Ceci n'est pas une movement

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Part MMCIV in an ongoing series on stupid distractions that Republicans think will save them from humiliating defeat

After Barack Obama finished the primaries with more delegates than Hillary Clinton, some media-savvy (and fat-walleted) Clinton supporters went off the deep end and created revanchist blogs and PACs aimed at installing Clinton at the Democratic convention. The catchall name for these groups was PUMA, short for "Party Unity My Ass," and a PUMA PAC and PUMA.com were launched in mid-June to steer the movement.

It was hard to tell, at first, how much pull these people had. Their every move draws media coverage; they've got a YouTube channel collecting all of their cable news appearances. As Robert Stacy McCain reports, they've announced an August conference in D.C. (with the caveat that they'll cancel it if fewer than 250 people register).

But the first evidence of their power has trickled in, and it's… yeah, it's pathetic. PUMA PAC (its acronym changed to "People United Means Action") has released its first FEC filing, which shows it raised $22,840 in the month of June. Of course, most of the PUMAs' effort is geared not toward funding a new PAC, but toward relieving Hillary Clinton's debt so she can triumphantly seize the Democratic nomination in Denver. How's that going?

On Sunday, Clinton reported having a $25.2 million debt at the end of June, including her own $13.2 million loan to the campaign… Clinton, who suspended her campaign on June 7, reported raising $2.7 million from donors during the month.

That doesn't jibe with what PUMAs have been saying. On July 10, PUMA founder Will Bower appeared on Fox News to announce that the group had raised $10 million to pay off Clinton's debts.

We at JustSayNoDeal.com, we started an initiative before the Fourth of July to raise money to put down her debt. And within that week leading up to the Fourth of July we raised approximately $10 million. Our most conservative estimates have it at six million but we're looking more at $10 million. Our sources tell us that the debt is now less than $5 million from being in the black… we believe that by this weekend that Hillary's debt will be finished.

Is it possible that Bower et al raised 400 percent as much as Clinton raised in June? It's hard to believe, since Bower had no idea of how much debt Clinton was carrying—she would have had to raise $20 million in 10 days to run it down to $5 million. And it doesn't help Bower's case that traffic to JustSayNoDeal.com actually declined during this week of frenzied fundraising. Yes, he claims that the hub site is one of 230 sites serving "2.5 million people." But if Clinton raised $2.7 million in June, what were all of those people doing? Did they all chip in $1.01? (The fundraising link at JustSayNoDeal goes straight to HillaryClinton.com.)

Is there any way of gauging how many PUMAs there are? Well, on June 14 Bower created a Facebook group for them. In a month and a week it's grown to 456 members. Is it so small because Clinton's salt-of-the-earth supporters don't waste their time online? Well, no. The still-active Hillary Clinton for President group has more than 22,000 members, although it's shedding dozens of them every day.

Are the PUMAs lying about their support, their numbers, or their fundraising just to get attention? We won't know for sure until July's fundraising numbers come out, as they can prove or disprove Bower's Fox News claims. Bower, in another interview where he made the "$10 million" claim, said that PUMAs give in increments of $20.08 so "they know it's from us." Anyone want to bet that 50,000 Clinton donors materialized in a week in early July? A long holiday week, no less? If you do, I've got an account at IndyMac I want to sell you.

In other stupid Obama news, a few bloggers revisited the issue of whether Obama forged his own birth certificate, based on a study by an expert who goes by the handle "TechDude." AJ Strata leaves them crawling around on the floor, looking for their teeth.

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  1. I’d like to announce that I’ll be taking collections for a fund to send a young girl from Kansas to the Democratic party convention to douse Hillary Clinton with a bucket of water.

    It worked once before; come on, who’s with me?

    -jcr

  2. Should the aforementioned bucket of water fail to have the desired effect, we will of course make inquires into having a house dropped on her.

    -jcr

  3. (Inspector Clouseau is standing right next to a puma, Obama walks by)

    Obama: Does your puma bite?

    Inspector Clouseau: No, my puma does not bite.

    (puma lunges feebly at Obama)

    Obama: I thought you said your puma does not bite!

    Inspector Clouseau: That is not my puma.

  4. And within that week leading up to the Fourth of July we raised approximately $10 million.

    If find this completely believable; ten million dollars in gross receipts would probably net you twenty grand, once the paid professional consultants were done with it.

  5. You act as if Obama is 15 points ahead.

    Hes within the margin of error.

  6. 1. Ha ha!

    2. This is, of course, all part of the Clinton Master Plan. You don’t understand that? Gawd, can you be any more naive?

    3. Ten polls showing a lead that is about the margin of error is a pretty strong indication that a lead that size is not an artifact, but actually exists.

