Pogreba Vs. Zinke: The Politics of Emasculation

by William Skink

Personal attacks, selective indignation, hypocrisy. Is it just online comments that are toxic, or has the entire realm of politics become toxic?

Let’s take Don Pogreba Vs. Ryan Zinke as a case study.

But first, let’s take a look at the person who most significantly lowered the bar for American politics: Karl Rove. This Daily Kos piece features a good summation of Rove’s handbook:

Tactic #1: Take the Offensive.
“Throws opponents “off message,” so they cannot get their message across. In addition, a candidate who is on the defensive generally makes a poor impression on voters, who are looking for positive and assertive leadership.”

Tactic #2: Attack Your Opponent’s Strengths.
“Rove’s tactic of attacking an opponent’s strengths forces his opponent to back away from the very qualities that makes them an attractive candidate.”

Tactic #3: Accuse Your Opponent of What He/She is Going to Accuse You Of.
“‘You say that I don’t love you! I think it is you who does not love me!’”

Tactic #4: Go Negative, Then Cry Foul.
“campaign typically “goes negative” early, using scare tactics or lifting comments out of context. Once the opponent retaliates, the Rove camp calls public attention to their “dirty” campaign tactics.”

Tactic #5: The “Big Lie”.
“Ironically, it is the very magnitude of a “big lie” that makes it believable. The response of the voters can be summarized as follows: “Well, there must be some truth in the assertion, or they wouldn’t be able to say it. Where there’ smoke, there’s fire.””

Tactic #6: Appeal to Moral Values.
“At campaign events, Bush openly discussed his “faith-based” approach to government, declaring that his religious beliefs were at the core of his political decisions.”

“Twenty-two percent of voters polled said that the issue of moral issues mattered most in deciding how to vote for president. Of those 22 percent, 80 percent voted for President Bush.”

There are more tactics, but you get the idea.

In Pogreba vs. Zinke, what I see is tactic #2 at play, attack your opponent’s strength. Zinke’s masculine identity, as it relates to his special forces military service, is used to its fullest to form Zinke’s political identity. To attack this, Pogreba uses what I will call political emasculation.

This was used most recently by Pogreba in the post I took issue with for a different reason, titled Zinke’s Bizarre Love for Vladamir Putin and Aversion for the Truth. Apparently insinuating homoeroticism in the title wasn’t enough for Pogreba. When Pogreba wanted to depict Putin as a “dishonest autocrat”, of the many, many sources he could have used as evidence that Putin is a dishonest autocrat, Don decided to go with a Buzzfeed article depicting the 16 most homoerotic pictures of Putin.

This is by no means been the only post that Pogreba has taken his direction from Karl Rove’s handbook. In a post titled Why is Big, Bad Zinke Such a Coward?, a bad photo-shop picture plastering Zinke’s face on the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz tops the post, along with the use of words like “mewling”:

It seems Congressman Zinke is so afraid of refugees coming to the United States that he’s spent the past few days since the Paris attacks distorting the evidence and mewling that a relatively tiny commitment to giving aid to refugees who would be thoroughly vetted somehow threatens our national security. Our brave Congressman is so afraid of letting a tiny number of refugees escape a brutal war that he’s shown himself willing to lie and demagogue to keep them from our shores.

Here is the definition of the word:

gerund or present participle: mewling
(especially of a baby) cry feebly or querulously; whimper.

I was thinking of word choice after Pogreba again used the word “shrill” to describe me. When Donald Trump used that word to describe Hillary, it was seen as a continuation of his sexist perception of women. Is this another attempt at emasculation?

A few posts back I mentioned my concern over the attempt to depict JC as mentally unstable. It seems the tactics of dismissing and marginalizing women in our culture has now become a handy political tool to try and do the same with people who have different perceptions about what is happening in our world.

Take this snip about hysteria from a Time piece, titled 11 Ways to Avoid Sounding like a Sexist Jerk:

Female hysteria was once the catch-all diagnosis for a woman with problems, and it didn’t disappear entirely from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders until 1980. But the trope of the crazy, emotional, moody, hysterical, PMS-ing, crazy woman — or worse, the crazy, emotional, hysterical romantic stalker — remains in full force.

