Saturday, August 16, 2008

The end of the PUMA movement will be televised

In fact, it pretty much already has been televised. Watch this interview in two parts: David Schuster reveals what is really driving these people.

PUMA is/was a tiny group of flaky people using the internet to make themselves appear much more significant than they are. In the end, Schuster gets the leader of PUMA to admit that earlier claims that they had raised $6 million were untrue, that in fact their entire fundraising effort to date has raised just $50,000.

By comparison, lets look at Ron Paul's "Campaign for Liberty" challenge to the Republican convention. Paul's group currently claims more than 83,000 members online. The Campaign for Liberty claims to have sold 8,887 tickets at a price of $15.76 to its "Rally for the Republic" at the Target Center on September 2, 2008. If these claims are true, and I have no reason to believe that they are not true, that means they have raised more than $140,000 for this one event alone. PUMA was unable to attract even 100 participants to its highly touted first conference, and ended up moving the event to a smaller venue.

But money and level of participation aren't the only things that distinguish Ron Paul's movement from Darragh Murphy's tiny organization. To me, the key difference is ideology: the fact that Ron Paul's followers have one and the PUMAs do not. Ron Paul's supporters are interested in promoting a specific ideology, Paul's version of Libertarianism, and could mount a serious challenge to the current Neo-con and Theo-con leadership of the Republican Party. With Bob Barr in the mix as a Libertarian candidate and on 49 or 50 of the states' ballots, Ron Paul's followers have the potential to dramatically alter the direction of the Republican Party in years to come.

By contrast, PUMA is a tiny cult of personality devoted to Hillary Clinton, even though Hillary Clinton has rejected their particular brand of support. Indeed, if the PUMA movement has a victim, it is Hillary Clinton. PUMA has done more than anyone else to create distrust of Hillary Clinton among Barack Obama's supporters. PUMAs have created an image of Hillary Clinton as a poor loser that isn't justified by Clinton's actions. Hillary Clinton has shown that she is going to support Barack Obama. All the PUMAs have succeeded in doing is interfering with Hillary Clinton's ability to fundraise and retire her primary campaign debt.

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