Thanks for stopping by to read this. There has been so much misinformation about PUMA floating around that I thought I would take a brief minute to clear some things up and at the same time explain why I became a PUMA.
Many Democrats, myself included, felt that the primary was unfair and problematic, and that the unchecked sexism was inexcusable. In addition, the actions of a large sector of the supposed “progressive liberal” netroots/blogospere were, are and (I predict) will continue to be absolutely horrendous.
The “progressive”/”liberal” blogosphere exploded on to the scene in the mid 1990s. The Conservative Right controlled the mainstream media outlets and, therefore, only one side of the coin was getting their message out. Fox News had more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined, talk radio was completely and utterly dominated by the people like Limbaugh and Wilkow. Air America was a total failure, and so the Left turned to the internet.
There was so much promise for the progressive liberal “netroots.” It was exciting, it was fresh, it was new, and it was so interactive and real. A technology driven grassroots wonderland where we could get our message out to thousands upon thousands of people, instantly, with feedback and discussion running rampant. We finally had an outlet!
Then came 2007 and the beginning of the primary cycle, but something had changed. Something was horribly wrong.
Instead of being a place of hope and promise for the left, the net became someplace ugly and divisive. Obama’s supporters in the netroots began to swarm places and overpowering them. They became rude and agressive… divisive and accusatory… angry and threatening.
The aggressiveness and threats are even bleeding into real life now. These are not just “net bullies” any more, and even if they were, this is not acceptable behavior from anyone, much less a self identified progressive liberal lefty?!?!
The things that these “Obamatrons” are saying and doing are absolutely horrifying. TexasDarlin keeps a page of the hate mail she has gotten, which include threats directed at both her and her children. And then there is Hillaryismygirl08, who has received death threats and was the victim of arson. And now, the situation is getting so bad that PUMApac is keeping a list of the bloggers that have received death threats from the supporters of Barack Obama. And Cannonfire reminds us, lest we forget, the constant cries of our fellow Democrats telling us to “get out of the party” and that they “don’t need us to win.”
What is going on? People are receiving death threats for supporting or not supporting a particular political candidate? What country is this… or even, what century is this?
Then there was the sexism.
The disparity in which sexism was treated in comparison with racism was unbelievable. There were pundits on various news stations calling her “B**ch” or like “an ex-wife outide a divorce court” and even “castrating.” She would get confronted at rallies with signs that said “Iron My Shirt” and the like. Certain stores owned by major media networks sold “Hillary Nutcrackers.” Barack Obama himself would make comments about Hillary being “Periodically” down or her “claws” coming out. The comments coming from the various blogs and “netroots” standards were awful. And yet, throughout all of this, there was hardly a peep of objection from anyone.
This was all going on in direct contrast to how racism was handled. As soon as there was something that could possibly maybe be twisted into something that could have hinted at racism if you looked at it just right… everyone was all up in arms, Howard Dean would be on TV, the pundits would talk about it, and it would be news for a week.
Is racism wrong? Absolutely. Did it rear it’s ugly head during this campaign cycle? Yes. The difference is that the sexism came from every direction and no one said anything. Either that or they didn’t even notice, and I am not sure which is worse.
As a matter of fact, Howard Dean had a conversation with Cynthia Ruccia of Women For Fair Politics (now known as Real Democrats USA) asking her what the DNC could do to get her and the members of WFP back on board. When she replied that he needed to address the sexism that had occurred during the primary, Dean actually responded “What sexism?”
And then there was the primary/caucus season itself. Without even mentioning the unfairness of the caucus system, the allegations of improprieties, and the alleged acts of intimidation and manipulation… Michigan provides a perfect example of the problems with this primary season.
It is true, and even Clinton will admit, that everyone agreed that FL and MI would be stripped of all delegates. The problem is that in one of the closest and most historically important elections in US history, the party could not leave these millions of people out of the loop… especially since MI is full of “Reagan Dems” and FL is the quintessential swing state. Leaving these people out and ignoring their votes would have damaged the party for decades. This situation had to be remedied, and so the matter was turned over to the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee.
What the Rules and Bylaws Committee did with Michigan was a travesty. The RBC awarded Obama the delegates represented by the people who voted for “Uncommitted” (which is a recognized status, not to mention the fact that those people who voted uncommitted were also doing a proxy vote for other candidates as well… Edwards, Biden, etc). These were votes he did not earn. Then the RBC went one step further and awarded Obama 4 delegates earned by Hillary Clinton. In the most literal sense, the RBC actually changed peoples votes!!!
It was after this event that a blogger on The Confluence blog made a snarky post about how they were done with the party and that they had a new party they belonged to… PUMA, which stood for Party Unity My A$$.
This caught on like wildfire, and it became a rallying cry. People all over the net adopted the term PUMA independently.
Then Will Bower and Diane Mantouvalos (and a few others i think) formed JustSayNoDeal as an umbrulla to provide all the PUMA people with a loose coalition. At the same time and shortly after the JustSayNoDeal coalition was being formed, the various PACs, 527s and the like began to take shape. Darragh Murphy’s PUMApac is probably the most well known.
The JustSayNoDeal Coalition is a group of hundreds of websites and bloggers representing MILLIONS of people (estimates range between 2 to 4 million), BUT one thing to keep in mind is that it is a loose coalition.
The fact that it is a coalition means that every group, and even every individual, under the banner has a different agenda, different opinions and different goals. Some want to get Hillary on the ballot, some hope for Hillary in 2012, some don’t like Hillary that much and actually supported Edwards or others, some want to vote for McCain, some want to stay home, some won’t vote for any Democrats, some will vote for Democrat down ticket but not for Obama… and so on.
So, here is the problem with anti-puma websites and people like Donna Brazile as well as their like-minded individuals… they cannot seem to wrap their heads around the fact that it is a coalition, not a unified front with one message, so they take one statement that one person who identifies themselves as a “PUMA” and generalize it across the board. In addition, they take half truths then shade, stretch, simplify and omit to make us sound like the devil, when nothing could be further than the truth.
The truth of the matter is that the movement is not even about Hillary Clinton herself anymore. This also seems to be a difficult concept for the anti-puma groups to fathom.
Essentially, there are two things that all PUMAs care about…
1. Democracy – 1 person 1 vote and the sanctity of that vote.
2. Equality – Our society and those that represent us should reject sexism as strongly as they reject racism.
And those two ideas, which are the principles upon which this country was founded, are far more important, essential and basic than any of the policy platforms of a particular candidate. Those two principles are the foundation from which the policy platforms we care about spring, so without them, the policies are flimsy and meaningless.
We are not a “swiftboat” campaign, we are not “liars” and we are not “Republicans.” And no, this is not about Hillary or even Barack.
We are Democrats that want our party back.
So there you go, a bit of history, a bit of explanation and a bit of ranting.
These are the reasons I am a PUMA, why I feel betrayed by my party and why I must “Just Say No Deal.”
And now I want to hear from you. Tell me your story, your puma history, your declaration of pumahood… why you ”just say no deal.”
I look forward to reading all your stories!
Texas Hill Country
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: A Brief History and Personal Declaration of PUMAhood, Add new tag, Anti-PUMA, Clinton, Declaration, DNC, Donna Brazille, General, history, Just Say No Deal, Obama, Personal Declaration, PUMA, PUMAhood | 32 Comments »