Not only does this trope remain in full force for marginalizing women, but as a political weapon this trope has evolved into a means of dismissing or marginalizing other opponents of mainstream political partisanship.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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39 Responses to Pogreba Vs. Zinke: The Politics of Emasculation

  1. Eric says:

    JC is stable? (Just poking fun – couldn’t resist)

    I think it’s hilarious – somebody like Pogie, who has never fired a weapon, is willing to attack a Navy SEAL for being a coward, even though the entire world knows the Navy SEALS are probably the toughest, bravest, and best-trained troops in the US Military.

    Pogie is like a lot of weak liberals – he’s afraid to pick up a weapon, yet I suspect if he hears a noise outside at night he pulls the covers tight up over his head and prays there’s a police car nearby so somebody with a pistol can maybe protect him.

    You almost have to feel sorry for him, because he has been trying so hard to be a good Democrat, and I think he’s hoping the Dems start reading his blog and give him some relevancy, but so far they haven’t. Probably never will.

    • I don’t think whether or not someone chooses to pick up a weapon is a measure of courage or cowardice. I’ve had my life threatened and my family threatened by unstable people, which is the main reason I decided I should know how to operate firearms. I’m not being courageous, I’m being realistic about the increased threat I’m under. it’s also a big reason I’ve maintained anonymity. what happened today at ID isn’t just something that could impact me, but my family as well. I take this extremely seriously.

      • Rob Kailey says:

        Please excuse me for this question. A number of commenters (and or authors) have pointed out my deep ignorance. So it should be no surprise that I ask you: Precisely what threat was leveled at your family on the website ID today? I’m not seeing any. Have I missed it?

        (Please keep in mind that while others see the Illuminati, The CIA, the Journals of Power, Hussein Obama, Goldman Sachs, the Kochs, Ryan Zinke, Putin and like bogeymen as the root of all our national troubles, I see fear. That would be especially manufactured fear, the purpose being to bolster the importance of one’s identity and beliefs. Fear requires a threat, so often that being mere meaningless words interpreted to create animosity and struggle. So when I see a claim of threat, fear, from a person I respect, I’d like to know its source. I am serious this much, what threat was leveled against your family at that other place today, such that you should be so “extremely serious”?)

        • JC says:

          Not that it is really any of your business, but yes, you did miss it. But now I have a screen clip documenting what sort of lowlife behavior Don is capable of, so he can’t lie about his behavior in the future. ’nuff said.

        • Rob Kailey says:

          Something posted publicly online is not my business? okay then. I do notice that for all you pompous caterwhal of proof of proof, what with your “screen clip” and all, you fail to tell me what I’ve missed. Then again, fail seems to be something you’re very good at, JC.

    • Rob Kailey says:

      A true masculinist counter-point to Pogreba’s sexist views, and not one response from the gender defense league?

  2. dpogreba says:

    All this attention is so flattering. I hope the six people who read your site enjoy it.

    • This is Don at his passive-aggressive best. His specialty. What a weasel!

      “Contentious, intransigent, fractious, and quarrelsome; irritable, caustic, debasing, corrosive, and acrimonious, contradicts and derogates; few qualms and little conscience or remorse.”

  3. steve kelly says:

    Honestly, I read and enjoy this site. Does that make me a Zinke lover?

    According to the link above, ID will no longer be accepting comments from readers. Attacks on other blogs/bloggers can now be launched from the relative safety of the new and improved Ivory Tower. How precious is that? No more than three Barbies. http://www.barbie.com/en-us

  4. Rob Kailey says:

    I stridently disagree! That Photoshop of Zinke as the Cowardly Lion was actually very good.

    • Greg Strandberg says:

      I’ll agree with that, with the strong hope that we don’t have to see it gracing the top of a blog post again.

      Things like that grow tiring. I’m not sure where this love affair started with terrible photoshopping, though I tend to think it stems from our terrible local ads. I hope we see less of it moving into 2016.

    • I am quite amazed that people can indeed recognize a Photoshop when a human is attached to an animal. Otherwise, this talent is not apparent.,

  5. dpogreba says:

    I do have to ask before you ban me from your site again.

    The argument you are making here is that you and JC, are being victimized by my sexist language, just like Ryan Zinke is?

