Finally, is this just a plot to divide the Obama vote? Has Peter Ackerman spent millions to build a machine to advance a strong Obama-like candidate,
weakening Obama and thereby strengthening the chances that Romney will prevail?
Again, this feels like a pretty expensive and inefficient way to do nothing more than create a chance that Obama's base would be split. After all, the
most vigorous also-rans in this presidential race are Republicans, not Democrats. There isn't a single serious presidential contender to the left of
Obama (though there are some, and some are compelling), while there is a gaggle to the right. If this is indeed a plot to derail Obama, it seems
Still, it's possible. Now that there's a relatively simple way to get on 50 ballots, maybe there is a Nader out there who would grab the AE nomination
and give Obama's second term to Romney. And given that possibility, maybe this is reason enough for Obama supporters to wish AE was not on the field.
But here's the critical point: Wishing won't make it so. There will be an AE candidate. Ackerman has built it. The candidates are coming. The delegates
will support one over the others. That candidate will be on the ballot in 50 states.
So if there is going to be an AE candidate, the only question is what any of us should do to make sure that candidate does the least harm to the side
we care most about, and, for those of us who think like Uygur, what any of us could do to get a candidate who would help the issue we care most about.
AMERICANS ELECT: REFORMERS
The current field of AE candidates includes a few potential and effective reformers.
Among the draft candidates is David Walker, the former Comptroller General of the United States, and perhaps the one American with the clearest
understanding of the pathologies within current government spending. Walker's work and writing is truly inspirational. But so far, Walker has been all
substance, and little about process. It's not yet clear whether he recognizes the source of the problems that he understands. Or to quote Thoreau, it's
not clear whether is he's among the "thousand hacking at the branches of evil" or the "one striking at the root."
Among the declared candidates, the question is cleaner. The current front-runner among declared candidates was also the most experienced candidate in
the Republican presidential primary -- Buddy Roemer. A four-term Congressman and governor from Louisiana, Roemer has spent the last 20 years in the
private sector, most recently as president of a community bank. Those 20 years off the political stage left him unknown among Republicans. His
commitment to a clean money campaign -- taking no more than $100 from any contributor, no PAC money, and full disclosure of every contribution -- left
him, in the eyes of most, an unwinnable candidate as well. So despite his experience, Roemer was not invited to any of the Republican debates. He
started the race an unknown; the primaries left him only slightly less unknown.