-MSNBC, All the Time Blog.

  2. Mitchell Research is not identified in that link as the "top Republican pollster" that he is, according to the ultra-rightwing website Human Events:

    This is the equivalent of an internal poll, and internal polls have been shown to be unreliable and biased.

  3. Strongly doubt Eve helps the democrat's chances. If my grammom saw her act, she'd think it was awful. Grandmas vote, ya know.

  4. Yes. Standing up for your beliefs, rather than cowering in fear and shame whenever your opponents point a finger at you and shriek loudly, makes people more likely to vote for you, rather than less.

    Most people, for better or worse, adjust their beliefs - and consequently their votes - to suit what they perceive as the prevailing mood. Standing up for liberal principles helps shift the prevailing mood in our favor, while slinking away whenever we're attacked does the opposite.

    1. Well then, the next question is, does "flying in Ensler" really constitute "standing up for your beliefs"? Or is it just laughing at (possibly imaginary) people who can't handle the word "vagina"?

      In other words, what are the "beliefs" being stood up for here? Being able to say "vagina" a lot in public isn't really a major plank of the Democratic Party platform.

  5. "Down through the decades, we’ve seen the self-indulgence of cultural liberals cost Democrats boatloads of votes." - b.somerby

    i think that odonnell *on balance* helps the dems. his f-u attitude indicates strength which people gravitate to. however, sommerby does make a key point here on an aspect of how the dems have lost it over the last forty years. . . . and interestingly enuf, when the wealthy cultural-left 'loses', they get even wealthier under the gop.

    1. "when the wealthy cultural-left 'loses', they get even wealthier under the gop."

      Which goes a long way toward explaining why any wealthy elite is never going to care much about producing a winning politics for "the left."

    2. "the left" is horribly represented in corporate media. Seems like a ruse to me. O'Donnell used to get paid to smugly trash "major" Democrats.

      Great nostalgia, Tom Brayden, playing "the liberal" on the first "hot button" cable show Cross Fire starts a show discussing music censorship with a personal disclaimer that "rock music videos" are so vile as to make him "physically ill". Fun stuff with 1st Amendment stalwart and "big man in show business" Frank Zappa.


  6. Who cares if she helps win or not? She gets me mad! I like getting mad, it helps me to feel superior. I don't live in Michigan. I don't have to make (or drive, thank the god who doesn't exist!) the crappy American cars they make there. I don't care about Michigan or their workers or their votes! If Obama wins, I win. If Obama loses, I get to complain about the stupid Republicans, so I win again! I just don't caaaaaaaaaaaaaaare!

    1. "I like getting mad, it helps me to feel superior."

      yes. the elan vital of the cultural or 'new left'.

  7. I dunno, Bob. Maybe the idea that Republicans across America have been acting peculiar on the subject of women's bodies and sexuality has some bearing on the voting preferences of, what are those called again, oh right, women. Who are an important component of the Democratic coalition. And who don't vote as often as they might. You think maybe that has something to do with it?

  8. Also, to raise this basic point yet again, why is it that in Bob's view "cultural liberals" tend to cost Democrats crucial votes (on account of being so sneery and condescending)--but cultural _conservatives_, who are indisputably aggressive and abrasive and judgmental and superior, don't provoke a similar backlash, at least in Bob's analysis, against Republicans? Why is this concern about tone so one-sided?

    1. flipurwhig, i cant speak for somerby but you hinted at an answer in your first comment when you mentioned the democratic party coalition. the two parties are not symmetrical and collalition-wise they differ greatly. you cant analyze the parties in the same way.

      The d party of today is much more dependent on otherwise unrelated groups voting in coalition than are the gop. the glue that that binds the gop is more ethnicity/religion based, real americans (so called) germanic and pseudo-germanic protestansts against those who are not that. *there is not a symetrical hatred by the 'non-real americans' against the 'real americans'.*

      the 'reals' take the slights personally while the 'non-reals' dont. the non-reals largely feel or tell themselves that the expressed “aggressive and abrasive and judgmental and superior “ attitudes of cultural conservatives are sincere. they foolishly take them at face value. the cultural left doesnt want to come to grips with the fact that the reals are now coming for them and that their rhetoric is ever-changing to suit the real goal (at grass roots level) of *elimination of any control over the government and culture by non-reals*.

      if the non-reals ever did face this reality it would spark a huge fight and unfortunately they are not up for that. they have very successfully appeased the reals by basically saying “we hate the irish-catholics too. look at all the dirty work weve done for you.” the problem is it seems to be no longer enough for 'the left' to throw americans with an irish-catholic heritage into their great maw. they want the whole enchilada now and that means *all* the non-reals. but guess what? i dont think you/we have the natural resistance of americans with an irish catholic heritage anymore. a very smart strategy on the reals part. first disarm the enemy, and only then go in for the kill.

      sadly it never would have come to this if the northern big city bosses with an irish catholic heritage were left in control of delegate selection and party platform.

