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You know I was a Hillary supporter, but I cannot understand not moving on. It is not like you are supporting a sports team and your team got knocked off in the playoffs and there is always next year and you'll be a crazy bandwagon jumping traitor if you decide to go with the team that won. Barack Obama is, policy wise, pretty indistinguishable from my first choice candidate. And the other guy is the polar opposite. Why would I not throw all my energy into supporting Obama instead of sitting around pouting?

(I also kind of think these crazy PUMA people are mostly a media fabrication. Maybe that is just wishful thinking.)


Right there with you Hannah. I can't substantiate this, but I think the whole PUMA "phenomenon" is a big bunch of attention grabbing. It's the same thing that creates hordes of "undecideds" two days before an election. As someone whose vote finally meant something during the primary season, it was a heady experience to have a Presidential candidate and the media pay attention to you. Considering the media is all up in their business, I can see where they wouldn't give it up.


You know what I like way more than having the media anywhere near my business? My (according to the current president, "gold plated") health insurance. Which John McCain would totally take away, and if that happens I am totally hunting James Carville down and making him pay for my next pap smear.


(Speaking of my business and all. Hah.)


Heard a comment on Fresh Air last night from journalist Ryan Lizza who said that Hillary supporters tended to be those who were not faring well in the new economy whereas Barack supporters tended to be thriving in the new economy. I think that's an interesting statement and may explain the seriously hurt feelings we are still hearing from the Hillary supporters.

I can't wait to move on from the Hillary flap. Though I did really enjoy hearing Hillary throw some punches in her speech last night. I only heard highlights, and I often find her speaking style a little grating, but someone needs to put the McCain BS under the spotlight.


There's one ultra radical feminist lefty blog that I continue to read that, in the past few months, has gone completely PUMA. I don't think they're republican plants (but they're probably one of the few that isn't). I've generally found it amusing more than anything, but the conspiracy theories have gotten way out of control. My favorite recent one is where, because they sent out the VP text at something like 3 in the morning, it was a total affront to clinton. Because apparently she now owns 3am. Because of a stupid ad from months ago. Nevermind that they got scooped by the media and needed to send the darn thing out before people woke up. Or that there are these things called time zones. Im starting to feel stupider every time I go over there and keep reading. It's like a train wreck though.

What I really don't understand though, is that Clinton has now, for over a month, been practically begging her supporters to vote for Obama. She released her delegates. She's campaigning for him. So what, exactly, do the "true" (though minimal) PUMAs actually want?

And if it's "demands"? Apparently their big demands (the ones that weren't metaphysical or involving time travel to get rid of the concept of caucuses in the first place) were to seat the full MI and FL delegations and put Hillary's name into nomination. These are both being done now, so they should be totally on board right? But no. now it's all about how Obama somehow "stole" the election (a very complex argument that boils down to the fact that he had a killer ground game in the caucus states. That's not "stealing". That's being an effective politician.)

It's a great way to dispel all of those old tropes and stereotypes about women being completely irrational though. Argh.

megan kay

I really don't understand the PUMA hate. I don't identify as one, and I get the complaint that BO and HRC really similar so why can't they line up, but personally I'm still not going to vote for BO.

"So what, exactly, do the "true" (though minimal) PUMAs actually want?"

Again, I don't read the PUMA websites or identify as one, but I'd like: BO to make some sort of statement about the DHHS regulations, to stop moving right, to quit saying marriage is "sacred" and between "one man and one woman," to apologize for implying that some women get late term abortions simply because they "feel blue" and to recognize that even if that did happen IT'S THEIR RIGHT. I'd like him to disinvite the anti-choice preacher who is giving a closing prayer at the Convention, a preacher who hasn't even endorsed him, by the way.

I'd like him to act more like a republican, actually -- pander to your base of the working and middle classes, women, mothers, gays, feminists -- and not drag right. The democrats don't get anywhere doing that. The republicans dont do it. They know to play to the base. Why cant BO get that message?

So those are my demands. Those are things, theoretically, he can do. I'm not even asking him to turn back time and actually do the right thing on FISA. I'm not asking him to turn back time and actually pick a VP who isn't a huge corporate shill with a bad pro-choice voting record, among other things. I'm not asking him to turn back time and change the fact that he sided with the conservatives on the SC about gun control and the death penalty when it was totally unnecessary to do so.

