and Time’s #8 Buzzword of the year 2008 is …

Top 10 Buzzwords

8. PUMA

By John Cloud


Louise Ma
An acronym for “party unity my ass,” this term was the rallying cry of Clinton supporters who backed her candidacy even after many party leaders called for consensus around Obama in order to ensure a unified Democratic front going into the general election. As Barrett of doubletongued.org points out, PUMAs hoped to bring the Clinton-Obama fight “to a head-to-head smackdown vote at the [Democratic] convention.” Instead, Clinton threw her support to Obama well before the convention. This word, which disproportionately described female voters, recalls TIME’s 2007 buzzword of the year: cougar, i.e., an older woman seeking younger men.


Only Cardboard …

Here’s James Carville in one of his worst moments.

Here’s my response:

What if it were a cardboard cut out of Obama and a noose instead of a bottle of beer?

What if it were a cardboard cut out of Joe Lieberman and some one was putting say, a felt star on him, or a tatoo’d number on his arm instead of groping him  or say they were doing the same thing and were wearing swastikas instead of Obama team tshirts?

What would your reaction be?

What would the reaction be of black civil rights leaders or leaders of the antisemitic leagues?  Being plied with alcohol and groped is strong symbolism for women.  We know that most men can out wrestle us and we are one moment of trust away from brutalization.  Many fratboy antics are in fact sexual assault.

AND Symbols matter. 

Would these two cardboard ‘fratboy antics’ I discribed above be taken as trivial or would they be considered hate crimes?  After all,  a small town in Louisiana became a symbol of lingering racism with the hanging of a noose in a tree by a couple of idiot high school  boys.   Why didn’t folks consdier that to be  just highschool boy antics?  What about the University of Kentucky students that had an effigy to hang of Barrack  Obama who were treated way worse than those guys in California’ responsible for the hanging of Sarah Palin in effigy in a Halloween display?  The guys in California only experienced a little neighborly humiliation.  Not so the kids at at U of K.

And you know what?  None of these citizens put words in the president’s mouth and yet there was tremendous outrage in each circumstance.  In several cases, these were adolescent boys and not 27 year olds on the way to be a Director in the White House for a President of the United States.  This is the jerk responsible for “Yes we Can” and “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for”.   Obama rode those two banal slogans into Washington.

The only time symbolic brutality is sanctioned these days is if its victims are women, GLBT, and possibly the homeless mentally ill people.   This has got to stop.   A symbol is powerful.  If this were not true, people would not be upset by swastikas, confederate flags, and nooses.  We need to stay upset about this until this jerk is told to resign.


Reframe, Reform, Regroup

j-miller-we-can-do-it-rosie-the-riveterThere is a general consensus out there in the Pumasphere that we need to regroup and continue to voice our issues.  I have found that it is much easier, at this point, for me to list the issues that made me a Puma.  It’s much harder for me to suggest a blueprint for the regrouping.

Our political process needs reform.  Both parties have now won elections by perpetrating ugliness, fraud, and lies. Tactics used by Democrats this year were the source of much frustration and anger in the past when used by Republicans.  How can you claim higher ground while stooping to conquer?  We have to find a way to stop the parties from using the deep pockets of special interest constituencies to game an election.  I’ve been amazed at how the same blogs that howled at Rovian tricks have borrowed some of the same plays and chortled in glee when these nasty strategies work in their favor.

One of the nasty strategies is the hyperpartisanship that allows candidate surrogates to demonize opponents and their supporters.  This year’s Judas goat appeared to be women candidates and women in general.  I was horrified at the level of misogyny given a pass by the DNC.  I was even more horrified that much of this was done by women.  I now have a list of women’s groups and women’s activists whom I no longer consider feminist.  This includes NARAL, Emily’s List, Gloria Steinham, and many others.  We cannot allow the parties to use us to beat up on women who disagree with us on an issue or so.  The progress of women depends on not allowing any one to define the weakest ones in the herd so that the predators can weed them out for destruction.  My guess is that women’s rights as well as GLBT rights will not achieve anything with the new congress and the new president.  We will be used once more to place the usual suspects in power so they can enrich themselves and further legislation that has nothing to do with anything we value.  Yes, I will be happy to see all those nasty, birth control phobic executive orders go away.  I doubt we will see legislation, however, demanding insurance providers cover all forms of women’s reproductive care let alone laws enabling federal funding.  So how much are marginal differences worth to us?

