Minnesota's delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Denver will support Barack Obama for president and say the right words of unity even if it kills them. For several of the ones I've chatted with over the last few weeks, it will.
On Tuesday, the Democrats sent a former national chair of the Clinton campaign to the Minnesota delegation's breakfast meeting to urge the Clinton delegates to get behind Obama.
"When someone puts a mic in our face and asks, 'What about the Hillary supporter, or the person who supported Bill Richardson or Dennis Kucinich?' We will say 'We are Democrats,' in a way that it will be so shocking to whoever asked the question, that they will just stand back," said Rep. Sharon Jackson Lee of Houston, Texas. "They will say 'Let them just walk on by. There is some kind of glory walking by. There's a light over there.' We are Democrats. We are one. We are one nation. We are empowered! We are strengthened! We are Democrats!"
Rep. Jackson Lee hasn't met Connie Kafka of Wyoming. She is the Democrats' worst nightmare. She's not a Hillary Clinton supporter who'll hold her nose and vote for Obama. She says she's a Hillary Clinton supporter who's going to work and vote for John McCain.
And she has no problem telling you why.
She doesn't believe Obama loves America.Listen
I talked with her while sitting on the steps of a row house in Denver, next to Red's Anytime Bail Bonds. Puma PAC, an organization of Clinton supporters who will work for John McCain, has rented the space during the convention. Signs for Hillary Clinton share space out front with ones that say Take back our party! Elected not selected.
Kafka says Mrs. Clinton is the "rightful nominee" of the convention. "She won the nationwide popular vote and one of the reasons the caucuses came out different is there was fraud and voter intimidation."
Kafka says the Clinton delegates to the convention, including those from Minnesota, have little choice but to back Obama because they're being told they have no future in the Party if they don't. And these are party insiders to whom a powerful role in the party power structure matters.
"They are still intimidating and strong-arming people," she insists. "What we're hearing is delegates are being taken into rooms and being browbeaten, being told 'there will be no future in the party for you if you don't fall in line.'"
She knows Sen. Clinton is in the same boat and has little choice but to support Obama. "I don't believe in my heart that she believes in her heart that Sen. Obama can lead this country," says Kafka, who has voted Democrat for 38 years and now vows to vote a straight Republican ticket.
"Anyone who claims to want to lead this country should at least begin by loving and respecting this country," she said.
"You don't believe that he does?" I asked.Listen
"I do not believe that he does," she said. "His greatest gaffe was when he said, 'this is America, the greatest country in the world, now join me in changing it.'"
She acknowledges that Sen. McCain is unlikely to come close to pushing the issues that made Kafka support Clinton in the first place. "I believe that Senator McCain at least begins by having a general respect and love for this country, its people, traditions, and a love of the armed forces."
"Everything he's done has been a coldly calculated move up the ladder of politics," she said of Barack Obama.Listen
Out of deep Love for my Country, I must speak out against people like Connie Kafka. She is slandering the Democratic Party and also our next President Barack Obama. She is not quoting facts, she is spewing opinions that are garbage and unfounded. I'm not going to go as far as to call her a racist, but if she is going to go to extremes to support a man like Senator McCain, then she is in the very least a traitor to the ideals of this beautiful country. I will not tolerate ignorance such as hers to putrefy my patriotism.
McCain in a landslide.
Bob, let me know when you've found your 100th Connie Kafka. Then I might worry a bit, but for a guy who's covered DNCs before, you seem overly concerned about what is by all accounts an extremely minor phenomenon.
I expect most Democrats would welcome Kafka's departure from the party. It doesn't sound like she was ever a Democrat as there is absolutely no way a sincere Clinton supporter could ever vote for the anti-choice, pro-war McCain.
Kafka, btw, doesn't seem to have had an online existence before this summer when she signed a ridiculous petition demanding that Obama produce his birth certificate to prove he's an American (it's been produced, but Karl Rove's PUMA insists it's fake despite a mountain of proof to the contrary).
This woman is a cult follower, not a political activist. Real activist delegates don't do crap like this as it demonstrates their profound lack of allegiance to the party and party loyalty is supposed to be Job 1 for a delegate.