He has done a lot of things that I hate. He can't change that. But he could strive to do better. I'm watching. I'm writing his campaign letters. But I really don't think he's going to do a damn thing to appeal to me, his base, a 25 year old public interest lawyer, feminist, $40,000/year salary, progressive.

Luckily for him, and me, and America, I live in IL where I can safely vote for McKinney with no hesitations.


I'm with you. Shortly after hearing that story on Morning Edition, I fired off an email to them, complaining that stories about how Michelle gave a speech saying that her husband would be a great president and especially stories giving ample airtime to Clinton supporters who are pretending to still be undecided are an annoying waste of my time. In fact, I know I am probably in the minority, but I really wish NPR would spend a lot more effort on policy stories and a lot less on politics - especially those kinds of stories that are completely predictable and tell one nothing at all.

Lisa S.

I really don't understand the PUMA hate.

I can't speak for anyone else but the reason they set me off:

Because strategically, they're either spiteful or they're stupid. Neither is a quality that will save American civics.

The spiteful angle: "Electing McCain will show all those people who took feminists and their work for granted! Ha! We'll teach them! We'll make sure we elect someone who will undo all our work!" Blowing up the village to save it may have worked in Vietnam, but I'm thinking that was a one-time case.

And the stupid angle: electing McCain won't really matter. I've seen PUMAs advancing this argument (Salon is like their breeding ground, I swear), and all I have to say is, really? You really think that's the case? Have you TAKEN a good look at the Supreme Court already?

On a totally subjective level, the PUMAs give off the vibe that they're in the crazy headspace one enters after coming to the end of a long, bitter breakup. I guess in this case, they're projecting: America broke up with Hillary for Barack.


I get why progressives may be disappointed with Barack Obama. As someone who was pro-Kucinich and then pro-Edwards, it's not like I'm not used to disappointment.

Maybe this is the result of being in my thirties, but at some point, I figured I would probably see more of my ideals become public matter-of-fact if I began voting on pragmatic grounds. Then again, maybe that stance is the result of seeing what happened when all those Nader voters in 2000 voted on principle instead of looking at the long-term picture.

megan kay

"Maybe this is the result of being in my thirties, but at some point, I figured I would probably see more of my ideals become public matter-of-fact if I began voting on pragmatic grounds."

This makes sense if your vote is important, but most of the time, for most people it isn't. You in CA voting for BO sends the message that you support what he is doing. You in CA voting third party sends the message that the Dems have some work to do and better drag left.

I get sucking it up and voting pragmatically in certain states and in certain elections, but most states aren't going to be that close.

I think it's important for BO and the Dems to see that they are losing more progressive voters by reaching out to conservative "swing" evangelicals than they are gaining. If I complain and complain and complain and then still vote for him, what message will he get?

Then again, maybe it is you being your 30s compared to me in my 20s. But the stereotypical PUMA is 40s, 50s, 60s, isn't she? Sick of voting pragmatically and still getting dems in congress who dont protect Roe?

megan kay

Also, in case it wasn't clear, I strongly disagree with this: "Because strategically, they're either spiteful or they're stupid."

Again, it's premised on the intellectually dishonest assumption that every vote counts equally. It's assuming PUMAs want McCain elected, which, they aren't a monolith and it's silly to pretend they are, and that McCain's election is their unified goal.

The commenters I know from the "radical feminist" sites I frequent who do self-identify as PUMA all come from blue states, all hope that BO wins and recognize that McCain would be a disaster, but know enough about the electoral college to know that they can throw a vote to McKinney and hopefully it'll send a message to the Dems that if they keep throwing their base out the window, the base wont come back.

Lisa S.

I'm sure you're calling the argument intellectually dishonest, and not me.

Anecdotally speaking, it's fine if PUMAs are all living in the bluest of states, but what I'm more concerned about is the repercussions their actions have in places where the voting is more sharply contested.

Your argument -- if I understand it -- is that it's perfectly fine to cast protest votes in places where your vote has no real hope of affecting the outcome, because your vote's not going to "count" anyway.

My concern, however, is that the silly antics and half-baked arguments the PUMAs put out will affect voters in places where every vote will, presumably, tip a strongly split region in one direction or the other. I would have less of an issue with the PUMAs if I thought their actions were largely restricted to the "well, my vote doesn't matter" regions, but I don't think that. I think there's the potential for them to screw the pooch in the more, um, "purple" regions, and that's where I feel pretty good about standing by the spiteful or stupid assessment.

megan kay

But the stupid and spiteful arguments still rest on the assumption that they actively want McCain to win, which isn't necessarily true. Not supporting Obama does not equal supporting McCain. Is this where we fundamentally disagree? Is it that you don't believe that some (many? a few? who knows, but certainly some) PUMAs want BO to win, just don't want to vote for him?