  7. Ceci n’est pas une movement

    C’est ainsi un mouvement

    Tabac de r?glementation d’essai avec lui

  8. W00t!

  9. Ten polls showing a lead that is about the margin of error is a pretty strong indication that a lead that size is not an artifact, but actually exists.

    It’s also a screamingly obvious sign of the man’s weakness as a candidate. A ham sandwich would have been able to defeat the Republican candidate by at least 10 points.

  10. More worthless info having nothing to do with the issues.

  11. Puma? They don’t really look like cats. I think they look more like warthogs.

  12. A ham sandwich would have been able to defeat the Republican candidate by at least 10 points.

    I don’t think so – the election stopped being a walkover when the GOP nominated McCain. Any other Republican would be losing by 30 points, but McCain entered the race with high approval ratings, a life story that’s been turned into a TV movie, and a pitcher-catcher relationship with the press. He was never going to get landslided the way, say, Mitt Romney could have.

  13. David Weigel said:

    He was never going to get landslided the way, say, Mitt Romney could have.

    Mitt good still get the Veep. McCain’s choice for Veep could easily sink his campaign for good.

  14. Come on, hes Bob Dole Mark II. Lime green speech anyone? Hes really not a good a campaigner as he was in 2000.

  15. It’s turd sandwich, not ham sandwich. Which, by the way, makes McCain the giant douche. But I think we already knew that.

  16. Episiarch-

    Believe it or not, we probably got the best probable major party candidates nominated. This is much, much better than a Rudy v. Hillary race, or Bush v. Gore.

  17. A ham sandwich would have been able to defeat the Republican candidate by at least 10 points.

    There’s a Republican candidate? You mean Barr?

    Oh, you meant “Republicans’ candidate.” Had they actually nominated a Republican candidate, we probably would be looking at a double digit lead. Sigh, if only Mitt Romney were a Lutheran…

  18. Bob Dole was a much better campaigner than John McCain. Bob Dole could give a speech.

    Bob Dole never looked as bad as John McCain in front of that green screen.

  19. The push by the Just Say NO Deal Coalition to contribute 20.08 didn’t start until July 1st…So figures won’t be released until August 20th you moron!

  20. Three hundred million people in this country, and we end up with Barack Obama vs John McCain.

    We’re doomed, I tell you!

  21. Believe it or not, we probably got the best probable major party candidates nominated. This is much, much better than a Rudy v. Hillary race, or Bush v. Gore.

    Wolfman vs. Frankenstein is slightly better than Godzilla vs. Mothra, but the winner is still destructive.

  22. Gee, what part of July don’t you understand…those were June Figures…do some better reporting!

  23. Actually, Obama has not been nominated yet….That happens at the convention…The convention is the 9th inning….I really like how his campaign is writing the script to it so only one name is placed into nomination! Unprecedented! Undemocratic!

  24. Whoever moves into the White House, a big bus full of team blue is going to go riding into the Capital, and it’s going to be in full party mode. Complete with hats and noisemakers.

    Zog help us all

  25. Wow, that was fascinating indeed.

    JT
    http://www.FireMe.To/udi

  26. McCain entered the race with high approval ratings, a life story that’s been turned into a TV movie, and a pitcher-catcher relationship with the press.

    I wonder if the whole “I ran around on Carol McCain” story is going to break. I doubt it, though; it’s 25 years old. But it should:

    Why do people still respect this guy?

  27. AR I’m still more pissed about the fact that his wife got off of going to prison for her drug “crime” while non-famous, non-rich, non-politically connected people would’ve done hard time for stealing dope from a pharmacy (in a charity, no less!)

  28. Gee, what part of July don’t you understand…those were June Figures…

    The key in the June figures was that Clinton ended the month with $25 million in debt. Ten days later, Bower claims that they’ve raised $6-10 million and that this, combined with Clinton’s own efforts, has cut her debt to $5 million. It’s so far off the mark that it leads one to look at the actual web traffic and membership of Bower’s coalitions, which is tiny.

    Seriously, do you want to take a bet that self-identified “PUMAs” raised $6-10 million in a week this month, when in the entire month of June Clinton raised $2.7 million?

  29. Obama just said that he expects to still be in power ten years from now.

    “And you tell me, over and over and over again, my friend, that you don’t believe we’re living on eve of destruction.”

  30. Colin, link?

  31. Obama just said that he expects to still be in power ten years from now.

    Too lazy to dig up the link, but it was something about expecting to be doing foreign policy “8-10” years from now.

    Its of a piece with his “57 states” crack. Either he’s got a bone-dry sense of humor (which I seriously doubt), or he’s incredibly sloppy with details (which, for a former Harvard Law Review guy, seems just as unlikely).

