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.

Politics Independents To Challenge Repubs & Dems On Unity