I really don't know why you have the assumption that all PUMAs actively want McCain to win.

I think it's also important to note that all this "moving on" that ex-Clinton supporters are supposed to do is in the face of a lot of bad acts by BO. He said he was too "busy" to reach out to them. Then, of course, there is all the stuff I listed in my post above, regarding no comment on the DHHS regs, FISA, "feeling blue," reiterating constantly that a woman's right to choose is a choice that she makes with her pastor and her family. If this small subsection of Clinton supporters can really make the difference for BO, if they really have the sway you're attributing to them, then why wont he reach out to them even a quarter as much as he's trying with the evangelicals? The thing is, they either have power or they don't, and if they don't, who cares. If they do, why isn't he doing a single thing to reach out?

I'm sure you're calling the argument intellectually dishonest, and not me.

yes, obviously. I'm sure you know I am a long-time reader and fan of your writing. I'm just kind of sick of all of the PUMA hate that's going around, particularly in places that have never acknowledged the weaknesses BO has, the legitimate concerns that people have against him as a candidate, etc. Do you honestly think there is no reason for a progressive not to support him?

Categorizing HRC supporters who refuse to vote for BO as either spiteful or stupid is inaccurate. This summer alone he has given people more reasons not to vote for him than to vote for him.

Lisa S.

I really don't know why you have the assumption that all PUMAs actively want McCain to win.

I guess I read between the lines, possibly incorrectly. It's a case of thinking, "Well, if you don't want to vote for him, what do you want?"

This back-and-forth, however, has helped illuminate that a little for me.

Do you honestly think there is no reason for a progressive not to support him?

I think it depends. It depends on what you want and what's important to you. For example, I was shrieking in anger at BO when he came out in favor of drilling in Alaska, because environmental management is one of my hot-button issues. And then I thought ... "Is McCain really going to be much better?"

So I guess, yes, on ideological grounds, I can see where lots of self-identified progressives won't want to support him. I'm just thinking that this is an election where it might be handy to look at the national picture in tactical terms first, i.e. get the guy in office and then say, "Would you like to stay here? Then hop to."

But there's MY idealism -- after all, lots of people thought in tactical terms in re: Clinton and we got "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and a dramatic, nearly punitive overhaul of welfare out of it. So I can see where progressive voters may simply not want to be invested in the "look at this tactically" POV.

megan kay

I'm just thinking that this is an election where it might be handy to look at the national picture in tactical terms first, i.e. get the guy in office and then say, "Would you like to stay here? Then hop to."

Ahh, this is where we disagree. If he has progressives and liberals voting for him even when they have enormous reservations, why would he feel indebted to us? It's easier for him to win reelection than to get there in the first place. I think he's going to feel indebted to anyone he thinks "crossed over," and he clearly thinks those are going to be conservatives/evangelicals. The Dems in power will always think they can count on progressives to come back because there is no where else to go, so they don't need to pander or make concessions to us.

I don't see having any power or sway once he's in office, unless he sees a huge number of third-party liberal votes that he hopes to get next time.

I get that you're being pragmatic, and it is logically what makes the most sense, but I don't think it's historically accurate.* I think that's what a lot of the fed up PUMAs feel like -- oh, Roe has been chipped away at for YEARS and years and years and dems haven't done much at all to protect it -- we need a new strategy.

*I also don't know that I think BO is a secret liberal who is just pandering to conservatives now but will lead more liberally once he's there. I think with his UChicago economics team, among other signs, that he is actually much more conservative than he is even letting on.

Anyway, I only hope you're right. I hope he gets elected, feels indebted to liberals and swings left again once he's in power, and we can get him to lead the right way. I also think that the best thing I can do, in Chicago, to send him my message is to (a) send emails/letters/phone calls to his campaign, (b) return donation requests with "FISA" (for example) written on them, and (c) vote third party ultimately. I still hope my family in OH and my boyfriend's family in FL vote for him, but I hope a lot of people in MA, NY, IL, CA don't. (And not that they don't vote at all, but that they specifically write in someone liberal, if the state allows, or vote for a liberal third party.)

Nader got 2.8 million in 2000. I think, voting strategically, McKinney could get 5 million and send a real message to Dems that they need us, too.

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