Let’s Face It, PUMAs—Uninformed, Conforming Voters are Our Worst Enemy….No Matter How Smart They Are (Updated 1X)

Sigh.  I had gone through this months before with a woman I’d see while walking the dogs. This was before the Obama machine had really swung into full gear with its divisive and strong-arm tactics. It was before even I had decided he was NOT the one.

I had raised a few questions about Obama and why I had some doubts and was met with an “I don’t care, I LIKE him.”  My parting words were “I hope you’re not disappointed.”

This woman was my age, so hearing this sort of thing was a bit unnerving at the time  I would have thought that someone older and wiser would have had more substanative reasons for “liking” a candidate.

Last night I had a conversation with another woman, this time a 26-year-old PhD candidate studying “counseling psychology.”  Now, months later, as the talk turned to politics, the conversation was even more frustrating.

I couched my end of the discussion with phrases like “I know you’re so busy,”  “I know being a grad student can be rather isolating,” “I know you probably have less time to really read a lot about what’s going on than I do,”  etc., etc. I was trying to make it easy for her…

I tried to be conversational, but it was terribly frustrating to see this intelligent young woman not having a clue about what had happened during the primaries…how the Democratic Party disenfranchised voters, how they failed to take a stand against misogyny, how Obama, with two years experience, had said he wasn’t going to run, but did anyway…I asked her where he was getting his money, who controlled him.  I talked about his tactics.

I could see she was getting uncomfortable.

She had never heard of PUMA!  I explained what was behind the creation of PUMA…the unwillingness to vote for a candidate whom had been so enabled by the party that the caucus system had to be set up and rigged to aid him and the Rules and Bylaws Committee had to forget about counting the votes.  She didn’t seem to be absorbing any of this.

She started talking about how “maybe things could change” if Obama was elected.  She offered that both parties probably WERE the same, but she still felt Obama was better than McCain and didn’t see any point in not voting.

I gave her my reasons why I probably wouldn’t be voting (I didn’t tell her that I might POSSIBLY vote for McCain here in NM if it looked like Obama/Richardson would take the state).  I explained that I had already been on track with not voting even before the Obama takeover.  The party seemed to be suffering from a serious lack of GUTS. I had been an Edwards supporter, and was really not in love with the Clintons. In fact, I never brought up Hillary during the conversation and didn’t go into why I had become a strong Clinton supporter as time went on.  I wanted to focus on Obama, the party, and the devaluation of the vote.

My main point was that the party had to be sent a message that it couldn’t do what the Republicans did in 2000 (and probably 2004), namely subvert the vote, and by doing so, sell-out democracy.

She could not comprehend this at all.

My comments about his fabrications in his book, his associations like Rev. Wright and WIllilam Ayers didn’t get anywhere either, since I don’t think she had a clue about who I was talking about.  She didn’t bat an eye when I told her about his corrupt Chicago ties.

I told her Obama was the “image” of change. I asked her why someone so inexperienced was being pushed. I informed here that he was buddying with anti-gay, anti-choice mega-pastors, had sold out his nuclear safety bill to Republicans, and was ready to privatize her Social Security (See Correction below). I recounted how he had thrown MoveOn under the bus with his vote for the FISA bill. Blank stare. I had to tell her it was about spying on people.  I finished with a few more examples of who was under his bus as well has telling her he couldn’t be trusted.

She turned to leave and said something about how she “didn’t agree, and maybe working together things would be better than what we’ve had.” (Where did she get the “working together” bit from, I wonder?)  She said that she had to vote for Obama because she still hoped for change. Not voting was not an option.  She “had to vote for someone.”

I suggested that she watch as things unfolded and maybe she’d learn some things about Obama that would make her wonder.  I never got to tell her that I thought she was selling her vote cheap and that she already was allowing herself to be played and that her whole future was being manipulated.  And how, at such a young age, the political parties already had her where they wanted her...giving up her sense of worth as a voter. It would have been a waste of time, because she didn’t see how democracy had been trashed by the party and candidate whom she thought would be different.  And, even if she did see it, she either didn’t want to go there or didn’t care.

