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Romancing the PUMAs

Lambert posted about the Democrat’s growing election dilemma yesterday with some speculation from an EJ Dionne article. PUMAs are back, baby!  Oh Yeah!

Or should I say, the stupid racist menopausal uneducated working class sino-peruvian lesbians are back.  It’s very weird how the Democrats manage to mine the data and come up with this constituency over and over again.  It’s a distortion that kinda-sorta proves the point of the Mad Men post I wrote yesterday.  Computers can be extraordinarily useful but they also tend to be levelers.  There are descriptors that the guys (and they are almost always guys) did not collect before they ran their analysis.  Now, they may have enough information to get enough PUMAs to the polls in November but THIS former PUMA, and I suspect many others, will be a much tougher sell.  But first, let’s try to clarify what we mean by Clinton voter and PUMA.

From my own perspective, the acronym PUMA, Party Unity My Ass, was only useful through the 2008 election season.  I was a New Deal Liberal style Democrat who voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996.  Unlike a lot of younger Democrats, I have a completely different and more realistic understanding of what the Clintons were up to back then.  I’m a late baby boomer who didn’t benefit from the earlier baby boomers’ advantages.  I was a working mother back in 1992 and I strongly identified with Hillary Clinton.  I saw “ending welfare as we know it” as a very good thing because the idea was only part of a strategy to introduce more of a European style welfare state with a national health policy, educational training, child care and housing.  It was all part of a package deal.  Then I saw both the Democratic party and the Republican party pick that package to bits.  The Democrats helped deep six the healthcare initiatives and Newt Gingrich’s Contract On America destroyed welfare.  That’s what happened guys.  You might have been studying and partying.  The rest of us were living in a grown up world.  As for NAFTA, I’m sorry, I think it’s a good idea to remove trade barriers between your two closest neighbors.  I had problems with some of the details but in general, these were Republican insertions, not Clinton’s.

We can talk about Glass-Steagel and Robert Rubin if you like.  In retrospect, deregulation of the banks and derivatives, etc, was a pretty bad thing but it was also an unstoppable phenomenon.  Clinton was NOT the driving force behind these initiatives.  From what I can recall, Phil Gramm was the nasty on the TV all the time ramming this crap down our throats.  Go look it up.  To this day, I avoid Texas just so I don’t have to run into that drawl.

Ok, so that’s my background.  You can read my credo in the tabs to find out what I value, and from the site statistics, someone(s) has become very interested in those values of late.

Now, when I say PUMA was only a 2008 thing, that means that to ME, after the election was over, it lost its meaning as a resistance movement.  The Democratic party lost me.  I officially rescinded my membership in the party in 2008 and only re-registered as a Democrat in PA last year when I applied for a new driver’s license here in PA after my move.  In PA, the primaries are closed so voters are forced to choose a party when they register to vote, unlike NJ where the semi-closed primary means you can choose a party on primary election day.  I think anyone who reads my credo will see that I am a liberal New Deal style Democrat but my party affiliation, in spite of my registration, is very tenuous.  In other words, if a third party came around that represented my views, I’d jump in an instant.  Also note that I’m not a fan of the Greens and don’t particularly care for the crunchy type’s irrational condemnation of GMO crops, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, nuclear energy and corporations.  I find some of the left to be as black and white in their thinking as the right and, frankly, I am losing patience debating the “religious” beliefs of both sides.  I’m also not a selfish short sighted Libertarian.  That’s where the rebels without a cause hang out. And you will never catch me voting for Republican ever again.  My one vote for McCain in 2008 was purely a protest vote against the Democratic party because of its unethical treatment of its own party voters in 2008.  It was not an expression of support for the Republican party or its cavalier, cruel, heartless, greedy, narcissistically malignant, lying, deceptive, destructive platform of “ideas”.