 To further the Obama cause, we will see more Prop 8s.  As long as it advances Obama’s status, they will support laws that winnow out the least powerful among us.  We need to reframe what it means to be “for” us and “against” us.  Lip service and proxy misspeaks should not be so easily forgiven or forgotten.  We need to reframe them so that folks see them for what they are–nonsupportive of women’s rights and a disservice to our self-esteems and our causes.

So, can we reform either party?  Will the Republicans give up their love of controlling women’s bodies while curbing corporations that run amok?  I don’t think so.  Now that the Democratic Party has learned they can fool enough of the people enough of the time, will they show some respect to those of us that loathe this new process and their new flunkies?  Dream on.  We can choose to be a segment that can select a few kings or we can try to coordinate with others to forge a new independent way that could possibly lead to a third party.  I’m still drawn to the latter as a long term strategy.  I think Bloomberg may take a run at the presidency in 4 years and he’ll need some voting blocs.  We should keep all of our options open because I have no doubt we will be in exhile for some time.

It is likely for election reform we will have to work state by state.  If we want more women’s voices in the process, we will have to run or put women candidates into office.  The blogosphere continues to be our best weapon.  We can connect, reframe the issues, demand reform where we can, and look for the best possible structure to regroup.  I think that’s all I can offer up for debate at this point.  I will say that I am willing to stick it out and work for it because the problem is at the very heart of all that is the promise of democracy.

NOTE:  This is my contribution to the The Confluence’s The Way Forward Series: Pondering our future as P.U.M.A.s.  If you follow this link and look in the upper right hand comment, you will find the ideas of others in the PUMA movement.


Politics Make for Strange Bedfellows

I’ve been watching some of the links showing up here at my blog and also at The Confluence.  Something really STRANGE is going on.  The Republicans are abuzz with praises for Pumas.  I’m reading blog after blog on the right saying that PUMAS may very  well save the country.  Check out these links.  It will make you a believer in the old saying that politics make strange bedfellows.

 

From Redstate:  More on Why McCain should Win:  The Puma Factor

From McCain Democrat Clinton Republican:  People Want to know about Puma

From Death by a 1000 papercuts:  Pumas the Democrats the Media Doesn’t Want to Talk About

To be real honest, I’ve had a feeling that folks have been reading many of our sites for some time.  This includes the media.  I also know that some of the things that have been discussed here on The Confluence and on other Puma sites have shown up a few days after the topic was completely dissected by the PUMA community.  Several times we’ve been accused of passing right wing memes when I swear the points were discussed here prior to being tossed around on right wing blogs and even right wing radio shows.

Several stories broken here (including SimoFish’s posting of the Hillary Fundraiser where Hillary says she thinks that putting her name up for a roll call vote would help her supporters gain closure) and on No Quarter. ( Think ACORN  and most of the ACORN threads including the Obama expenditure on “lights, etc” which turned out to be voter-registration related .)  These were first discoverd in the PUMA world.

You may feel discouraged and think that we’re not making a difference, but you really shouldn’t.  This should tell you that our voices are being heard and that our cause has been well-argued.  Now is the time for us to finally decide where to put our final action: OUR VOTE.  As for me, I’ve gone into a voting pack with SM77 who lives in the swing state of Florida.  I will be voting for Cynthia McKinney for her, here in New Orleans, LA.  Louisiana is a red state.  She will be casting my vote for John McCain in Florida.  

