With a Democrat in the White House whose approval ratings have fallen well below 50 percent, liberal websites are entering some new territory--how to handle users who are reliably liberal but are not fans of President Barack Obama.

Case in point is Democratic Underground (aka DU), a liberal discussion forum started in 2001 that, up until recently, was united in its hatred for former president George W. Bush. But now that many Democrats have withdrawn their support of Obama, DU responded last week with regulations on how its users may express opinions about the current occupant of the Oval Office and Democrats generally.
It turns out Democratic Underground is a safe haven for all Democrats too faithful to their party to say anything beyond "constructive criticism" of Obama or other Democrats in office. The last thing they need is another voice telling them that maybe Obama should have factored hurricanes into the oil cleanup plans. Oh, and don't you dare think about calling our president "Barry."
"Forget about criticizing Obama," warned PJ Gladnick, Examiner Opinion Zone blogger and operator of a blog called "DUmmie FUnnies" which pokes fun at Democratic Underground members.

So, if you suggest "that a particular point of view is required in order to be a Democrat, liberal, or progressive," call someone a conservative, make a comment that's "too rhetorically hot, too divisive, too extreme, or too inflammatory," prepare to be booted

Here are some more samples of the ludicrous list of rules violations:

  • "Telling someone to 'shut up,' 'screw you,' 'go away,' 'f--k off,' or the like;" "belittling someone for being new or having a low post count; "negatively 'calling out' someone who is not participating in the discussion."

That is just the beginning...

  • Insensitivity, which includes "weight or other physical characteristics" and "use of insensitive terminology."
  • "Over-the-top assertions of bad faith" in Obama, or "advocating voting against Democrats, or in favor of third-party or GOP candidates; broad-brush smears against Democrats generally; broad expressions of contempt toward Democrats generally."
  • "A sustained or organized effort to demean, belittle, bully, or ostracize another person; digging up or posting personal information about any private individual, on DU or elsewhere; stalking someone across discussion threads or forums."

The final tally of new rules: 60. Whew.

The net effect of these overstated policies is to decrease discussion, Gladnick said.

He said it's pretty easy to tell what's been posted before and after the policies went into affect — before, there was a lot of criticism of the president, especially regarding the oil spill. Now, you can barely find comments implying a misdeed.

"Right now, you really see it about the Gulf," he said. "Whereas before the rules, DU was rife with criticism of how Obama has handled the oil spill, now, such complaints have ceased."

Only time will tell if DU defectors will return to the fold.