It was very upsetting to pull that lever and I will never forgive the Democratic party for pushing me to make that decision for a couple of important reasons.  First, I was deprived of an identity and second, I was deprived of voting for the first African-American for president.  But in my very important opinion, voting for the first ANYTHING was not a sufficient excuse to overlook or condone the party for rigging the primary and compromising what the party stood for. Some Democrats were able to overcome their moral resistance to what the party was asking them to do.  I could not.  That’s what made me a PUMA and also explains why PUMA lost its utility after the election.  I felt that that what was required to fix what was broken was something bigger, more organized and longer lasting than a slogan.  And then real life intervened and I couldn’t devote any time to it.

But PUMA did survive in another form on other blogs.  I can’t endorse these other PUMA blogs.  I have a sense that they were compromised by Tea Party and Republican operatives.  There was an irrational embrace of birtherism and a weird support for Sarah Palin.  This blog struggled with some of those holdouts for awhile until their presence got to be unbearable.  These are the people that I think EJ Dionne is referring to in his post.  What I think they have in common is their extreme anger at what happened to them in 2008.  They were completely ignored by the Democrats who circular filed their votes and topped it off with a smug, “we’re smarter and know what’s best for you, you ignorant working class ‘gits” attitude.

Oh really?  Those PUMAs who are still fuming on the Tea Party friendly blogs may not have Ivy League degrees or know someone who works in a “creative class” field but when it comes right down to it, the election of Barack Obama has done more to solidify the strangle hold of the oligarchs on the American public than any previous president we have ever had.  We have actually devolved as a progressive nation.  I will go so far as to say that Obama’s presidency has sped up that devolution.  You could argue that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t have been different but my intuition (which hasn’t failed me yet in this whole mess) tells me that you would be wrong.  In any case, when it comes right down to it, the “creative class” that got fooled into voting for Obama in 2008 and 2012 is no different from the working class voters it dismissed so senselessly. To the oligarchs, you might as well be living on a rice paddy in Bangladesh.  Your ultimate fate is no different than the bitter gun toting church goers in rural Pennsylvania.  You can be economically ruined and made politically impotent just as easily.  That truth is just now dawning on you as you read The Divide and Piketty’s Capital and the latest study that says you don’t have enough money to make a dent in the lobbying shield wall of the 1%.

As for me, I don’t know if I would support Clinton in 2016.  My sense is that so much has happened to fundamentally change the nature of our country in the past 20 years that there would have to be a personality much bigger and more visionary than Clinton’s to drag us back onto the right track.  Could she do it?  Maybe.  But maybe she also recognizes the political landscape that she would be entering.  I saw her evolve during the primary season.  She was forged by fire and was gaining momentum when the party cut her off.  That was a mistake the party made out of fear but it made it prematurely.  By September of 2008, Elmer Fudd could have gotten elected as the first cartoon Democratic president, the situation was that dire.  In a sense, the election of Barack Obama was not a triumph of identity politics as much as it was one of panic and desperation.  But I have no doubt that under Hillary Clinton, there would have been more rehab and less codependence.

Slightly off topic, I find it interesting that so many people on both the right and the left are ramping up their anti-Hillary rhetoric.  Those Democrats who are still on the fence about her should take a moment to think about what’s going on there. Both parties are pawns of the oligarchs right now.  And someone in the Democratic party has pushing hard on the idea that if we just let Obama have his 2 terms, we could have Hillary in 2016.  That push acknowledges two things: 1.)People want someone to do something already and they’ve decided that the most likely person is Hillary and 2.) if you treat voters like children and make them delay their gratification, you can make them focus on some future uncertain reward while taking their minds off what they can do to help their own desperate situations in the present.  Whatever the left is currently spewing about how bad the Clintons are bears a striking similarity to the right’s mindless invectives against them to me.  And that suggests that there are some very powerful people who do not want Hillary to be the next president.  If she were already in the pockets of these very powerful people, you would expect less vilification, wouldn’t you?  Think about it.

