Shanon from Maryland reels off a list of complaints about the DNC ranging from “failure to investigate the caucus fraud reports in a timely manner” to reinstating Michigan and Florida votes after the primaries (when the impact of Hillary’s wins and any momentum derived from them was lost) to Obama’s recent gaffe in “forgetting” to solicit money for Hillary at a fundraiser to moving the DNC brain trust to Chicago. Beverly Garrett from Pittsburg, another Hillary donor and volunteer, says the “the undemocratic primary process” (plus the media bias) is what got her upset.
What if Hillary is given the VP slot? Murphy says that it would not “officially” change the PAC’s position although it “doesn’t mean some members” wouldn’t be affected by a “changed landscape.” Murphy is emphatic: “She [Hillary] deserves to be at the top of the ticket.” (In any event, a VP slot for Clinton seems increasingly unlikely and an unrelated group which had been pushing her for the number two spot has shut its doors.)
Beyond November 5 Murphy tells me her group will continue on: “The vast majority, and 40% of us are male by the way, know the Clinton campaign for all intents and purposes is over. This is about the party. This is about reforming the party.”
I asked her about the media’s role. She believes, “It was the perfect storm. There is and continues to be a love affair with this young, charismatic guy.” But she says that’s not all. She continues, “It is my opinion that blatant sexism is much more acceptable than racism. It was okay for Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann and Mike Barnicle to make jokes. No one said anything. It was all completely acceptable and funny [to them].”
Kronert echoes her complaints, saying:
Mainstream media has given Obama a free pass and it is the mainstream media that is picking our next president. Look what it took to get the Rev Wright story out, it was known a year before it finally made it to the mainstream media and places like CNN refused to cover it till it became so engulfed by Fox News.
Eli says that “the action of the media has given me a harsh education on certain facts, and now I am politically active and I will never again let this happen to another woman. Never Again.” He continues, “They are completely ‘in the tank’ for Barack Obama. I cannot even watch television anymore, I walked away from the TV in mid-April due to the sexism that went unchecked, and no one stuck up for Hillary except for Lou Dobbs and some commentators on FOX which I never watch.”
And Obama’s recent trip overseas just made it worse. Murphy calls it the “Ego Trip.” She declares, “It’s embarrassing.” As for the coverage, she believes, “The media is the media. They treat politics like ESPN covering a sporting event. Critiquing the media is a 24-hour job. No one reported that they passed our free beer and bratwurst three hours before the speech [in Berlin] and that local authorities said there were only 75,000 people. But what really makes people scratch their heads is the presumptuousness. Why is he in Europe? Who does he think he is?”
Shanon, is equally scathing in her critique of the media now and during the primary. She points to “the incredible delay by the media in vetting Obama. … The Rev. Wright information was exposed last year but somehow was overlooked by the media until after Super Tuesday.” She also contends that pundits were “obvious” in their pro-Obama bias and that “sexist, misogynistic, sleazy comments” were allowed by the networks and cable news shows.
Kronert reiterates the sense that the media helping Obama attain celebrity status. He contends that “there is the free rock concerts given in Oregon and Berlin to draw the crowds for Obama — the mainstream media doesn’t tell you that they mislead you. Basically the media has given Obama the rock start status, they have made him just like they make any other idol.”
I asked Murphy about the emails posted at her website and whether she surprised at the reaction from DNC officials. She says, “Sure. That’s why I posted them.” She heard of Democrats receiving such emails from Donna Brazile and others, but she says, “I thought they were hoaxes.” Then she saw them and was stunned. “These were to ‘Evie in Florida’. Voters.” She was taken aback by the tone. She says these “get over it” emails came from people “who were elected.” She contends that the letters that provoked the angry responses from DNC officials were all “civil, polite, non-threatening.” What provoked the DNC officials, she contends, is when they “got 300 [of them].”
She and her followers have been dismissed, she explains as a “Republican front.” She says that is nonsense. “We’re all Democrats here,” she declares. She says the attitude of the Obama team is “We have a new base. We have a new coalition.” She says “What a joke. We are the base. We are the people who turn out to vote in Pennsylvania and Ohio and Florida.”
So do the Puma PAC members and others like them matter? Well, if they are right and they are the base — or a key part of it — their lack of support will come back to bite Obama in November. And even before that Estrich warns:
No candidate — in my memory, anyway — has gone into a convention with as many delegates pledged to his one-time opponent as Barack Obama will face in Denver in August. They may not be able to wrest the nomination away from him (I have no reason to believe they would even try), but if they don’t feel included, their exclusion could cost him dearly. It’s time to make nice, on all sides. Otherwise, John McCain will be the victor. And spare me the “heinous” emails for saying that. The truth may hurt, but believe me, losing hurts a whole lot more.
And what’s more, should word get out that Obama’s operation bears an uncanny resemblance to heavy-handed Chicago pols and Democratic insiders of years gone by (or to the vindictive Richard Nixon), people might question whether he really represents the coming of the New Politics.
Instead, they might suspect all the talk of inclusiveness, bottom-up organizing and unity is just that — talk. Hillary Clinton had a phrase her supporters no doubt recall: “just words.”