By that time she was scurrying away, looking a bit perturbed.  I was actually surprised at all I had said. But I wasn’t quite finished.  As she left I called out… “I hope you aren’t disappointed…”



I see that Dana MIlbank has broken free from the grip of Keith Olbermann just long enough to refer to Obama as the “presumptuous nominee” this morning in the WaPo….TOO LATE, DANA!!   You and the rest of the “official” 4th Estate helped CREATE the “uninformed, conforming voter” this election cycle…after all the blather about how “this time” you were all going to get serious and focus on issues, rather than personality!  Where was your critical gaze when we needed it????


Obama has not said he wants to privatize social security.  He has, however, moved from “everything on the table” to a plan to reform the taxation that funds Social Security. His plans offer very little detail and has been “quietly” shifting on some points. For good discussions on his his plans see:

Details Missing from Obama’s Social Security Plan

Obama economic adviser Jason Furman, responding to Lindsey in a letter published by The Wall Street Journal, said Obama would “work with Congress on a bipartisan basis to design the details” of his Social Security plan, “including the tax rate, how it is phased in over time, the linkage between these tax payments and benefits, and other critical design elements of this plan.”

Tax Prof Blog

13 Responses

  1. Great post GRL,

    Your experience is something many of us are finding. And it’s so damn frustrating.

    I always vote. I always have voted as a civic duty and because I call it my ticket to “bitch”. If you don’t vote then sit down and shut up cause you had your chance to have your voice heard and you declined, IMHO anyway.

    But voting while uninformed and downright stupid is not what we need. I often hear that we need to elect more and better Democrats. Perhaps that would happen with more informed and better voters?

  2. I wish I could remember all of that when I come in contact with an Obamabot. Still. . . you can “educate” them all you want and they just won’t budge. I don’t get it!

    I am telling you—they are pod people!

  3. Re: Dana Millbank
    In all fairness, i didn’t see much of his “critical gaze” in the past 2 elections either – he was propping W then just the way he props Obama now. Which is why him and the rest of the media have no credibility.
    I became a Hillary supporter precisely because the media told me not to.

  4. Good point, edgeofforever. I think one of the best ways to figure out who the best candidate is would be to simply vote the opposite of what the media tells you to do. I do think that this election, people have started to get it. I think that Hillary got a lot more attention from some people simply because of the virulence of the media against her. My own Republican mother was ready to vote for Hillary in the general simply because she was so mad at the media. I would suspect many other Republican women felt the same way.

  5. I think if there is one “good” thing to come out of this disaster of a primary it is that so many citizens loathe the media more with each day.

    And the more they try to shove Obama down our throats the more people loathe them and grow to dislike Obama.

    Then there are the uninformed and determined to stay that way voters like GRL was talking to. A good media wouldn’t help them. Learning something about a candidate isn’t “cool”. Ya just gotta believe! 🙂

  6. His supporters use the word “change” like it’s something magical. I’m afraid his change will be to change the Democratic platform into something I can’t support. I’ve never wanted to vote just for the person; I’ve always loved the Democratic platform, but this year I might just vote for the old guy. He’s paid his dues.

  7. kenoshaMarge wrote ‘I think if there is one “good” thing to come out of this disaster of a primary it is that so many citizens loathe the media more with each day.’

    I think this is very true. It’s been hugely educational to a large part of the populace who were either able to kid themselves that the media was impartial to to believe it didn’t matter. I don’t believe the population at large had had this kind of wake up call for a few years.

    I think people are starting to learn what power the media has and how much more they seek. I only hope they’re also starting to see how frightening the combined power is when party leaders and media work as one. These are fundemental issues of the way democracy is structured in this country, and the answer won’t be simple, and won’t be solved in this election.

