12.27.2010

Impotent (No) Labels

I already wrote about how the "No Labels" campaign is just a "new" label for political (mostly Democrat) centrists as opposed to an effort to bring people of opposite ideologies together towards a more constructive dialog - a much more noble goal in my opinion. I'm glad to hear in the news, from even the likes of Rush Limbaugh, that No Label's isn't fooling anyone.

The Financial Times yesterday said it well:

In a system that requires opposing sides to deal with each other – and a divided Congress is one such system – a polite exchange of views certainly helps. But there is no reason to think that the mid-point between fundamentally irreconcilable positions has any merit, even if you can say what the mid-point is, which you usually cannot.
US centrists, if any still exist, need some policies and a willingness to defend them, not rules of etiquette. The middle is not an ideology-free zone, where you see “what’s best for America” the moment you take off your partisan goggles. Nothing is resolved by asking: “Why can’t we all just get along?” Centrism needs an ideology, too – the more strident, the better. Without one, it is empty. It is No Labels.
They're right in that the middle is not an ideology-free zone - which is why I think it was a poor move to start off trying to make "No Labels" a home specifically for centrists while demonizing "extremists." However I do think it would behoove the nation to have a political movement that focused on the - albeit trite - sentiment behind "Why can't we all just get along?" I would give serious brownie points (and potentially my vote) - regardless of ideology - to a politician who can work collaboratively and understand that those of differing views aren't inherently wrong.

Update:

Something I neglected to mention: Everyone is accusing "No Labels" of being useless by having no policy priorities. Defenders of the movement keep telling us to wait - as something will emerge. Here's a hint: "Open Primaries." When I was invited to an organizers' meeting in Portland - open primaries were discussed frequently and with a lot of enthusiasm. 

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