There's one thing I really don't understand about the latest push for a third-party or nonpartisan president, supported by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and others.
The current gridlock in Washington is largely the result of the Republican Party refusing to support anything that President Obama proposes, in the hopes that the stink of failure around Obama will lead to the GOP winning the White House in 2012. What would change with a third-party or nonpartisan president? If an independent won in 2012, both major parties (especially the GOP, frustrated at losing twice in a row) would immediately start calculating how to win the 2016 election. And the best way to ensure that the independent fails to win a second term is to make him look hapless and ineffective.
Again, how is this different from what we have today? Conservatives would simply say an independent president is a Democrat in disguise. Just as they say that there is no such thing as an objective and nonpartisan media source, only Fox News and leftist organs like CNN and the Washington Post.
As Brendan Nyhan repeatedly points out, the obstacles to a third-party or independent president are probably insurmountable anyway, but Friedman's dream doesn't even make sense as a fantasy.