A cabal of centrist Democrats and lapsed Republicans are gathering in New York today to launch "No Labels," a group that advocates ditching partisan politics for supposedly common sense solutions. Cute! But don't pretend that this isn't ideological.
The purpose of No Labels, according to the "Declaration" they ask you to sign, is this: "Sign the No Labels Declaration and join your neighbors who are asking their leaders to put the labels aside and do what's best for America." In other words, if you believe in what either party is saying, take your skin out of the game and let the following people supposedly reasonable people decide "what's best for America" for you:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Congressman Bob Inglis
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Congressman Tom Davis
Senator Joe Lieberman
Senator Evan Bayh
Senator Joe Manchin
Governor Charlie Crist
Lt Governor Abel Maldonado
Congressman Michael Castle
Pretty much everyone on this list of speakers at today's launch has a label: wishy-washy centrist who wants the rubes to stop their clamoring before it defeats them in an election (if it already hasn't — Inglis, Crist, Castle) or takes power away from the entrenched producers of conventional wisdom.
The more No Labels tries to explain itself, the more it confuses:
No Labels intends to unite Republicans, Democrats and Independents with a simple, single idea — our leaders need to work together to do what government was intended to do: solve problems. No Labels is not a political party nor aspires to be one, our focus is on building a broad citizen movement, not running any one individual for office.
Too often in today's world — political gamesmanship gets in the way of solving problems and leads to gridlock. No Labels seeks to change the dynamics of our political culture and provide support for those politicians who will put their labels aside and work across the aisle to solve problems.
So it's just a lil' advocacy group to change the American political system from the way it is, nothin' too big. And it's inherently democratic, as long as you believe in partial privatization or cuts to federal entitlements, loose oversight of corporate power, freer trade, and an ever-stronger national security state. But No Labels is probably fine with repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," so that makes the rest okay. Got a problem with this robust ideological defense of Beltway conventional wisdom? Then you're just being partisan for the hell of it instead of trying to solve problems for America's greater good, you monster!
Look at what No Labels is tweeting during their launch event, for Christ's sake: "NoLabels welcomes all who want common goals. Sometimes the label that trumps all others is simply 'American.'" The smug is of a thickness rarely witnessed on this earth.
Remember, don't think that your deeply felt but perhaps unpopular view on any given issue is worth fighting for! Just let Joe Scarborough, David Brooks and Evan Bayh work something out, "American."