I have indeed, had an existence (online and otherwise) before this summer. I've been a frequent blog poster on various sites. If you had bothered to listen to the audio portion of Mr. Collins' excellent article, you would know that my first loyalty is to my country. My overarching concern in this election, as it is for millions of voters like me, is the survival of our democratic process and our democratic republic as we know it. The DNC, Party leaders and the Obama campaign have made a mockery of the U.S. Constitution and the principles of individual liberty on which this nation was founded, particularly the principle that 'the government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed through their votes -- one person=one vote.' In referring to what happened at the state caucuses, I was stating fact, not opinion. If you had bothered to research the facts at all before your blind, foolhardy support for Obama, you would have been aware of the outright fraud and voter intimidation the Obama campaign used to steal caucuses and delegate votes in state after state. You may want to view the excellent documentary, 'The Audacity of Democracy,' or visit Dr. Lynette Long's excellent web site, for substantiation. If you had bothered to listen to the audio, you would know that I've voted Democrat for 38 years, since first registering to vote. How on earth can an Obama supporter such as yourself refer to me as a 'cult follower'? I was a political activist back in the 1970s when you were most likely still in Pampers.
CK, it boggles my mind that you would throw away your vote out of contempt, that because your choice didn't make it you and your PUMA friends would be happy, nay eager to switch allegiances so easily no matter who the nominee. If you are in protest of the process, withhold your vote, or even better petition the DNC for an investigation (just don't expect me to pay for it with my taxpayer / campaign contributions).
You were ready to accept Hilary before, presumably because of what she stood for (or is it really as simple as she is a woman?) - why swing to the opposite side and jeopardize this now? The democratic principles of the left are still the same - better healthcare, education, and so forth for the people.
If you choose the right, and they win, you can pay my gas bills for the next 4 years. You can pay my healthcare and education for my kids.
Obama said he wants to change the best country in the world, not because we're not the best, but because we can (always) do even better. We can always do better. I became a citizen here last year because I agree with him, this country is fantastic, but at the same time like most countries it has its problems and they are getting worse.
Do you want to be a part of improving things or do you want to burn yet another 4 years of your life and mine while we get in an even bigger mess? When will you want to change the best country in the world? When you're out of work? when gas hits $10/gal? When?
It really is time for all of us to come together to support Mr. Obama. In the early days of the campaign Earl (my husband) and I did support Mrs. Clinton. However, we believe that we all need to pull together at this time. Good leadership brings people together. Both mr. obama and mrs. Clinton have done so and we need to unite. The other option is 4 to 8 more years of Republican rule.
fear not, democrats. you have unequivocally chosen the One sure to lose, Barack Obama. I just spent the evening at Cheesman Park here in Denver with Connie listening to HRC's magnificent speech worthy of a nomination. Connie is a true blue American. I admire her articulate beliefs and also enjoyed the baser expressions of hooting and hollering for the most amazing woman in the world: Hillary Rodham Clinton. Goodnight. & it was great meeting you Connie! Joanne and Helene
PUMA is why McCain pulled ahead of Obama in the Gallup poll.
Well-said, Ms. Kafka.
I was fairly surprised the reporter didn't note the fact that the Obama quote Ms. Kafka used is false and has been debunked quite thoroughly as a bogus chain e-mail (one of the many). Of course, I was more surprised by the idea that the DNC or Obama somehow orchestrated it so that it's most popular potential candidate, married to its most popular living president could lose the primaries to a man who may or may not scare the s! out of middle white america because that would definately, surely, absolutely win the election for them. Good call. Also, I was surprised when a woman, a self-described democrat, thought then that the next thing to do was to sign up to support the old white guy who was willing to say anything to become president, so he could act just like the old white guy who's been in office for the last 8 years. Because he loves America. Which Obama does not. Obviously because he is running for president. Of America. Which he hates.
if she is going to go to extremes to support a man like Senator McCain, then she is in the very least a traitor to the ideals of this beautiful country.
Wow! A citizen exercising her right to vote for her candidate of choice is "a traitor to the ideals of this beautiful country??" And you aren't "going to go as far as to call her a racist?" That's mighty kind of you.
I'm not exactly sure you understand the ideals of this country.
Bottom line is this: If you vote for McCain it means you support his policies and his vision of the future for the United States and the world. If you vote for Barack Obama it means you support his policies and his vision of the future for the United States and the world. Me personally, as a woman and an American, would NEVER vote for McCain. The premise is simple, you vote for you who think is right to be president. Hillary is not longer viable...if you're truly democrat and believe in everything that party has fought for...then you would vote for Obama. For those Democrats voting for McCain it means you want to see McCain making decision after decision and blocking the democratic congress from making any progress. You will definitely regret it when policies that would benefit you are thrown to the trash because you decided to vote as a way to make a statement. Even if Obama doesn't win, he'll be doing something in the party...so get used to it.
First off this country is based on the freedom of speech, she has used it through the freedom of press also granted through the first amendment. Whether or not you agree or disagree Connie, everyone has a voice just as she does.