    I mean, if you count things like how many states there are or how long a President can serve as “details”.

  32. Former Presidents do foreign policy all the time, FWIW.

  33. Mr. Weigel, the title should be “Ceci n’est pas un mouvement”. Not that it matters, but just to let you know.

  34. In defense of both Obama’s and McCain’s random missteps. If someone recorded each and every god damned thing any of us said for 6 months straight, you’d find some pretty fucking stupid quotes coming out of my mouth too. I could imagine the media outcry for when my mom accidentally called me by my brother’s name, “ZOMG! What kind of mother is she? She can’t tell her children apart!” Saying 57 instead of 47 or Czechoslovakia instead of Czech Republic is some pretty fucking stupid stuff to get incensed about.

  35. The funniest damn thing I saw about Obama’s 57 states misstep was some chain email saying that there are 57 Muslim states in the world, or something, and thus this is proof of Obama’s secret identity.

  36. AR,

    A lot of those guys had their marriages break up after they came home.

    They were literally apart for years, and when he came back, he was a different person, and oh by the way, had some “issues” going on from what he went through.

    I’m not going to sit here and judge him on this. This isn’t Newt having his wife served with divorce papers in her bed at the oncology ward.

  37. Former Presidents do foreign policy all the time, FWIW.

    No, no! Gaffe Machine! Gaffe Machine!

  38. Thanks for the tip, NNG. That is indeed a weird coincidence: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organization_of_the_Islamic_Conference

  39. He said, if you listen to the “gaffe”, “We’ve been to forty-sev….fit…fifty seven states, all we have left is three”.

    He clearly meant to say “forty seven”.

  40. So, which McCain consultant’s idea was it to goad Barack Obama into making this trip?

    Be careful what you wish for.

  41. I think its a bad idea personally joe.

    Crowds of cheering French and Germans adoring Obama? Thats the kiss of death, domestically.

  42. Obama is more popular among them exotic foreigners, but McCain is the Real American President Real Americans have been waiting for!

  43. “TechDude” should have named himself “SingleLoserDude”.

    If I had that much time to kill, I’m sure I could produce a foolproof plan to convince Charlize Theron to marry me.

  44. Crowds of cheering foreigners didn’t seem to hurt Reagan too badly.

    The crowds of cheering American troops are a nice touch, too.

    But, as always, THIS IS BAD FOR THE DEMOCRATS.

  45. Here’s Obama’s quote, as printed in the Corner:

    “The objective of this trip was to have substantive discussions with people like President Karzai or Prime Minister Maliki or President Sarkozy or others who I expect to be dealing with over the next eight to 10 years.”

  46. Joe, Reagan was already President.

    He also didn’t have an “exotic” background.

  47. Reagan was still visiting Gorbachev in 1991, Colin.

  48. Hey, Mo (never thought I’d ever say that) — McCain has said “Czechoslovakia” more than just once this campaign cycle. He also said it in the 2000 campaign, and was called on it by none other that G.W. Bush.

    This qualifies McCain as being officially stupid — especially when foreign affairs are supposedly his specialty.

  49. There’s a big difference between “visiting” and “dealing with” — the latter more than inferring an official capacity.

  50. Is your point that he made a gaffe, or that he has SecretEvilPlans to be a dictator with his mighty CivilianSecurityForce?

  51. Neither candidate is considered stupid, but the partisan idiots on both sides who leap on every tiny speech goof-up will not drop the attempt to paint somebody as “gaffe-prone”.

    I blame Bush, because it worked so well on him that people keep trying with new candidates.

    Plus, the right would love to bust the perception that Democrats a super-smarties and GOP’ers are knuckledraggers. Ain’t gonna work here, dudes.

  52. I wish I knew. 🙂

  53. In defense of both Obama’s and McCain’s random missteps. If someone recorded each and every god damned thing any of us said for 6 months straight, you’d find some pretty fucking stupid quotes coming out of my mouth too.

    True dat.

    Neither candidate is considered stupid, but the partisan idiots on both sides who leap on every tiny speech goof-up will not drop the attempt to paint somebody as “gaffe-prone”.

    Dat, too. Really, except for the amusement value generated, there’s no there there. On any of these gaffes.

  54. Ceci n’est pas un bon ?tudiant de fran?ais.

  55. I hate the “gaffe” charges.

    When John McCain kept saying that Iran was training al Qaeda, that wasnt’ a gaffe, any more than when he said that Saddam Hussein was supporting al Qaeda.

    He said it over and over again, because he meant it; meant for us to hear it anyway. There’s no way he actually thinks it’s true.

  56. PUMA is very real, very strong, organized and executing according to plan. Watch out for that bite on your ass.

    PUMA Just Say No Deal. No Obama. NEVER!

