Free Markets, Free People

The Sheer Hilarity of “No Labels”

McQ hit these pompous fools when they first popped their heads up. I was too busy to chime in then, but the more I’ve watched this whole “No Labels” thing, the funnier it gets.

George Will does a pretty good job today of shredding some of their sillier assertions:

Although the people promising to make No Labels into a national scold are dissatisfied with the tone of politics, they are pleased as punch with themselves. If self-approval were butter, they could spread it across America, if it were bread. They might cover the country with sanctimony as they "overthrow the tyranny of hyper-partisanship."

But Bloomberg, addressing the No Labels confabulation, spoke truth to powerlessness: "It’s not clear that the average person feels themselves disenfranchised or wants a lot of the things we are advocating." Just so. Whatever their defects, America’s political parties are marvelously sensitive market mechanisms, measuring every tremor of the electorate’s moods.

But the truly funny thing to me about the entire premise of the group is that a very close approximation of what they are advocating was already tried – by George W. Bush.

W was the guy who “reached across the aisle” to Ted Kennedy to federalize education. He was the one who “accomplished things” by expanding the welfare state via Medicare Rx. He even signed campaign reform legislation that was intended to limit those who “who recklessly demonize their opponents”, though it was later ruled so out of bounds that it was declared unconstitutional.

His tone towards Democrats was mostly moderate, much more so than Obama’s tone when berating Republicans and other opponents. W didn’t pander to his base very often. He was the model of political civility.

His reward? He was demonized by the left as stupid, mean, and equivalent to Hitler.*

That’s why the No Labels’ threats to form citizens’ groups to “carefully monitor the conduct of their elected representatives” are laughable. Republicans have been treated to a detailed object lesson in exactly what works and what doesn’t when trying to work with today’s left. Attempting to compromise with them gives ground while getting nothing of consequence in return, and results in spittle-flecked leftist rage in the bargain.

To simple minded politicians wrapped up in the Beltway bubble, compromising to “get things done” gives an illusion of progress. But it’s just an illusion. It’s akin to having shared control of the rudder so that they get to help choose which side of the waterfall to plunge off of. It does nothing to reverse the course away from the waterfall, and wastes whatever time and resources we still have to do that.

Many such simple minded fools, in both parties, were removed in the last election. That happened despite the fact that the Tea Party movement is new, inexperienced, and doesn’t have deep pockets to draw on. The Tea Partiers went up against the professional and veteran political organizers and rabble rousers of the left, funded by folks like Soros, and in many cases kicked their butts.

So now the Democrats are left with Barney Franks types, from districts so mired in partisan Democratic politics that they would elect a shrill, nasty, Democrat whose demonstrated incompetence helped facilitate the subprime crisis. If you believe in limited government, or even if you just think we better do something quick before the debt bomb explodes, good luck “finding common ground” with such people.

The Republicans have been put on notice that back-scratching with those leftist Democrats is probably going to get them a well-funded, passionate primary challenge. If Mike Castle can get beat by Christine O’Donnell, they know they are not safe with politics as usual. So we’re likely to see more polarized politics rather than less – and as George Will points out, that’s a good thing.

I look forward to hearing about all those “citizens’ groups in every state and congressional district”. Or rather, I look forward to not hearing about them, because just like the aborted Coffee Party movement, well-intentioned fools will volunteer to be organizers, and then find only two or three left-leaning pros at their organizational meeting. They will then grouse to their spouse about how “nobody cares about bringing moderation and civility to politics” and go back to watching MS-NBC.

(*) No Labels co-founder Frum ought to know this. He worked in the Bush White House. But he’s either too simple-minded to draw the obvious conclusions, or such a publicity whore that he couldn’t resist the opportunity to trumpet his reasonableness in the pages of the Washington Post. Or both.

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27 Responses to The Sheer Hilarity of “No Labels”

  • Coffee Party, warmed over.  And Leftists by any other name would smell.  Period.
    Epic fail.

