Interesting perspective from Howard Fineman. In his latest column, he lists potential winners and losers of this latest scandal.

The “Losers” section is predictably Republican. But in his “Winners” section, I find this…

Third-party reform movement: If Sen. John McCain doesn’t win the Republican presidential nomination, I could see him leading an independent effort to “clean upâ€Â? the capital as a third-party candidate. Having been seared by his own touch with this type of controversy (the Keating case in the ’80s, which was as important an experience to him as Vietnam), McCain could team up with a Democrat, say, Sen. Joe Lieberman. If they could assemble a cabinet in waiting â€â€? perhaps Wes Clark for defense, Russ Feingold for justice, Colin Powell for anything â€â€? they could win the 2008 election going away.

I’ve heard on more than one occasion that McCain will never get the nomination. This surprises me honestly because it seems like he’s a good Republican who simply disagrees with his party. Still, that’s the sentiment I’ve heard, so an independent run would be incredibly compelling.

And personally, I think only somebody like McCain could mount a credible independent campaign. No Dem has the stomach for it yet…or the ideas…or the gravitas.

However, Brendan Nyhan thinks Fineman isn’t just wrong, he’s stupid…

With this prediction (which I’ve debunked many times), Fineman joins the ranks of Mickey Kaus, Ron Brownstein, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and many other pundits in failing to appreciate or even understand the barriers that make it virtually impossible for third parties to win. Shouldn’t political writers have to understand freshman-level political science?

And shouldn’t Brendan Nyhan understand that it’s pretty damn arrogant to say he’s debunked predictions? Bren, there’s a reason it’s called a prediction…it’s not meant to be a statement of fact.

Anyway…still food for thought.

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