When it became clear that despite its money and inside connections Unity08 was not attracting popular support, its two chief leaders abandoned their pretense to not having a preferred presidential candidate and stepped down from Unity08 to start the Draft Bloomberg Committee. It turned out that the connections between Unity08 and the Draft Bloomberg Committee were extensive: Unity08 gave money to the Draft Bloomberg Committee. Multiple Unity08 staffers also went to work on the Draft Bloomberg Committee along with the Unity08 chiefs. Unity08 shared office space with the Draft Bloomberg Committee too. Finally, it turned out that Unity08 had reserved the domain name draftmichaelbloomberg.com a year before.
As in recent weeks it has become clear that despite its money and inside connections Americans Elect is not attracting popular support, a group within Americans Elect has begun efforts to kick start a presidential campaign, this time for someone named David Walker. Ned Martel of the Washington Post breaks the news behind the mysterious change, starting with the leaders and advisers who form the core of Americans Elect:
…from those advisers may come Americans Elect’s face-saving option. In the past month, a small group of activists has emerged to recruit Dave Walker, an independent who once ran the Government Accountability Office, to run for president. Walker, who is on the Americans Elect board of advisers, said that he knew about the effort and that an Americans Elect employee had stepped down to lead the draft movement. Also in recent weeks, Americans Elect changed the requirements Walker needs to meet to win the nomination, revising the number of online supporters to 1,000 in 10 states instead of 5,000 in 10 states.
“This is an issue-oriented movement, and they’re trying to put a face to the movement,” Walker said in a phone interview. He said his mission has long been deficit reduction and the reorganization of the national debt. “For whatever reason, they believe I’m a person who symbolizes that. I guess they kind of view me as a means to an end.”
Americans Elect leaders have promoted and done favors for a Draft Walker committee, and one of them (unnamed) has even moved over into overt leadership of this Draft Walker committee. And just as in 2008 Draft Bloomberg Committee leaders swore that it was “unrelated” to Unity08 (when it turned out it was in many ways), in 2012 David Walker is taking to the news media to insist that the Draft Walker committee is “unrelated” to Americans Elect:
“Reports in the media have mentioned an effort to draft me as a candidate for President through the Americans Elect (AE) process, and I want to clarify my position. I am aware of this recent independent movement to draft me, which is an initiative by people who evidently share my views regarding the need for fiscal, political and other major reforms to keep America great. Importantly, their effort is unrelated to the Comeback America Initiative (CAI), No Labels, and AE organizations.
“While I appreciate and am humbled by their efforts, I am not a candidate and don’t expect to become one. Rather, I am focused on my many responsibilities, including serving as CEO of the non-partisan CAI, as a national co-founder of No Labels, and as a member of AE’s Board of Advisors.”
The second paragraph is a typical non-Shermanesque statement by a person who hopes to become a candidate in the future; notice the careful choice of words.
And who was talking about the Comeback America Initiative and No Labels? How very odd of David Walker to be specifically denying involvement by the Comeback America Initiative and No Labels when nobody in the media has been mentioning these groups as behind the Draft Walker committee along with Americans Elect. A curious choice, don’t you think?
And now that David Walker mentions it…
What group spent last fall organizing a “Draft Dave Walker” online campaign? Why, it was No Labels.
What group was asking people this February to spread around Thomas Friedman’s column calling on David Walker to run for president? Why, it was No Labels.
What group has extensive documented connections with Americans Elect? Why, No Labels.
What group was founded the very same month as No Labels? Why, the Comeback America Initiative.
Whose policy ideas has No Labels been fawning over since its creation? Why, Peter G. Peterson’s.
Who was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation immediately before taking on his position as head of the new Comeback America Initiative, funded by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation? Why, David Walker.
Is No Labels funded by Peter G. Peterson? No Labels refuses to answer that question.
Is Americans Elect funded by Peter G. Peterson? Americans Elect refuses to answer that question.
Was Unity08, Americans Elect’s direct predecessor, funded by Peter G. Peterson? Why, yes. Oh, yes indeed. Pete Peterson gave the maximum-allowable contribution at the time.
But David Walker says these groups are entirely unrelated to the Draft David Walker movement that otherwise has essentially no popular support. And since David Walker says so, without prompting by anyone in the media, why, it must be so. Just one of those curious thingamabobs that happens now and then, surely.