Independents To Challenge Repubs & Dems On Unity

Independents To Challenge Repubs & Dems On Unity


I think I know why Bloomberg and Obama met recently. He was probably warning Barack that if he didn’t run a campaign that was about building consensus and bringing this country back together again, he was going to spend $1 billion to run an independent bid the likes of which nobody has ever seen.

And now I read from the From Washington Post that Michael isn’t messing around. He and other leading independents Dems and Repubs are putting a stake in the ground:

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a potential independent candidate for president, has scheduled a meeting next week with a dozen leading Democrats and Republicans, who will join him in challenging the major-party contenders to spell out their plans for forming a “government of national unity” to end the gridlock in Washington.

Those who will be at the Jan. 7 session at the University of Oklahoma say that if the likely nominees of the two parties do not pledge to “go beyond tokenism” in building an administration that seeks national consensus, they will be prepared to back Bloomberg or someone else in a third-party campaign for president.

Conveners of the meeting include such prominent Democrats as former senators Sam Nunn (Ga.), Charles S. Robb (Va.) and David L. Boren (Okla.), and former presidential candidate Gary Hart. Republican organizers include Sen. Chuck Hagel (Neb.), former party chairman Bill Brock, former senator John Danforth (Mo.) and former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman.

Sounds pretty simple. You’ve gotta walk the walk, not just talk the talk. I have my doubts that if Edwards gets nominated we’ll see any sort of consensus building. He’s the left wing candidate this time around, no question about it. Clinton is actually more moderate than most other Dems, as is Obama. On the Republican side, I really don’t see any of the candidates talking about building consensus. Ron Paul might be the only candidate who can bring together politicians around a common theme, but his is not a campaign about building consensus.

So what about Unity08? Well, they’re mentioned in this article, but only briefly…

Until plans for this meeting were disclosed, the most concrete public move toward any kind of independent candidacy was by Unity08, a group planning an online nominating convention to pick either an independent candidate or a ticket combining a Republican and a Democrat. The sponsors, an eclectic mix of consultants who have worked for candidates including Jimmy Carter (D) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), have not aligned with a specific prospect.

I think there’s a chance for them to make an impact, but every time I receive an email from them, I just don’t see the vision. They have a plan to get somebody on the ballot, but they don’t have a plan for the aftermath. If it’s only about getting somebody on the ballot, how is that helping build a true third way?

In any event, good to see that Republicans, Democrats and Independents are coming together to say, “No more.” It’s about time.

Ron Chusid agrees:

Elizabeth Edwards claims that those who do not support her husband’s policies are not actual Democrats. John Edwards and supporters like Paul Krugman, as well as many liberal bloggers, are attacking Obama for simply being willing to consider the views of others. When someone like Obama is being attacked for not being pure enough, the Democrats risk becoming just a mirror image of the extremist Republicans.

Folks, that’s what’s happening these days. A small, vocal and widely read group believe purity is the way to go and they’re influencing candidates like Edwards. Sad indeed, but this our reality and only we can fix it by standing up and speaking out. Let’s just hope our voices don’t continue to get drowned out by the deafening din of partisan platitudes.

  • John Brown

    What’s wrong with Gridlock – Generally gridlock in politics is good. It means that the congress is not sending us to war, or stealing our money. I wish we had gridlock when it came to the Iraq war.

  • Brian

    THE FIX IS IN FOLKS! This is all the more reason to support Ron Paul. With Ron Paul as the nominee, it doesn’t matter who runs 3rd party because Bloomberg will never peel away Paul’s support. Bloomberg is a statist and he would just split the Democrat vote. But if the GOP doesn’t nominate Paul, they’re going to lose the election.

