Balkinization  

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tom Friedman and David Patraeus

Sandy Levinson

Tom Friedman calls for a revolt by the "radical center," which takes the form of a thid party to be nominated by the equivalent of a multi-month "internet convention" that will winnow down candidates and then choose two, but not from the same political party, to run as candidates for the presidency and vice presidency in 2012. Apparently, this is well-funded, and steps are already on the way to get the candidates of Americans Elect on the ballots in all fifty states. There's much that could be said about this in terms of my repeated criticisms of Friedman for a basic unwillingness to connect the dots. (He does not, for example, seem to recognize that legislation emanates from the Congress, and his breathless endorsement of Americans Elect doesn't speak to this reality, nor to the the even more stunning reality that the most likely consequence of "success" is to throw the election into the House of Representatives, which votes, recall, on a lunatic one-state/one-vote basis (though, politically, I'm delighted that Vermont will balance out Texas, though less charmed that Allaska or Wyoming together will outweight California, but, hey, that's just our dysfunctional Constitution).

Rather, let me suggest that Friedman, consciously or not--I suspect the latter--is setting the stage for "we the people" to draft David Petraeus as the alternative to the leadership of Obama and John Boehner alike, which Friedman seems more than happy to trash (though he helpfully suggests that Obama should leave the Democratic Party and run instead as the Americans Elect candidate as the mugwump that he really is). Petraeus, of course, will not announce any such candidacy and will make suitable noises about discouraging it. But will he issue a Sherman statement. The awful truth is that there are not "reasonable candidates" waiting in the wings (or, at least, Friedman doesn't name a single one. He writes like a six-year-old who's been given a brand-new toy, and he's so excited he almost literally doesn't stop to think. But let me suggest that Michael Bloomberg is not going to emerge as "the people's choice," nor will anyone else who now holds elected political office jump to seize this opportunity (not least because it would mean the end of their political careers unless, of course, they happened to win). There's only David Petraeus, the most favorably-publicized (now) ex-general from the most trusted institution in America, the military. So who gets tapped to be his VP? Colin Powell? (Though he's now probably too old.)

Comments:

"The questions, the priorities, the nominations and the rules will all come from the community, not from two entrenched parties”

The Tea Party has been doing this since 2009 with the intent of reshaping the GOP because we know a third party candidate will only split the center right vote.

We in the Tea Party share a common group of general limited government principles. In contrast, Americans Elect has no principles and is leaving itself open to hijacking.

My first instinct is that conservatives should use AE to nominate a viable candidate from the left to split the Obama vote.
 

Even though Americans Elect says it has no interest in running candidates for Congress, it is free to change its mind about that. And as far as no presidential candidate receiving a majority in the electoral college, Americans Elect has a plan to prevent that from happening. If no one gets a majority (and this is apparent in early November 2012), Americans Elect will hold a new nominating process to see whom the presidential electors elected by Americans Elect would support in the electoral college in December.
 

So, in other words, you cast your vote for John Doe, and your vote might end up going to Michele Bachmann or Barack Obama. That sucks. It's one thing in parliamentary systems where the coalition partner has the ability to bring down the government by pulling out, and can therefore enforce concessions and cabinet seats granted to their party, but that just doesn't work in our system. Better just to let it get kicked to the House, as idiotic as their voting system is (and as undemocratic as the results might be given that the candidate who came in THIRD in both popular and electoral votes could be chosen).
 

America now longs for it's Caesar.

The question confronting Petraeus would be his eagerness to defer to corporations who are becoming the new sovereigns. Truth be told nobody can top Obama there. The very concept of nations is coming unglued so parallels to Caesar break down.

While the populace and it's political elites and their spokesmen like Friedman are longing for a great strong leader for The Nation the global corporate elites continue to demand payment of no taxes as they bankrupt Treasuries and Central Banks by unloading their distressed and worthless assets onto them. Even Caesar would see that this is the root of the problem. The one elite among all others you need the support of is the one that is destroying The Nation. Being Caesar would be a mugs game.

Caesar is obsolete. Petraeus will reveal that he is a fool if he moves to be leader of The Nation.
 

SInce it looks like anybody can open their maw and crow for the entire tea party, allow me a blow or two:

We the tea party share a common superficial goal of limited government principles. We are not sure what that exactly means but it sounds good. And so we repeat it a lot, all the while collecting medicare, calling the police, enjoy being vaccinated, having our children go to public schools, driving on paved roads, drinking and pissing in clean chlorinated water and using the government created internet to post our shallow views...

Oh one more thing: We the tea party are funded by billionaires. They believe in limited government too. It keeps their taxes low...
 

Petraeus would never do it.
 

and he's so excited he almost literally doesn't stop to think.

I think that's spot on. Friedman can't seem to write a column unless he's on a manic bi-polar tilt.

The idea that Obama, whose governing style is probably to the right of Dwight Eisenhower's, needs a centrist counterweight is lunacy.
 

It isn't the "World" rather it is Friedman who is "Flat." I used to read his columns with pen in hand to circle his first person references while humming "Aye, Aye, Aye, Aye, Aye" subjecting me to carpal tunnel syndrome. He's building up for his new book(s) as he holds a wet finger in the air to sense the political winds for another potential best seller: "Aye, Aye, Aye, Aye, Aye." Oy Vey!
 

mattski said...

The idea that Obama, whose governing style is probably to the right of Dwight Eisenhower's, needs a centrist counterweight is lunacy.

Precisely what Obama policy is to the right of Dwight Eisenhower. Remember that starting wars like Libya without congressional approval is a Dem thing.

It is a continuous source of amusement to hear left Dems call Obama moderate or even conservative when Obama's policies are far to the left of any Dem President of their lifetimes.

I am uncertain whether this ash and sackcloth ideological angst is simply a shared method of attempting to make Obama appear to be palatable to the voters in 2012 or if folks on the left are actually stupid enough to believe Obama's lying centrist campaign spin.
 

Valiant:

You are welcome to come to a Tea Party meeting or rally and educate yourself. If you are shy, we Tea Party folks are all over the social media and you are welcome to lurk. Repeating party talking points just makes you appear ignorant.

P.S. I would appreciate if you can give me the number of those billionaires financing Tea Party groups. Our group held a bake sale on the 4th to raise money.

;^)
 

Our multi-talented yodeler with this:

"Our group held a bake sale on the 4th to raise money."

demonstrates that at least his Tea Party cell kneads the dough - but did it rise - and how much did it raise? Or is our yodeler half-baked once again?
 

Hey Bart,

Obamacare was modeled on Romneycare and proposals coming from the Heritage Foundation. Obama's negotiating style is--I'm not claiming expertise here--probably to the right of Ike's in the sense that he attempts to meet his opposition's position in his opening gambit.
 

Obama's lying centrist campaign spin.

This is revealing. Bart is a textbook case of refusal to believe facts & evidence.

Obama is a Democrat, he's black, so he MUST be a crypto-Marxist.
 

Even if Americans elect said he has no interest in the election of candidates for Congress, which is free to change his opinion. And if no candidate won a majority in the presidential electoral college, elected U.S. has a plan to prevent this from happening. If no one receives a majority (and this is evident in early November 2012), Americans will elect a new process for appointing presidential electors to see elected by Americans would support the electoral college elected in December.

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