Monday, July 7, 2008


There is a movement out there that formed in the wake of Obama's win (and Clinton's defeat) in the Democratic primary. They call themselves PUMAs, and they are out to reform the democratic party, in particular, they want to force it to be more progressive as they are tired of the choices given them. I became familiar with them through reading reclusive leftist (Violet Socks).

At first, I frankly thought the rhetoric there was a little over the top. And to a degree, it is. Claiming that the more progressive choice is John McCain in the election coming up is, I think, rather dubious. But I can understand the general sentiment. I've felt it myself as I've become frustrated with repeated democratic captiulations. A democratic capitulation is what inspired my name for this blog (and thus my handle). As part of that, I contemplated voting Republican, not because I had any illusions that the GOP was progressive, but because it was the only thing I could think of that might get the Democratic party's attention. In other words, I saw it as the only leverage I had (see Violet Socks on this as well).

I've also read Apostate's posts about how Obama is a conservative. And I've read Barefoot Bum's posts about how he can no longer vote Democratic. I can sympathize with those views. I'm frustrated with the Democratic party. They are about to captiulate on FISA now, and then I hear that Obama is talking more like a right-wing judge than a progressive on the abortion issue. Which is depressing, even if it is just mangled rhetoric rather than reflecting any deeply held position.

I posted as much on that thread in a comment. I also noted that Clinton would not have likely been any different - not on that, not on FISA, not on anything else of significance, because she's also a conservative, like Obama, with very little daylight between them on the issues. In other words, that leverage really needs to do more than just support Hillary Clinton - she's the establishment, or a big part of it. She was no leader on progressive causes any more than Obama is or was. She's part of the problem with the party that is being highlighted now with Obama by the PUMAs. Which is part of the problem I have with the whole PUMA concept - if they are really about change and are not just Hillary Clinton cheerleaders, they would see this - but they don't. They are really all about Clinton. I get the sense that they'd abandon all of their badmouthing of the Democratic party and forgive all if Hillary were somehow made the nominee - abandoning all of their supposed ideals just to get "their" candidate into power.

I sort of lost any respect for them once I realized this. Sort of how I lost a lot of respect for Keith Olbermann when he was soft on Obama and reversed himself on criticism of the FISA surrender once Obama adopted that position. Obivously, he put his support for the candidate ahead of his principles. Which is a damn shame. With the PUMAs, I see the same thing. They put support for Clinton ahead of any priniples. This perception isn't helped by the fact that there seems to be a healthy dose of Obama bashing - some of it deserved, a lot of it rubbish. And no criticism at all of Clinton's conservative positions.

What solidified this in my mind today was when I posted in the thread there about Obama in which I mentioned my disgust and also my sadness that we'd probably have gotten a lot of the same with Clinton - and that comment did not make it past moderation. Now, maybe it will eventually, I don't know. But at that moment my thoughts on this crystalized. No one will ever manage to reform the Democratic party if they aren't serious about it and put issues over personalities. The very same thing the PUMAs complain about so vigorously - about those who support Obama as a personality as opposed to dealing with his actual positions, the PUMAs are guilty of with Clinton.

On another site, a blogger asked for positive reasons only to vote for Obama back during the primary. The rule was, you could not mention McCain or Clinton or make any comparisons in that regard. Certainly, that is an interesting exercise - but then the blogger then took it as an opportunity to argue with every point raised for Obama, belying any claim that she was really an objective, undecided observer. The general tenor of it all made me suspect that the whole point of the exercise was to provide a venue to showcase how Obama supporters don't really have any reason to vote for Obama besides personality. This became evident as that exact claim was made over and over in the thread even after people had posted lots of positive reasons to vote for Obama. Interestingly, when I suggested a separate thread with the same rules, only with only the positive reasons to vote for Clinton, that idea was dismissed. Which made me further suspect impure motives for the original exercise. But I could be mistaken.

As I am now, I am really disgusted with the Democratic party and I am also saddened that Obama is now doing the inevitable (and incredibly stupid) "tack to the right" that stupid Democratic consultants seem to always tell their candidates in presidential elections.

Still, despite all that, I simply cannot reward the lawlessness and horrendously evil behavior of the GOP in the white house with four more years. So I'm stuck. At least I can vote Democrats out of Congress, if it gets to that. But that's not likely. There's no real strong push to actually reform the party. I thought PUMAs might be something along those lines, but now I have concluded that they are not, they are just another cult of personality surrounding Clinton instead of Obama. (Insert sound of big sigh here).


The Barefoot Bum said...

Claiming that the more progressive choice is John McCain in the election coming up is, I think, rather dubious.

In the sense of "rather dubious" as "completely retarded".

Clinton would not have likely been any different - not on that, not on FISA, not on anything else of significance, because she's also a conservative, like Obama, with very little daylight between them on the issues.

No argument there.

It's a mistake, though, to see the Clinton supporters as a vehicle for a more progressive Democratic party. They're playing hardball politics, which is fine, I suppose, but that's a horse of a different color.

Progressivism has been completely marginalized in American politics, but that has nothing to do with the Clintonistas or the Obamabots. They're like PhysioProf, playing the game as it is. And it's the only game in town... until it collapses.

DBB said...

I certainly don't see the Clinton Supporters (PUMA) as a vehicle for anything now other than Obama bashing.

If the stupid party would actually stick together and not be afraid to be progressive, they would have done much better. Instead, the PUMAs are taking their marbles and going home because their candidate didn't win the primary.

The progressives need to show some courage. But they seem unable to.

Sweating Through fog said...

I think we are mirror opposites. I am as disgusted with the Republicans as you are with the Democrats. The only President I ever voted for was Reagan, and I've seen the party completely abandon any "limited government" principles.

So I've given up on both parties, and I find that the Libertarian party is closest to my views. So I'll continue to vote for them.

DBB said...

I think the GOP never really ever believed in limited government - they simply preached it when they were out of power because they wanted to limit the power of the Democratic party.

I've seen the GOP turn not just anti-libertarian, but totally criminal, with no shame about it whatsoever. Which is primarily why I'm voting Obama and will never vote GOP for president probably as long as I live.

But the Democrats disgust me too. So I'm disgusted at both of them. The GOP sold out to the extremists completely. The Democrats are scared of their own shadow and think they need to act like hte sold out GOP to win elections.