In the meantime, I will leave you with this link to Phillip Zimbardo’s steps for overcoming situational influence.  The Democratic activist base should have read this before they flattered themselves that they were not at all like Kansas and couldn’t be fooled into doing anything against their own best interests.  I only recently discovered these steps but I think I’ve been wise to them since YearlyKos 2007 in Chicago when something just didn’t seem right.

As to the Democrats winning the election in 2014 and 2016, I’m almost getting to the point where it doesn’t feel like it will make a difference which party wins in November.  Having the Democrats in charge only slows down the slide to the right.  It doesn’t stop it.  And as destructive as the slide might be, I see very little evidence that the Democrats are motivated to prevent if from happening.  In fact, the dangerous collapse of the Republicans into crazyville only makes it easier for the oligarchs to get just about anything they want from the Democrats with very little effort.  Like I said before, I would gladly jump to a third party that is more responsive to my values.  At this point, appealing to me as a former PUMA is probably a waste of time because I see what I am to the party- a faceless data point projected onto a latent structure.

When the party starts treating me like an enfranchised citizen again, then we’ll talk.


26 Responses

  1. I am Susan Lloyd and I approve of this message.
    Seriously, I agree with every word of this excellent post, including a and the.

  2. Yes, it’s very clear that some really powerful people and the useful idiots that serve them-I’m looking at you, Graydon Carter- will move heaven and earth to make sure that no other Clinton gets near The White House.

  3. Yes to it all. So nice to read reality. One asterisk I would add is : NAFTA is Bush the Elders project. Bush signed it December 17, 1992. and also the media/press never mention the 23 FTA’s passed during Bush Jr’s reign of terror. Odd huh?

    • The Media support FTAs. I remember the Mainstream Media supporting NAFTA as well. I remember the Media mercilessly mocking Perot for his opposition to NAFTA and of his performance in the TV debate with Gore. Perhaps the Media thought a studied silence was the best way they could support Bush junior’s FTAs. The Media supported Obama’s FTAs as well, and support his hoped-for TTP/TTIP. Only the anti-mainstream counterMedia will discuss and analyze TTP/TTIP. Naked Capitalism has it covered.

  4. Unfortunately the Discourse you use to discuss these issues is on the heap now with the dinosaur bones. Things are moving fast intellectually and you are not keeping up. In fact you criticized and ignored me some years ago when I tried to warn you. Oppositional dialectical arguments won’t work. Listen to Cody Wilson’s youtube interviews. You may not like what he is doing, but the thinking behind it is effective.

    • In other words, what he does works. And what he says is focused.

      • So, checked out his YouTube channel and looked at his list of videos. Just the titles make me uncomfortable. I’m not into anarchy or violence, whether or not Cody Wilson thinks it’s necessary. Not going there. Nah-gah-happen.
        Anyway, these days, if you want to get even, I suspect a 3D printed gun is old technology.

    • Oh, wait. I remember you now. You’re the commenter who likes to word salad on Focault and DeLillo. I should have left you in the moderation queue. Sigh, too late now.

      • One of the drawbacks of having a real life which gets in the way of blogging; you forget who to exclude from the blog. 😛

        • But you know I have a soft spot in my heart for you.

          • Even though I don’t have any problem voting Green? (I did that in the Prez elections of 2008 and 2012?) :mrgreen:

  5. Hating Hillary is an industry. After Bill’s speech endorsing the one at the convention in 2012, I felt truly let down by both of them. If HRC had what it takes, she would have answered the 3:00 A.M. call and told “her Boss” to take care of the business for which he was elected the first time instead of worrying more about a re-election fundraiser in Vegas to the point where the black flag of AlQaida flies over our consulate in Benghazi. A Woman in a world being lulled into Sharia Law by Viagra-primed Middle Easterners faces too much work for an accomplished public servant about to become a grandma. It will take a man with class, like the Brits have stepped up to be.

