The League Of Ordinary Electors

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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122 Responses

  1. Tom Van Dyke says:

    Is the 22nd Amendment still in effect? 😉Report

  2. Mike Dwyer says:

    I’m going to go with Mitch Daniels for president and Marco Rubio for VP. Is that all I have to do to participate?Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      I’d expect that at this point, the merits and demerits of the proposed Daniels-Rubio slate would be discussed.

      I kind of like Daniels, myself, and consider it too bad he took himself out of the Veepstakes. He seems to have a lot of good technical skills with both governmental budgets and the crafting of public policy, and while he holds his principles strongly he is also willing to listen and compromise with those who differ with him.

      On the other hand, even understanding that much of that sort of thing is beyond any President’s control and that there are career diplomats who would advise him, I’m not at all sure what sorts of skills or experience President Daniels would bring to the table in terms of foreign policy or what he would do with the U.S.A.’s power on the international stage.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Well Daniels represents a great choice for Administrator-in-Chief. He has a very positive record on bipartisan accomplishments and he’s loved by a lot of Democrats in his home state. So some of the moderate left electors should be able to get behind him in later votes (assuming the first round divides along party lines).

        His foreign policy experience is nill. My inclination was to suggest Huntsman for VP to solve this deficiency but two moderates does not make a winning ticket IMO. Rubio serves on the Committee on Foreign relations and I think he has shown in his brief senate career that he is thinking about foreign issues. He’s opinionated on immigration which is a domestic issue with foreign implications. No practical experience but we’ve nothing different in recent decades (Clinton/Gore comes to mind).Report

        • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          Anybody who buys into the “Mitch Daniels is a moderate” BS, please go read Doghouse Riley, a person who knows more about Indiana politics than all of the people on this board put together.

          There are actual moderates, like say, Lincoln Chaffee or even Olympia Snowe when she’s not afraid of a primary challenge. Convincing the Democratic Party that gave us Evan Bayhto go along with center-right policy proposal doesn’t make you a moderate.Report

          • Mike Dwyer in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:


            “Convincing the Democratic Party that gave us Evan Bayhto go along with center-right policy proposal doesn’t make you a moderate.”

            Center-right’ and ‘moderate’ mean the same thing IMO. Report

  3. Murali says:

    Gary Johnson forthe prez and Cory booker for the veep.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Murali says:

      Mmm. I like me some Gary Johnson. Well, mostly.

      Cory Booker is certainly plain-spoken. I don’t know that I’d want him a heartbeat away, though.Report

      • Murali in reply to Burt Likko says:

        He seems non-ideological enough to get the job done in a pinch. His standing up to his fellow democrats over casting finance as villains kind of impressed me.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Murali says:

          I think Booker is a future governor. If Romney wins, one of the smartest things he could possibly do is call him up on his second day in office and ask him to be on the cabinet… because that might derail him a bit.

          I like these choices. I’ve been thinking about VP picks for a while and a guy who is a straight shooter who can say things as a trial balloon for the administration is a very useful thing to have for any President and, unlike Biden, I get the feeling that Booker is a diamond in the rough with regards to his future prospects. They’ve got a superstar there, the Democrats do, if they play their cards right.

          Unless someone else has an even better VP pick, I think I’m caucusing with Murali. Or whatever the term is.Report

          • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird says:

            Sorry, for those of us who don’t think that you can fix education by just destroying teachers unions, Booker’s a non-starter for me. But, I understand why you’d like him. He’s taking the fight to those middle-class workers who actually have a decent pension!Report

      • Glyph in reply to Burt Likko says:

        I kinda like this. Booker’s certainly no worse than some of the goobers we’ve had, & risked having, as veep.


        Sorry, that word was too fun not to type again.Report

  4. Kazzy says:

    “…the President and Vice-President must be residents of different states…”

    Is that a real requirement for the Presidency/Vice Presidency? If so, what the hell is the point of that?Report

    • Trumwill in reply to Kazzy says:

      To moderate Virginia’s domination, I would assume. With this requirement, at least one of them has to be from Not Virginia.Report

    • Dan Miller in reply to Kazzy says:

      Remember, the founders thought that politics would be organized around the states vying for dominance, and they missed parties completely. So this rule ensured that one state didn’t get to control a whole branch of government (it also implicitly assumes that the Vice President matters, which is a separate mistake–honestly, this part of the Constitution was full of problems).Report

    • Trumwill in reply to Kazzy says:

      BTW, this was actually relevant in 2000. Both Bush and Cheney were residents of Texas. Cheney quickly became an official resident of Wyoming and thus eligible to be VP.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Trumwill says:

        And that happened after Bush assigned Cheney to find him a Vice President. Cheney looked around a bit without seeing anything he liked, then one day saw his reflection in a mirror. And the rest, as they say, is history.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Trumwill says:


        I sort of figured it was meaningless nowadays given how easy it is to change parties.

