Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road

No one could have predicted:

When Americans elect announced last July that it was pouring millions into placing a third-party presidential candidate on the ballot in all 50 states, the political world snapped to attention. Barack Obama’s longtime political adviser David Axelrod revealed his concern by publicly criticizing the group, while pundits gushed. “Watch out,” declared New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who wrote that Americans Elect might change politics the way the iPod changed music.

So far, Americans Elect is looking more like the Zune than the iPod. The group canceled a May 8 online caucus after no candidate met the necessary criterion of 1,000 backers in each of 10 states. More voting scheduled for later this month may also be scratched; it’s possible that Americans Elect won’t nominate a single candidate. That might say more about this well-intentioned effort’s shortcomings than it does about the durability of our two-party system.

There is already a centrist party. It’s called the Democrats. What this country is missing is a left wing.

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92 replies
  1. 1
    MattF says:

    They accomplished one good thing– demonstrated as plainly as possible how out-of-touch Friedman is, despite his conversations with cab drivers. A point for that.

  2. 2
    Mino says:

    Like Republicans congressmen were gonna say yes to anyone but one of their own tribe. Jeeze, get a clue.

  3. 3
    Comrade Mary says:

    Fucking cab drivers. I’m never taking advice from any of those assholes again.

  4. 4

    Hilarious. Also imploding: the “Coffee Party,” supposedly a response to the Tea Party but supposedly less radical and more centrist.

    I’m convinced we have a reality disconnect. I’ve got a right-winger over at my place who seems to have accepted the notion that corporate monopolies are a problem, but his solution seems to be de-regulating. Because, he says, people who work at the regulatory agencies then end up working at the industries they supposedly regulated and while they’re in the agency they are currying favor with big companies by oppressing small companies.

    I mean … WTF? So what if that’s happening? That’s, like, the least of our worries about regulatory capture.

  5. 5

    @MattF: Maybe Friedman should take the bus instead.

  6. 6
    ArchTeryx says:

    And the recent Great Recession has already demonstrated what it would take for a third-party left-wing party to upend two well-established, centrist-to-far-right parties.

    Greece.

    Yes, it takes THAT level of pain.

  7. 7
    BGinCHI says:

    So, how many millionaires in the news lately do the stupidest fucking things with their money?

    Are they stupid or what?

    This is why we tax rich people: idle hands are the devil’s workshop.

  8. 8
    AA+ Bonds says:

    There is already a centrist party. It’s called the Democrats. What this country is missing is a left wing.

    So what are you gonna do about it

  9. 9
    schrodinger's cat says:

    What this country is missing is a left wing.

    Comrades of Balloon Juice unite, and all hail chairman Meow (Tunch).

  10. 10
    Argive says:

    The schadenfreude, it is delicious. This lazy Villager bullshit about how we always need to meet in the middle must end.

    @Clark Stooksbury:

    I’ve always found that buses allow you to meet much more interesting people than cab drivers. Maybe Friedman would have a better understanding of the problems facing ordinary Americans if he made at least some effort to disconnect himself from his bubble. But he’ll never do that.

  11. 11

    Oh my God. We can’t win.

    Fox News now saying it’s really bad news that gas prices are dropping.

    Not making this up, either.

  12. 12
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Your friend is shooting straight Erick Erickson on that one; tea partiers surround themselves with soft warm cuddles about how they are against ‘crony capitalism’ and will solve it by making sure the wealthy can do whatever the fuck they want

  13. 13
    Arclite says:

    There is already a centrist party. It’s called the Democrats. What this country is missing is a left wing.

    And it seems unlikely that there never will be what with the largest news org a conservative propaganda outlet, and the rest of the press corporate shills. There’s no one to educate people on the value of liberalism, and too much obfuscation and lies from the other side.

