PUMA CONFERENCE PROMPTS LEFT-WING, RIGHT-WING CONTROVERSY
ANDY MARTIN WITH EXCLUSIVE ANALYSIS
The PUMA conference and its aftermath: renewed reform in the Democratic Party
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OBAMA AUTHOR ANDY MARTIN ATTENDS A “PUMA” CONFERENCE AND FINDS A NASCENT REFORM MOVEMENT IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY
ANTI-OBAMA LEADER MARTIN SAYS PUMA PACKS PUNCH IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY; JUST WAIT AND SEE
(NEW YORK)[August 15, 2008] Last weekend I spent three days at a conference sponsored by a maverick group of dissident Democrats. The “PUMA” conference was held in a nondescript Washington suburban motel. I was writing a new essay on the history of reform in the Democratic Party over the past 80 years; the PUMA’s appealed to me as exemplars of reform and dissent (the column is still not finished). I was asked not to write about the conference until after the proceedings were completed and I complied with that embargo.
Little did I realize that crackpot left-wingers and right-wingers would be attacking this placid and almost tranquil conference as a hotbed of radicalism. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The Huffington Post also sent one of their acolytes to attend; she was so inept she didn’t even know where the conference was being held. I also became the target of vicious and irrational attacks from people who were not there.
On reflection, the desire of the organizers to close the meeting to news media appears sensible. I was happy to be the only media presence in attendance.
I am now convinced the PUMA movement is morphing into something vastly more influential than I realized, all due to the hysteria of the left and right. Here’s a little background.
Every day we get hundreds of e-mails from all sorts of sources. Our job at ContrarianCommentary.com is to make sense of this mélange, and to sort the wheat from the chaff. We do a pretty good job of doing just that. As a result of being fair to both conservatives and liberals we also receive input from all types of sources and channels. The result is that we are usually a week to ten days ahead of our competitors in the mainstream media.
For example, the now legendary cell phone video of Hillary Clinton seeking to have her name placed in nomination for “catharsis” reached my desk within hours; it took the mainstream media ten days to get the same material and realize its significance. I attended the PUMA conference in a spirit of inquiry.
Some writers have sought to ridicule the meeting for a variety of perceived failures. On the contrary, the meeting was an extraordinary event and highly successful.
First, the meeting was national. People came from across the United States. It’s not easy to create a national movement overnight. PUMA’s have accomplished something very challenging when they convince people from coast to coast to assemble in one place.
Second, the PUMA movement provided “cover” for the ultimately successful efforts to have Hillary Clinton’s name placed in nomination. PUMAs were even more successful than any Clinton supporter could have predicted.
Third, as in the case of most political meetings, much of the “content” was boring, organizational, and basic politics. Although David Shuster (sitting in on MSNBC’s Hardball) tried to suggest PUMA was a Republican “front,” I saw no evidence of that fact. The attendance was primarily, though not exclusively, composed of women who had hitherto been loyal Democrats.
Fourth, although hostile bloggers have criticized the TV presence of PUMA representatives, the PUMA media techniques are not a concern. The people involved are amateurs. They are not professional politicians and they are not professional media types. They are going to have rough edges. They are not going to be smooth and polished.
Fifth, the Democrats are taking “women” for granted because of some of the loonier planks of the Republican Party platform. But in an election where Democrats are likely to retain congress, Democratic women maybe much more inclined to stray to McCain when they know he will be hemmed in by a solidly Democratic congress. The women I saw at the PUMA conference are being discounted and underestimated, and they don’t like it.
I attended my first Democratic National Convention forty (40) years ago, in Chicago. I saw the chaos on the streets. Today, the Internet, cell phones, digital cameras, blogs and the paraphernalia of the i-pod generation have largely supplanted street protests. But people are more powerful in 2008 than they were in 1968. I have not seen anything since 1968 with the gathering storm potential of 2008.
Well, what is happening and what does PUMA represent?
First, PUMA activity is a quintessential example of the “aggregating” power of the Internet. People across the United States are linked in a network that, however rudimentary and preliminary it may appear to outsiders, is gaining strength and managed to assemble a national turnout.
