PUMA -- Endangered Species

[ Posted Tuesday, August 26th, 2008 – 21:24 UTC ]

So... was that a speech, or was that a speech?!?

After Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's speech tonight, every single one of her supporters who could be convinced now have been convinced. Clinton gave certainly the best speech I have ever seen her give, if not the best speech she has ever given in her entire life.

Maybe, just maybe, the media will stop obsessing over a party division that does not exist any more. I watch convention coverage on PBS because they show the whole thing, and because the people they have on are not idiots. On every other channel, you get an hour, where all you hear is talking heads getting the story massively wrong. And since this convention has begun, this is what their coverage has sounded like to me:

[You have to read this with an Australian accent, of course.]

"Crikey! We're on the hunt for the elusive PUMA, here on the streets of Den-vah. The PUMA is a wily beast and has so far evaded every attempt we've had to corner her. We asked hundreds and hundreds of women delegates inside the convention hall, and absolutely none of them would rant and rave in full PUMA fashion before our cameras. By crikey, we've heard stories that say the PUMA is a mythological animal, and even though we haven't found one yet, we're still out here looking..."

Sure, there are a few of these folks out on the streets for Chris Matthews to argue with, but the PUMA folk (which comes, of course, from their outcry: "Party Unity, My Ass!") as a segment of the Democratic electorate should now be considered if not totally extinct, at least an endangered species.

Any Hillary Clinton supporter who heard her speech tonight and still plans on voting for John McCain really should just start calling themselves a Republican and get it over with. As Hillary put it, the "sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits" need to heed her call that "we don't have a moment to lose, or a vote to spare."

I'm looking for the media narrative to shift immediately to "Wow, Hillary really united the party!" but I'm not exactly holding my breath (this is, after all, the mainstream media we're talking about).

I had planned on writing up my thoughts on the first two days of the convention tonight, but after I heard Hillary speak, I find it hard to remember anything that happened previously. Michelle Obama gave a fantastic speech last night, I know, and many other speakers have also done a good job. Bob Casey got a line off that every Democrat appearing tomorrow and Thursday should repeat (because it was such an enormous and spontaneous hit with the crowd):

"Four More Months" not four more years.

This line got so much enthusiasm going from the crowd (a spontaneous chant of "four more months!"), that it needs serious consideration for inclusion in speeches from now until the end of the convention. If this is the "theme" of the convention, things could be a lot worse.

But Hillary Clinton hit it so far out of the park with her speech that I will have to address other convention news at another time.

I don't get blown away by political speeches very often, and I have admittedly said a few rather pointed things about Hillary Clinton during the course of this campaign, but all is forgiven, as far as I'm concerned. I could strongly support Hillary if she chooses to challenge Harry Reid for Senate Majority Leader, because I think she'd do a much better job than Reid is doing. I hope she writes the health care bill next year for President Obama to sign.

Because Hillary made the case she needed to make to her supporters who were still sitting on the fence, and she did it perfectly, in a speech for the ages. She strongly told them that if they honor her campaign, the way to do it is to get out there and vote for Barack Obama. She told them it's not about ego, and it's not about her. It's about putting Barack Obama in the White House. It's all about -- in the best line she had tonight -- "No way, no how, no McCain."

Any Hillary supporters who are still planning on voting for John McCain must not have heard her speak tonight, that's all I can say.


Cross-posted at The Huffington Post


-- Chris Weigant


4 Comments on “PUMA -- Endangered Species”

  1. [1] 
    BLaws wrote:


    Sorry, I have to disagree with the "perfectly" comment. Because she didn't address the most important part that she should have addressed... that Obama is qualified and ready to lead. She never once said it... I was watching for it.

    With McCain running her previous comments on the very subject (you know, "and Obama had a speech in 2002"), she needed to say that, because that is the very argument the PUMA's are using to cover themselves. That he doesn't have the experience and ability to be president and she didn't disagree.

    All she told them was that he shared her positions, and that we needed a Democrat, not that he was capable of being President. It's almost as if she was saying "it's so important that we have a democrat that I'd support Joe Shmoe as long as they had a D by their name.

    The chattering class and McCain camp are already harping on this, and I guarantee you that the PUMA's will use this as their excuse. And frankly Hillary knows it. I just don't buy her being sincere. With Begala and Rendel with their rediculous comments spreading drama, I just see this as her doing what she has to in order to avoid blame, but still undermine him.

    I'm betting you won't see Bill Clinton say it either, even after the news running with his limp response to the question while in Africa.

  2. [2] 
    loslobo wrote:


    Did you hear Mike Murphy say tonight on MSNBC that Hillary and Bill will in the secrecy of the voting booth vote for McCain. Man what balls...

  3. [3] 
    BLaws wrote:


    Yeah, but someone else said it on Monday, maybe Pat or Joe.


    Guess I was wrong. Bill Clinton went farther than I could have expected. I figured at best he'd just barely brush over an endorsement. But he not only said it, he said it many times, in every possible way you could think of and I have to believe he meant it.

    Bill Clinton has two tells for when he's being dishonest or saying something he doesn't really feel strong about. One is he will look down as he says it. He won't look people in the eye while he says the line he doesn't believe. The second is he'll start wagging his finger heavily. Not just pointing but drawing attention to his finger not his face. He did neither.

    After the roaring crowd cheered for him for 5.5 minutes, I got the impression his hurt feelings went away. There was talk before the speech that they were worried he might actually get booed.

    I hope they put Bill out on the trail. He's so competative that I bet if Obama made a friendly wager with him on win margins in rural counties he'd be out there in force like he was for Hillary. Talk is he would gloat about how Hillary got higher votes in areas he campaigned in than in areas she did. He is super competative.

  4. [4] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    BLaws -

    I'm busy busy busy writing up convention thoughts today (just posted the first one, but there will be multiple posts today, just to warn everyone), but just had to respond.

    Your idea of a wager with Bill is quite possibly the finest idea I have heard in the entire campaign to date. I have long maintained that a big reason Gore and Kerry lost was they kept Bill in the box, and refused to use him on the campaign trail.

    Anyway, gotta run...


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