  14. 14
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Southern Beale: Government regulation creates monopolies. It’s simple; imagine, say, the meat industry. Right now, with all the totalitarian government rules about “worker safety,” “food safety,” and the like, it’s impossible for the little guy to compete in the marketplace. But deregulate the industry, and suddenly anybody–large chemical corporations, you, me, the guy who lives under the bridge, the crazy cat lady down the street, anybody–can participate in the market. Sure, for a while you’ll have increases in “catastrophic worker injuries” and “consumer death due to eating diseased meat” and “prion diseases caused by improper feeding of the livestock” and a bunch of other probably-made-up-by-our-Stalinist-government bullshit, but, and here’s the beauty of the thing, the market will correct itself. After a few thousand people die from eating bad meat, or a company gets a reputation when the death and injury rate among its workforce is too high, the remaining few pockets of humanity will know where they should go to buy their meat. It’s vastly more efficient than the regulation model, because FREEDOM.

  15. 15
    Amir Khalid says:

    Americans Elect got the fundamentals of building a political party badly wrong. In the first place, they didn’t even admit to themselves that they were in fact building a party from scratch. Having not put together a mass movement of like-minded people, they have set about trying to get their essentially nonexistent base to choose a presidential candidates — from a list of fringe candidates, because no serious one would affiliate himself with a party that’s mostly just a few rich folk and a Web site.

    In years to come, I predict, political scientists will have much fun explaining how these Very Serious people managed to be so utterly wrong about how to succeed in politics.

  16. 16
    MattF says:

    @Southern Beale: Orwell had a nice phrase for this sort of thing in 1984, “The mutability of the past.”

  17. 17

    @AA+ Bonds:

    AH thanks. I don’t read Erick Erickson ‘cuz he’s a moron.

  18. 18
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Southern Beale:

    They have all of these narratives lined up and ready to go – the latest I read went like

    1) Republicans accuse Obama of reducing natural gas production compared to Bush administration and hobbling natural gas through heavy federal regulation etc.

    2) White House releases tons of information showing that natural gas production has increased since Obama took office, at more or less the same rate

    3) Republicans accuse Obama of misleading everyone because while natural gas production increased under Obama, it also increased under Bush at the same rate, and so the increases under Obama are somehow actually attributable to Bush

    and so on (RedState and other folks are even bright enough not to name Bush, but instead say things like “oh the President no one wants to talk about wink wink” so they can keep the message focused on Democrats instead of their own failures)

    It helps to understand that the Republicans have pushed a conscience-free mindset for political operatives since Nixon

    They also have complete contempt for their own rank-and-file

  19. 19
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Argive:
    The cabbie that Tom Friedman really needs to meet with is Travis Bickle.

  20. 20
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    John Cole @ Top:

    There is already a centrist party. It’s called the Democrats. What this country is missing is a left wing.

    Wow. How far have you travelled politically in the past ten years? Could the 2002 version of John Cole have ever imagined he’d write those sentences?

    Of course, I pretty much agree with that assessment, with the caveat that we might not even have a centrist party. By European standards, the Democrats are center-right party.

    .

  21. 21
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Holy shit, gas prices are on the decline!

    This is the worst thing to happen to this country since GAS PRICES STARTED GOING UP!

    DAMN YOU OBAMA!!!!

  22. 22

    @fasteddie9318:

    here’s the beauty of the thing, the market will correct itself.

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

    * gasp *

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

    Yeah that’s worked so well in the banking industry, on Wall Street, in every other industry since forever. I’ve got a shiny copy of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle with your name on it.

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

  23. 23

    You know what these “the market will correct itself” idiots don’t realize? We’re all fucking guinea pigs.

    I can tell you one thing: I ain’t touching ANYTHING I didn’t grow or make myself if I don’t have some confidence that it (be it meat, pharmaceuticals, whatever) is safe and clean and meets some kind of standard. If you want to crush an industry, deregulate it. Nobody wants to be Big Ag or Big Pharma’s guinea pig.

  24. 24
    RalfW says:

    @Southern Beale: Propagandists gonna propagandize.

    Would be very nice if the Fux Nooz gas-price bamboozle became Daily Show fodder.

  25. 25
    debit says:

    @Southern Beale: I’m pretty sure fasteddie had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek.

  26. 26
    JGabriel says:

    @Comrade Mary: Win.

    .

  27. 27
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Southern Beale: The market worked perfectly in the case of the banking industry. Bankers took people’s money, made huge and inadvisable investments with it, and when those investments crashed the banks were showered with free money by the government and the central bank so they wouldn’t go out of business. Just like Adam Smith drew it up. I believe there’s a chapter on this exact process in The Wealth of Nations.

