It seems that the plague of independent-fever sweeping America’s columnists has gotten to Matt Miller:
The only sane agenda — more tax cuts and spending stimulus in the near term, coupled with much more deficit reduction in the long term, triggered once unemployment is back below 6 or 7 percent — is not even on the table. Nor is there room made for needed investments in infrastructure, research and development, and a new generation of teaching talent. All because the interest groups and ideological litmus tests in both parties ban an expression of a common-sense plan for American renewal — as well as utterance of the simple truth that as the boomers age, we’ll need to slow the growth of Medicare and Social Security, trim defense and raise taxes.
If you’re convinced people have more appetite for these truths than our “leaders” believe, now would be a good time to sign up for Americans Elect’s online nominating convention to put an independent ticket on the ballot that offers an alternative to these continuing charades.
If the problem is that there are some good ideas for boosting America’s economic growth, but “the interest groups and ideological litmus tests in both parties” won’t allow for its adoption then how does electing an independent president help? Both houses of Congress will be in the hands of the interest groups and ideological litmus tests and nothing will happen.
Now compare that situation to one in which a member of a major political party is elected president. On the one hand, as a partisan leader he’s beholden to interest groups and ideological litmus tests. On the other hand, as a practical politician he wants to win re-election. And his best chance at winning re-election is strong economic performance. So he has strong incentives to balance interest group considerations with his best assessment of what’s the right thing to do. And since his copartisans have an interest in his political success, he has a chance to mobilize political support for his agenda of reform and renewal.