Former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman will not be joining Governor Chris Christie on the campaign trail for Mitt Romney.
Whitman is a director of Americans Elect 2012, a PAC that converted into an educational group so that it would not have to disclose its donors. The group wants Americans to nominate a “centrist” Independent presidential candidate via Internet voting. They are working to secure ballot positions in all 50 states. So far they’re on the ballots in Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Nevada, Michigan, Florida, Ohio, and Utah. There are reports that they’ve submitted petitions in California and Hawaii.
Despite their success in collecting signatures to get on ballots, there is a lot of controversy about the group that will likely hamstring their efforts going forward. There is a clause in their by laws that allows the group’s directors to disqualify “America’s” candidate. They’ve got a rule restricting how their nominee selects his/her vice presidential candidate. The group says it doesn’t support or oppose any particular candidate at this point, but Whitman has been promoting Jon Huntsman as a third party candidate and Mark McKinnon, another director of the group, said Mitt Romney doesn’t have the cojones to be president.
Sounds more like a three ring circus than a third party. Besides, the Republicans look as though they are going to nominate a centrist in either Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich.
As an aside, how long will it be before a highly paid national pundit writes a column about what it means about America that the three front runners for president have weird first names?
Even without the other controversies surrounding Americans Elect 2012, Whitman joining their board should be a sign of that the group is doomed to fail. Her legacy as New Jersey’s Governor and as Administrator of the EPA under President George W. Bush is beyond embarrassing.
The messes that Governor Christie is cleaning up now….the broke pension system, broke transportation trust fund, broke unemployment insurance fund, Abbot and COAH, were all started or made worse by Whitman and her appointees. Shortly after 9-11, EPA Administrator Whitman declared the air at Ground Zero safe to breathe, thereby sending clean up workers to slow deaths and long term disabilities.
It’s little wonder that candidate Chris Christie declared that he’s not a Whitman Republican.
Despite Americans Elect’s foibles, a third party presidential candidate might be a good news for those who want President Obama to be a one termer.
In modern times, i.e., during the lifetimes of anyone likely to vote in 2012, there have been only two elected incumbent presidents denied a second term by the voters; Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. Both had significant third party challengers during their reelection bids. John Anderson, a Republican Congressman from Illinois ran against Carter and Ronald Reagan. Reagan won. Ross Perot, the populist Texas billionaire ran against Bush and Bill Clinton. Clinton won.
The bad news, from a historical perspective, is that Carter and Bush 41 also faced significant primary challenges prior to being renominated. Carter was challenged for the Democratic nomination in 1980 by Teddy Kennedy. Bush was challenged for the 1992 GOP nomination by Pat Buchanan.
Reagan’s primary challenge against Gerald Ford in 1976, preceding Carter’s election, may indicate that an incumbent’s problems within their own party may be more of a detriment to reelection than a third party challenge. Unfortunately, there is no Democrat seriously challenging Obama.
New York Post columnist John Podhoretz says New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is “clearly eyeing” a third party run for president. A Bloomberg run might be America’s best hope of defeating Obama next year. The Mayor has the resources to make a credible run and a nanny state record to appeal to enough dissatisfied Democrats and left leaning Independents.