    Or the Bible, or something like that.

  28. 28
    RalfW says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    Yeah. And Fox will accurately report the cause of all the meat-contamination deaths so that the consumer can make informed decisions about where to buy their meat.

    Just like Fox viewers now know so much about the reasons that gas prices rise and fall. Uh huh! Freedumb.

  29. 29
    Zifnab25 says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Hilarious. Also imploding: the “Coffee Party,” supposedly a response to the Tea Party but supposedly less radical and more centrist.

    That’s nothing to really cheer about. I joined on with my chapter of the coffee party when it opened up in my area. And there were a lot of passionate people who came ready to work hard and take action without getting bogged down in partisan politics.

    And then the leadership kinda twiddled their thumbs, the popularity of the movement dropped off, and pretty soon it was just six of us in a room asking “When are we maybe going to do something?”

    It was a well-intentioned idea with some really good-hearted people behind it. That it never got off the ground is rather sad and speaks to the complete lack of community activist skills within our public.

  30. 30
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @RalfW: I believe it was also Adam Smith who said that if you give consumers perfect information, it really sucks because they might not buy as much stuff and not as many plutocrats would be able to keep enriching themselves. Fox is doing its civic duty by lying to the Moochers in order to keep the playing field even for our poor, endangered oligarchs.

  31. 31
    Baud says:

    For all the cynicism about political parties, they do (often loosely) stand for something. Americans Elect did not, which is IMHO the biggest reason they failed.

  32. 32
    MikeBoyScout says:

    There is already a centrist party. It’s called the Democrats. What this country is missing is a left wing.

    Spot on JC. Thanks!

  33. 33
    RalfW says:

    @fasteddie9318: I think you have that confused with Wealth of Nations: Smash, Grab and Run!, the not as well known e-book by Adam Smithe. The book is password protected since it’s such hot stuff, only AmericanSelect-type people are supposed to read it (hint: variations on TurdBlossom or LickKarlsAss might work).

  34. 34
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Baud: Americans Elect is firmly committed to the continued well-being of the people who fund Americans Elect. If the Moochers are too short-sighted to see the importance of that lofty goal, shame on them.

  35. 35
    AA+ Bonds says:

    If you gave buyers perfect information the result would be the razing of Wall Street over a period of six hours, tops

    Then K Street, and so on

    Realize that even RedState.com etc. plays on extreme popular anger against capitalism – witness their all-show “campaign” against the Ex-Im Bank recently, a national-populist outrage that would have gotten a lot more traction under, say, Greece’s Golden Dawn or the British BNP

    Conservatives know something stinks but they are even more afraid than liberals to admit that it’s the whole goddamned business

  36. 36
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    That might say more about this well-intentioned effort’s shortcomings than it does about the durability of our two-party system.

    It might say that, if you are living in a fantasy world where the US had proportional voting. Since we have a winner-take-all system, it’s a bunch of bull.

  37. 37
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    “Watch out,” declared New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who wrote that Americans Elect might change politics the way the iPod changed music.

    The moustasche of understanding once again displays the peerless clairvoyance that won the coveted David Broder Memorial Wanker of the Decade award over at Powder Blue Satan.

    Suck.On.This.

  38. 38
    Baud says:

    @fasteddie9318: Well, it’s nice to see that money doesn’t always buy votes. Americans Elect really should have picked some demographic group to demonize.

  39. 39
    jnfr says:

    They spent nine million dollars on a web site. $9,000,000! And they didn’t even have a platform to sell. What a bunch of maroons…

  40. 40
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    That’s an insult to the Zune. The Zune wasn’t a bad piece of hardware.

  41. 41
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Baud:

    Americans Elect really should have picked some demographic group to demonize.

