What's in a Name?

PUMA Tells Barack: Well keep on runnin', player, 'cause I got my good shoes on.

What's in a Name?


Right now, in a small two-story building across from the Denver Police Department, there are more PUMAs than a shoestore shelf. My first stop upon arriving in Denver was to the official headquarters of PUMA. Started by Will Bowers PUMA was first known as "Party Unity My Ass," but now stands for "People United Means Action." The name change reflects the organization's mission to reform the Democratic Party and rid it of caucuses to ensure every vote is counted. After all, certified votes in Michigan were changed months after the election based on exit polls. That was probably a bad precedent.

Inside the organization's Denver headquarters everyone was hugging and introducing themselves. Tables lined the walls with PUMA T-shirts, bumperstickers, and buttons in TXDOT orange. Some volunteers were busy working in an office while others were putting signs together, and upstairs a preview of a documentary about possible caucus fraud was being shown. I was at the headquarters office for about 20 minutes. During that time people from all around the country keep walking through the door to say hello and sign-in.

I wouldn't underestimate the power of PUMA. We've learned that grassroots movements really do make a difference. Senator Obama's decision to run for the democratic nomination was based in part on the grassroots support of Austinites who met regularly as a book club for the Audacity of Hope. PUMA PAC, like Texans for Obama in 2006, is building its base of supporters in strong numbers daily. PUMA's founder is already known as a regular on cable news networks. Based on what I saw this afternoon, PUMA isn't going away anytime soon, and its supporters are getting ready to pounce on the DNC beginning this evening with a social mixer.

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