        And why was I under the impression that the very early Vice Presidents were the second-place finishers for Presidents…? Was that ever true?Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

          * D’OH! Change STATES. Not parties. It’s impossible to change parties. They take your right thumb if you do.Report

        • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Kazzy says:

          Yup. Before the 12th Amendment, the “runner-up” to the President became Vice-President. Which is how we got Thomas Jefferson being John Adam’s President.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

            What would they have done if the runner-up was from the same state as the President?

            And imagine if we had that shit now? I imagine incredibly tense dinners, drunken tickle fights, and assassinations… TONS of assassinations.Report

            • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Kazzy says:

              Considering after the first contested election, they amended the problem out of existence, let’s just say our Founders may not have thought through everything like the myths say. 🙂Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                They didn’t anticipate parties. Once they exist, it becomes blindingly obvious that the two top candidates will always be the two guys from the most popular one, and that they’ll tie.Report

            • Ryan Noonan in reply to Kazzy says:

              There would be no problem if the runner-up were from the same state (see clarifications below), although that was vanishingly unlikely to happen. The actual system itself was pure bananas. As Jesse says, they quite rightly ran screaming as soon as they saw what it meant in practice.Report

              • Trumwill in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                It always seems weird to me that states have independently elected lieutenant governors. That’s not quite as bad as the runner-up model, but it’s still sub-optimal.Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Trumwill says:

                Well, I’ve never understood the purpose of Lt. Governor’s in general. I mean, yes, we need a clear chain of command in case the President has a heart attack. The state of Kansas for instance will not fall apart if somebody who has an actual other job (say, the State Attorney General) was next-in-line.Report

              • I support a combination SecState/LtGov position, like New Jersey has, run on a ticket and not fireable.Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Will Truman says:

                That’s perfectly fine. An independent Lt. Governor with no extra responsibilities is one public sector employee I’m fine with getting rid of!Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                The LtGov in California has defined responsibilities, including acting as governor when his boss is out if the state. (Speaking of entirely outdated laws.)Report

              • Yeah, I was about to say that’s true of one of the state’s I’ve lived in. The part about acting as governor (there was an incident involving clemency once…).Report

              • The LtGov of California has a million and a half minor responsibilities. Whenever they create a board or commission that they want somebody important on, they make the LtGov an ex-officio member, presumably on the principle that he has nothing better to do.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Trumwill says:

                Yep. I recall a time in Nebraska when the unicameral majority and the lt. governor were from one party, and the governor from another. The party of the lt. governor wanted to pass a particular piece of legislation that the governor opposed, but didn’t have the votes to overrule a veto. Under Nebraska law at the time, if the governor were out of the state, the lt. governor could sign legislation. For some time, the governor was basically confined to the state in order to keep that particular bill from becoming law.

                Definitely something less than optimal.Report

              • There’s a plot for a sitcom in there. For the next episode of “Yes, Governor” perhaps…Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Will Truman says:

                “Finally, we can enact …”

                (Toilet flush sound effect, door slam sound effect. Governor descends stairs.)

                “Man, that’s the last time we have those giant burritos for lunch!” (laugh track) “Did ANYbody MISS me?” (This is the governor’s catch phrase. Applause sound effect.)Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Will Truman says:

                Wasn’t that show called “Benson”?Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Michael Cain says:

                Actually, that’s another idea. All state legislatures should be unicameral.Report

              • M.A. in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                It was supposed to be a feature, not a bug. Letting the runner-up preside over the Senate was a brake on the power of the Executive, who would then have to hopefully work with his rival on legislation and produce something that was a compromise and not an ideological disaster.

                Then again these were the same people who George Washington thought would listen to him about not forming rigid political parties and getting into all sorts of nasty foreign-alliance entanglements.Report

            • Turgid Jacobian in reply to Kazzy says:

              Drunken tickle fights? This is the Presidency and Vice Presidency we’re talking about, not the Minerals Management Service, for God’s sake!Report

        • Trumwill in reply to Kazzy says:

          The different-states requirement was actually specified by the 12th amendment, where they also specified that the Vice President must be actually eligible for the presidency.