  • Does this remind anyone else of Unity08?

  • I’m tired of Nanny Bloomberg opening his mouth about anything.  Maybe if he weren’t so involved with being the nation’s busybody, he’d have noticed the hundreds of millions being stolen by contractors working on the CityTime system…..which he dismissed as “sometimes things fall through the cracks”

  • It strikes me we have already had the first “No Labels” presidential victory.
    I think everyone knows by now how well that’s working out…

    • Yeah, that’s one of the obvious conclusions these fools don’t seem to get: When politicians practice the art of hiding their real beliefs, people end up judging them by the “cut of the jib” or their supposed “world class temperament” or other pretenses and fictions.

      • But, Billy, I don’t think that is by any means lost on them.
        That was CENTRAL to the Obamic victory.  AVOIDING being correctly branded…at ALLLLLL costs…was pivotal.
        Sailing under a false flag was the ONLY way Obama had a remote chance of success, and look at all the enablers he had…including McAnus.
        This “party” seems like a thrust to institutionalize the same concept, and Bloomberg is a great example.  He’s for “free and open markets, tempered by sensible regulation,” like Lenin or Stalin were.

        • So you’re saying that since Obama’s faux-moderate facade has slipped, these folks are looking for a way to re-establish it?

          That’s probably right about some of them. I could certainly see that idiot professor from Maine who used to bother us looking at it that way.

          • So you’re saying that since Obama’s faux-moderate facade has slipped, these folks are looking for a way to re-establish it?

            That IS the impetus behind this “movement”, IMNHO.  That is not to say it is the prime-mover of everyone who associates with it.  That would be overly simplistic. But it CERTAINLY is the goal of the more aware and manipulative…which is to say, their leaders.
            And it is not simply about Obama.  It is about the NEXT Obama…and all the other candidates who will only stand a chance if they muddle (i.e., LIE about) their own branding by wrapping themselves in these sheepish clothes.

      • and don’t forget the crease on their trousers….

  • You will notice that the “no labels” crowd actually is just a front for Statist Authoritrian government intervention (also known as Liberalism, Progressivism, or government activism)….

    Rather then simply having the government serve the purpose to which it was formed (protecting our individual rights and liberties), it advocates for the Statist vision of Utopia thru government force and intervention ie regulation and so-called “entitlement” programs…..

    The push the flawed idea that government exsists to “do something” by applying force as a means of solving every real or perceived ill in the world – and if only enough power and treasure can be accured to the States control we would have Utopia on earth…..

    Really, the “no labels” bunch should be called the “no limits” bunch as they see no limits to the power of the central government over the citizen…….and to no limit on how they can violate the rights of the individual

    Be very wary anytime a politican (or any relate hack) says “we have to DOOOOOOOO something” 

  • The attack on labels is wholly an attack on the word “socialism,”  the word that describes the most reactionary impulse in modern society. Frum specifically attacked Stanley Kurtz’s book, Radical-in-Chief, which precisely documents the radical socialist network whence Barack Obama springs. That network, when it speaks internally, makes no bones about what it is, but refrains from overt socialist language and dogma in presenting its program to the marks.

    • Ditto.
      Another “leader” is John Avlon (The Execrable Little Creep Who Writes For The Daily Beast [tm]), who most of America has never heard of.  (I did mention he writes for The Daily Beast, right?)  He’s as “moderate” as Mao.

  • Look, let’s be honest enough here to recognize one single fact that nobody has had the stones to address; the only time that you will ever see democrats talking about not demonizing the minority, is when they are the minority.  The only time you will ever see democrats talking about bipartisanship, is when they don’t have the reins.
    It’s already been pointed out in these spaces that the “no labels” crowd is universally democrat.  It is these, who upon finding themselves out of power, is now making noises about winning the supposedly magical political center.  Certainly, that mythical places magical to them, because it allows them to achieve if not full progressivism, at least a minimum of fallback from positions they entrenched themselves… and us… in, while in power.  (Nod to Martin on this point)
    The most recent and most obvious attempt at that, was the widespread support among leftists for the presidential run of John McCain.  I think we can figure how that worked out for the country.

