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Raymond J. Learsy

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'Americans Elect' and Tom Friedman's Op-ed

Posted: 07/25/11 12:02 PM ET

With the current fiscal emergency, with the urgent need to raise the debt ceiling to avoid crippling Treasury default we have a government so dysfunctional that our elected representatives would tolerate fiscal meltdown with its enormous ramifications to all our financial well-being. Here we have the Democrats, with President Obama at the helm, stubbornly playing with the evil genie and fire of class warfare. The Republicans, on the other hand, whose fiscal laxity toward their banker paymasters did much to create the economic miasma on Main Street, are now calling for fiscal restraint at a moment when fiscal stimulus is needed to give Main Street and the Middle Class a chance to bring them back into balance and to bring the economy out of its most serious torpor since the Great Depression -here, the spirit of Herbert Hoover lives again.

Yesterday in the New York Times in his Op-Ed. Thomas L. Friedman wrote "Make Way For the Radical Center" bringing into focus to a wide public the nascence of an organization meant to deal with "this kind of idiocy by elected officials". It is an organization of "frustrated, Democrats, Republicans, and independents called American's Elect". Their goal is to present another venue to the Presidential nominating process, one that would allow all Americans to have a voice rather than the two parties and the special interests to which they are beholden.

"Our goal is to open up what has been an anti-competitive process to people in the middle who are unsatisfied with the choices of the two parties" commented Kahlil Byrd, the C.E.O. of Americans Elect.

Just about a year ago, this corner commented on Americans Elect, its formation and its potential (please see "Decline of the Middle Class as Metaphor for the Decline of America" 08.08.2010). Many of the issue that concern us all still today were touched upon. From that post permit me the following quote:

"And yet something is stirring. People throughout the land understand that the political system is broken, ... that their government no longer speaks for them no matter which party happens to be in power. They feel the system is gamed from within, for and about those who have access and the money to follow through to assure their parochial interests are taken into account...How those interests impact the greater good has become dangerously secondary... A movement new to many, headed by people of impeccable credentials who are devising a program using the new age technology to bring all Americans back into the political process in a a meaningful way...The new Organization is called Americans Elect...It has the potential of becoming the salutary wave of America's political future."

Just over a week ago in a post "America Needs a President Who Will Confront The Financial Industry's Hegemony Over Our Lives" 08.14.11, I ventured a some length about the urgent need for government to divorce itself from the malignant influence of the financial sector, putting forward as a prospective candidate for high office Sheila Bair, the recently retired Chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Bair, who during her years of tenure fought the influence of Wall Street tooth and nail, doing her utmost to bring relief and focus to the bleeding on Main Street rather than the indiscriminate propping up of the big banks and their ancillary institutions. She received enormous grief from those within the Treasury and the President's financial advisers who did not take kindly to her petulance, but enormous respect by those who understood the sense of fair-play she was trying to bring to policy.

Not the kind of public personage either party would welcome as a candidate, but very much the caliber of public servant America needs and Americans might well be able to elect with American's Elect in full operational mode. There are of course others such as Elizabeth Warren, who in spite of her service, the President did not nominate to head the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau given Republican bank mandated opposition.

The nation's current despondency is such that an operative Americans Elect would be a vast boost to its morale. Clearly, we badly need a functioning Americans Elect to restore our faith in America's future.

 
 
 

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