          (Technically speaking, a President and VP can be from the same state. HOWEVER, it means that electors said state cannot cast their vote for both candidates. So in the Bush/Cheney scenario, the electors from Texas would not be able to cast their vote for Bush and Cheney had he not moved to Wyoming. Had Cheney died in office, there wouldn’t have been anything to prevent Bush from nominating Rick Perry to be his VP.)Report

          • Ryan Noonan in reply to Trumwill says:

            This is correct; you beat me to it!

            The rule is that electors must cast at least one of their two votes for someone who is not from their own state. This was originally to prevent the electors from all just picking two people from their own state, which would have never yielded a consensus pick for president. It makes less sense now, but at the time it was a reasonable fear.

            There is nothing stopping two candidates from the same state from being on the same ticket, if they’re willing to give up their home state’s Electoral Votes. Most are, for obvious reasons, unwilling.Report

            • Trumwill in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

              This was originally to prevent the electors from all just picking two people from their own state, which would have never yielded a consensus pick for president.

              Ahh, okay. I’d thought it was a response to The Virginia Problem.Report

              • Ryan Noonan in reply to Trumwill says:

                The Virginia Problem takes many forms, although in this case, it’s more of a Virginia And Massachusetts Problem. Which, of course, is how we got our first two president/vice president pairs anyway.Report

            • Mike Schilling in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

              if they’re willing to give up their home state’s Electoral Votes.

              If one of them is willing. Say Bush is running with a Cheney who admits to being a Texan: each Texas Elector can vote for one or the other of them, just not both.Report

          • Mike Schilling in reply to Trumwill says:

            And if they’d both been from Wyoming, rather than Texas, it’s less of an issue, though in 2000 specifically, that would have been important.Report

  5. b-psycho says:

    Gary Johnson for President. If we’re doomed to continue to have one, it’d be nice for once to have one (minus the baggage of a Ron Paul) whose initial instinct was that the government should not do something. Also, maybe that foreign policy that’s creating our future enemies can finally cease.

    For VP…Thomas Knapp (click the link & scroll if you’re not familiar with his views). Two main reasons: he comes rather close to my views, and he’s got military experience (people seem to like that that. If it helps them swallow true anti-imperialism, cool). Figure he’d keep Gary from going too reformist about things. Rather have him as prez, but I have to at least somewhat capitulate to preferences, right?

    BTW: if Gary got to nominate a replacement SC justice, I’d eagerly recommend Glenn Greenwald for the spot.


    • Glyph in reply to b-psycho says:

      Or put Greenwald in charge of Homeland Security or DEA. Anywhere he can take a whack at rolling back some of the ever-escalating encroachment of civil liberties. The man has done some yeoman’s work and he’s pretty much the only reason left to ever read Salon.

      Or maybe Radley Balko, who has also done a bunch on police corruption/incompetence and militarization, much of it WOD-related.Report

      • Nob Akimoto in reply to Glyph says:

        See, I can’t really imagine Greenwald being an effective cabinet member or a Supreme Court justice, because so much of his style depends on a holier than thou barrage of polemics…Report

        • Chris in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

          I like much of what Greenwald says about issues like drone strikes and Guantanamo, but I won’t pretend I don’t find his tendency towards histrionics both annoying (when he applies it to actual issues) and amusing (when he applies it to his personal interactions). Watching him claim that even a mild criticism of his writing is the WORST… THING… ANYONE… EVER… DONE… IN… HUMAN… HISTORY is fishin’ hilarious.Report

      • aaron david in reply to Glyph says:

        Balko, yes. Greenwald, no. He needs to have his head dunked in a tub ob wet puppies.Report

        • Glyph in reply to aaron david says:

          I see a lot of people have issues with Greenwald, and I dimly remember him having some sock puppet trouble back in the day; but some of the recent writing he has done condemning the expansion of presidential authority to place American citizens on a kill list without real due process, regardless of whether they are on a battlefield or actively plotting violent attacks, has been incandescent and very very needed. This was primarily the basis of my agreement.

          If you don’t mind my asking, what is it about Greenwald that rankles?Report

          • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

            I see Chris answered my question, weirdly I did not see his comment when I asked.

            I must have missed Greenwald’s more hysterical stuff. Like I said, I was basing my agreement on some of the stuff he’s written about the extrajudicial execution of American citizens. I’ll keep an eye out in future.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to b-psycho says:

      Holy crap, you know Thomas Knapp, too? I exchange e-mails and posts with him in another forum all the time.Report

  6. Jesse Ewiak says:

    For the left-wing commie-Dem commentariat, I hereby nominate Bernie Sanders as President and Jim McDermott as VP.Report

    • Plinko in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      What, no Feingold?Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Plinko says:

        Feingold’s a good statesman, but he’s a horrible politician for the current climate. As seen in his 2010 reelection race where he refused outside help from PAC’s and voted against Dodd-Frank because it didn’t do enough despite the fact it left him without something to point to that he fought for against Johnson.