Please, PUMAs, stick to your guns and cast your vote in accordance with our principles.  It is up to us to show the DNC that denying one-man one vote to TWO states, stacking primaries so that small states out count large swing sates, and allowing rampant caucus frauds are not behaviors we wish the democratic party to undertake.  Let them know that we don’t appreciate them putting a candidate with no accomplishments and a race-baiting, misogynistic campaign to the front of the line.  Vote your conscious!  Vote like a PUMA!  Even the Republicans know that we can make a difference!


Protest Voting 101

Player Queen:
Both here and hence pursue me lasting strife,
If once I be a widow, ever I be a wife!

Player King:
‘Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here a while,
My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
The tedious day with sleep.

Player Queen:
Sleep rock thy brain,
And never come mischance between us twain!

Hamlet:
Madam, how like you this play?

Queen:
The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Hamlet Act 3, scene 2, 222–230

 

Puma is a protest movement.  Our blogs outline our strategies.  Our votes are our tactics.    I’m not exactly sure how much clearer I can make this but it appears that we have to repeat these simple facts over and over.  If we don’t, no one gets us.

The nature of our protest vote is that is exactly that a PROTEST.  This means that our friends who can’t understand why we might vote for a candidate that doesn’t have a chance (McKinney or Nader) or a ticket that we may not agree with on many issues (McCain Palin) don’t understand what a PROTEST vote means. Protests voting means your vote is a protest.  It simply doesn’t have to make sense to any one else.

I started thinking about this today due to a post by Masslib on Alegre’s blog and a response by Or what Vahalla said. 

Or what Valhalla said (4.00 / 2)
 

The premise of a protest vote is that it’s not issues-related.

What I meant to say, put more succintly 🙂

This also hit me in the face when I saw a response to my own posting “The No NO Sisterhood”.  A post by Ben Kilpatrick assumed I voted all women during the democratic run-off in Louisiana just because I was woman who votes for women as a means to discriminate against men.

Just voting for women is the same as just voting for the black guy, or the republican guy, or or or

And it’s about as smart a move as all of those.

My vote was a protest against the treatment of women candidates this year.  I did not vote for all women because as a woman, I was voting for ALL women. I voted for all women as a protest.  I did not like the way Hillary was treated. I do not like the way Sarah Palin is being treated.  I will not stand for Helena Morena being treated similarly either.  Already, it is starting.  A blog for the local New Orleans business newspaper picked up one quote from my two day postings concerning the second congressional race and all my comments about Ms. Moreno.  You can read it here.  The only line the blog picked up from me about Helena was that most folks here were calling her the “little white girl in the race” which I view as confusing folks on her mixed white/Latina heritage and belittling her status as a woman by calling her ‘girl’.

I’m still thinking about what kind of protest vote I will make this year when I step in the booth to vote for President.  I know I will not vote for Obama.  I will not vote for the issues, for once, because I am protesting how he got the nomination, I am protesting how the DNC actively and underhandedly promoted him over a much more qualified and able woman, and how he has been given a HUGE pass by the MSM.  I know many of my PUMA friends will vote for McCain Palin, others will just skip the vote, others will still vote for Hillary, and some will vote for third party candidates.

We do not have to explain the ‘logic’ of our vote over and over and over again. It’s not about the issues (like Roe v. Wade), it’s not about the economy, and it’s certainly not about voting party lines.  It’s a protest vote.  As such, it only has to make sense to us!  

I think we need to take some time and rethink why we view our votes as protests this year.  This is especially true if you’re thinking of drinking that koolaid and falling prey to the logic of voting on issues at this point.  Puma ceases to become a protest movement at that point.  It’s effectiveness at supporting reform within the democratic party has no teeth at the point we stop protesting.

There is no such thing for PUMAs as ladies (or gentlemen) protesting too much at this point.  Afterall, it is our democracy at stake.

