Archive | January, 2009

Newsweek Interviews Will Bower

21 Jan

Since Obama won the election, I have often wondered about Will Bower- a founder of Just Say No Deal and a highly visible PUMA who lives in Washington. I can’t imagine what it must be like for him as a diehard Hillary supporter to be living at the epicenter of hopey/changey Obamaland.

I don’t have to wonder any longer because Newsweek has posted an interview with Will.

So what is Will doing now? Has he given up the fight? No way. Not Will. Will has chosen to focus his efforts on the need to reform the primary system.  Rigging the caucus system should no longer be an option to leapfrog into a party nomination. The process as it exists is full of loop holes and can easily be manipulated. It does not produce the best candidate but rather the best person at tipping the system.

I applaud the effort of Will and all PUMAs who continue to advocate for a better process/party.

Hillary did not become President this time around. I hate it, you hate it, but there is still much to be done beyond the election of Hillary Clinton. PUMAs  we need to keep working because frankly, no one else will sound the alarm or put out the fire if we don’t rise up to do it.

We need to reform the primary system (as Will is advocating) and we needed to combat the sexism uncovered during Hillary’s historic campaign. PUMAs there is still so much to be done. I’m inspired by Will’s continued efforts. Maybe you will be too.

Here are a few bits from the interview. The whole thing is worth a read. You can read the entire piece at Newsweek.

Will Bower, 36, walked around the Mall with millions of other Americans this morning. But unlike nearly everyone else in the crowd, Bower wasn’t cheering. He wore a Hillary Clinton T shirt (adorned with a HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT sticker) to show his support for the woman he feels the Democratic Party and a sexist media stole the election from. Bower recently left his job as an intellectual-property researcher at Thomson Reuters in order to work full time for the pro-Clinton group he cofounded, PUMA (Party Unity My Ass) ‘08. Bower, who is now living off of savings to work full time on what he calls his “labor of love,” has focused his efforts on reforming the primary system, which he says is undemocratic. NEWSWEEK’s Suzanne Smalley spoke with Bower by phone today.

NEWSWEEK: Is PUMA still active?

Bower: Yes. People feel like we don’t have a clear objective. The problem is we have many clear objectives. During the 2008 primaries, so many things went wrong and we were inspired by so many of them–primary reform, misogyny in media, media reform … There are many different PUMAs [dedicated to different issues].

Do you plan on working for PUMA indefinitely?

I intend on being critical of Barack Obama for the next four years. I do recognize him as president. I think he’s the rightful president, but I don’t think he’s the rightful leader of the Democratic Party. That sounds ironic, but I believe that Hillary Clinton … was the winner and represented the will of the people. She is my political leader … I wanted her to stay in the Senate, be the lion of the Senate, the next Ted Kennedy. I wanted her to be her own boss … and represent the 18 million who voted for her. Now that she’s in the executive branch I’m looking at her as our shadow president … A lot of us are taking comfort in the fact that she’ll be our shadow president and someone to look out for our interests abroad.

Did you go to the inauguration?

I wasn’t going to go out to the festivities, but I went out in my Hillary gear [a T shirt depicting Clinton as Rosie the Riveter] … There were two thumbs ups, a couple of scoffs, and a lot of stares.

Why did you go?

I was going to lock myself in and not watch TV and I got a few calls from friends saying, “Aren’t you going to participate?” … And then I said I might as well go outside and watch and then I thought I might as well be supportive of Hillary while I do it.

How does it make you feel seeing all of the exuberance over Obama and his inauguration?

I feel that this is supposed to be Hillary’s day, to be honest. I feel he’s unqualified … A lot of what scares me is Obama mania and all. I feel like I’m living in “American Idol,” a four-year episode of “American Idol” … It feels like mass hysteria–the pictures, the jargon … If this were all going on for Hillary I’d like to think I’d take a step back and say, “This is crazy.” It is a little unsettling, the fanaticism.

What is your reaction to what Jill Biden said on the Oprah Winfrey show yesterday [that her husband, Vice President Joe Biden, was given his choice of jobs–secretary of state or vice president]?

It seems like it’s a never-ending stream of minor insults. Every step of the way the Obama administration finds a way to insult Hillary. They’re finding a way to take another jab at Hillary–that she got sloppy seconds … The fact that Dr. Biden was so casual about something like that means a lot.

When you say it means a lot what do you mean?

I don’t think these are naive people. She’s a politician’s wife … It’s hard to believe someone would be that careless on Oprah.

Given all the problems facing us, are you rooting for Obama to succeed?

Yes. I don’t want him to fail; that would be bad for the country. I plan on being critical of him though. He’s already dropped the ball. He campaigned on the fact that he would lift the Bush ban [on stem cells and] now is saying, “Leave it to Congress” … The pledges [he made] were political in nature. There was very little conviction behind them and it surprises me how few Democrats see that. I’m going to do my best to get Democrats and liberals to hold him accountable.

Celebrate the History

20 Jan

Today is a tough day for someone who held hopes of seeing the first woman in US history take a presidential oath.  Watching the less qualified man step on ahead, is a tough thing to swallow. I have PUMA friends who just couldn’t watch any of it. I respect that, but am glad I was able to watch because I got to witness the history of this day even if it was not the the history I had most hoped to see.  

As I watched the events unfold, I tried to put aside the disappointment of the primary season and the dashed hopes of  being a Hillary supporter to focus simply on the amazing history being made this day. As far as moments in US history go, it did not disappoint.

Despite all the fancy pageantry, the real ‘wow’ moment for me came as I watched the Obamas walk into their new residence- the White House.

They had just finished up at the parade and were ‘home’ for a quick stop to get ready for the evening events ahead. They walked up to the White House door and very simply walked in. That’s when it hit me.

The First Family is the first black family to reside in that house – the White House! For all that implies for the advancement of race in this country, what a milestone! What a moment for all Americans.

The symbolism of this is so much larger than the politics or the man. 

Regardless of how much one despises the politics or tactics that camp Obama used to rack up caucus wins while Hillary trumped him in the larger primaries, this was a historic moment for all Americans whether you support him or not.

For today,  I decided to celebrate the history. I’m grateful I did. I don’t believe Obama is more qualified than Hillary- because he isn’t- but I’m humbled at the historic moment this day is for America.

And Bush is gone…HOORAY!!

Hillary Speaks for Women Everywhere

13 Jan


Our foreign policy must reflect our deep commitment to help millions of oppressed people around the world, and of particular concern to me is the plight of women and girls who comprise the majority of the world’s unhealthy, unschooled, unfed, and unpaid.

If half the world’s population remains vulnerable to economic, political, legal and social marginalization–our hope of advancing democracy and prosperity is in serious jeopardy.

The United States must be an unequivocal and unwavering voice in support of women’s rights in every country, on every continent.”

Hillary Clinton (1/13/09)

Oh how I’ve missed seeing her in action. Go Hillary!