Let The Greatest Man Win?

May 2 2012 @ 8:37pm

Mark Schmitt thinks that Americans Elect, the crowd-sourced online campaign to pick a presidential candidate, misunderstands politics:

[T]he deepest problem with Americans Elect is its unspoken Great Man Theory of American politics (and this is a Great Man Theory: you can count on one hand the women among the 26 declared candidates and top 50 draft candidates for the AE nomination): All we need to break through Washington’s dysfunction, so goes the idea, is a president with the will to get things done.

Weirdly, this theory echoes both the most delirious Grant Park dreams of what Barack Obama would be able to achieve in the White House, and the delusions of Obama’s sharpest critics from the left, who insist that if he had only pushed harder for a bigger economic stimulus or a public option in health reform he would both have more to show for his presidency and be coasting to reelection. If the last three years have not demonstrated that the President operates within the constraints of an extremely complicated institutional structure with veto points everywhere, what could convince someone? How would a president with no allies in Congress do better?

Avlon profiles the group's founder, Peter Ackerman:

Americans Elect has flown under the radar because it has so far failed to attract a prominent candidate, despite conducting what Ackerman describes as 100 confidential briefings to potential candidates ranging from senators and governors to university presidents and CEOs.