    • Slight disagreement, Eric.  They are not homogeneously democrat; that would be too easy.  They can ALWAYS find a peppering of COINs (conservatives only in name) and RINOs to leaven the loaf.  Of course, many of them are out of power…and favor among the great clingy unwashed in fly-over country (to set a minor cliché record).  This is their pathetic bid to retain some relevance.
      It will not avail.

  • “The attack on labels is wholly an attack on the word “socialism,…”
    No.  It’s an attack on identity.  That’s much much deeper.

    • You’re right. When you pan back from it, that’s exactly what it is. And it was epidemic before the “No Labels” crowd launched its thing. In that limited context, it’s an attempt to make it politically incorrect to call Obama and his policies socialist.

  • That’s a good point, people in both primary and general elections have been voting “moderates” out since 2006 in both parties.
    The only people I ever hear complaining about the lack of bipartisanship and compromise are DC and NY elites on TV. People want politicians who, you know, actually believe in something.

    • No.
      DC & NY elites fall into two camps:
      1) Hard left and progressives. These people bemoan the lack of bipartisanship when they are out of power (now) or when they can’t get the right to cave in to their, oh-so moderate plans.
      2)  Moderates and conservatives who are so out-numbered that they basically have to suck up to the above, or who genuinely feel bipartisanship would be good, though they never notice its only them who get rolled.

      • i.e. useful idiots. See, if you are truly a moderate, you will call both sides on their BS. But its seems to me, certain center-right people in the elite spend more time policing their own or apologizing for them, then doing it fairly. Read Megan McArdle carefully and you can see when she throws bones to the left, or keep quoting Ezra Klein (journolist) or the guy who said its okay to lie for the cause. (Yglesias?) Not acceptable unless you want to attend dinner parties with these folks or have other peer pressure.

  • In that limited context, it’s an attempt to make it politically incorrect to call Obama and his policies socialist.

    Certainly it is.  But why?  It is to minimize the political damage to the left.  Mislabeling things is something that is done as a matter of routine within the world of politics, anymore.  Disagreement, is regarded, and referred to  as “hate”.  This of course, is a charge that takes all the air out of the room.  Similarly, the charge of “socialism” can only come from those rabid foaming at the mouth right wingers, as opposed to anyone who is dispassionate about the situation.  Or so the argument goes.  I am afraid, my friends, that we have reached a time when it is “hateful” to call things as they are.

    • Which, we are assured, makes the ghosts of Trotsky and Geobbels smile broadly.  This is their art, given subtle and very effective form in these times.
      All Collectivists, though of different family branches.
      We resist it by objectively insisting on quietly, clearly saying what is true…and damn the LABELS!!!!

  • So… the No Labels bunch plans to combat nastiness in our political discourse by… labeling and demonizing whatever they don’t like as “hyperpartisan”???

    I’m guessing that they absolutely will not tolerate intolerance, hate hatred, and advocate censorship of hate speech, too.


  • Hmmm.  The ideology formerly known as liberalism?

  • Maybe, having to try labeling the amorphously controlled ‘Tea-Party” they suddenly realize an organization that has a structure that implies it has no structure is a good thing.  I’m quite sure the “No Labels” crowd HAS a structure far superior to the ad hoc collection of groups that the Tea-Party is truly composed of.
    Effectively declaring they are “Neither Left, nor Right, just people trying to do good” …heh, yeah, they almost sound like an outgrowth of John Stewart’s non-partisan Democratic “Rally to Restore Sanity”.

  • I just realized, they imply they have a slogan too – “Why can’t we all just get along!”
    Sound familiar?