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On our way for brownsox to interview Kentucky Senate candidate Bruce Lunsford (an interview brownsox will be posting on soon), our attention was drawn by some people standing through the sunroof of a Hummer with slogans scrawled all over the windows, shouting "if not Hillary, then McCain."

Here's the thing: Neither of us gives the PUMAs any credit for their politics, their common sense, their PR strategy. But alleged Hillary Clinton supporters in a Hummer? This smacks of Republicans out to sow stories of Democrats divided, Clinton supporters so against Barack Obama that they want to drive around in the most environmentally harmful vehicle they can, making loud screaming idiots of themselves.

Whichever, they were idiots -- they were also the only even alleged PUMAs I've seen in a day of walking around the streets of Denver.

Update from brownsox: So, the RNC (yeah, those guys) sponsored a PUMA party of sorts tonight in Denver, featuring real live PUMAs on hand.

Initially, I very much wanted to go, having been one of roughly 17.5 million supporters of Hillary Clinton who is now solidly on the Obama /  Biden express.

I'd gone with the noblest intentions of mockery. I figured such an event, aimed surely at disrupting the convention and receiving free media coverage, surely deserved to be disrupted itself, or at least Rickrolled or something. But when I got there, I found little to mock.

They had a private party in a small room of a generic bar, and truly, it was the room of the damned. There was a smattering of actual PUMAs, outnumbered perhaps 3 to 1 by genuine McCain Republicans looking to create a press event, noshing on thoroughly unappetizing appetizers, and taking advantage of a theoretically open bar and the open hearts of a few unrelenting Clinton fans, so thoroughly crushed by the loss of the candidate in whom they believed so strongly, that they were willing to present themselves to the world as a Democratic joke and a Republican prop.

I felt sorry for the PUMAs, to be perfectly honest. Their personal frustration and misery had now become a punchline in their own party, while the GOP gleefully exploited their frustrations as long as the news cycle would permit them.

I'd wanted to mock the PUMA party. Even I, an ardent Clinton supporter, had wanted to mock them.

But upon leaving, the only feelings I could muster were an odd blend of pity and discomfort. When you truly fall in love with a political candidate - a mistake in the first place, as many of us can attest - it can be the hardest thing in the world to let go of that feeling.

It doesn't give me any joy to see these people exploited by Republicans. It doesn't give me any joy to see the traditional media continually running stories about Clinton supporters (meaning all 12 of the PUMAs, I assume), standing in the way of party unity.

It gives me no joy to see the PUMAs presented as anything but what they are - the smallest of minorities, who have had their hearts broken to the point that they are no longer capable of seeing reason.

That said, I couldn't resist screwing with the actual Republicans a little bit. So when one of them (wearing a McCain shirt proudly) handed me a "Nobama" sticker, I pocketed it with alacrity. I then reached into my pocket and said, "I have something for you, too".

I withdrew a pink condom that Planned Parenthood had been giving out that morning, on which the back of the wrapper announced proudly, "Protect Yourself...From John McCain".

I smiled at him. He gave me a quizzical "what do I do with this?" look, then shrugged his shoulders and accepted it.

I mean, I'm sure he could think of something.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Aug 26, 2008 at 10:20 AM PDT.

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