Are we looking at a five-way race? Bloomberg’s got a billion dollars burning a hole in his pocket; Ron Paul’s going to end up convinced by the neo-Birchers and left-libertarian nutroots that he’s the messiah and therefore must run; and, if Hillary is in fact the Democratic nominee, the pressure from the hard left for a “real liberal” anti-war alternative will be sufficiently great to put the Greens in play. But who can they get to top the ticket that’ll create some buzz? One obvious possibility has already expressed an interest in running for office next fall.

And now another obvious possibility, bless her heart, has joined the fray.

Exit question: Isn’t this actually bad news? Socialist alternatives to Hillary are all to the good since they’ll drain off votes from the dumber parts of the Democratic base, but if the Green nominee’s too kooky it’ll make it easy for the Democrats to demonize them and draw some of those votes back. For example, here’s St. Cindy’s latest flirtation with Trutherism. Obviously that’s a plus for some on the left, but probably not enough of one on its own to tilt them towards her and away from Hillary. On the contrary, among mainstream Democrats who are thinking of voting for Sheehan as an anti-war protest vote, it might be enough to tilt them away and back towards the mainstream. (Although I suppose, at this point, we overestimate the repugnance of 9/11 conspiracy theories to even the mainstream left at our peril.) Same with McKinney — she’s a Truther, she had the run-in with the Capitol Hill cop, and some of her inner circle have some mighty interesting attitudes toward Jews. Again, none of which will bother the far left but it might bother single-issue mainstream Democrats opposed to Hillary’s Iraq war position.

What we need is a media darling with high name recognition, fanatical enough about the war that he’d feel obliged to oppose a Democrat who voted for it in 2002, regardless of what her position might be now, and instilled with enough messianic ego that he’d entertain running even at the risk of inflicting another Gore/Nader nightmare on the party.

But where could we find someone like that?

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