I've been suspicious from the beginning about the existence of "PUMAs": Female Clinton supporters who are so bitter about her loss that they will throw equal pay, reproductive rights, the environment, and a chance at peace under the bus to get their revenge by voting for McCain. I'm skeptical even though they show up in comment threads all over the internet, claiming they're real. I'm skeptical even though they wrote Rebecca Traister letters claiming that they exist. I believe that the Republicans are cheerful rat-fuckers and therefore would not hesitate to set up a secretive operation of people running around claiming to be Clinton voters who are voting for McCain to keep the legend of the PUMAs alive. If you can convince people that there are PUMAs, then you accomplish two giant goals for the McCain campaign:

1) Creating the illusion that McCain is moderate enough to attract the votes of feminist Clinton supporters and

2) Reinforcing the narrative about how feminists are just hysterical bitches with no common sense who subsist on outrage, can't act in their own self-interest because of their feminine-addled brains, and can safely be ignored.

My suspicions grew. Commenters claiming to be PUMAs don't seem to have much history of commenting on other things at blogs. The supposed "outraged feminists" in pieces like the one Jesse covered this morning don't exist---if there's so much outrage, how come the journalists chronicling it can't get one real world feminist to sign her name onto the outrage? There's a lot of speculation, but no quotes.

And then there's the PUMAs, an acronym from the name of a PAC that formed after Clinton quit to supposedly stand up against the meanie sexist Democratic infrastructure. It didn't take much work for me to discover who started this PAC:

With her name and her zip code, all it took was a quick jaunt to Open Secrets to find out her campaign donation history:


That's the only donation listed. So, not much of a Clinton fan but appears to be big on McCain.

The "About" page at the PUMA blog states the vague goals:


I want to draw your attention to the first one, which implies that the PAC was formed to support Clinton during the primary run. But if you look at the date on the PAC form, the PAC was registered on 6/3/08. Clinton officially dropped out on 6/7/08, but for days before, it was basically known she was out.

I would like to argue that this PAC was not formed to support Clinton, but to support the media narrative about hysterical feminists, and to help the McCain campaign with goals #1 and #2.

I bet similar digging would show that a lot of PUMAs aren't exactly what they're claiming to be.

Update: Looks like I'm not the first person to do a little simple fact-checking.