It's a difficult anniversary in my personal political history: "Today in 1992, Bill Clinton tapped Tennessee Sen. Al Gore to be his running mate." To you he may me Mr. Oscar Nobel Peace Prize but to me he'll always be the guy who convened the censorship hearings for his then-wife... which reminds me of my favorite Onion article ever. Nope, still not over it, and someday soon I'll tell you more about why I fixate on stuff.
But thinking about Al Gore gets me thinking about third parties. This is the first cycle since 1988 that Ralph Nader isn't running on some ticket or another. The Greens, who had a difficult relationship with Ralph, are having their convention next weekend and they're about to make a classic third party mistake: they've got a well-known celebrity running, who was at one time so well known she was first name only -- Rosanne (she's gone back to Barr). But they're going to nominate Jill Stein, best known for being a Green candidate which means not known at all, instead.
The Libertarians look to be a more serious factor this year and for the second straight cycle they're going with a former GOP elected official; New Mexico's Gary Johnson. What'll motivate the Paul legions: Obama hate or ideological purity?
And if you want REAL ideological purity, you can't top the SOCIДLIST ЩOЯКЗЯS PДЯTУ, which "has drifted away from Trotskyism and moved towards the brand of authoritarian politics espoused by Fidel Castro." Perennial candidate James Harris was in Des Moines over the weekend. They're not great at getting votes -- 292 votes out of a million and a half cast statewide in 2008 -- but are really good at ballot access, probably because people would rather sign than buy their Militant newspapers. The filing period is July 30 - August 17.
This doesn't fit anywhere else: Daily Kos Elections took a neat look at the top dozen upsets of the last two decades. Our own Dave Loebsack got sort of a backhanded honorable mention: they picked someone else as THE upset of 2006 while dismissing it as a "wave" year. I'd say it was as least as big a deal as the one the picked to represent `06, Carol Shea-Porter; even had the similar low spending they used to choose her over Dave.