  57. Be careful, Mr. Weigel…if Darragh Murphy catches wind of this, she might call you a piece of shit!

    Right before she goes back to figuring out how to spend the “bus” money on a new car or family vacation.

  58. They certainly are active sending out bots to blogs.

    Could the PUMA people think of an acronym less lame?

  59. Colin,

    Bill Clinton followed up for some time on the Israel-Palestinian peace process after leaving office; Clinton and Bush I led the public face of aid after the 2004 tsunami; and Carter is constantly popping up in diplomatic milieus to an extent where I figure he must be a stalking horse for one policy or another. You know, Carter meets with N Korea or Darfur or Syria or whatever, and if nothing happens, he’s a ridiculous cranky old man, but if anything new comes on the table as a result, he served a function to solidify what some other country’s negotiating line really is, without any current administration people on the line to commit to it.

    Ex-Presidents have legit foreign policy functions after they’re done.

  60. McCain has said “Czechoslovakia” more than just once this campaign cycle. He also said it in the 2000 campaign, and was called on it by none other that G.W. Bush.

    True. The repetition of Czechoslovakia is more troubling than a slip up like his recent statement re: the Iraq/Pakistan border.

  61. The PUMAs are just a bunch of losers (all 30 of them), just like their illustrious candidate.

    Me! Me! Me! I want! I want! I want!

    It is all so pathetic, at a time when so much is at stake. To coin a phrase, ‘you should be ashamed of yourselves’.

  62. When John McCain kept saying that Iran was training al Qaeda, that wasnt’ a gaffe, any more than when he said that Saddam Hussein was supporting al Qaeda.

    I agree that neither of these were gaffes, at least in the sense that both Iran and Saddam have/had well-documented histories of actively supporting AQ in various ways. McCain probably got this idea from, I dunno, the 9/11 Commission report.

  63. RC,

    There’s a huge difference between supporting and training and another huge difference between meeting and supporting. Not to mention that post 9/11 they’ve implemented efforts to shut down AQ. Heck, we’ve “supported” AQ and Iran and we just met with NK, it doesn’t mean we support Kim Jong-Il.

  64. …of actively supporting AQ in various ways

    Gee, could you make that a little more ambiguous? I think it might still be possible to falsify that statement.

  65. Er, couldn’t the “8-10 years” remark have something to do with the fact that Obama is a senator and expects to deal with foreign policy even if he doesn’t win the presidency?

  66. Dear Mr. Weigel,

    Since I was harsh on you before for digging on stories that weren’t important, I’d like to thank you for your new crop of stories. They’ve been relevant — or in this case, at least humorous enough to warrant posting. (The San Fran decriminalization story was surprising, in that I thought at first it was posted by Balko.)

    Keep up the good work.

  67. McCain has said “Czechoslovakia” more than just once this campaign cycle. He also said it in the 2000 campaign, and was called on it by none other that G.W. Bush.

    Wasn’t Czechoslovakia Woodrow Wilson’s idea in the first place? Maybe McCain is just doing it out of respect for his foreign policy mentor.


  68. I wonder if the whole “I ran around on Carol McCain” story is going to break. I doubt it, though; it’s 25 years old. But it should:

    Why do people still respect this guy?

    I say this every time I see this. By all accounts Carol McCain gets along amicably with John McCain, and has for some years (decades?) now.

    So if she doesn’t give a shit, I don’t give a shit.

  69. Dave,

    I would have to say that you have your history of the PUMA movement wrong and suspect that there is a misunderstanding regarding the reasons behind why it exists, though admittedly it is better than the version I have heard that include the words “GOP Plant.”

    If you wish to understand the PUMA movement, I encourage you to read the following…

    http://texashillblog.wordpress.com/2008/07/19/a-brief-history-and-personal-declaration-of-pumahood/

    Respectfully,

    Texas Hill Country
    http://texashillblog.wordpress.com

  70. And ceci is not much of an egoist, no?

    just like that faux prez’ o possumus…

    http://noquarterusa.net/blog/2008/07/21/obama-ditches-the-american-flag/

    be a good little reporter why don’t you? Unpack this! and say hi to Matt W
    ……..I hope Zell didn’t dump him…

    http://www.raceandhistory.com/historicalviews/gates22.htm

    we uh, met when a certain west coast paper had a meltdown

    xxoo!
    PUMA, so majorly!

  71. This in from Open Secrets:

    http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/summary.php?cycle=2008&cid=N00000019

    Hillary Clinton (D)

    Cash on Hand: $26,046,667
    Debts: $25,201,723

  72. Hi jcr

    Just stopping by to give a big shout out to you guy. We go way back, to the days of NeXT. Best wishes on all your projects.

    JD.

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