    I think this is exactly right: naked use of capital through a new party line pretty much never works unless the junta directs embittered recruits immediately at Jews, or Communists, or etc. as The Real Enemy

    Given that Americans Elect’s line from the beginning was about how all blood-raising speech is icky-poo (accurate or inaccurate), they never had a chance

    They’ll gather their cash and wait for some real fascists to back next time

  42. 42
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @jnfr:

    They spent nine million dollars on a web site. $9,000,000! And they didn’t even have a platform to sell. What a bunch of maroons…

    Some smart commenters here have pointed out the obvious explanation: the political class in America consists of ignorant technophiles who are still impressed when someone adds “e” to the beginning of nouns, and they have a LOT of money

    The organization’s founder, bratty scion that he is, can bang two rocks together and knows plenty in the swindling political-consultant class

    He and his gang would have to be fools NOT to take advantage of this condition

  43. 43
    marv says:

    “And it’s stinkin’ to high heaven. C’mon stink.” Sorry but that line made me laugh, sittin’ in a bar, 40 years ago.

  44. 44
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    Well, some real fascists who are a lot more subtle than the teabaggers and the talibangicals.

    Fascism has suffered greatly due to the excesses of the German version in the 40’s. The brand is tainted, and being loud and obnoxious, like a Nürnberg rally, is really déclassé.

  45. 45

    @fasteddie9318:

    Adam Smith was funny that way. The premise of Wealth of Nations seems to be “Capitalism is a great system except for all those damn humans running it.”

  46. 46
  47. 47
    Ken says:

    @BGinCHI:

    So, how many millionaires in the news lately do the stupidest fucking things with their money?

    Does running for President count?

  48. 48
    Citizen_X says:

    Thomas Friedman was wrong about something? I’m shocked.

  49. 49
    Mino says:

    KFC chicken is the most popular food in China, solely because they control their entire food supply chain.

  50. 50
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I think Brent Bozell needs to refine his opinion of the best commentator in America, replacing David Broder. “(Thomas Friedman)is the best commentator in America who needs to visit America.”

  51. 51

    @Zifnab25:

    That’s nothing to really cheer about. I joined on with my chapter of the coffee party when it opened up in my area.

    Yeah I did too but they never did anything or offered anything. I really wanted to see what ideas they had. As John pointed out, we have a centrist party. It’s called the Democrats. The Tea Party is so far off the cliff that trying to find common ground with them put any reasonable person in an untenable position.

  52. 52
    Citizen_X says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    Republicans accuse Obama of reducing natural gas production compared to Bush administration and hobbling natural gas through heavy federal regulation etc.

    Oh, for fuck’s sake. We have a glut of natural gas right now, due to domestic shale gas production. All anyone has to do is look at natural gas prices. It’s not like it’s super-sekrit knowledge or something.

  53. 53
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Ken: These millionaires who have done stupid things with their money, I wonder how many of them inherited it.

  54. 54
    Corner Stone says:

    Speaking of Tommy Friedman:
    “Oh, you didn’t know?! Your ass better call SSOOOMMMEBODYYYYY!!”

    “PORING through Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel’s new book, “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets,” I found myself over and over again turning pages and saying, “I had no idea.” “

  55. 55
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Corner Stone: Reading MoW’s columns we know that one thing money can’t buy is common sense.

  56. 56
    Woodrowfan says:

    @ArchTeryx:

    And the recent Great Recession has already demonstrated what it would take for a third-party left-wing party to upend two well-established, centrist-to-far-right parties.

    Greece.

    Yes, it takes THAT level of pain.

    And the Greek people had a leftwing party with a long history of getting votes!

  57. 57
    JoyfulA says:

    @Southern Beale: When I was still on FaceBook, someone local was promoting a Coffee Party, and I expressed an interest. I was then contacted privately by someone else who said something similar had been going on for years and invited me to join the group.

    About 20 people with assorted political and social views meet monthly to discuss a given topic, from their assorted viewpoints, congenially. This did not appeal to me at all, yammering politely with disagreeable opinions.

    As far as I know, no actual Coffee Party ever materialized, so I don’t know what it was supposed to be. Given that I’m typically too radical for a random group of Democrats, it probably was not for me.

