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Column: New Species On The Loose At The DNC

This story was written by Ben Cohen, University Daily Kansan

Despite what some scientists claim is the next great mass extinction, a new species has emerged after Sen. Barack Obama was named the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party. This fierce new species, called the PUMA, is a mammal in the Hillary Clintonae family and is native to the Americas.

This new breed of PUMA lurks in the deep, dark depths of the comments section of the Cafferty File blog, one of their most common habitats. They are most active around dawn and dusk, infiltrating the dense underbrush of the Internet. They feed on rationality, and are known for their shrill cry, which sounds somewhat like Second place is the same as first place.

This contingent of Sen. Hillary Clinton supporters began referring to themselves as PUMAs. PUMA, as I came to learn after a great deal of confusion, stood for Party Unity My Ass. They quickly became known for their baseless rants, annoying threats and strong hind legs for catching up with quicker prey.

After amusing myself by reading inane comments for a few weeks, I started to wonder: Who are these people, really? Surely, not everyone who voted for Clinton in the primaries is that riled up about her narrow defeat to Obama that they would try to form some subversive group to distract the party from its goal of reclaiming the White House.

Ive read a lot about the supposed 18 million voters who apparently want Clinton running on the Donkey Party, or they will switch their votes to Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee. This seems unrealistic to me, since Clinton is much closer ideologically to Obama than to McCain. If people wanted so badly for her to run the country, it doesnt make sense that their second choice wouldnt be somebody whod have an at least relatively similar administration.

That, and all of the Clinton supporters I know have been willing to accept that, as well as she did, Obama obviously did slightly better.

According to the PUMA tracks that were left on the Cafferty File blog, the leadership in the Democratic Party had somehow anointed Obama their candidate when he did not deserve it. Reasons for this include the number of super-delegates who declared their support for him, after many of them were believed early on to be in favor of Clinton. And, of course, there was the fiasco involving the delegates from Michigan and Florida. When the two states had their delegates stripped for holding their primaries before Super Tuesday, a privilege that had only been granted to a few states, Count Every Vote became, for a brief period, a popular slogan.

I spent a fair amount of my summer perusing the comments on CNN.coms various blogs, which are apparently the natural habitat of PUMAS. For every story, even ones which had absolutely nothing to do with the presidential election (therefore, not the fun ones), I was told that Obama and his mean, nasty supporters are rich, elitist snobs who hate America, women, blue-collar citizens and fluffy little kittens.

But I think I may have discovered a secret facet of the species. My favorite conspiracy theory is that the PUMAs who have overtaken the Internet are actually covert McCain supporters, using subterfuge to help their candidate.

Admittedly, this is unlikely for the organization as a whole. Ive read about organized PUMA groups that number around 2 million members, so there have to be a few legitimate sore losers in the pack.

In truth, I see the rise of the PUMA as a need for ventilation after an extremely heated primary. It isnt unreasonable, considering that toward the end, it became almost as intense as the general election will be.

The organizers of the Democratic National Convention have agreed with that sentiment ad have stated that not only will Clinton get a prime speaking time in Denver, but her pledged delegates will also be able to cast their votes for her, despite her suspending her campaign over the summer.

Call it a cave-in to an extremely vocal minority (which is what I call it), but ultimately, it seems necessary to bring the Democratic Party back together in time to win back that prime habitat called the White House in November.