The Debt Ceiling Comes of Age

It’s been awhile since I posted. The combination of it being too hot to form a cogent thought while not a whole lot is happening has been a formidable hurdle. The Cubs continue their horridness, the NFL and NFLPA updated their status to “it’s complicated” and the debt ceiling debate has been filled with as much skill, smoothness and dexterity as a 6th grade dance, and about as comfortable to watch.

Until today! It looks like it has spurred New York Times fantasy op-ed writer Tom Friedman to write something absurd. It’s like the debt ceiling poached some beers from its parents and drank them in the basement. It has arrived.

Thanks to a quiet political start-up that is now ready to show its hand, a viable, centrist, third presidential ticket, elected by an Internet convention, is going to emerge in 2012. I know it sounds gimmicky — an Internet convention — but an impressive group of frustrated Democrats, Republicans and independents, called Americans Elect, is really serious, and they have thought out this process well. In a few days, Americans Elect will formally submit the 1.6 million signatures it has gathered to get on the presidential ballot in California as part of its unfolding national effort to get on the ballots of all 50 states for 2012.

The goal of Americans Elect is to take a presidential nominating process now monopolized by the Republican and Democratic parties, which are beholden to their special interests, and blow it wide open — guaranteeing that a credible third choice, nominated independently, will not only be on the ballot in every state but be able to take part in every presidential debate and challenge both parties from the middle with the best ideas on how deal with the debt, education and jobs.

Gimmicky? You’re selling yourself short, Tom. Wait for the money line (bold mine):

Any presidential nominee must conform to all the Constitutional requirements, as well as be considered someone of similar stature to our previous presidents. That means no Lady Gaga allowed. Every candidate will have to post in words or video his or her answers to the platform questions produced by the Americans Elect delegates. In April 2012, the candidate pool will be reduced to six through three rounds of voting. The six, assuming they all want to run, will then have to name their running mates. The only rule is that a Democrat must run with a Republican or independent, and a Republican with a Democrat or independent.

You hear that Lady Gaga? You are out. Because Tom is hip, yet sensible. Like grass-fed, nitrite-free local bacon. But let’s go to the bold – everybody pair up, boy-girl! I can’t wait to see who Kent Conrad is going to ask to the dance! (Wait – how did we end up back with dance analogies?)

Here’s the thing. No one is more in favor of a third, or fourth, or fifth party than I am. To channel Jesse Ventura, we’re presented with the choice of Coke or Pepsi every 2-4 years. New ideas would be excellent and helpful. That’s why this seems not only idiotic, but misguided. “Hey, what if we brought these milquetoast candidates/parties committed to, essentially, getting handouts for their constituents and getting themselves reelected together? Magic!”

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