Ned Martel

When, a few months ago, I went to visit the spanking-new Pennsylvania Avenue offices of Americans Elect, the group that has spent millions of dollars (provided by undisclosed donors) to get a centrist third choice candidate on the presidential ballot, the first thing I noticed was the lone decoration on the main wall in the front lobby: a framed July 2011 column by Tom Friedman touting the organization.

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Late last week, I drew attention to a Joan Vennochi column in the Boston Globe that drew the connection between Ann Romney’s musings on health and wealth—her implication that having the latter matters less than the former—and her husband’s pledge to do away with the national universal health care law modeled on the law he signed in Massachusetts, both of which are geared to help people who, like Ann Romney, suffer from preexisting conditions like Multiple Sclerosis but who lack Romneyesque resources to care for their conditions.

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The hullabaloo over primary season endorsements is bad enough -- the reporting of them as decisions independently made by the endorser, when in fact they are in most instances the product of lengthy negotiations, with the timing of their announcement determined by the endorsee. Worst of all, though, is the willful disregard for the blatantly transactional terms that lie behind the announcements. In their reports of South Carolina Gov.

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