Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

WARNING: Another election is about to be stolen, and right before our very eyes.

   I did not understand why the Republican Old Guard allowed such mopes to dominate the primary elections and run-up to the 2012 presidential election. 

   If the Republican Party wants to defeat President Obama in 2012 so badly, what would be the best thing that could happen? A center-left candidate with a solid national profile runs on a well-funded third-party ticket. Such a candidate could bleed votes from the Obama campaign in key states and in the right numbers and Romney would take those states and the presidency, even though very few people like Romney. 

   The clowns and jugglers have distracted the American people. Fixated by Bachmann’s gaffes, Trump’s ego, Perry’s intoxication and short-term memory loss, the consistency of Ron Paul’s positions (except when it comes to newsletters published under his name 20 or 30 years ago), and the ideological ping-pong game that is Mitt Romney, no one has paid much attention to Americans Elect.

   The 2012 presidential election, it appears, will be a close race in November. "All politics is local," is a popular aphorism. Americans Elect is building a national campaign and seeks placement on the ballot in all 50 states.

   "A perfect storm" has become cliche to describe several forces or elements that converge to create a force much greater than the combination of the forces or the sum of those elements. Originally it was applied as a pejorative phrase, as it was the title of a movie that wiped out a bunch of people: think about the huge wave faced by George Clooney.

The American people are sick of the two major political parties.

   Polls indicate the American people are fed-up with the two major parties. The economy tanked in 2008. People want jobs. Students who bought into the American Dream woke up with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of non-dischargeable student loan debt and no jobs.

   Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said his party’s goal is to—get President Obama out of the White House. Republicans have blocked anything, even down to appointments of nearly every nominee for an agency position the president has sent to Congress. We have a system of checks and balances. We do not have a system meant to stop all government action unless one side gets everything it wants.

   President Obama ran his campaign on a theme of "hope" and change. Yet his healthcare reform was a windfall for private insurance companies, he has curried favor with big-money interests on Wall Street, and is that an American flag flying still over the detainees at Guantanamo?

   So how was it the Republicans only could muster such a sorry line-up of candidates for the primaries? Yet the bosses on K Street or in Shelly’s Back Room (the only cigar bar in D.C.)  have applied, in the development of a candidate, the same expertise they used in 2008: with several months after McCain locked the number one spot, they could be careful and select the best possible person as candidate for V.P. Then they waited until the last minute and chose Tina Fey—well, Sarah Palin, but Fox News mistakenly has used Fey-as-Palin’s picture when they meant to show Palin. Is that similar to a Freudian slip?    

   It would seem the American people, fed-up with politics as usual (and I hate seeing that as a campaign slogan, a variation on "Not Politics As Usual"), would go for a meaningful change.

Enter, stage right, Americans Elect.

   A group called Americans Elect seems poised to take advantage. Forces and elements are ready to converge in the summer of 2012 to create a perfect storm of sorts. Americans Elect is a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation. The name uses what rhetoricians call "god terms": terms that should appeal to everyone. Plus, it is a charity. Who can argue with the notion of a charity? Unlike a 501(c)(3) charity, a (c)(4) can lobby. Also, it does not have to report the names of its contributors.

   Americans Elect 2012 has a website. A dynamic of Americans Elect is its emphasis on the internet. It asks: "What is Americans Elect?" Conveniently it answers the question:

"Americans Elect is the first nonpartisan nomination. We’re using the Internet to break the gridlock in Washington, open up the political process and give every single voter—Democrat, Republican or independent—the power to nominate a presidential ticket in 2012. Your voice matters. You decide the issues. You choose the candidates. And in a secure, online convention next June, you will make history by putting the Americans Elect ticket on the ballot in every state." 

   This sounds, in the words of Tony the Tiger, "G-r-r-r-e-a-t!"

   Unfortunately, this is a con job. The people behind Americans Elect are taking advantage of provisions of the tax code and Citizens United to perhaps steal a presidential election as was done in 2000 (or maybe 2004, but I’ll get to that).

Who (officially) is Americans Elect?

   Americans Elect is registered with the Office of the Indiana Secretary of State. Its address is 1775 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, #1212, Washington, DC 20006.

   Its principals are listed as Joshua Levine (president and director), Kahlil Byrd (CEO, treasurer, and director), Wendy Drake (secretary), and Peter Ackerman (director). Their goal is placement of a presidential candidate on every state’s ballot. Friedman, New York Times, July 23, 2011. Their website says that straightforwardly:

"Americans Elect is already well on the way to putting the first directly-nominated nonpartisan ticket on the 2012 ballot in all 50 states."

Who really is behind Americans Elect?

  It is troubling that Americans Elect does not disclose who its donors are.

  Also troubling is the group’s ties to Arno Political Consultants. On December 22, 2011, under the tab for "Who We Are" on its website, appeared the photographs of Kellen Arno ("National Field Director") and Michael Arno ("Ballot Access Advisor"). 

   Tomorrow, a very Happy Christmas to you, and more about Americans Elect.

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Comment by Mark Small on December 25, 2011 at 1:05pm

And Paul, I only added that as a tag line to the blog. That was my error. The real topic of the blog has to do with AE. If you'd like, we can discuss the happy holiday concept on another thread. I'd like people to be aware of what Americans Elect is about and get their thoughts on it. 

Comment by Mark Small on December 25, 2011 at 11:41am

My thoughts about the true meaning of Christmas are: people in ancient, pre-Christian times, times celebrated this time of year for reasons other than as the birthday of Jesus. The Winter Solstice, as the birthday of Mithra, etc. If biblical accounts of the birth of Jesus (primarily from the gospel of Lke) are true, Jesus was born in August of the year 6, C.E. Shepherds do not tend their flocks by night in December. At least they would not have then. It's ery cold at night in that region at that time of year. Also, historical records are pretty good whe it comes to matters such as tax collection efforts of the time. Herrod's was not around December. And it was in the year 6 C.E. My idea of a Merry Christmas is a day off to party, enjoy, relax with friends.  

Comment by paul wheeler on December 25, 2011 at 11:19am

I noticed you wished us a 'very Happy Christmas to you', which begs the question of what the true meaning of Christmas really means to you.  Your thoughts?

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