    • What?
      Please don’t bring the Benghazi crap here. Four dead Americans in Libya, while tragic, pales in comparison to 3000 dead Americans at the WTC on 9/11, not to mention a pointless, wasteful, destructive war in Iraq.
      Plus, David Cameron is a servant of the oligarchy. He doesn’t try to hide it anymore. He is busily shrinking the social safety net in Britain and creating a tax haven for irresponsible corporations to offshore their profits. If that’s class, I don’t want it.

      • I think many of our former colleagues got sucked into conservatism (or rather, the plutocratic propaganda which passes for conservatism these days) because they believed the Corporate Media framing that Obummer and his Oborg were actual examples of liberalism.

        Hence, their sensible rejection of the Oborg led them to believe anyone opposing Obummer must be an ally, which led them to reject the Blue Obummer Kool-Aid, only to drink the Red Wingnut Kool-Aid.

        Sometimes, in the real world, the enemy of my enemy is–a different enemy. I almost got sucked into making the same mistake. I don’t even recall how or when I realized *Admiral Ackbar voice* “IT’S A TRAP!”, but thank Haruhi, I did.

  6. Somewhat in order.

    GMO containing foods, why does the industry fight labeling?

    Consumers should be allowed to make their own decisions and that goes for the chemical concoctions infused into food products to enhance shelf life or appearance.

    NAFTA: The nose of the TPP treaty about to barge into our tent.

    Hillary: Was she offered the SoS gig so as not to pull a Lieberman?
    She had the PUMA joementum thing going. Or was it not to mount a primary challenge in 2012 because the elites knew Obama to be a dud?

    My latest dig on the ‘bots:

    Three things Moran-Americans believe about President Barack Obama:

    He was born in Kenya

    He is a closet Muslim

    He is a Democrat.

    Like many other FDR Democrats, I have no idea what or who I’ll support this November or if I’ll bother this month since I’m still a registered Dem.

    • Re GMO: I suspect that the industry doesn’t want a label because that label would be like an admission that there is something suspect about the product. That could be used against the industry or could put consumers off their kibble. Besides, when it comes right down to it, everything we eat has been genetically modified by humans over thousands of years. The only thing that separates today’s GMO foodstuffs from the past versions is that the genetic modification is made in a lab. Now, some *people* might object to genes from other creatures being inserted into their tomatoes but, trust me, the tomato doesn’t give a flying f&*(. A gene is a gene is a gene. It’s just a series of base pairs, same as in every living organism. Every time this issue comes up, I just shake my head in despair. I don’t get what the problem is. But essentially, you are asking the industry to say that there is something different about the genes they are inserting into the plants and from a scientific POV, there isn’t.
      By the way, have you tried the Kumato tomatoes? OMG, they are delicious. And they’re brown. I can’t remember where I read this but it turns out that a lot of the flavor in a tomato comes from that brown skin and flesh but farmers bred the color out and, well, you know, now most tomatoes are tasteless. So, I don’t know the back story to the kumato, whether the flavor was re-engineered back into the tomato or whether this is a wild species but I urge you to get thee to a store and buy them because they are scrumptious.
      Re Hillary as SOS: I suspect that Joe Biden was supposed to get SOS and Hillary would have eventually been offered VP. What better way to deep six her career. You never would have heard from her again. Maybe she pre-empted that assignment and asked for SOS, which the Democrats gave her but then put so many restrictions on her purview that she was fettered. Oh well.
      Yeah, I know most people thing Obama is a Kenyan muslim liberal Democrat. They’ve been watching Fox because anyone paying attention would know that he’s the furthest thing from a commie as it is possible to get, that he’s actually a moderate conservative and that he’s definitely a home grown American corporate shmoozer straight off the golf course.

      • Forgive me if I’m skeptical about any hybrids not done by pollination, I worked as an Electrical Start Up Clerk for one of the contractors building Three Mile Island and lived through that bit of excitement. People thought the Titanic too big to sink too.

