Thursday, December 18

Thanks to Gay Patriot and Watcher of Weasels

As all long-time readers of this blog know, paranoia runs deep here in Pundita-land. So my reaction would come as no surprise when I learned yesterday that on the same day Pundita had been placed among the nominees for consideration as Gay Patriot's 2009 Grande Conservative Blogress Diva and that a Pundita post, To the man who threw shoes at President Bush and missed, had been nominated for a non-Council entry in the Watcher of Weasels prize for this week's best post.

I had no idea who submitted my blog for consideration but this did not prevent me from muttering, "Once again I am the innocent victim of a conspiracy."

In this case, however, there is some small basis for my paranoia. The week before I had told five bloggers in confidence that I was leaving the blogosphere permanently.

(Of course it would have to be in confidence to prevent Caesar from again snapping,
"Another deathbed scene, another aria.")

After some back-and-forth, I returned that I would take a vacation and think things over before taking an extreme step, but my mind was pretty much made up. Technically, I am now on vacation until January 3; to prove it, I have not even checked Google News today. But I couldn't very well decamp without first thanking those who would praise Pundita and proposing my nominations for Conservative Blogress Diva of 2009. Thus, a letter submitted to Gay Patriot's comment section, which I publish below.

First, though, a hearty thanks to all the Watchers of Weasels Council members, who tirelessly scour the blogosphere for talent and give of their own blogging time to promote the writings of other bloggers. I seem to recall that the last time a post of mine was nominated I promised to add Watchers to my blogroll, in a gesture of support for their service to the blogosphere. In the tumult of events I forgot the promise -- an oversight I mean to rectify today.

Now here is Gay Patriot's explanation about the nature of the Diva contest, which is not limited to conservative bloggers, and which helps explain how Pundita landed on the list. (I seriously doubt that any conservative would threaten to turn into toads those who would unfairly criticize Steve Diamond.):
I have long defined a diva as strong, talented and confident woman who commands the respect of men. This year, we will once again determine which blogress commands the most respect of gay conservative men.

She need not be conservative herself (at least three of the nominees below are not), but must by the the power of her prose, the eloquence of her expression and the intelligence of her ideas have earned the enmity of the angry left and so endeared herself to gay men like us who admire strong women who speak their minds, even at the expense of encomia from those in the entertainment industry and the MSM.
Here is my letter to Gay Patriot:

I am writing to nominate two females for inclusion on your list and to second the mention of two names on your list, but first a thank-you:

I can't tell you how honored I am to find myself included on Gay Patriot's nominee list for voting on the Grande Conservative Blogress. In my experience the political sphere of the blogosphere is football with razor blades. The few female bloggers who have commanded real respect from male political bloggers (as versus patronizing pats) have done so through the sheer force of their analytical and writing abilities. That a blog should take time to honor such females is an inspiration to me and a gift to the blogosphere.

Now to my nominees:

First, a woman who is every inch a diva, a great patriot, and who is one of the most important -- and unsung -- bloggers in the political blogosphere. She has gone by more than one nom de guerre but she currently blogs as "Procrustes" at The Real Barack Obama, now known simply as "RBO."

I suppose she could be termed a conservative Democrat, yet she has supported several conservative Republican blogs (see her blogroll) and published many essays by conservatives.

There is no way to convey in a few words the contribution she has made to the task of getting the real story about Barack Obama to the public during the past year. At RBO blog and earlier at her Rezko Watch blog, she has published much original research and written with eloquence about the threat that Obama and his Chicago political cronies pose to American democracy.

She has also created a virtual online library that contains the most massive documentation publicly available on every aspect of Obama's political connections. As such RBO is a valuable resource for bloggers and mainstream journalists who write about U.S. politics.

And it would be hard to explain in a few words her courage. She faced down one of the richest men in the world, Nadhmi Auchi, who is closely associated with convicted political fixer and Obama patron Tony Rezko. Mr Auchi has the chilling habit of suing into silence or retraction anyone in the media who dares cross him. Powerful news outlets have backed down in the face of such pressure, but not Procrustes.

None of this speaks to the threats she has received and the hatred she engendered in the Left during the presidential campaign.

She has continued to fight from the jungle since the election. Her example has been an inspiration to several bloggers, and her blogs have been a beacon and rallying point for many who desperately fought to stop Obama, including this blogger.

All this she has done without pay. She is independent of any organization; she blogs simply as a public service.

Yet despite the usefulness of the information RBO/Rezko Watch provided to many conservative pundits during this past year, her blog has not received recognition in the conservative part of the blogosphere. I am hoping Gay Patriot can rectify that sorry situation by including Procrustes for consideration as a conservative diva blogress.

As to my second nomination, learning about your blog reminded me of Beth Mauldin, the author of Beth's Contradictory Brain.

Beth is an openly gay blogger whose "diarist" blog is deeply personal. Yet she has spent unsung years patiently educating her mostly liberal readers to the more conservative view. She introduced herself to me in 2005 with a wonderful series of emails about defending democracy, some of which I published.

Too self-effacing, perhaps, to be considered a diva, yet with quiet determination she has written about the difficulties of being a military wife when her beloved was deployed to Iraq. (See her Military Wife and Iraq archives.) She once joked to her readers that she wished she were a better writer so she might submit her accounts to a gay magazine, but the simplicity of her words sears into the heart the plight of such American patriots
I'm not sure straight people understand how amazingly difficult *not* being out can be, especially when you're in a long-term committed relationship. Imagine hanging out with coworkers and not being able to talk about your spouse to the extent that you can't even say what you did last weekend because that would include the movie you went to see together, or the romantic dinner you had. Imagine the endless talk of other "single" people about the opposite sex, and your apparent disinterest. Subtle, but telling. Imagine having to erase all evidence of your relationship just to protect your job, your personal safety. If I had a magic wand I'd make the situation reversed for just one day.
No we don't understand, not until someone like Beth speaks out.

I would also like to second the nominations of Dymphna and Kathy Shaidle because I know a great deal about the courage they demonstrated during 2008. Kathy was sued for her outspoken criticism of an enemy of free speech, yet she continues to speak out.

And Dymphna's blog, Gates of Vienna (co-authored by Baron Bodissey), has been blacklisted by a powerful conservative blogger and thrown off a famous conservative blog consolidator site because she refused to water down her convictions in the name of political correctness.

Her blog continues the invaluable service of bringing the truth to Americans about the anti-jihad struggle in Europe. And during the past year Gates of Vienna has blossomed into a virtual online newspaper reporting on important political news and opinion from Europe that the American press refuses to carry.

In closing, I had not heard of your blog until my nomination, although no surprise there: my life on the blogosphere has been a blur of research, analysis and writing, which has left me all too little time to sleep, let alone explore other blogs. Thus, I know many blogs only because the authors write me or because I launch a 'mission,' such as fighting for months alongside the Canadian bloggers battling to restore freedom of speech in their country -- the magnificent Kathy Shaidle among them.

So I have seen only a few essays from other bloggers on your nominee list, and some on the list are new to me. I have been considering leaving the blogosphere -- after four years of blogging, I plead exhaustion -- so at least a hiatus will give me time to catch up with the blogs on your list!

Again, thank you for including me on your nomination list -- and for introducing me to female bloggers who clearly deserve my attention.

Best regards,
As you can see, the cat is out of the bag about my decision to leave the blogosphere, although I have de-escalated the decision to 'hiatus.'

And now, this is truly the last post until after the New Year; if Pundita is nominated for any other prize in the interim -- I thank you, but know that I live in abject terror of the Puffy Head Minders. My brilliance and wit are merely a setting for my humility and the Minders are partly responsible this.

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