    Wow. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more impressive display of male privilege in my life. The satire is complete. Bravo, sir.


    • you have shown how far you are willing to go to poison the discourse. it is you, sir, who deserves the congratulation. the Rove is strong in this one 😉

    • JC says:

      “The argument you are making here is that you and JC, are being victimized by my sexist language, just like Ryan Zinke is?”

      Wow. You don’t even know how to recognize Skink’s argument, much less paraphrase it correctly.

      And why would we ban you? You bring such comedic relief to the 6 readers here. Impressive we can get you to jump just like a monkey at the carnival. Cheap entertainment.

      • This is what I have noticed about him for the beginning, years ago, that there isn’t any substance there … His posts could easily be computer or committee generated … It never occurred to me before this exchange, he doesn’t even write his own stuff. The contrast between posts and comments is two different people … The guy who writes the posts is a machine, churning out one after another, all predictable and sounding alike, while the guy in the comments can barely generate a sentence without sniveling. I have suggested that he gets paid to write his stuff by the Montana Democrats. Not much, doesn’t take much. But now I take it one step further. Just as Cowgirl is a production number, many hands churning out a bland product, Pogie is too. The man we deal with in the comments is real, a brat, a snark, a light weight. That is the real Pogie. Everything else is superimposed. That is why he is still blogging after all those who really do write for themselves vamoosed. He is a false front, another apparatchik.

        Think about it: Pogie the writer, dull, predictable, and Pogie the commenter, a child and a light weight. Two different people.

  6. Nameless Range says:

    Clearly, this online attack on Mr. Skink is a false-flag.

    I mean really guys….Cui Bono?

    • Amazing … I read a piece in the British Independent about a NYTimes/CBS poll that said that 84% of Americans thought 9/11 was an inside job. The NYTimes/CBS did not report those poll results.

      Crazy! Along those lines, I would not be surprised to learn that 84% of blog readers think Pogreba is a pain in the ass, but that it has only been reported in Canada.

  7. Big Swede says:

    Say what you will Don is an incredible talented creative writer. In the past 30 days he’s written 13 anti-Zinke columns. Based on that rate we could see over 276 hit pieces before the November election. You couldn’t write that many against Attila the Hun.

    • Big Swede says:

      Posted too quickly.

      Don also just put up is to 10 posts for 2015. Only one Zinke piece made the list. This should tell us a couple things. One no one likes the constant bashing and sees it for what it truly is, partisan BS.


      By the way, notice he had to put some Zinke digs into the top ten write.

      • Big Swede says:

        First sentence should read, “Don also just put up the top ten posts for 2015”.

        Never was a proof reader.

        • steve kelly says:

          Did you catch the “No Comments” — instead of “Comments no longer accepted” — below posts after banning all comments? Nice touch.

      • dpogreba says:

        I’m always looking for feedback from my loyal readers. I can share the stats on the Zinke pieces with you, if you’d like. I’m pretty happy with them.

        You know the rest of the posts are partisan, too, right?

        • Big Swede says:

          There’s a difference Don between being partisan and conducting a Salem Witch Trial. Funny you mention loyal readers because even the paid clapping seals over at Cowgirl don’t suffer the constant deluge of Zinke bashing. The authors spread their distain out among several Republican lawmakers.

          I hope you had a chance to review the MSUB poll. Looks to me like the Montanans that participated are happy with Zinke and Daines while Tester had the highest “dissatisfaction”. Throw in the ACA and the immigrant numbers and you’re fighting an uphill battle. Do you still want our print media to follow your lead? Does that sell papers?

  8. steve kelly says:

    Just got this on my personal email account from Don:

    If you want to attack me over at RD, you’re certainly welcome to. I don’t really care. I’m not allowed to comment at RD, which makes your criticism of my policy quite amusing, but do as you must.

    But I know someone as committed to the truth as you are wouldn’t want to put out false information.

    Some posts say “Comments are closed” because they are. Others say “no comments” because they’re aren’t any yet. But there’s a comment field below that.

    I look forward to you clarifying your comments.


    Apparently there are multiple classifications on ID site. Don’t know where I got the idea that new ID policy accepts no comments. Whatever the new rules, better Don explain — his game, his rules.

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