        As Likko said, the guy we select has to govern, not just have the right positions.Report

        • Plinko in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          Well, the candidate has to win this election here, not a national popular vote, right?
          If your rule is that the candidate has to win the US Presidential Electoral College, Sanders would stand less than half the nearly zero chance Feingold does.Report

          • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Plinko says:

            “Bear in mind that we’re picking a President to govern from 2013 through 2016, inheriting the government we have with real-life current events.”

            Sorry, I don’t trust Feingold in a room with John Boehner, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell.Report

            • Plinko in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              Trust him to/not to? I”m baffled because the first and second half of your comment don’t line up when you’re preferring Bernie Sanders.Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Plinko says:

                By good politician for the climate, I meant willing to fight and not allow the GOP to define the terms of political debate. While I don’t think Obama has rolled over as some people on the Left, he has made some strategic mistakes I don’t think somebody like Sanders would’ve.

                On trusting, I mean getting out of a negotiation with McConnell or Boehner with at least half of a loaf. Considering the guy got outmanuevered by a no-name former executive of a random company in Wisconsin, I don’t trust him when every billionaire and conservative political operative is going to be coming after him.Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:


      Jim McDermott ?@RepJimMcDermott

      This can’t be real!?!? BUT IT IS: Republican Congressman “likens health care ruling to 9/11” (article: ). ?#scotus? ?#acaReport

  7. Nob Akimoto says:

    Do you trust the current congress to pick a decent president out of any slate we come up with…and then follow that up by actually allowing them to govern?

    I don’t know. The system you’re proposing sounds like we’d end up with a figurehead president ala Germany.Report

    • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      There are worst results than that.Report

      • Nob Akimoto in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:


        Prime Minister John Boehner with Eric Cantor/Paul Ryan as his Chancellor or Foreign minister are disgustingly scary thoughts.Report

        • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

          They’d actually be responsible for their actions at that point. After all, David Cameron hasn’t wrecked the NHS yet and would be resigned to the dustbin of history if they did that.

          But, now they can try to impede Obama’s policies and get away scot-free because most American’s are too busy to be political dorks like us.Report

  8. Ryan Noonan says:

    I’m sad that I can’t think of a better candidate to run on a liberty platform than Gary Johnson. He’s just not someone who fills me with a ton of confidence. I like Russ Feingold, but I was hopeful I could find someone less (potentially) ideologically problematic. Does this country have any goddamn statesmen left?

    I’ll nominate Ron Wyden, I guess. I think he’s really excellent and actually interested in solving problems.Report

  9. Plinko says:

    I nominate Russ Feingold for the presidency and Gary Johnson in the veep.Report

  10. Ryan Noonan says:

    Somehow I missed the picture on this post. Epic.Report

  11. It seems some combination of Feingold/Gary Johnson are getting a reasonable amount or support. I’d be willing to throw my support behind that combo as well, but just to mix it up a bit, and represent Jersey, might I suggest the Feingold be replaced by Rush Holt, for basically the same reasons?

    Bonus: we can respond to claims about how Americans don’t understand the world, and that it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to do a better Jon at doing so by saying: “Yeah, well our Veep actually IS a rocket scientist.”Report

    • No way, man. New Jersey had its shot at #2 with Garret Hobart, and we all know how that turned out. Dude’s only real job was to tell Big Bill jokes, drop the axe on the Secretary of War. He did have the good graces to eventually get out of the way (by dying, unfortunately for him) so we could have TR instead.

      I kid, because I’m a kidder. And New Jersey is such a tempting target.Report

  12. Mike Schilling says:

    Barney Frank for prez. Very smart guy, great politician. Al Franken for VP. Also very smart, a hard worker, and capable of being the attack dog during the campaign and a solid contributor afterward.Report

  13. If nominated I will peremptorily decline. Even if unanimously elected I will decline to serve. But thanks for the kind thoughts 😉Report

  14. E.C. Gach says:

    President: James Henry Webb, Jr.

