May 31st 2009: One year later, what did we learn about PUMAS?

June 1, 2009

I think that you can figure out the winners

I think that you can figure out the winners

That losing is hard and losers don’t take stock in their shortcomings…

That sounds harsh, and looking back at what I typed, without some context, you would think that might be somewhat misplaced.  But, as a former debate type, I come with evidence of my claims.

1) McCain support.

Some of the PUMA factions loved up John McCain, after Hillary dropped out of the race.  John McCain’s sacrifices are admirable for the country, and should not be forgotten.  But, as the leader of the country, I would definitely stop short before giving him the keys to the car.  But, some PUMA supporters STRONGLY PUSHED FOR HIS ELECTION.

Pat Johnson, on January 1st, 2009 at 11:05 am Said:

Most of us Dems voted McCain/Palin in protest. This was something new to the party who expected “unity” no matter what or who the candidate was or offered. This is what set us apart. We never gave in.

What you fail to realize is that not only is that NOT a protest vote, you do actually what John points out here...

Fortunately, the one who makes the biggest stink isn’t the one who wins.  Just because you have a cult like belief, doesn’t make your religion the right one for everyone.

What leader would urge you to protest your vote (something that they fought long and hard for the right for all of us to do so) to vote for the side that has done the least for your cause, historically and recently?

Politico talks about the boost that McCain received from Palin nomination.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate has electrified conservative activists, providing a boost of energy to the GOP nominee-in-waiting from a key constituency that previously had been lukewarm — at best — about him.

By tapping the anti-abortion and pro-gun Alaska governor just ahead of his convention, which is set to start here Monday, McCain hasn’t just won approval from a skeptical Republican base — he’s ignited a wave of elation and emotion that has led some grass-roots activists to weep with joy.

Now, don’t you feel a little suspicious about the pick?  Are you so blinded about the choice that you fail to see why the choice was made?  This had all feeling of a choice of convenience and political gain.  Kudos to McCain for attempting to get elected, but choosing him was a vote designed to punish your opponent.  Again, for PUMAS, they live the “the enemy of my enemy is my friend…” to the fullest.

Most importantly for McCain, the two constituencies who are most energized by Palin just happen to be the twin grassroots pillars of the GOP: anti-abortion activists and pro-Second Amendment enthusiasts and sportsmen. Without these two camps making phone calls, stuffing envelopes and knocking on doors, Republican presidential candidates would severely lack for volunteers. They are critical to the health of the conservative coalition that has dominated Republican politics for a generation.

Republicans say the primary source for the passion can be found in Palin’s example and authenticity.

Not only is the 44-year-old governor opposed to abortion rights — but she carried and gave birth to a child with Down syndrome earlier this year, a profound and powerful motivating force to both opponents of abortion rights and the parents and relatives of special needs children.

Even if you think that Obama has not done all he can to get to abortion, the right wingers won with the murder of Dr. Tiller.  Your reproduction rights would not have been safe.

Anti-Abortion forces win, with this murder, but isnt this (murder) what they are supposed to be against?

Anti-Abortion forces win, with this murder, but isn't this (murder) what they are supposed to be against?

Here was McCain on Abortion from Time

McCain’s straightforward answer, along with his assertion that he would not have nominated any of the Supreme Court’s four liberal judges (notwithstanding that he voted to confirm all but John Paul Stevens, who was named before McCain was in the Senate), had social conservatives breathing sighs of relief. “I will be a pro-life president, and this presidency will have pro-life policies,” McCain said to cheers from the audience.

So, even if you think that Obama is not pro-choice enough, he is more than McCain.  But, the usual story of Hillary supporters who voted for McCain make the argument that the candidate supported their views.  That is a difficult one to reconcile.

2) Random Obama Hatred

Yes, he beat your choice.  That happens all the time.  But, this was the year that a small and vocal crowd never let up with their belief their candidate was the best one for the job and that she really won.  I really would have respected a write in campaign for her, and allowed that to be the measuring stick of her power.  Now, that the election is over, you don’t need to hate.  Hate the ballot measures, no need to hate the man.  You can go to any random post at the Confluence or other PUMA affiliated sites and STILL see the pain that they face with Obama winning.  They take the slogan hate the player not the game to a new level.

