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As Americans Elect Submerges, watch for the Common Sense Coalition to pop up

The private nominate-a-president corporation called Americans Elect still exists, but its operations have ceased for the time being, sunk by its failure to find enough actual people who agreed with its centrist mission. But the people who funded Americans Elect are still there, they still have an interest in affecting American politics, and they still have a whole lot of money. This means we can expect to see the players behind Americans Elect resurface with some new centrist enterprise.

One such enterprise to watch out for is the Common Sense Coalition. Although there are some indications that it was nominally functional before this year, the Common Sense Coalition officially incorporated as a 501c4 corporation in April of 2012, the month when it became clear beyond a doubt that Americans Elect would tank. April 2012 is also when the Common Sense Coalition booted up its Twitter and Facebook accounts. The Common Sense Coalition is headquartered in office space also used by onetime Senate candidate and cofounder Greg Orman to run Exemplar Wealth Management.

Two of the three named cofounders of the Common Sense Coalition were also members of the Americans Elect Board of Advisors. A majority of the Common Sense Coalition founders and board are either themselves large private investors or managers of large private investments.

Although it is quite new in its active form, the Common Sense Coalition has already attracted social media attention from many of the same people following other centrist organizations backed by the private wealth management industry. The following Twitter accounts, for example, follow the Common Sense Coalition, No Labels, Americans Elect and last month’s “centrist” political effort, the Committee to Get Walker Running:

A1471
brittclem
BudgetHawks
cbsnewsman
DGrahamKy
edvonbargen
Indie_Voters
IVNetwork
kirk_pj
lindajkillian
NickTroiano
NOH8Campaign
rrnusa
SAMovement
stevebrawner
TruthSerumUSA
VoteIndeCan
VotesForCharity

5 of those 18 accounts also follow the twitter accounts of the Concord Coalition and the Comeback America Initiative, two centrist organizations funded by Peter G. Peterson:

BudgetHawks
DGrahamKy
lindajkillian
NickTroiano
stevebrawner

These social media connections are not necessarily indicative of an intentional conspiracy, but it is indicative of a community of well-funded organizations supported by private wealth managers drawing attention from a common, relatively small set of the centrist-minded: some of them political observers and reporters, some of them political players. The Common Sense Coalition is not alone; it’s joining that community.

Unlike Americans Elect, the Common Sense Coalition is rather open about its aims: shoving aside social issues as irrelevant to the bottom line, making cuts to Social Security and Medicare, increasing reliance on sick people paying their own medical bills and decreasing reliance on collective health insurance, and cutting corporate taxes — all policies which would be of direct or indirect benefit to private wealth managers and their clients.

The Common Sense Coalition is organized as a 501(c)(4) corporation that intends to “work with centrist candidates to ensure their message gets out.” If you’re interested in tracking private wealth “centrist” political organizing, this is an organization to keep an eye on.

10 comments to As Americans Elect Submerges, watch for the Common Sense Coalition to pop up

  • a1949seeker@earthlink.net

    Jim,

    I visited the Common Sense Coalition and found their website format to be informative. It gave me a frame of reference as to who they are and what they purport to support. In developing an open website this and more is the type of framework that a good coalition website should adopt (Americans Elect, No-Labels, Come Back Amerieca, and others do make this kind of effort.

    I like some of the commentary on Irregular Times, yours in particular. However, the framing of an organization for this website is almost nil? I would like to see you change that to provide more transparency. I request this in the spirit of a critical supporter (follower) and not an antagonist!

    Yours truly,

    Jerry

    • Jerry,

      The Common Sense Coalition is open in terms of its preferred policies. It is not yet open in regard to its funders (I’m going to write on that subject tomorrow).

      You’ve asked for my personal information before, and I’ve provided it to you before — follow this link.

      Irregular Times has no organizational information associated with it because it is not an organization. We are not a for-profit or non-profit corporation. We are not incorporated in any manner. Irregular Times is a group of people who write together. That’s why all I can give you is my personal information — because that’s all Irregular Times is: just people.