  • mw

    Generally gridlock in politics is good. – JB

    Music to my ears, JB. I post on this notion frequently but most people just don’t get it. The general (wrong) perception is:

    Gridlock=Nothing Gets Done

    When the reality is:

    Gridlock=Only Good (less bad) Stuff Gets Done

    Most of my thoughts on the topic were distilled into the post Voting By Objective (which i also xposted here, but it was lost in the great crash of ’07), I got some great comments on that post that really netted it out for me:

    “Having divided govt means that everyone feels that they have a seat at the table. That the table talk gets rancorous at time is a given- but unless those discussions can take place, there will be no unity. You can’t just tell people who are in the minority to shut up and embrace the unity of the majority.” – C Stanley

    “It’s the principle of pluralism in action, it’s very real, and it was designed to be contentious and slow-moving for very good reasons. We have always been a divided people, and many issues have no ideological middle ground available, so the system is designed to produce incremental changes rather than sweeping changes. The Founders already had some experience with the pitfalls of democracy as then practiced in England. They didn’t want a repeat… They did their best to provide a system that allowed for incremental compromise to prevail over abrupt changes. It’s messy, it’s contentious, it’s flawed, it’s ugly in operation–but it mostly does the job.” – Tully

    Its the way our system is designed. It just works better when gridlocked.

  • DenisL

    Ya gotta love politics.
    With the race in this much flux, I would hate to be a Las Vegas odds maker. I am pretty sure that no prediction will be worth much until shortly AFTER Super Tuesday. And with a dead locked, split convention, we may not know until September – 6.5 months later. Interesting and fun and I bet quite scary times!
    Also by then the economy should have hit the fan so any 3rd party runs will make the 2 big party conventions even more important. Depending on the particular 3rd party candidate this will draw votes from a particular Big Two Party candidate. Not sure it matters if both parties nominate a Harvard/Yale/Arkanasas clone, like in every year since 1980!
    In 53 years I can not remember a more exciting time in politics in America or for the MSM or for that matter, blogs like this one. Or a more easily manipulatable electorate; however trying to predict how to manipuate this one will be for someone brighter than me. Things are really wild this year.
    Wow! This is going to be quite educational. Even for the hard core Dems, Reps, Libs, Greens etc. I bet we are going to need everyone to sort this one out. Usually candidates drop out if they are not the clear winners. Not this year! There is always the chance they could be drafted, particularly if they have a few delegates to barter at the convention. This will favor the sincere, consistent and intelligent candidates as their positions become better known with time. Candidates like Ron Paul, Dodd, Romney, Kucinich, Richardson, and Hunter should rise. The emotional, make-you-feel-good, inconsistent candidates that really are saying nothing like Giuliani, Clinton, McCain, Edwards, Huckabee, and Obama would I predict fall in the polls in this type of drawn out, highly scrutinized process. This time brains might just triumph. I hope so. The 2008 economy will not be fun for the real world and 2009 will likely be a nightmare for us and the new President.
    Ya gotta love it!!

  • crw

    I agree with mw. I don’t think national unity or bipartisanship is what people are really looking for. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I know I get a chill whenever I hear the chattering classes pushing those ideas. Why? It usually means legislation by back-room wheeling and dealing (ala the amnesty bill this summer) and false consensus to get something, anything, done.

    No, I think most people like partisanship. They like their legislators standing up for their causes. For proof, look at the countless polls showing people disapprove of Congress as a whole, but love their legislators. The problem isn’t a lack of bipartisanship. I think (admittedly with not much evidence), the problem for most people is the lack of honest debate. They are sick and tired of straw men, hyperbole and ad hominem attacks substituting for real debate. It’s going beyond saying “I disagree with you (and here’s why)” to “and you are evil/retarded/immoral/treasonous for thinking that” that has people up in arms.

    I think that’s why Obama and Paul are gaining so much traction, especially among us younger folks. They represent a departure from the usual slimey partisanship without returning to dishonest bipartisanship. In the case of Obama, he’s willing to say “I disagree with you, but your concerns have merit.” In the case of Paul, he’s willing to state “This is my argument. Take it or leave it” without resorting to slandering opposing viewpoints to make himself look better. That’s what people are looking for. Not a return to rule by elites who use sham bipartisanship to ignore the will of the people. But a return to honest debate, where we can freely disagree (even passionately) without casting each other as somehow un-American.