That nebulous cloud of disaffected Democrat & liberal independent voters, commonly labeled “pumas,” deserves a new monicker: “cry babies.”
After a relentless, two-year campaign of whining to each other on blogs, accompanied by not a single act of political activism, our eternal outrage now compels pumas to protest, punish, or dispense penance in the 2010 midterm elections.
Protest: At a seminal crossroads for the continued viability of our Nation, the likes of which has not been witnessed since 1860, many pumas feel that a protest vote — voting for a green candidate, say, or simply abstaining — will somehow compel the Dem leadership to prick up its ears and heed our puma roar. Or at least it will assuage our aversion to voting for any but the ideal candidate;
Punish: Other pumas, for dark reasons known only to them, liken their prior affiliation to the Dem party to a romantic relationship. When their partner/party betrayed their fidelity by shacking up with obama, these furies vowed revenge. This November, they intend on taking a Louisville Slugger to both headlights, so the Democratic Party will think next time before he cheats. Not a few of these punishing pumas have undergone a total inversion, abandoning principles and ideals to become fanatic Republicans. Which makes one wonder what this was all about for them.
Penance: There’s a lot of pop psychology going about saying the Democratic Party needs to “hit rock bottom” before it can recover — to “learn its lesson” so to speak — so let’s expedite the process by helping them lose the midterms.
This thought process is flawed on at least two counts. First, it accepts the meme that ‘hitting rock bottom’ is the sole and certain path to ‘recovery.’ In reality, many people with addictions, antisocial behavior, etc. straighten themselves out before hitting bottom, while many others hit bottom and just stay there, never ‘learning their lesson.’ Second, this theory envisions the entire Democratic party as a single person. Which it is not. The Democratic Party is an (especially loose) agglomerate of individuals. Those capable of learning their lesson have already learned it; facilitating a GOP landslide will not scare straight any others.
A flawed anthropomorphizing of party dynamics, this tenuous strategy also ignores the reality that the TP juggernaut cares not one iota for the aims of liberals. A minority that includes Blanche Lincoln but lacks Russ Feingold fixes what, exactly? In short, there is no path to ‘recovery’, however you define that, which leads through a right-wing landslide in this election.
On the whole, pumas are a pissy lot. We whine, we foment, we take umbrage at every slight. On each of our shoulders sits a chip wearing an orange pant suit. This November, pumas seem eager to stage a massive pissing-into-the-wind protest. That’ll show ’em!
Yet, in this year of the Tea Party, where were all the Puma rallies? Who were the Puma candidates in the primaries? Given, unlike the TP, no billionaire benefactor jump-started our movement, but it didn’t help that there was no real movement to jump-start in the first place.
Every two years, all on her lonesome, Cindy Sheehan gets herself on the ballot to run against Nancy Pelosi. Not a single “big name” puma could be aroused from their torpor and pathetic self-pity to do likewise.
There’s no avoiding that we pumas pissed away the past two years. Oh, some of us did try to do something constructive way back. Known by the ill-chosen name “Just Say No Deal,” and despite assembling an impressive array of experience and talent, for various reasons — an incompetent narcissist as its organizer, for one — this nascent “Puma Party” never got off the ground. Thereafter followed The Denver Group, a savvy, well-crafted, but ultimately quixotic, protest of the DNC convention, and then … nothing.
Could a Puma Party have arisen then, as did the Tea party a year later? Sure, but it didn’t. It still could, and should, happen, in future. And, in an upcoming post I will be announcing the formation of a new party/movement/PAC. But back to today.
“First, Do No Harm”
Is the Democratic Party a total write-off? Absolutely not. To those who never got as close to politics as did I, it may come as a shock to discover that all politicians have an oily sheen about them. But let’s not ignore that on 5/31/08, 12 of 27 RBC powerlords voted in favor of Hillary Clinton; that most democratic primary voters chose Clinton over obama; that the obamalonians were so worried by a straw poll of delegates, which indicated Clinton might win a floor vote, that they rigged the formal nomination. Roughly, then, at least half of the Democratic rank & file membership is salvageable, as is nearly all of the Party platform.
Leave yesterday be; we’ll deal with that tomorrow. Today, we must be pragmatic about what we can and cannot accomplish at this juncture. Yes, ideally things would be better with true liberals in the Senate rather than the likes of Reid and Boxer. But we blew our chance to improve those particular seats during this Spring’s primaries. Our next opportunity to improve on Reid & Boxer, et al., comes around in 2016. In 2010, we can only prevent those seats from getting FAR WORSE. As political surgeons, we must all abide by the Hippocratic Oath.
It’s A Dirty Job
It’s 2010, and there’s no Puma Party around to throw our weight behind. As disaffected dems and liberal independents, we’re stuck with making the best of a bad situation with what’s on hand. What’s on hand are the existing Democrats and the TP-laden GOP. The situation is too dire, the threats to our institutions, liberties and democracy too grave, for protests or statements. For all intents and purposes, we have a Republican president in obama — handing him a GOP Congress would be disastrous. This will be no small nudge to the right: there will be an all-out assault on the institutions, principles, the very foundation of our American Liberty.
Our task today is simple, and it is narrow: pick the lesser of two evils. And the greater is very evil, indeed. In 2008, this true liberal was prepared to vote for McCain, had the race in California proved close, simply to avert the pending obamalonian disaster. I do not like John McCain, and share but few of his ideals. So when a fellow puma tells me they cannot, in principle, vote for Barbara Boxer, who despite her many flaws, closely matches their political views, I have no sympathy. It’s a dirty job, but we’ve got to hold our noses and cast a vote that matters. No more crying: do your duty. The welfare of our Nation demands it.
(c) 2010 by ‘tamerlane.’ All rights reserved.