  58. 58
    barath says:

    I’m waiting for a party that’s neither left nor right (though admittedly more aligned with the left than right) that truly gets the need for a steady state economy. That is, one that advocates for policies like these, many of which even a traditional leftist party won’t get near, like this list from the brilliant ecological economist Herman Daly:

    1. Cap-auction-trade systems for basic resources. Caps limit biophysical scale by quotas on depletion or pollution, whichever is more limiting. Auctioning the quotas captures scarcity rents for equitable redistribution. Trade allows efficient allocation to highest uses.
    2. Ecological tax reform—shift tax base from value added (labor and capital) and on to “that to which value is added”, namely the entropic throughput of resources extracted from nature (depletion), and returned to nature (pollution). This internalizes external costs as well as raises revenue more equitably. It prices the scarce but previously un-priced contribution of nature.
    3. Limit the range of inequality in income distribution—a minimum income and a maximum income. Without aggregate growth poverty reduction requires redistribution. Complete equality is unfair; unlimited inequality is unfair. Seek fair limits to the range of inequality.
    4. Free up the length of the working day, week, and year—allow greater option for part-time or personal work. Full-time external employment for all is hard to provide without growth.
    5. Re-regulate international commerce—move away from free trade, free capital mobility and globalization, adopt compensating tariffs to protect, not inefficient firms, but efficient national policies of cost internalization from standards-lowering competition.
    6. Downgrade the IMF-WB-WTO to something like Keynes’ original plan for a multilateral payments clearing union, charging penalty rates on surplus as well as deficit balances—seek balance on current account, and thereby avoid large foreign debts and capital account transfers.
    7. Move away from fractional reserve banking toward a system of 100% reserve requirements. This would put control of the money supply and seigniorage in hands of the government rather than private banks, which would no longer be able to create money out of nothing and lend it at interest. All quasi-bank financial institutions should be brought under this rule, regulated as commercial banks subject to 100% reserve requirements.
    8. Stop treating the scarce as if it were non-scarce, but also stop treating the non-scarce as if it were scarce. Enclose the remaining commons of rival natural capital (e.g. atmosphere, electromagnetic spectrum, public lands) in public trusts, and price it by a cap-auction–trade system, or by taxes, while freeing from private enclosure and prices the non-rival commonwealth of knowledge and information.
    9. Stabilize population. Work toward a balance in which births plus in-migrants equals deaths plus out-migrants. This is controversial and difficult, but as a start contraception should be made available for voluntary use everywhere.
    10. Reform national accounts—separate GDP into a cost account and a benefits account. Compare them at the margin, stop throughput growth when marginal costs equal marginal benefits.

  59. 59
    slag says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Seen in isolation, these commercial encroachments seem innocuous enough. But Sandel sees them as signs of a bad trend: “Over the last three decades,” he states, “we have drifted from having a market economy to becoming a market society.

    Nobody could have predicted.

    Poor newspaper columnists…always the last to know.

  60. 60
  61. 61
    The Moar You Know says:

    That’s an insult to the Zune. The Zune wasn’t a bad piece of hardware.

    @Amanda in the South Bay: I was hoping someobdy would bring that up even though it’s pretty OT. Microsoft always made phenomenal hardware. It’s the software that always made the devices suck beyond accounting.

    Rather like America itself, if you think about it.

  62. 62
    David Koch says:

    I’m sure they’ll work it out.

    Give it another six months.

  63. 63
    Mickey says:

    Another stupid post that Cole has not thought through. Yea, we need a left wing party to siphon off votes from Dems and ensuring the right wing wins.

    Yea, great idea wrong again Cole you stupid firebagger. Go read more Greenwald and get even dumber.

  64. 64
    David Koch says:

    @Comrade Mary: the sickening part is Brit Hume saying “gay marriage is a negative for Obama”. It’s sickening because Hume’s son was gay, and he committed suicide after he broke up with his lover.

  65. 65
    Comrade Mary says:

    @David Koch: I didn’t know that. How fucking tragic.

  66. 66
    IDTT says:

    I skipped all the comments so I apologize in advance if anyone else has brought up this. Did the iPod change music or did 2 college kids studying over pizza change it when they invented Napster? Apple did not invent the mp3 file, they capitalized on it better than their competition but the file sharing program was what changed the music world IMO but I haven’t ran it by a cabbie for independent verification so take that for what it’s worth.

  67. 67
    IDTT says:

    I skipped all the comments so I apologize in advance if anyone else has brought up this. Did the iPod change music or did 2 college kids studying over pizza change it when they invented Napster? Apple did not invent the mp3 file, they capitalized on it better than their competition but the file sharing program was what changed the music world IMO but I haven’t ran it by a cabbie for independent verification so take that for what it’s worth.