So far in this election I have failed to see anyone running, including Hillary, that has attracted me to them. Right now I'm truly wishing there was a viable 3rd party in this country. That is what this country needs. The government was set up in a 3 part system to use as a check and balance. With Republicans and Democrats we have either/or. This either/or is Connie's reasoning for flipping to McCain, If there was another candidate that loved his/her country as much as her preferences need, Connie would probably pick them over McCain because this 3rd person would be, mostly likely, be closer to the Democrat's party line than the Republican's line.
Give me a break. This woman, and people like her, wouldn't have voted for Barack Obama anyway. It is painfully obvious that the media narrative in this election, and every election, is a search for conflict. They want drama; a horserace, even if reality points in a different direction.
The cries for UNITY are to make up for the fact that the party is fractured because Obama and the DNC cheated to take the nomination away from the candidate who won the most votes and all the big states save one.
I will work to defeat Obama and all those who supported him. Him and his fanboys have destroyed the trust I once had in the Democratic party, but I will campaign for McCain. I will still support my local and state Dems.
For those of you switching from dem to supporting McCain, I am curious as to why you think he would make a better candidate?
I am not looking for personal attacks against Obama or conspiracy theories either, but rather which policies you find McCain stronger on over Obama.
I truly am curious as I didn't find that much difference between Obama and Clinton in the primary season when it came to the big themes, not counting the war.
I think this lady needs a cookie and a nice story before nap time. What a child.
Thank you! It was great meeting you, too, and listening together to Sen. Clinton's 'herstory' making speech. The super delegates who prematurely supported her opponent surely must be asking themselves, 'What were we thinking?' Take care. Hope to see you again soon. Go Hillary! Go PUMAs!
Bob, a quibble about your headline. 4 years of continuing the economic and "diplomatic" policies of George W. Bush's presidency is the Democrats' worst nightmare. Restarting the Cold War, pushing out country further into debt, ending reproductive rights for women, and a growing number of people in poverty is the Democrats' worst nightmare. This woman is just someone who is angry and happy she is being provided a microphone. I'm pretty sure I don't lay awake at night terrified by PUMA's.
As for Mr. Giselson, Ms. Kafka, I can guarantee that if he was in pampers in the 70s, it was for entertainment purposes only.
An online existence? Is that a prerequisite to voicing your opinion? I guess she had better run over to Facebook and set up a profile...heaven knows that will lend credibility to someone's argument...
Party loyalty? I guess if you can't think for yourself and judge a candidate based on his or her individual stances on the issues your party can tell what to think. Sad...
Btw, I don't believe I read anywhere that Ms. Kafka is a delegate.
What's terribly frightening is the bashing anyone with a difference of opinion receives these days. As far as I am aware, we are still able to speak our minds and voice our opinions. The stance taken by so many Obama supporters (I haven't seen the McCain supporters revved up yet) seems to be one of political extremism. You're either with us or against us. Sound familiar?
To me, this election is yet again picking the lesser of two evils. Just sad that it seems to come down to this kind of decision again.
Btw, to everyone bringing up expensive gas and the housing crisis as political talking points, do you honestly think the president has much (if any) control over these things? If you do, you really need to take a course in economics and Capitalism.
I did listen to you being interviewed by Bob Collins. That would be the interview in which you said you were voting straight Republican this year. That means you are voting to keep the Democrats from capturing 60 seats in the US Senate, and that you are voting for anti-Choice Congressional candidate.
I am forwarding this URL to the DNC so you can be stripped of your credentials.
You are no Democrat. Democrats know there is no Democrat party as you alluded to. Whatever you once were, you stopped being a Democrat a long time ago.
Btw, to everyone bringing up expensive gas and the housing crisis as political talking points, do you honestly think the president has much (if any) control over these things? If you do, you really need to take a course in economics and Capitalism.
the housing crisis exists primarily due to people receiving loans they were not qualified for in the hopes of getting as many new home owners as possible. George Bush used it as his main talking point that the economy was strong while he was president "look at the unprecedented growth in new homeownership!"
Bob, it's just been brought to my attention that you don't actually state that this woman is a delegate.
And if not, why are we reading about her?
No Way, No How, NO Obama!
This is a classic case of a reporter trying to create a story where none exists.
Mark. I didn't say she's a delegate because she's not a delegate. You're reading about her because there is significant angst among Clinton supporters, though not to the degree as described here.
This is going to be a close election, and if part of the most liberal base of the party is voting for John McCain, I find that interesting. It doesn't mean I agree with her and I find the entire argument to be filled with irony, which I also find interesting. But I have no problem writing about and presenting some viewpoints from people with whom I may disagree, as long as there's a vehicle for alternate views. This is a healthy thing.