    2. lowercaseguys casemanagerJune 23, 2012 at 10:08 AM

      Yes, he's still incoherent and unreadable.

      But you're all doing a great job of just looking the other way. Thanks for that.

      This really is good therapy for him.

      I hope.

  9. Is there any hard data on weather these artsy/fartsy, "I-Know-Who-Eugene ONeill-Was
    " liberals actually cost the Democrats "boatloads of votes?" I agree that petty snobbery like Maddow's "Teabagging" nonsense was counterproductive, but the cultural stereotype "Typical Internet Liberal" suggests is quite possibly as bogus as, well, most cultural stereotypes. No one seems to love this cartoon, however, more than other liberals, not to suggest that Typical Internet Liberal is actually a liberal.

  10. Speaking as a Michigan voter, I can't say whether this whole show will help Obama win. It probably plays well to more left-leaning areas of the state (lower peninsula urban regions like Ann Arbor or Detroit), though talking with people from around my hometown (which leans very conservative Republican) has still yielded a lot more people who were supportive of the "Vagina Monologues" protest than I would have guessed (most cited reason: because banning someone for using 'vagina' was just dumb). Hardly significant, statistically speaking, but I don't think it's as damaging to the re-election campaign as is being implied here.

    Also, I don't think Lisa Brown made her original comment (nor her protest after the ban) with the intention of helping President Obama win Michigan, nor should it have been a factor for making her stand, but rather to highlight how anti-woman Republican strategies are.

    1. Not from MI, KY actually, but that was the impression I took away from it and I think why working class liberals around the country(as opposed to the fauxgressives elites on TV) would take away a vaguely supportive feeling for Lisa Brown. A vaguely positive feeling that they would in no way connect with Obama like the fauxgressives try to spin it. Obama has done nothing for women of any substance, and has actually let some repressive policies concerning women go through. Many working class liberals don't have warm feelings toward Obama because he's shown no real interest in standing up for their rights- unlike the Clintons and Jesse Jackson Sr.

  11. Eve Ensler is the woman who capitalized on Vagina Day (now V for Victory over Violence Against Women's Day) which is being used by feminists to hijack Valentine's and make the one day of the year centered on romantic heterosexual love about rape, incest and female genital mutilation.

    In Ensler's play "The Vagina Monologues" all the men are painted as jerks with the exception of one guy who is celebrated for his obsession with staring at one of the narrators' twat. In the original production a since-censored scene (and censored is the right word as people putting on the show are presently warned to only do the current version or face legal action) in which a lesbian gets a thirteen-year-old drunk and rapes her to the approval of the thirteen year old. The play is also supposed to be liberating because the audience gets to yell, "cunt."

    Naturally, Ensler is a feminist/liberal hero because there's nothing like hijacking Valentine's day on the one hand and celebrating lesbian child molestation while showing that you hate men on the other to win over mainstream voters who, unlike us, are politically unsophisticated jerkwads.

    Oh, and anybody who is bothered by this because they think for some reason that this sort of thing might possibly help Republicans is just a nasty old concern troll obviously not worth listening to, so there.

    1. My God, that was effing brilliant.

      Oh, wait. I wrote it.

  12. I think the bulk of that speech was excellent, and the way to really turn the abortion question around: it's a First Amendment issue, freedom of religion. The bill they passed would require a Jew to break faith with her religion. That's the way to score on this. Right now, all you have is the phrase "abortion is murder", and no-one is showing how much this is a belief, and not one held by many other religions, or by many of the non-religious. Therefore, to give abortion a blanket prohibition is enacting a law based on a religious dogma alone. Trying to score points by getting feminists together to talk about their vaginas is something that does not make the lumpen feel empowered. They don't like it. They think it's vulgar. They don't have to sign on for it. We should present to them the simple, unadulterated facts: no law should be based on a "fact" that is dogma alone.

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