September 5, 2011

I am once again puzzled by Matt Miller’s enthusiasm for a “radically centrist” third-party presidential candidate [“Billionaires to the rescue,” op-ed, Aug. 31]. Mr. Miller and other supporters of this third-party movement need to think harder about what they are trying to achieve. Do they really disagree with the types of policies that President Obama would pass on issues from infrastructure to debt reduction if he had his druthers? I suspect not. So how does running a candidate with no party to support him or her in Congress — think Jesse Ventura in the White House — improve the situation?

If they do not like what Congress is willing to pass, maybe they should focus their efforts on opposing members who disagree with their agenda. Or maybe they should create a movement to minimize the number of veto points in the House and Senate to facilitate the passage of legislation. Running a “radical centrist” billionaire is an interesting thought experiment until one remembers that the president cannot simply will Congress to pass legislation.

David Beffert, Washington

One problem with Matt Miller’s hope that a “radically centrist” party could cure what ails American politics is that the United States has had a fundamentally centrist, moderate and compromising president since 2009. Yes, Republicans pretend that he is the second coming of Trotsky (or a host of other Manchurian candidates). They would play the same game with a different centrist, even if that president did not have a “D” after his or her name.

Anthony Cantor, Toronto