These sorts of things can result in interesting conversations about what patriotism is, and at what point your issues don't matter or are eclipsed by other concerns and I've enjoyed the intelligence level of people who submit comments.
I can tell you that Connie was articulate, courteous to other views, and could hold her own in a civil discussion over this and, I'm sure, other issues. That the discussion exists at all, no doubt, upsets a lot of people who, I presume, want Barack Obama to be elected president but my job isn't to be the public relations arm of Barack Obama but to provide a voice to people who have interesting things to say and initiate a discussion on it.
There's a lot of room -- although not as much as there once was -- for discussions about things over which people disagree.
Now, you tell me: are you asking that question because you really don't know why you're hearing about it... or are is what you're saying is "I don't want to hear about stories that aren't favorable to my guy?"
I can help with the former; the latter isn't my problem.
Bob, my problem stemmed from your write up not making any effort to clear up her DNC status. Most PUMA stories are focused on Hillary DELEGATES, not the crowd hanging out at PUMA HQ (another blogger attended their big bash and said that 2/3ds of the attendees were Republicans).
Based on what you've given us, we're taking Connie Kafka's word for her being a Democrat.
At this point in time I'm not convinced that's her actual name, actual party, or actual anything.
Seriously, did you do ANY due diligence on this woman? Kafka is exactly the kind of name a drama queen/GOP troll would pick for themselves. I've emailed the Wyoming Democratic party to see if they know of her, because nothing she says in that interview makes any sense from a Democratic perspective, but she sure does know her Republican talking points.
And, not to be tiresome, but prior to signing that ridiculous petition claiming that Barack Obama's birth certificate is forged, she didn't exist online. Isn't that somewhat odd if she is in fact a life-long Democratic activist?
I'm just asking: what proof do you have that she was a Democrat, and not a Republican activist. Other bloggers have repeatedly posted about Republican trolls posing as Democrats so this is a very real concern.
George Bush used it as his main talking point that the economy was strong while he was president "look at the unprecedented growth in new homeownership!"
Talking about it, and even taking some arguably undeserved credit for it, is not the same as causing it. You may have heard that Al Gore did not invent the internet (nor did he actually claim to, for that matter) but that didn't stop Clinton from taking credit for the resulting economic boom.
Greed, poor planning, and gullibility caused the housing crisis, not George Bush.
As I've said to many people this week, there's nothing that would prevent some Karl Rove-type to send a bunch of dirty tricksters into town to pose as Clinton supporters. If the piece leads to even more folks trying to find a smoking gun, I'm all for that, although I htink if there were one easily found, the Obama camp would've found it by now.
The closest I can come to one is a $500 contribution made to McCain in 2000 by the woman who started Puma PAC. She also made a contribution to Women Count PAC in June. The cynic in me says the latter contribution was a smokescreen for the earlier one, but I can't prove it. Still, there were no other PAC contributions over an 8 year period and the latest one was made while Puma was organizing. So I don't know why you'd contribute money to a PAC during a fundraising period for your own.
Also it's worth noting that she is not on record as ever having given any money to Hillary Clinton.
The statement of incorporation is not particularly enlightening.
The financial report isn't much better, listing a contribution from Virginia Moore of Bronxville, NY. What's puzzling about that is a cross check with the FEC data finds a woman by the same name who contributed a ton of money to Clinton in 2008, and also $1,000 to Obama in 2007. So maybe there's at least one. OTOH, she also gave money to McCain.
Is it a dirty tricks campaign? Maybe. I don't know. I *do* know that if I were waging it, I'd go more moderate on the rhetoric so as not to raise suspicions. Questioning patriotism, saying Obama doesn't love his country? I don't think you'd do that if you were trying to pose a Clinton supporter and didn't want to wave a red flag and say "this isn't right." The only time that that would make sense is if you really believe it.
I'm going to start another thread on it to invite more.
If the president has no say over housing, please explain HUD to me. Or where many of the grants for 1st time home buyers come from, if not the government.
Wow, truly ridiculous.
Yes, Mark, as we all know, protests didn't occur prior to the internet. People didn't campaign for the Democratic party prior to the internet. People didn't march in protest prior to the internet. If it's not on the internet, it must not have happened, right? I guess I would expect that viewpoint from someone who appears to live on the internet. Must be all there is to do while lamenting the fall of unions and discussing what it's like to be Norwegian, eh?
Perhaps you should check local papers dating back to the late 60's. They might provide your "due diligence."
It is truly a shame how backers of one candidate (ideology) so viciously attack anyone that questions their candidate (ideology). So much for open debate and idea sharing.
There is no story, because she's not a delegate? That's interesting. I was unaware that the next president would be elected by delegates. Here I was thinking people just like her would be electing the next president.