Sophie, on June 1st, 2009 at 7:46 am Said: The infatuation matters because Obama’s ambitions are so grand.
If only. I’m still reeling from yesterday, its history and significance. This last year has been the worst of my life and I lay it squarely at the feet of whoever this puppet master is. There really is no where for me to go politically in America. I disagree with the Republicans on 98% of the issues and I think the Democrats are too stupid to vote or govern their way out of a paper bag.

Regency, on May 31st, 2009 at 5:59 pm Said: I thought I was crazy for still grieving over this day. I know now that I’m not. I keep feeling robbed and it’s just hard to even see the words “President Obama” knowing that the ending should have been very different. This was the turning point if there ever was one.

The thing that I have going on is why?  Why should the ending be any different?  The thing that they go to immediately is that Hillary won the popular vote.  Well, if that was worth something, then we would be calling her Madame President, or President Clinton.  There is a reason that our system is set up to balance population with area. But, we are reduced to calling her Secretary Clinton. (which is somewhat ironically sexist, since most secretaries are female and it has been a position where women have been the most subservient and mistreated…)
Just replace Star Trek with PUMA Convention and you get the idea...

Just replace Star Trek with PUMA Convention and you get the idea...

3) Racism (again in an ironic twist, the German newspaper Das Spiegel has the article from Harvard Sociologist Olando Patterson that talks about some of the more subtle forms of racism that exist, in particular, the 3a.m. commercial

Did the message get through? Well, consider this: people who voted early went overwhelmingly for Mr. Obama; those who made up their minds during the three days after the ad was broadcast voted heavily for Mrs. Clinton.

For more than a century, American politicians have played on racial fears to divide the electorate and mobilize xenophobic parties. Blacks have been the “domestic enemy,” the eternal outsider within, who could always inspire unity among “we whites.” Richard Nixon’s Southern strategy was built on this premise, using coded language — “law and order,” “silent majority” — to destroy the alliance between blacks and white labor that had been the foundation of the Democratic Party, and to bring about the Republican ascendancy of the past several decades. The Willie Horton ad that George H. W. Bush used against Michael Dukakis in 1988 was a crude manifestation of this strategy — as was the racist attack used against John McCain’s daughter, who was adopted from Bangladesh, in the South Carolina Republican primary in 2000.

It is possible that what I saw in the ad is different from what Mrs. Clinton and her operatives saw and intended. But as I watched it again and again I could not help but think of the sorry pass to which we may have come — that someone could be trading on the darkened memories of a twisted past that Mr. Obama has struggled to transcend.

It is significant that the Clinton campaign used its telephone ad in Texas, where a Fox poll conducted Feb. 26 to 28 showed that whites favored Mr. Obama over Mrs. Clinton 47 percent to 44 percent, and not in Ohio, where she held a comfortable 16-point lead among whites. Exit polls on March 4 showed the ad’s effect in Texas: a 12-point swing to 56 percent of white votes toward Mrs. Clinton. It is striking, too, that during the same weekend the ad was broadcast, Mrs. Clinton refused to state unambiguously that Mr. Obama is a Christian and has never been a Muslim.
When looking and measuring racism, you can use the metric of overt versus covert racism to evaluate.   With isms, I tend to default to the group being discussed.  just like I won’t fully know the issues that women face, whites won’t fully know the issues that I face as someone who is black/Afro-American, or whatever term you want to use.
The bigger issue that I see is the steadfast refusal to see where racism has happened.  This has happened on blogs throughout the blog-o-sphere.  Another comment on the subject at the Confluence proves what the issue is.
bostonboomer, on May 5th, 2009 at 7:24 am Said: I think you’re right about the people who are using reaction formation as a defense. Many Obots voted for Obama *because* he is part African American and his skin is light brown, in order to assuage their own guilt and fear. Some of us were actually able to look at Obama’s past history and his stated policies instead of the color of his skin.

Defense mechanisms are entirely unconscious, and that makes it very difficult for people to see their own behaviors and their consequences. The over-the-top reactions are the key. Overreaction that can easily be seen by others is typical of reaction formation.

Of course these Obots are also using projection–seeing their own extreme emotions in others.

