Olympia Snowe and Americans Elect

New York's Jon Chait has speculated, with his characteristic perspicacity, that Olympia Snowe’s statement of non-candidacy for the Senate may have also been a statement of candidacy for the Americans Elect presidential slot. He further noted that the endorsement yesterday of Wall Street’s favorite third party by former Oklahoma Senator David Boren (D-Exxon Mobil) sets up a proper Americans Elect ticket, since the group stipulates that its ticket must be made up of one Democrat and one Republican (or two independents).

Still, it seems to me that Americans Elect can only make a sizable impact on this year’s election if the Republican Party anoints the champion of Goyishe Sharia, Rick Santorum, as its nominee. A Santorum nomination would send a considerable number of Republicans in search of a more socially moderate Republican alternative, and Snowe most surely fits that bill. But in the more likely eventuality of a Mitt Romney nomination, the political space that an Americans Elect ticket could fill becomes excruciatingly narrow. Like Snowe, Romney is a New England moderate, albeit decked out in utterly unconvincing far-right garb. Writing in today’s Washington Post, my friend Matt Miller, who’s long championed Americans Elect, makes a less-than-convincing case that Romney has moved so far right that he’s opened the door for an Americans Elect alternative. But in the face of a Romney-Obama election, the addition of Olympia Snowe to the mix seems like little more than the political expression of the narcissism of small differences. How many moderates can dance on the head of a pin?