Focused and determined; Will rakes Obama flip-flops, Biden and Obamamaniacs and praises Hillary!
h/t Darragh: Newsweek article
PUMApac and P.U.M.A.08, Darragh and Will together were the heart and soul of the PUMA movement . As the original founders of each entity, together, both had a strong sense of what needed to be done to get Hillary elected. I loved hearing Will on Blog Talk Radio. His insight and focus was an invaluable rudder to maintaining the course of the good ship PUMA and together they presented a strong united front.. I’m posting the body of his interview and link to it here: Newsweek
Holding Out in Hillaryland
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].
What do you mean by many different PUMAs?
There are a lot of different PUMA Web sites and PUMA actions. There is still plenty of e-mailing and Web activity. We all have different Web sites and leaders. We all get along and agree on most things. My biggest thing is the need for primary reform…That’s probably not going to be a hot topic for a few years, but I’m working on it for down the road. I’m working on lobbying the Republican National Committee to work on primary reform there … I want them to learn from the mistakes the Democrats made in 2008. The primacy of Iowa and New Hampshire–why are we held hostage by these two small states? It’s insanity.
Are they not representative states?
No, they’re really not. Everyone thinks Iowa has this really engaged citizenry and they know what they’re doing. But fewer than 10 percent of Iowa voters participate … Since 1972 the caucuses have failed Democrats at every turn. [Some people will say] Obama won Iowa and went on to win. Well, we’ll see in four years whether Iowa has really served us. It’s basically about who has the best ground game.
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. [woo-hoo, great insight Will. You bet that was deliberate not a slip-up!]
Tell me more about your focus on primary reform.
It took one state to determine who our candidate would be [in 2004]. I’m from Ohio and knew John Kerry would not win Ohio so I felt trapped by what Iowa had done to us … When I saw what happened in 2004 I wrote a proposal in December 2007 and that was published. Then Huffington Post picked it up. I want a truly mathematical, geometrical system … to order primaries based on margins of victory in the general election before … to focus on the Ohios, Pennsylvanias and Wisconsins and Floridas–the states right in the middle, the purple states. Parties go after those states anyway; we might as well tailor our primaries that way, to appeal to voters in those states instead of getting candidates who appeal to extremes, John Kerry on one side and George Bush on the other.
Were you one of the PUMAs supporting McCain?
I was … for a few reasons. I wanted McCain to win so I could go back to being a Democrat, so the behavior in the primaries would not be rewarded. I went on to genuinely like McCain. It gave me a chance to get outside of the Democrat bubble I’ve been living in. I’ve voted for 18 years and never voted for anything but Democrats. It started as a protest vote and I ended up liking and admiring John McCain. Now I call myself an independent Democrat kind of like Joe Lieberman.
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. [and Pumas, I hope!]