  • Bill

    In a letter I just now found on the web (I can’t testify to its provenance) one of the founders of CSC purportedly states: “As we launch today, we’ll start accumulating Facebook ‘Likes’ and website signups. As the movement builds, we’ll move to stage two, which will involve endorsing centrist candidates who are tough on budgets and won’t get caught up in the culture wars. In later stages, we hope to fund candidates in key races, and work with other groups to support a center coalition in both the House and Senate.”

    Their web site talks about their target group as “fiscally responsible and socially tolerant.” Alas, given that they seek to support candidates who “wont get caught up in the culture wars” they apparently believe that “socially tolerant” means “we don’t really give a damn about social issues…money is all that matters to us.”

    Typical one-dimensional ‘centrism’ (a code name for ‘fiscal austerity’). Let the folks who are busy defending human rights, and those who are busy violating them, just go at each other. We really don’t care about that stuff. We’re too busy counting our money.

  • malachi waynesboro

    Sounds like an elephant in sheep’s clothing to me. They emphasize the Dem. super-pac when the right wing pacs are huge in comparison. Way too many ambiguous catch phrases in the mission statement and CEOs on the board.Read between the lines!

  • Thanks for this intro, Jim.

    Notice, too, how seamlessly the elite framing — that “moderate,” “centrist” and “fiscally responsible and socially tolerant” is the “common sense” position — leads in to the No Labels / Americans Elect messaging that anyone who doesn’t adhere to this ideological and policy agenda is an “extremist” who is, by definition, untrustworthy and dispensable.

    Such a cynical, self-serving, partisan and, ultimately, business-as-usual way of doing politics.

    Very slippery, too, in claiming (on the home page) “40%” — the proportion of the electorate that self-ID’s as “independent” — as the proportion that supports the “centrist” agenda. The false equivalence between “independent” and fiscally hawk-ish “centrist” is one of the more insidious aspects of this whole trend.

    And don’t even get me started on “tolerant” — “tolerance” being one of those weasel words that almost invariably means mere tolerance.

    • John,

      Now you’ve got me looking for catchphrases. Here’s another:

      “Sensible Center” at CommonSenseCoalition.com: here and here 2

      “Sensible Center” at NoLabels.org: here and here and here and here and here

      “Sensible Center” at ConcordCoalition.org: here and here

      “Sensible Center” at AmericansElect.org: scrubbed away, but preserved here

      I betcha $20 that someone poll-tested “sensible center” and it came out on top, maybe over “marvelous middle” and “fabulous fiscalicacity.”

      • Yes, the “center,” we are told, is “sensible”; “vital”; “radical,” even.

        As to the first of these, though — “sensible center”…

        In a 10 December 1995 New York Times op-ed, Paul Tsongas — he of the Concord Coalition — credited Colin Powell with the term.

        The week before, Michael Lind said the same thing, in a piece for the New York Times Magazine.

        On 20 May 1996, John Judis, writing the The New Republic, echoed the credit to Powell.

        Before all of these, though, it was R.W. Apple who, in a 10 September 1995 piece for the New York Times, provided the actual quote, from Powell’s autobiography:

        [T]he time may be at hand for a third major party to emerge to represent the sensible center of the American political spectrum.

        (Further research suggests that this quote originally was excerpted the day before Apple’s piece — in Time magazine.)

  • a1949seeker@earthlink.net

    Where is Mr. Lutz (I think that’s his name)? Common language between individuals and institutions if orchestrated by direction is a detriment to independent thinking and makes me think of puppets.

  • t ball

    Please put “centrist” in quotes when referencing this collection of would-be kingmakers. I have about as much trust in their turning out to be “centrist” as I have in their willingness to be open about their funding.

  • I think you’ve nailed it. The “center” is always contextual or subjective. I would label this no labels group as “extreme austerity” for people earning less than 6 figures and “extreme subsidy” for the already opulent beneficiaries of the military industrial catastrophe and all of its corporate cousins.
    What we need is a coalition of libertarians and progressives who offer a balanced antidote to this new packaging of the same old lowest common denominator policies for preserving the permanently powerful.

    That AE folded when it found out that there is a thirst for populist solutions and that this new package is emerging signals their desperation to find clever astroturf schemes to stave off real revolution.

    If we libertarians and progressives would get over our delusions of a coming catastrophe presaging an enlightenment of the masses to our sectarian agendas, we might stand a chance of slaying this corporate monster once and for all.

    One can dream at least.

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