If the Democrats have disenfranchised enough people like Connie, they should be worried. Don't forget, this is the party that lost the election in '04 when there was no reason in the world they should have. Here we are again. There is no reason in the world a Democrat shouldn't be the next president. Are they going to fumble it again?
FYI, this is coming from an Independent. Yes, a swing voter in a swing state. Firmly planted in the middle. Come November, I'll probably have to hold my nose and vote, yet again. I can tell you, however, that Obama supporters are absolutely helping to form my opinion, and not to their benefit. The rabid attacks on non-supporters and blind faith remind me of news casts I've seen about ultra ultra rightwing conservatives at a faith revival. Hmm...perhaps being ultra left is just the same as being ultra right?
Firstly, I could suggest that not voting for a democrat on principle, would go back to the 2000 election.
The one silver lining of that election fraud fiasco was Joe Lieberman not being VP.
That should be enough ammo alone not to trust the Democratic party. It must be said that I will never trust the Republicans.
I do not buy that this will be a close election, if it is fair.
Obama is by far the choice of the people.
Connie Kafka is a fraud, a phony, it is too obvious. She is placed to chip away at the perception that Obama has the heart of the country. If there is fraud and McCain wins, people like Kafka will be brought up to justify the so called close election.
The illusion of a mass exit of women in the Democratic party either not voting or crossing over for McCain is only part of the strategy of election fraud.
The president is not "the government." He is one part of the government. I suspect your issues might be with Congress, although I will grant that Bush did not veto anywhere near enough of the junk coming out of there.
Specifically, though, HUD became a cabinet-level agency in 1965. I personally don't blame Bush for that.
More HUD history:
1998 HUD opens Enforcement Center to take action against HUD-assisted multifamily property owners and other HUD fund recipients who violate laws and regulations. Congress approves Public Housing reforms to reduce segregation by race and income, encourage and reward work, bring more working families into public housing, and increase the availability of subsidized housing for very poor families.
2000 America's homeownership rate reaches a new record-high of 67.7 percent in the third quarter of 2000. A total of 71.6 million American families own their homes - more than at any time in American history.
HUD is not attributable to GWB at all. You need a better example than that to convince me that he created a mortgage crisis and that it wasn't, in fact, the end result of decades of gov't policy driven primarily by Congress.
I think I just sprained my EYEBALLS, from rolling them, really hard. Any woman who would honestly switch from supporting Hillary to supporting McCain might just as well literally shoot herself in the foot. Or better yet, in the face. It just doesn't make any sense. He may not be female, but Obama has an obvious respect for women that McCain does not have. He is not the candidate calling his wife a nasty name in front of reporters, to start with, and he actually supports EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK, instead of saying that women just need "more education and training". Give me a break.
Hello, people! Lilly Ledbetter!
(sound of forehead repeatedly smacking keyboard)
Note that PUMAs all agree that we will never cast a vote for Obama.
Beyond that, some will support McCain, some will write in Hillary Clinton, some will vote third party, while others simply won't cast a vote for president. PUMAs are Democrats & Democrats-in-exile. We are not Republicans, nor shall we become Republicans.
If you'd gone to the PUMA pac web site, you'd have learned all that. You are a sloppy and lazy journalist. (MSNBC is hiring.)
tamerlane, I suggest you read the piece again for I made no such claim to any of the things you're rebutting, as evidence of my laziness. And I have not only read the Web site and the blog, but I've looked at the financial records of PUMA -- at least the ones that are available.
It's not that I'm lazy, tamerlane, it's just that I'm exhausted from all the attempts to get your boss -- Darragh -- to return one of my phone calls.
But if it makes you feel better to call me some names, I guess we all have our roles in life.
Im I the only one that finds it ironic that her last name is Kafka?
Folks, lets get it together here. PUMA is a another Karl Rovain group of undercover neo-cons trying to tip the scales in their favor. Is any one really buying this?
Why is it so difficult for you to believe a Democrat would vote for a Republican? Do you base your vote solely on political party? I would hope you base it on the candidates themselves.
You think, because your exhaustive investigation didn't turn up any history or voter registration on Connie Kafka, she must be a Republican fabrication? That's just foolishly simplistic thinking...funny how anything that can't be explained within your view of the world must be a right-wing conspiracy...
It's just sad that both sides (ultra right and ultra left) can't fathom any possibilities outside their own views of the world...
I am decidedly undecided. I will watch the debates and see what each candidate has to offer. I did not watch either presdiential acceptance speech as it is very easy to read from a script, within a controlled environment and say everything that everyone wants to hear when you are the only one talking.