No Labels, an organization that mulches private equity donor money in the name of getting politicians to hug, held a ceremony in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Monday to reveal which of the 2016 presidential candidates had agreed to make the organization's "Problem Solver Promise." As many could have predicted, but only I did, one of the candidates that made the promise was passel of discarded mattress stuffing left on the banks of the Gowanus River and Republican front-runner Donald Trump.
Then, everything got inevitably worse as Democratic rear-runner Martin O'Malley decided that if no one else was going to throw a bunch of WTFs in the air, that he'd be the guy. In short, American democracy is devolving right on schedule.
As The Washington Post's David Weigel reported, No Labels co-chair Joe Lieberman, good buddy to a man named John McCain who Trump suggested was a weak-willed, unpatriotic loser for getting captured during the Vietnam War, didn't have enough good sense to not be thrilled by these developments:
"We had no idea when we started out down this road how many candidates would make the Problem Solver Promise," said No Labels's co-chairman and former U.S. senator Joe Lieberman, a longtime Democrat from Connecticut who retired as an independent after losing his party's primary. "Today, six have! I'm glad we got six. We could have gotten zero."
The other candidates who signed on to the "Problem Solver Promise" were Chris Christie, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Ben Carson and the aforementioned O'Malley. This means congratulations are in order for Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, and whatever other presidential candidates I have momentarily forgotten (Mike Huckabee is still running, I think?) for having the good sense to recognize this organization and its pledge for what it is: an unserious gang of platitude-mongers living on borrowed time and the remnants of Jon Huntsman's buzz.
None of the candidates who agreed to be a part of No Labels' "Problem Solver Promise" attended the event in person, opting instead to make their appearance via video feed, with the exception of Trump himself, who was represented by a surrogate.
O'Malley, to his credit, did try to immediately acquit himself as a "Problem Solver" by taking a steaming dump on the organization that had just celebrated his acceptance of a meaningless honorific.
O'MALLEY: I appreciate receiving the No Labels problem solver seal, but I want to challenge all of you in the room. Because one of the key aspects about being able to bring people together and solve problems -- I mean, marriage equality, it took us three tries and we only got that done with some Republican support. Repealing the death penalty. We were only able to do that with some Republican support.
But what we have to ask one another as we look for a new leader, as we look for a new president, is which of us can actually bring people together? And quite honestly, I think that you are watering down and dumbing down your problem solver label when you bestow it on someone like Donald Trump. When Donald Trump says things like all Mexicans are rapists and murderers, that's not being a leader. That's not solving problems. There's other adjectives for that -- one of them being racist. When Donald Trump says things like we should issue ID cards to all American Muslims, that's not bringing people together. That's not solving problems. That's making a fascist appeal. So I would encourage you not to dumb down this label.
Ah, but the joke's on O'Malley, because this label cannot possibly be dumbed down any further than it previously was.
In accepting the call to solve problems, Trump has essentially only promised to try to work with Congress on one of four tasks within his first 30 days in office. These tasks include creating "25 million new jobs over the next 10 years," ensuring that Social Security and Medicare are "secure" for the next 75 years, balancing the budget by 2030, or making America "energy secure" by 2024.
It was not clear how Trump would solve these problems through his one demonstrated skill set of unleashing a white supremacist mob to facilitate their solution. But look, this is America and that's precisely how we've tried to solve our problems a whole bunch of times in the past.