        • {{snort!}} My dad was one of the people who brought one of the reactors back on line. He was recruited by GPU after the accident. He gave me a tour of the reactor control room, showed me where all of the annunciators were and explained how the whole thing happened (down to which valves malfunctioned). And if you worked there too, then you know as well as I do that the accident was serious but posed a very low threat to the environment and population. There was no need to go into panic mode. But people who have a knee jerk reaction to the word “nuclear” will overreact anyway because the “excitement” is what they live for.
          I looked up the Kumato. It is a hybrid but the wiki page also suggests some tinkering. I LOVE them but if you don’t, that’s OK. More for me.

          • I was there during the construction phase and had moved on. When the accident was publicized I knew right off it had to be Unit 2 because of the number of revisions to piping and electrical systems I got to file as well as anecdotes from electricians and pipe fitters.

            Conversely, Unit 1 designed by a different engineering firm when on to set efficiency and performance records.

            Yes, in retrospect the accident wasn’t as serious as Chernobyl or Fukushima but we didn’t know that at the time.

            My point is Murphy’s Law will creep in and wreak havoc in any system and the public should have the right to be informed (labeling) before making a decision.

          • There are more brown/purple tomatoes than I can remember all the names of. Black krim, black sea man,
            Cherokee purple, Pruden’s purple, chocolate cherry, and many more.

            The tomato certainly doesn’t care what genes it contains. But if an evil genius engineered ricin-production genes from castor bean into tomato with the novel GMOing technologies, the human end users would certainly care. Such a thing could not have been hybridized by classical breeding.

            GMO safety is one issue, patented GMOs as a platform for corporate extortion is a separate issue needing separate consideration. Here is an interview with a commercial farmer who fought Monsanto to a draw over the issue of fostering GMO contamination in order to accuse farmers of sneak-planting GMOs to shake them down for money with threats of lawsuits. That’s extortion. That could even be addressed with a RICO lawsuit. Here is the link.

            Is one or another GMOd crop for human consumption safe? My understanding is FDA has never even offered an opinion. If someone has links to actual FDA rulings on the human-safety issue of Roundup Ready corn or soybeans or BT corn, with all the legal government documents in those particular cases, I would be convinced otherwise.

          • Actually, not an interview anymore. The interview link has been taken down. Its a wikilink to the farmer instead.

        • But GMO is not the Titanic nor 3 Mile Island. There is absolutely nothing that is similar about these things at all in any way, shape or form.

          • One similarity exists: we the peasants are being asked, nay commanded, to trust crapitalism, a system which was begun with laborers thrown out of their old livelihoods by the Enclosure Movement and forced into hellhole factories by sadistic laws against unemployment. Crapitalism has proven itself, time and time again, to be absolutely unworthy of respect, and absolutely worthy of abolition.

          • Granted, Communism was no cure for crapitalism, except in the sense that a guillotine cures a lethal brain tumor. 😮

    • Obummer is the swellest Reptilian Prez we’ve had since Bilbo Clinton. 😛

  7. NAFTA was not a Democratic Clinton NAFTA into which Republicans made some insertions. NAFTA was Reagan/Bush’s bussiness corporate Republican NAFTA which Clinton totally supported, after pretending not to in his campaign. It was designed to lower wages and reduce union membership in America by moving union factory jobs to the intended maquiladoras in Mexico. (That mission was largely fulfilled by MFN for China instead). It was also designed to destroy the small-farmer agricultural economy in Mexico in order to drive millions of Mexican peasants off their farms and into the new emerging maquiladoras. They came here instead as a result of the vast majority of maquiladoras being built in China instead. NAFTA raised the rate of illegal immigration from Mexico into America.
    Here is a Naked Capitalism article about an aspect of the actual material destruction wrought against Mexico itself by NAFTA.
    Believing that we “should” have free trade with Mexico because it is a “neigbor” stands revealed as a religious belief in the face of the actual outcomes predicted by actual analysts. TTP and TTIP are both modeled on NAFTA. Naked Capitalism has been covering this in detail.

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