  68. 68
    IDTT says:

    I skipped all the comments so I apologize in advance if anyone else has brought up this. Did the iPod change music or did 2 college kids studying over pizza change it when they invented Napster? Apple did not invent the mp3 file, they capitalized on it better than their competition but the file sharing program was what changed the music world IMO but I haven’t ran it by a cabbie for independent verification so take that for what it’s worth.

  69. 69
    IDTT says:

    I skipped all the comments so I apologize in advance if anyone else has brought up this. Did the iPod change music or did 2 college kids studying over pizza change it when they invented Napster? Apple did not invent the mp3 file, they capitalized on it better than their competition but the file sharing program was what changed the music world IMO but I haven’t ran it by a cabbie for independent verification so take that for what it’s worth.

  70. 70
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Mickey:
    Another stupid comment that Mickey has not thought through.

    Try reading the post, genius: John Cole is not advocating the formation of a third party to the left of the Democratic party. He is noting that the Democratic party, while definitely left of the Republican party, is still only centrist rather than left-wing.

  71. 71
    Mino says:

    @David Koch: I didn’t know, but I remember thinking I might do the same if faced with such a monstrous excuse for a person as a parent.

  72. 72
    Mickey says:

    @Amir Khalid:…..yea so? Is he accomplishing some masterful observation by pointing out that water is wet?!

    Firebaggers like him are masters at one thing…self marginalization.

  73. 73
    JGabriel says:

    @IDTT:

    I skipped all the comments so I apologize in advance if anyone else has brought up this.

    Yeah, there are three guys right before you who said the same damn thing.

    Come to think of it, they even had the same UserID, oddly enough.

    .

  74. 74
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mickey:

    Oh Mickey you’re so lame
    It’s like someone took out your brain

    Hey Mickey! Hey Mickey!

  75. 75
    Corner Stone says:

    @JGabriel: Hmmm, I just thought it was trending.

  76. 76
    IDTT says:

    @jgabriel, LMAO, so the pre-apology was a good idea right?

  77. 77
    jayackroyd says:

    @Southern Beale:

    That’s the heart of our problem, actually–the centrist commitment to “private/public partnership” becomes the establishment of government sanctioned oligopoly, with the policy experts coming from the big players in the industry.

    Like cellular service and cable service and media concentration and big Pharma and the banksters and the health insurance industry…..

  78. 78
    superdestroyer says:

    When taking over the health care industry and being the best employer in ab out 90% of the counties in the U.S., maybe the problem with a left wing party is there is not that much room between the current Democratic Party and the far left.

    Would a party to the left of the current Democratic Party pick different winners than the current Democratic Party does?

  79. 79
    Robert Green says:

    here’s a platform for America’s Elect (oops, i sort of don’t have that wrong)

    1) get rid of the drug war
    2) cut way back on foreign war entanglements
    3) tax religious institutions
    4) spend money on world class infrastructure
    5) tax carbon
    6) promote smart regulations that actually help, get rid of stultifying ones
    7) simplify health care payments (if that means single payer, than so be it)
    8) create real licensing for gun ownership like we have for driving
    9) create real powerful incentives to be entrepeneurial (read reid hoffman for more on this)
    10) get rid of all tax loopholes that purely benefit the wealthy, and get rid of the mortgage deduction. treat capital gains like regular income, hell like more than regular income.
    11) all financial contracts have to be maximum 2 pages long in 12 point font. i’m thinking helvetica.
    12) leave fucking social fucking security the motherfuck alone, except maybe to lower the age it starts paying out.

    ok, that shit was off the top of my head. a reasonable set of principles which might attract all manner of folk. too hard for my economic betters to figure out, of course.

    you can probably figure out the rest

  80. 80
    Procopius says:

    @Zifnab25:

    And then the leadership kinda twiddled their thumbs,…

    That it never got off the ground is rather sad and speaks to the complete lack of community activist skills within our public.

    Do I detect a little inconsistency here?

  81. 81

    You know, the only thing that makes me laugh *really* hard is that I own a Zune.

    Technically, it would appear to have some advantages over the iPod – at the time, it had a bigger hard drive, larger screen, and it had wireless capability and could receive FM radio.