(cross-posted at The Confluence)


Dead Enders and Picking on Poor Ol’ Barrack

Puma has been receiving a lot of media attention recently.  Some of the most interesting came yesterday when the MSM tried to determine the role of PUMA in seeing that Hillary Clinton’s name was properly placed in a roll call vote from the floor of DNC convention.

Every one was buzzing about the AP article yesterday as well as the appearance of Will Bower and Darraugh Murphy on MSNBC.  What really got to me yesterday was one comment by Anderson Cooper to Candi Crowly late last night.  Candy and Anderson were analyzing the impact of the Hillary Floor vote which the Obama campaign tried to twist into, well ‘it was always our intention’ and ‘we were okay with this all along’ moment.  David Gergen on the same program said that the decision made it look like Obama could be bullied into anything.  Anderson and Candy began to use the term ‘dead-enders’.  I guess I was some what used to this word after having been compared to Japanese soldiers holding up in remote places after World War 2 earlier.  However, Anderson did the term one better. He side joked to Candy about the last time they were using the term dead-ender.  I’m not exactly sure what all he was intending to imply, but being compared to Sunni insurgents and the infamous Donald Rumsfeld/Dick Cheney neocon excuse for why Iraq just wouldn’t settle down and be happy after being invaded was an interesting metaphor.  It took me aback.

Yesterday’s AP article was perhaps the first time the press really started looking at PUMA as something more than a group of disgruntled Hillary dead-enders.

Obama needs Clinton’s supporters to beat Republican John McCain. Polls show that he has won over most of them. But some simply don’t like Obama or still feel Clinton was treated unfairly during the primaries.

These groups are not affiliated with Clinton, who has endorsed Obama and campaigned for him. Representatives from the Clinton and Obama campaigns said they are working to unify the party because Obama will champion issues important to Clinton supporters, such as reforming health care, improving the economy and ending the war in Iraq.

“Senator Clinton understands and appreciates that there are supporters who remain passionate, but she has repeatedly urged her supporters to vote for Senator Obama,” Clinton spokeswoman Kathleen Strand said.

Within the PUMA movement itself there are a variety of differing opinions on where to go from here.  This is because PUMA is somewhat bigger than Hillary at this point.  It’s not just our support of Clinton and her treatment, but the cavalier way the DNC has tossed aside the one-man-one vote principle, adopted wholesale the Obama Agenda by disallowing and ruling off limits certain topics in the platform drafting process, allowed the caucus process to be pirated, and set up weights on election results that so obviously put an unqualified lightweight on a fast track.  I don’ think we’re so much dead-enders for Hillary, but dead-enders for the Democratic Process and the American value of dissent.

I was listening to Proud Military Mom describe her frustration with the platform committee on River Daughter’s Internet show.  She said many tried to discuss a future democratic party that relies on primaries and not caucuses because of their un-democratic outcomes and obvious openness to fraud.  All discussions, she reported, were ruled out of order. She said the committee was there basically to rubberstamp the Obama agenda which had been part and parcel of this latest Obama book deal.  Now the profits from this book deal are supposed to go to charity.  One has to wonder if some of the charities will be Father Pfleger and Reverend Wright’s payment for staying out of the limelight until Barrack has convinced every one that his 20 years in learning to be black in that community was not the transformational process he bragged about in his book.  After all, as the product of Ivy league schools (legacy and affirmative action points given) and an elite Hawaiian prep school, we all know exactly how he suffered a ‘black like me’ existence.

This gets me back to the dead-ender label.  If you actually read PUMA blogs and follow those most active in forming the PUMA agenda, the focus is rapidly switching to Barrack’s shortcomings and the DNC subversion of the process.  I think most of us are well-aware that Hillary’s been forced into sack cloth and ashes.  Even CNN reported this week that she’s the FIRST EVER person defeated in the primary to actually support, campaign for, and travel with the presumed winner of the primary prior to the convention.  Let’s not forget, Barrack pulled off a relatively insignificant lead in delegates.  Let us also not forget, the delegate lead was based on some whacky formulation where Rhode Island wound up counting more than Pennsylvania and states, like Texas with its Two step, granted more electoral representation to relatively few voters attending caucuses than thousands and thousands more that turned up for primaries.

