This morning on Morning Joe, former GOP candidate Jon Huntsman told viewers that we should all support a third party, saying “I think we’re going to have problems politically until we get some sort of third party movement or some voice out there that can put forth new ideas.”
Moments later, Huntsman remembered that he’s backing Mitt Romney and said of this third party movement “That ain’t gonna be me, by the way.” Then he claimed that his Romney endorsement was conditioned on the lack of a third party candidate.
This was a bizarre interview to watch. Huntsman, who looked entirely uncomfortable as a GOP candidate saying whacked out crazy talk like “I believe in science,” would seem to be exactly the third party candidate he’s asking for — an economic conservative unwilling to ally with far-right social conservatives. His comments were designed to test the waters to see if he can be dragged into a third party run by his supporters. He remains in second place in the Americans Elect polling.
The whole “Third Party” meme is one of my least favorite in politics. I’m not talking about the Libertarians or Greens or Socialists, who actually want fundamental changes in American governance. But those crowing for a “Third Party” on the mainstream media are always supporters of a losing wing of one of the two dominant parties crying about their lot in life. They don’t want a “change” in American politics, they just want to blackmail their chosen coalition to assert more influence after their party rejected them. This time it’s the classic supply-siders like Huntsman, who envisioned limitless revenues raised by slashing tax rates on the wealthy who now find themselves marginalized because the resounding failure of their policies has created a resurgent budget hawk wing and a heightened focus on socially conservative wedge issues. But this presents a prisoner’s dilemma for constituent interests within the major parties — if they defect in a major election they only help defeat the only marginally sympathetic candidate to their cause and rarely succeed in blackmailing their way to greater influence next time around.
So go ahead Huntsman supporters…throw your vote away!