    It’s a zip on the coolness factor, and the interface sucks. The stuff that people really want is just flat out missing.

  82. 82
    SamR says:

    @MattF: Also, they raised a bunch of money from rich idiots and spent a lot of it. Good stuff.

  83. 83
    Yutsano says:

    @Mickey:

    Firebaggers like him are masters at one thing…self marginalization.

    So is he a firebagger or a closet Republican? Of course since you live in a parliamentary democracy under a Conservative government I don’t expect you to understand how things exactly work down here. Which you demonstrate over and over again.

    And calling me your “groupie” just shows you have no real response to me.

  84. 84
    gaz says:

    Hey mickey your so blind.
    Your so blind you lost your mind.

    Hey mickey! Hey mickey!

    Hey mickey your so dumb
    You just bitch and suck your thumb

    Hey mickey! Hey mickey!

  85. 85
    Clime Acts says:

    There is already a centrist party. It’s called the Democrats. What this country is missing is a left wing.

    I JUST CLIME ACTED!

    Dear God, Cole, you know how to dish out just exactly enough truth to keep me coming back for more. It’s what you do to all of us, you fiendishly ingenious bastard!

    I MUST quibble of course, because it’s what I do: The Dems are more accurately described as a CENTER RIGHT party.

  86. 86
    Clime Acts says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Oh my God. We can’t win.
    Fox News now saying it’s really bad news that gas prices are dropping.

    Do you really watch Fox News?

    If so, why?

  87. 87
    Tom Murphy says:

    In the Democratic primaries, there were two candidates that were decent. The elite media marginalized them and MISREPRESENTED the situation and tricked who knows how many Americans (the people who pushed false, misleading, and misdirecting information are people who are in a position to reach millions of Americans and when they do, they abuse their power.) And even so called leaders were screwing us over, for example Michael Moore. Why the hell couldn’t this man have endorsed Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic primary? Gravel was also in the Democratic primaries, in major debates. Powerful people disappeared this man and others as much as they could get away with. And did you know Hillary was so devious that she thanked the other Democrats who were in the debate with her but omitted mentioning Gravel’s name? And one more example of why things are as bad as they are: YouTube, You’re Causing Grief. Please Act Decently.

  88. 88
    John M. Burt says:

    When the Repub party dies, the Democrats will resume their traditional place as the conservative party, and the left can decamp for a new party — but we dare not do that until them.

  89. 89
    teetop says:

    @Southern Beale: That is indeed the problem with our current regulatory regime, and it is very much the heart of the problem with how regulation works in this country. Where I agree with you is that the answer is not less regulation, meaningful regulatory reform will require that we find a way to ensure that we have regulators who are personally disinterested in the institutions and industries they are overseeing. As it stands, the foxes lobby the hens to create loophole ridden regulation, then lobby to have those weak rules diluted yet further, all the while devouring hens. Do you really think, for example, having Goldman Sachs alumni all over the regulatory agencies hasn’t been a major factor in the messes that have been created in the financial sector?

  90. 90
    oboe says:

    There is already a centrist party. It’s called the Democrats. What this country is missing is a left wing.

    Forget a third party; we need a second party.

  91. 91

    Some people just say “wow”. They see a bunch of US companies advertising in India and they say “wow”. They chat with people on the other side of the world, for free, over the internet, and they step back, look at the technological marvel, and say “wow”. Then they leave it at that.

    Friedman can’t just say “wow”. His “wow” moment never ends, he’s perpetually gobsmacked in amazed wonderment at his own keen and penetrating insights. His muse is Philip Glass, always hitting the same note and never stopping, and he has it cranked up to eleven so he hears nothing else. Friedman in the Key of Wow. And of course he has to share his amazing powers of insight with the world, by writing book after book and ejaculating wow all over every page.

    Hey Tom, I know where you’re coming from. I’ve smoked really good pot too. But most of us come down at some point and realize that the insights we had while tripping weren’t really so profound after all, let alone revealed cosmic truth. Wow indeed.

  92. 92

    […] the Americans Elect third party effort is floundering, Balloon Juice not only debunks the need, but does it in nineteen words. There is already a centrist party. It’s called the Democrats. What this country is missing is a […]

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