These PLUS the overwhelmingly bad treatment by the press for Hillary with the insipid silence of the DNC led to PUMA.  Most PUMAs want to remain democratic.  We are not a republican movement.  We want the values of the Democratic Party.  However, we will not sell out to people that set up rules that basically violate those values, and then be subjected to extortion with threats of Republican pre-occupation of misogyny and gay-baiting.  The Democratic Party has not stood up for women and gay rights in an honest way for years.  They have no right to black mail us now with further erosion of our rights when they have consistently backed away from fights with republicans on these very issues.  Fights they could have easily won.

I hope the press continues its current fascination with the PUMA movement.  I hope the PUMA movement continues to show that it’s not about being a Hillary dead-ender.  It’s the DEMOCRACY stupid!!! Maybe, in that way, Anderson Cooper is correct.  We are an insurgency fighting for our survival in country invaded by a party system interested in self-preservation and disinterested in doing what’s right.


Monday Morning to Do List!

Just a list of actions worth taking:

Please sign Planned Parenthood’s Petition to stop the Bush encroachment on birth control.  The Petition states:

Planned Parenthood is gravely concerned that the Bush administration is considering a new HHS rule that would undermine women’s access to health care and information. The rule would allow federal funding that is specifically designed to prevent unintended pregnancy and promote reproductive health to instead be used by facilities and providers that refuse to offer comprehensive birth control and reproductive health care services.

http://www.ppaction.org/campaign/spp08ppan?rk=81AR75M15s-CE

LAMusing asks us to join in the PUMA effort to insure top DNC officials know we don’t intend to fall in line with the unity pony in its efforts to shut out all serious debate at the DNC convention.

In a sign that senior Democratic officials remain deeply concerned that post-primary bitterness could imperil Barack Obama’s chances, two top Democratic officials have emailed a sharply-worded letter to major donors and other leading Dems confessing “fatigue and irritation” at those withholding full support from Obama and demanding that they get behind him “without conditions or demands.””

Aren’t you PUMAS ready to fall in line yet? Read the full letter here:
http://tinyurl.com/6z8ujy

The letter is signed by Donald Fowler, a former DNC chair and DNC member-at-large who was one of Hillary’s most prominent supporters. Alice Germond, the Secretary of the DNC, is also a signatory.

LAMusing suggests we let Alice and Donald know we live in a democracy.

You can write a response to Mr. Fowler at don@fowlercommunications.com.

You can write a response to Ms. Germond and mail it to:

Honorable Alice Germond, Secretary

Democratic National Committee
430 South Capital Street, Southeast
Washington, D. C. 20003-4024

or e-mail her at germonda@dnc.org

In your salutation, the proper form of address is “Madame Secretary” after that I’d say just let her have it!!!

If you’re more up to writing to Celebrities, you might want to write Oprah and ask why she’s scrubbed her site of politics and her big show of worship for Obama during the primary.  Is it because Obama turned out to be bad for Business?

Oprah Shuts Down Website, Scrubs All Political Discussion – Media Silent

“Barack Obama is not the only one revising their website. Oprah Winfrey seems to have gotten in on the action.

Last year, Oprah Winfrey came out and endorsed Barack Obama, calling him “The One,” an allusion to either Jesus or to Neo of The Matrix. I am not sure which.”

http://tinyurl.com/5ecadk

For more Puma GROWLS  be sure to go to the Just Say No Deal Link on the left.  Let’s make sure the DNC and the MSM see some real activity prior to the convention.  Speaking of conventions,  I can’t make the PUMA convention in Washington, DC, but if you can sign up and attend at the same site.

Let’s try to stop the Assault on Democracy while we still have time!