Second, there is a nascent reform movement in the Democratic Party. The “outsiders” may ridicule PUMA, but something happened this week to afford Clinton a name on the convention ballot as well as a prime-time speaking engagement. Dick Morris on Hannity and Colmes called these concessions an Obama disaster. Why did Obama’s people give in? They realize that there is sustained opposition out there. PUMA’s may not have the internal party power to have a conventional impact, but they can act as a focal point for others to concentrate their own energy and opposition.
Third, the PUMA movement is going to be extraordinarily well-organized and powerfully connected in Denver. The right/left wing bloggers and mainstream media may claim that PUMA’s are “small in number.” That’s not a problem. Small groups can function with lethal impact. Just ask the Green Beret (12-man) “A” teams.
Fourth, PUMAS are going to Denver to be heard. I will also be in Denver to observe and report. I was initially a little concerned about spending three days in Washington; now that I have seen the developments of this week, I am absolutely glad I attended.
Fifth, with time and exposure and experience, amateurs become more professional and more effective. That will no doubt happen with the PUMA movement. It has happened to every party reform movement in the past.
Sixth, the process by which Barack Obama claimed the nomination, namely a skewed delegate system that underweights big states and overweights small states, is a disgrace to democracy. The caucus system is rife with corruption and cronyism. There is no way Obama would have won in a race where Ohio and Pennsylvania had the proportional impact with Idaho and Kansas. The current proportional allocation system leads to an undemocratic and disproportionate result. There will be reform of the Democratic Party; PUMA activists could help spearhead it.
My audience and influence have grown exponentially during 2008 because of my impartial commentary and cutting edge investigation. Those who criticize me are merely expressing sour grapes. If the best people can do to smear me as a columnist is to dig up 25 year old litigation I handled, they are worse sickos and more desperate than anyone can imagine. And they are all funded and controlled by Barack Obama and George Soros.
My record of writing on Obama since 2004 and Clinton since 2008 has proven prescient and unerringly accurate. My new book, Obama: The Man Behind The Mask, details much of this research and commentary. http://OrangeStatePress.com. I will keep telling the truth, and keep driving both the extreme left and the extreme right crazy.
UPDATE: We are working on a response to the media hysteria triggered by Barack Obama’s latest pamphlet of lies, titled “Unfit for Publication,” attacking one of my competing authors. I don’t make a habit of supporting my competitors because they are, after all, taking money out of my pocket. Proceeds from my book all go to the anti-Obama movement, not my personal enrichment. But because Obama’s “defense” against “lies” is a new set of his own lies, I feel I should respond.
In the meantime, readers of my book, Obama: The Man Behind The Mask, can rest assured my work is still the only gold standard and practical handbook on Barack Obama’s unfitness for the presidency. Buy it.
Book orders: http://OrangeStatePress.com. Immediate shipment from the publisher now available.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I have decided to oppose Barack Obama’s election and have become Executive Director of The Stop Obama Coalition, http://StopObamaCoalition.com. By default, I have become the national leader of the anti-Obama movement. I am not acting as either a Democrat or Republican. I have had no contact whatsoever with the McCain Campaign. I am not a member of any political organization. The views express are entirely independent. I am acting as an American citizen who sincerely believes Obama is not the man we need in the Oval Office. We are going to run a very dynamic and aggressive campaign against Obama. I will continue to write my columns for ContrarianCommentary.com.
Andy Martin is a legendary Chicago muckraker, author, Internet columnist, radio talk show host, broadcaster and media critic. Andy is the Executive Editor and publisher of http://www.ContrarianCommentary.com. © Copyright by Andy Martin 2008. Martin comments on regional, national and world events with over forty years of experience. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law. His columns are also posted at ContrarianCommentary.blogspot.com; contrariancommentary.wordpress.com. Andy is the author of Obama: The Man Behind The Mask, published in July 2008, see http://www.OrangeStatePress.com. MEDIA CONTACT: (866) 706-2639 E-MAIL: AndyMart20@aol.com [NOTE: We frequently correct typographical errors and additions/subtractions on our blogs, where you can find the latest edition of this release.]