Oh my: New RINO/DINO alliance ready to take America by storm

In fact, from what I can tell, it’s not so much RINO/DINO as it is a bunch of Democrats plus one lone Republican centrist, GOP strategist Mark McKinnon. A quick check of Open Secrets for the three major donors named — Andrew Tisch, Ron Shaich, and Dave Morin — reveals that they all typically donate to Democrats, and the three pols who are slated to attend the formal launch — Lieberman, Debbie Stabenow, and Antonio Villaraigosa — are, you guessed it, all Democrats. Which makes this yet another reminder that, for all the media hyperventilating about a GOP civil war between RINOs and tea partiers, the real action in intraparty warfare these days is between liberals and the centrists who’ll be stuck with them in the congressional minority for the foreseeable future.

In fairness, thanks to the money and names involved, they look to be a lot stronger than the Coffee Party. Think of them as … an Espresso Party?

The group, called “No Labels,” has drawn support from supporters and advisers of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the country’s most powerful independent politician, raising questions about his national political ambitions. Mr. Bloomberg has been invited to attend the group’s Dec. 13 launch…

The group’s goal is to start a centrist equivalent to the tea-party movement on the right and MoveOn on the left. It sees an opportunity based on the defeat of liberal Republicans in recent years and the heavy losses taken by conservative Democrats in 2010…

But for a potential third-party candidate, who has to overcome a litany of structural impediments, such groups can provide much-needed ground operations. “These efforts aren’t important; they’re invaluable” if Mr. Bloomberg decides to run, said a top Bloomberg adviser…

Key to the group’s future success is appealing to voters and lawmakers who feel alienated from the current tone of political discourse. In a recent meeting in Portsmouth, prospective “citizen leaders” were training on how to organize No Labels in their home districts.

“Hi, I’m Jun Choi, and I lost because I wasn’t extreme enough,” said the Democratic ex-mayor of Edison, N.J., who was opposed by unions in a primary.

Gosh, sure sounds like a stalking horse for a Bloomberg third-party candidacy. And look, turns out that McKinnon’s been touting a Bloomberg run for more than a year, and in more than one column. And oh, hey, they’re holding the official launch in New York City instead of the more logical locale of D.C. or some less cosmopolitan destination to demonstrate their grassroots appeal. All of which sounds super except for the fact that, as Bloomberg himself has noted, the constitutional procedures for deciding a presidential election where no one gets a majority of electoral votes basically precludes any chance of victory for a third-party candidate. To get to 270, Bloomy would target California, New York, and Florida as his base, and even if he won all three, that’d still leave him almost 160 electoral votes short. Frankly, I doubt he could even win New York. Remember, this is a guy who ran for mayor in 2009 as a two-term incumbent, who got an enthusiastic endorsement from the Times, who spent more than $100 million on his campaign, and who faced a low-profile generic Democrat in city comptroller Bill Thompson — and he still won by just four points. Had more Democratic donors not given up on Thompson as a lost cause early in the race, Bloomy might have gone down in flames. How’s that sort of electoral magic going to fare against Barack Obama when he’s sitting on a billion-dollar war chest? Especially in a climate of economic populism where a self-funded billionaire trying to buy himself the presidency might not appeal to voters as much as it did in 1992?

The basic problem with every RINO/DINO third-party movement is that they need a candidate who can capture the public’s imagination. And most centrists, almost by definition, don’t fit that bill, simply because it’s hard to get people excited about moderation. One type of centrist who might is the untainted, hypercompetent outsider who emerges from some field outside politics with a promise to clean up the system. Perot could be that guy in ’92 but Bloomberg, as a three-term mayor, can’t. Instead of touting his business record at the debate, he’d get bogged down in questions about what sort of nanny-state brain damage he suffers from to get him to worry so much about salt. The one guy who could play this part right now is Petraeus, but he won’t run and would need unbelievable amounts of money anyway to beat Obama. Another type of centrist who could conceivably catch fire is a charismatic independent sort with a solid political record he can leverage. The closest we have to that right now, I think, is Christie, but with only a year on the job and no desire to torpedo his shot at the GOP nomination in 2016 by waging a quixotic third-party campaign, he’s a nonstarter. Back to the drawing board, No Labels!