  8. On thing you mentioned in your post–unfortunately I don’t have time right now to read the whole thing–is that Obama is going to privatize Social Security. From his issues page on his website:

    “Obama is strongly opposed to privatizing Social Security. ”


  9. Correction:

    Thanks for catching this BabyFaceFInster! I picked it up somewhere and it stuck in my mind..
    However, the plan Obama has put out apparently is rather incomplete and shifting. Nothing to put faith in…

  10. Obama has not said he wants to privatize social security

    He will never use the word ” privatize” , but if he gets in
    , look out Wall St, here comes Social Security! He strongly opposed FISA vote too ….What Obama says today means nothing tomorrow and one is racist to point out the difference.

    The hard part GRL is, many people LIKE not thinking .
    This partly explains our addiction to myth and story…..of course TV plays right into this. What have that young woman’s answers to you to do with Obama actual actions ? He could be a hologram as far as she is concerned ….she’s weaving a story without much input from him and that’s how she seems to likes it .

    Thanks for your great blog!

  11. Obama may not have explicitly said he wants to privatize Social Security, but does he ever explicitly say anything you can pin down? It is much more instructive to look at his economic advisors, such as Goulsbee, who are definitely in the privatization camp.

  12. I’ve never read so much arrogant whining in my life. Uniformed? Conforming? We’re tired of 16 years of embarrassing boomer bs and are ready for something different, and that we’re willing to risk it on someone as inexperienced as Obama should tell you how much we’re sick of it. This primary was a choice between our mother and our older brother. And we chose our older brother. Its a choice between “Yeah, but i didn’t inhale” and “I inhaled, that was the point” Sorry Mom, we still love you, but get in line or step aside. This is a generation whose first political memory (Nixon’s pardon) left us shaking our heads and we have been watching dumbfounded ever since, working locally with candidates that Obama reminds us of. No, change isn’t magical. Its going to take a lot of hard work. And Obama is ready for it. Hillary and Edwards are too, and we hope either become the vp candidate (please no Bill Richardson, please!). If she’d dumped that idiot husband of hers she’d be the candidate right now.

    So keep walking your dogs, we’ve got kids to raise and we don’t want them to have to see any more Nixons get pardoned.

    I enjoy reading your blog, Ma’am, and “hope” (ha-ha) despite your growling and hissing, for enough party unity to keep Whitey out of the White House.

    (uh, thats a joke, ma’am. Aside from that Odinga nonsense we don’t think you’re a racist)

    Take care & happy dog-walking,


    Jesse Katrencik

  13. Jesse you arrogance and misogyny are showing. Hillary didn’t say a think about “never inhaled” so you are comparing apples and oranges.

    Telling someone Obama’s age to get out of your way smacks of spoiled brattishness and you know nothing of the democratic platform if you are able to talk this way.

    The boomers didn’t put GWB is office you presumptuous little jerk.

    Presuming even that talking about Odinga is “racist” You are twelve and therefore it would be your job to walk the dog.

    “Ma am”??? lol.

    I’ll say nothing of your last line full of narcissism, hubris, and male ignorant hubris. I’m glad you’ve written this here for all to see just how “democratic” and “caring’ your change is for all citizens. It’s the least hopeful thing about voters like you.

    What in gods name did YOU ever sacrifice to have the right to speak this way? You know NOTHING of anything these people have done. You assume you are talking only to “soccer moms”

    I’m going to assume your arrogance is born of being one of the “haves”

    Saying that HIllary should have “dumped her idiot husband” is judging HER for HIS actions which again shows your ignorance and misogyny. If she were a man you wouldn’t vote against her for not dumping a wife. It wouldn’t even be a question. Blindness, hatred and hubris. You didn’t vote for her because you held her to ten times the standards you held Obama to. And if you don’t know that then you are even more ignorant than I’m giving you credit for.

    Whether he is president or not….his gaming of the system with EVIDENCE Of rampant caucus fraud is going to be exposed. If he hadn’t CHEATED in every caucus state and the Indiana primary…he wouldn’t be the nominee right now. PERIOD.

    Take care and happy lying to yourself that you are “progressive” and “democratic”

    Alice Paul

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