GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE! RACHEL MADDOW AND I ON JEB AND THIRD PARTIES
Last night, Rachel Maddow pondered the sudden reemergence of Jeb Bush -- focusing on, among other things, the fact that a pollster was asking about Jeb's chances in New Hampshire when the deadline for getting on the New Hampshire primary ballot has passed. Why ask, then? And why all the other recent Jeb stirrings?
Her conclusion: this makes no sense if the point is to run Jeb as a Republican, but it makes perfect sense if the point is to get Jeb onto the top of the Americans Elect ticket.
She takes Americans Elect seriously. So do I -- the AE folks have money, they're rapidly getting ballot access across the country, and our idiot punditocracy sees starbursts every time someone talks about challenging our two-party system from what seems to be the center. (Yeah, I know -- how the hell would a ticket with Jeb Bush at the top be from the center? But his running mate would probably be Lieberman or Bayh or Ben Nelson or Zell Miller -- AE insists on a bipartisan ticket -- and the pundit morons would still swoon.)
I'm just pleased to see that Maddow and I have been thinking along the same lines -- last week I speculated that if Newt Gingrich was on the verge of winning the GOP nomination, the Republican Party and fat-cat GOP donors and super PACs would make plans to withdraw support from him and to get a more compatible candidate to top the AE ticket. Maddow also thinks that's plausible. I wasn't thinking of Jeb at the time, but why not?
One quibble with what Maddow said: I'm not sure it really matters whether the New Hampshire filing deadline has passed because New Hampshire does allow write-ins (Henry Cabot Lodge even won the 1964 Republican primary as a write-in). Yes, that's an uphill climb, but hey, we actually have a sitting U.S. senator right now, Lisa Murkowski, who won her last election as a write-in. It's a crazy country these days. If Mitt Romney were to finish a distant fourth in Iowa and were sliding in the New Hampshire polls, can't you imagine the entire GOP noise machine promoting Jeb with one voice, even Jeb as a write-in in New Hampshire and other early states? And given the way GOP voters have been responding to their recent marching orders on abandoning Gingrich, can't you imagine such a campaign working?
But, of course, the success of the noise machine in garrotting Gingrich is why this won't be necessary.
So now, I suppose, it's up to various crazies and saboteurs to try to promote Hillary Clinton as an AE candidate, or Condi Rice. Too bad for them that neither Hillary nor Condi wants to run.
But please understand that if the Republicans get the nominee they want, as now seems likely, they will try to game the AE process so the ticket-topper will be someone who pulls votes from Obama, and they will work tirelessly to portray whoever gets the AE nod -- even if it's Huntsman or Bloomberg -- as a huge liberal, so no right-winger will cross over to AE.