Didja know that PUMA will be five months old this Saturday? Hard to believe isn’t it? It seems like a lot longer than that, but this deathmarch campaign seems to have been going on forever and it’s only been about 18 months since the first debates were held in Iowa.
Yesterday I suggested that we all think about the future of PUMA. I majored in history in college because it was my favorite subject. I think understanding where we came from is very helpful in figuring out where we are going, as well as who we are. So let’s do a quick review.
Despite what our opponents claim, the original PUMAs were mostly long-time Democratic bloggers and blog denizens. Some, like Riverdaughter (aka Goldberry) and Alegre were prominent kossacks back when dkos was a progressive site, while others like myself frequented other sites in Left Blogistan.
Some PUMAs were supporters of Hillary Clinton from the beginning, while others supported John Edwards or other candidates. I kept hoping in vain that Al Gore would declare his candidacy, and I had Edwards tentatively as my second choice. I had Barack Obama near the bottom of my list, but it was my intention to support whatever Democrat won the nomination.
Around the time the actual voting began in primaries and caucuses, something very ugly happened in Left Blogistan. Obama cultists took over dkos, TPM and other sites and began trying to silence or drive out anyone who didn’t support Obama. I was a regular at Balloon Juice at that time, and the change took place virtually overnight.
I was not yet supporting Hillary but I noticed that many of the attacks on her were simply recycled right-wing memes from the nineties, long ago debunked. Having defended and supported the Big Dawg since 1992 I objected to these attacks and defended Hillary. Now I have been expressing my opinions about politics since before I could vote, but I never saw what happened next.
When I defended Hillary, the response I got was personal attacks and insults. I’m not talking about someone calling me stupid, I’m talking about really putrid stuff like “you’re a goat-fucking piece of shit” coming from total strangers. And it wasn’t just one or two people doing it, nor was I the only target. Eventually I was the only target, as everyone at that site either converted to Kool-aidism or left. Then I left too.
The leaving for me was a gradual process, as I spent less and less time at Balloon Juice and more time at sites that didn’t worship The Lightbringer. Eventually I wound up here, where Riverdaughter had created a Kool-aid free zone for Hillary supporters. Alegre and other refugees from Cheetoville formed their own new blogs as the best and brightest writers went on strike.
By Spring of this year Left Blogistan was divided into two camps, with a few sites trying to maintain a pretense of neutrality in between. The MSM was completely in the tank for Teleprompter Jesus, so those of us supporting Hillary were lonely voices crying in the wilderness. We watched as misogyny and false accusations of racism went unchecked while Obama went unexamined.
Hillary was inspiring to watch. Having been declared dead on several occasions, she kept coming back and winning primaries anyway. They told us over and over that she couldn’t catch Teh Precious, that she was mathmatically eliminated, but she relentlessly closed the gap. The biggest obstacle in her way was the DNC/RBC decision to strip Michigan and Florida of their delegates. We knew that if that undemocratic ruling was reversed, Hillary would take the lead because she handily won both primaries.
The Rules and Bylaws Committee met on May 31st, and our own garychapelhill and Mawm were in attendance. The outcome was summed up best by Mawm when he yelled “LIPSTICK ON A PIG!” The RBC violated their own rules to contrive a decision that guaranteed Hillary could not catch Obama.
On June 1, 2008 outraged Hillary supporters met at The Confluence to express their feelings about what had taken place. No one told us how we should think or feel about it, we already knew. The media and the sippy-kup kidz were proclaiming that we would now have to support Obama in the name of “party unity.” The general consensus was “I don’t care what they say, I ain’t voting for him cuz he cheated.”
Then SM (aka sm77) posted this comment:
SM, on June 1st, 2008 at 3:39 pm Said:
I am making an announcement. I am now a member of the PUMA party.
And with that, PUMA was born!
(End Part I)