Politicians from both sides of the aisle are trying to reclaim the political center by forming a group called "No Labels." The organization is a loose affiliation of Republicans, Democrats, and independents who say they will work together to fight the partisanship that is stifling Washington. Their roster includes Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) and other well-known moderates like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Can this centrist alliance defy the two-party system? (Watch an MSNBC discussion about the movement)
No labels, but plenty of ideologues: The "wishy-washy" centrists involved with "No Labels" say they are done with partisanship, says Jim Newell at Gawker. But "don't pretend that this isn't ideological." The movement is pushing "partial privatization or cuts to federal entitlements, loose oversight of corporate power... and an ever-stronger national security state." This is nothing but a "smug" way to promote "Beltway conventional wisdom."
"The fierce ideology of 'No Labels'"
No labels, and no substance either: I'm unsure exactly what "No Labels" is all about, says Kevin Drum at Mother Jones. Bayh and Co. say it's a "pragmatic and sensible approach to our nation's problems," but it seems to be deliberately turning its back on tackling the issues that matter to people. No group that refuses to "engage with all the stuff that normally turns our political discourse uncivil in the first place" can succeed.
History doesn't offer much hope: "No Labels" is hardly the first group to boldly preach "moderation and reason as a cure to crippling partisanship," says Matt DeLong at The Washington Post. Remember Unity08, which "fizzled out" during the last election? Or Ross Perot's unelectable Reform Party? The best moderate they can hope for is "moderate success."
"Can 'No Labels' change the tone in Washington?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Could better U.S.-Cuban relations thwart baseball's human smuggling problem?
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Dick Cheney's America is an ugly place
- How to make the ultimate grilled cheese
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The Hobbit: A disappointing set of movies, but a worthy set of prequels
- The liberation of Barack Obama
Subscribe to the Week