So, wouldn’t that be true of all races?  Maybe the support for McCain was built on that exact same theme?  But, to a larger point, what is with all the Hillary supporters attempting to minimize Obama’s blackness?  If you are even 1/16 black and have a decent tan, you are and always will be considered black.   But, when it suits them, they point out that he is bi-racial, when in the system, they really do not care about that.  Look at any form that asks about ethnicity.  They don’t care that you are part-white, the blackness is what it is all about.
Brent Stables, an author and editor for the New York Times writes, seemingly with the help of a crystal ball…

The arguments being raised about Mr. Obama’s blackness — or his lack of blackness — seem positively antique at a time when Americans are moving away from the view of ancestry as a central demographic fact and toward a view that dispenses with those traditional boundaries. Even so, the complaints about Mr. Obama provide an interesting opportunity to examine the passing of the old and the rise of the new.

The claim that the candidate isn’t really black because his mother is white carries little weight under either system. It makes no sense at all to the young Americans who checked more than one box when identifying themselves by race in the last census. They subscribe to a fluid notion of race and seem perfectly willing to let people describe themselves racially any way they choose.

Nor does the charge make sense in the black community itself. That community has historically and eagerly embraced as black anyone and everyone with any African ancestry to speak of. That embrace often included interracial families, who lived in black communities long before they were accepted elsewhere. It included even blue-eyed, sandy-haired people like the civil rights leader Walter White, whose black ancestry was imperceptible to the naked eye.

The carpetbagging black Republican Alan Keyes opened up this racialist can of worms when he opposed Mr. Obama in the Illinois Senate race back in 2004. Badly outmatched and reaching for any brick he could find, Mr. Keyes blurted out that Mr. Obama was not black because he was not descended from slaves. The Daily News columnist Stanley Crouch later seemed to second that view, saying that Mr. Obama had not “lived the life of a black American.”
He continues later in the article with the conclusion

His critics are at least right when they describe his journey as a departure from the customary stereotype. But they are fundamentally wrong when they try to argue that the journey described in his affecting 1995 memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” is somehow incompatible with blackness.

At bottom, the hue and cry over Barack Obama’s identity stems from a failure by black traditionalists to recognize multiracial versions of themselves. Soon enough, perhaps by year’s end, however, the Obama story, which seems so exotic to so many people now, will have found its place among all the other stories of the sprawling black diaspora.
I am not even going to get into the racist and hateful things that were said about Michelle Obama.  We both know it existed Confluence, so lets both not pretend that your commentators didn’t say those things.
4) Broken Crystal Balls
Even before the race was run, Confluence supporters wanted to believe against facts that Obama was going to win.  Numbers are lies, people wanted to hide their true votes, undecided were clearly people that were Hillary supporters that are going to take the leap, are the usual lines that you heard.
Joanelle, on October 31st, 2008 at 10:43 am Said: Oh, boy, I went to an awards dinner last night and ended up being invited to sit at the “reserved” table (head table) but when I sat I found that five out of the seven of us were Obots – who carefully assured us all that Obama will be elected next week so we had nothing to worry about. The other three of us just sat there and smiled – mainly because we knew they were wrong but didn’t want to ruin their meal. :evil:

You MEANT that you HOPED that they were wrong, but they ended up being right.  How do you feel now?  I bet rather foolish and if you saw those people again, they should be like, ” IN YOUR FACE!”

The Prologue: Where do they go from here?

If I was the Confluence, I would stop the label of PUMA.  It was a funny, off the cuff quip that has lost its flavor like a piece of gum that that has been chewed for an hour.  It’s stale and the rhetoric is stale around the Confluence house.  Change the diapers of the baby!

You have some things that are definitely worth saving. Most of the people there are not ignorant, in fact they are mostly very bright individuals who are so tied up into their cause, they reject others with ad-homs.  Gotta build bridges, not continue to build trenches around your position.  If you have beliefs, don’t shy away from debate.  Good ideas rise to the top and bad ones sink to the bottom.

The tradition in the blog-o-sphere is to aviod debate and limit discussion of various topics if they are opposite than yours.  It should be exaclty the opposite.  If someone has a different view, invite them to debate.  Facts will stand at the end of the debate.  You should never feel the need to ban discussion or commentors unless they can only go to ad-homs, which some frontpagers are great at.  (You know who…lol)

Here is what I am going to do…you should too…

3 Responses to “May 31st 2009: One year later, what did we learn about PUMAS?”

  1. johnd12009 said

    Excellent article Steve! This is a very good read.

  2. Steve said

    thanks…I read your site and it kills me…

  3. […] out too well for ya.  Get some facts and get back to me…All we learned after a year is that PUMAS are synonymous with losing. But the timing, coming during one of the biggest American holidays of the year, independence day, […]

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