    Vice President: John FettermanReport

  15. North says:

    I’m uncertain of the validity of it but I suggest Kang and Kodos. Their advanced alien technology and society would be of great benefit to America. While technically they are not natural born Americans I do believe they have the ability to steal the identity of some natural born Americans so perhaps Kang and Kodos in the bodies of Feingold and Johnson (I’m fine with either combination of aliens/human hosts and any order of veep pres).

    We shall go forward, not backways; upwards, not downwards and twirling always twirling towards freedom.Report

  16. Scott Fields says:

    “Bear in mind that we’re picking a President to govern from 2013 through 2016, inheriting the government we have with real-life current events.”

    With this rule in mind, I’m nominating Paul Ryan for President and Rick Santorum as VP. In addition, I’d speculate their election would also give the Republicans 60+ seats in the Senate, so the opposition would be as weak as possible. Koz will be overjoyed.

    Give the Republicans unfettered control to enact all their policies exactly as they want. They can make the country exactly how they envision it. Medicare on vouchers, war with Iran, anti-SSM amendment – the whole kit and kaboodle. Destroy the whole “no true Scotsman” element, so honest-to-God GOP style conservative governance completely carries the day. I give it 4 years before the whole lot of them are summarily rejected.

    Then, give the Democrats their turn to do the same thing.

    By 2020, with both major parties discredited, we can start to get some new thinking in Washington. Feingold can take over then.Report

    • This is a result from a GIS for the phrase “smoking wasteland,” which is not that far from I would predict would be the state of the nation after this experiment.Report

    • Matty in reply to Scott Fields says:

      Are you telling me the age of Bush wasn’t the Republicans having unfettered control to enact all their policies exactly as they want?Report

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Matty says:

        The GOP blew it and were voted out in 2006 and 2008. Now it’s the Dems’ turn–2010 down, 2012 to go.Report

      • Scott Fields in reply to Matty says:

        I wouldn’t say that, but the Republicans would.

        “Bush wasn’t a true conservative.”
        “Democrats controlled the Senate.”

        There are multitudinous excuses for why the Bush years were non-representative of the conservative governance promised land.Report

        • Bush isn’t running. And things started going to shit when the Dems took Congress in 2006.

          And really went to hell under Obama. That’s what 2012 is about. Good luck.

          We can only throw one set of bums out at a time. Now it’s your turn.Report

          • Scott Fields in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

            See, Matty? It’s as easy as that.

            Things didn’t start going to shit until the Dems took over in 2006. From 2000 to 2006, when we had conservative governance, GDP growth was robust because of the all the money flowing to the job creators due to the Bush tax cuts, healthcare costs were under control because the US healthcare system is “the best in the world, so shut up” and our nation was held in high esteem around the world because we were kicking ass and taking names in Iraq.

            Tom, I’m only being a little facetious about wanting to see the Republicans completely get their way. I mean, you think the Republicans blew it because they weren’t true to the ideology, not because the ideology failed, am I right?

            So, contra Burt, I think the US could survive my little experiment. Give the GOP (or “true” conservatives if you insist) every damn thing they want and let’s see if that delivers the results they promise and if those results keep the citizens happy. If they do, fabulous. It will rock to live in such a country. If they don’t, then let’s see some genuine contrition and get out of the way and let the “true” left have a go. My hope would be to end with a pragmatic, effective and modest governance where the ideologues would humbly keep quiet.Report

            • Mr. Fields, the “true” left did have a go: the Obama-Pelosi regime. 2010 halted it, 2012 will get on with undoing the damage.

              I do not think either party can govern forever without becoming bums. The GOP did well in Congress from 1994 on, and Bill Clinton held up his end—unlike Barack Obama—dealing with the reality that he needed to work with an opposing Congress.

              The Bush presidency is impossible to discuss at the present time, as the noise-to-signal ratio becomes prohibitive. It is therefore stipulated here that the GOP deserved to lose Congress in 2006, regardless of the merits of the Democrats.Report

            • Matty in reply to Scott Fields says:

              My point if I had one was that if the high levels of unpopularity Bush-Chenney had by then end were not enough to permanently discredit the Republican party there is no reason to think anyone else would do a better job of it.

              More broadly the experiment has been tried, both parties have had, albeit for shortish periods a President and a legislative majority. It doesn’t discredit them enough to swing votes to new parties and it doesn’t deliver anyone’s Utopia.Report

          • b-psycho in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

            If only we could one of these times Throw The Bums Out and not replace them.Report

  17. Burt Likko says:

    You know, it looks to me like we have a majority for Gary Johnson here. I suppose in retrospect that this is not cause for surprise.Report

  18. wardsmith says:

    Waited two days and still no Boehner / Weiner ticket?Report