Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 12:20 PM ET, 12/13/2010

Can 'No Labels' change the tone in Washington?

By Matt DeLong

A new movement called "No Labels" is hoping to help tone down the heated rhetoric in Washington. Headed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a veritable 'who's who' of moderate politicians are participating in the No Labels launch in New York City. Among the participants are: retiring Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Republican-turned-independent Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

No Labels is the latest in a lengthy list of groups preaching moderation and reason as a cure to crippling partisanship. Some have had, well, moderate success, but others have crashed and burned. Here's a sample:

Unity08: Launched to much fanfare in the lead-up to the 2008 presidential campaign with the promise of a bipartisan presidential ticket, this group ultimately fizzled out after its founders left to start an unsuccessful "Draft Michael Bloomberg" movement. However, Unity08 claimed some degree of success with the candidacy of Barack Obama, whose campaign adopted unity as its primary theme.

Shadow Convention 2000: The brainchild of conservative-turned-liberal media star Arianna Huffington, the so-called "citizens' intervention in American politics" hosted its own 2000 convention in Philadelphia. The event was headlined by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was booed when he offered praise for his former campaign rival, George W. Bush.

Reform Party: Created by Ross Perot in 1996, the Reform Party is arguably one of the most successful third-party movements, having fielded major candidates on the left and right -- Perot in 1996, Pat Buchanan in 2000, and Ralph Nader in 2004. The party's greatest triumph was probably the election of its candidate -- former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura -- as governor of Minnesota in 1998.

Follow the conversation on Twitter:

By Matt DeLong  | December 13, 2010; 12:20 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Michael Bloomberg shoots down 2012 buzz: 'No way, no how'
Next: Obama: 'I don't think there's a sense that I've been successful'


@ mcgeenate
Obama has endured 2-years of name calling, accusations about his birth, heritage,
all kinds of slander and racist remarks, hate speeches, people showing up rallies
with guns, threatening comments and now that he……………
I agree with you, mcgeenate. This president has been disrespected, abused and denigrated from every direction. Included in that are the reports of the increase in threats against his life, compared to other presidents. I heard one report that the death threats are up 400% over the previous presidents. While the Secret Service doesn’t want to admit such reports, they haven’t denied it either. The right has done everything they can to throw roadblocks in the way of the president, not caring that they are hurting the US and her citizens too. They demonstrate they don’t care about
“we the people”. How can anyone hope to ever have compromise in the atmosphere
that we have endured since President Obama took office? It will only be successful
when there are members of the Republican party that are willing to stand up to those who are the worst offenders of lies and distortions and the inciting of hatred. They will have to stand up to Rush, Beck, Hannity and Palin as well as the others who are more interested in stirring people up and ratings than they are in truth and what is good for the country. As it is, no one seems to be brave enough to speak against them.
Perhaps Palin and O’Donnell should be telling the Republicans in Washington to
“man up” and stand up to the likes of her. They would get a bit more respect if they did.

Posted by: alaskan2 | December 15, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Labels are handy devices, shorthand for describing what a person or group does, or how they think. Any football fan knows, without a full description, the difference between a quarterback, and what he does, and a wide receiver, and what he does - and a change in labels isn't going to change the function or thinking of either.
Neither is a lack or change of labels going to change a conservative into a a moderate or a paranoid tree-hugger, or a liberal into a moderate or a tax break-for-the-wealthy, war monger. For whatever reason, some people just don't want to admit what they are.
As far as third ( or fourth ) parties - if they could ever gain traction - they might at least spread the blame around, so that Dems and Repubs wouldn't blame only each other, and the Prez could then implement his Tri ( or even Quadri ) partizanship.

Posted by: mungmung | December 14, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

I would like to think we can once again become a country who can at least talk to each other instead of the vicious rhetoric we have seen lately. The players that are stirring the pot of hatred need to be neutered. Until the big mouths are stuffed with an apple or something similar, the divide will continue. The right wing extremists and the uncompromising far left have to be shoved back to the fringe and allow the reasonable people to once again step to the forefront.

I think there are some things that should not be compromised on- freedom and civil rights should never have to be. No one group should be able to stomp on the civil rights of others. Civil rights should never be put up for a vote. Personal freedom is assured by our Constitution and should not be infringed by any group. As it seems the far right is more focused on infringing on the rights of others, those who are more moderate in the GOP need on once again gain control. How is it that poll after poll shows a majority believe gays and lesbians or transgendered should have the same rights as others, that people still believe that choice is not a matter for the government, that DADT should be repealed, that health care reform and the need for the changes it provides are supported when each individual part is asked separately. It is only when the reform as a whole is asked that support goes down. And yet the majority of Americans that voted in 2008 knew health care reform was one of the main parts of the agenda that they voted for. The support was overwhelming. So as long as people can come together and agree that some things shouldn't be up to the government and that some things should not have the government in the way, perhaps we can come together as united citizens and as a majority of moderate Americans.

Posted by: alaskan2 | December 14, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Obama has endured 2-years of name calling, accusations about his birth, heritage, all kinds of slandish and racist remarks, hate speeches, people showing up rallies with guns, threatening comments and now that he decided to let people know what the republicans truly are and give people something to ponder - "are they really holding people hostage"? Now we want to end the name calling and become more civil? You the media, of all people should be ashame!

Posted by: mcgeenate | December 14, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I DO think it would work! The GOP AND the Democratic party have BOTH become TOO extreme (this from a former republican, now Independent). Republicans CLAIM to be the party of small long as they can force THEIR "family values" and religious views on everyone else. Democrats aren't much better. They seem to think everyone who worked hard to get an education and become a success owe a big chunk of their earnings to support those who, for whatever reason, took a more foolish path. My vote will NOT go for ANY candidate who "Jesusizes" or talks about God---because that is NOT what I vote for. By the same token, I also will not vote for ANY candidate who continues to perpetuate the generational welfare state that, IMO, has gone on for far too long.

Posted by: cbyebyefraser | December 14, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Polarization exists for a reason. Voters have finally awakened and realized that neither political party is representing the direction they seek for the country. No matter what you label a 'party' that simply wishes to go along to get along is going to address those very real ideological differences.

Posted by: IQ168 | December 14, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Polarization exists for a reason. Voters have finally awakened and realized that neither political party is representing the direction they seek for the country. No matter what you label a 'party' that simply wishes to go along to get along is going to address those very real ideological differences.

Posted by: IQ168 | December 14, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

No labels = The Liberal Left who want to hide their true agenda and the RINO's who are too stupid to realize it.

Posted by: pielusztcontractor | December 14, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I am writing this from New York City where I yesterday attended the No Labels kickoff as a "Citizen Leader". I have lived in Washington DC since 1987. In my 23 years in Washington I have seen the political system cease to work. I have also seen my Republican Party drift further and further to the right and the Democratic Party remain largely under the control of its liberal wing and its host of special interest groups. Neither side is is willing to compromise and the last three elections have shown an electorate punishing the party in control, yet the two parties continue to miss the point.

No Labels as a collection of mostly moderate Democrats, Republicans and Independents can change the game by applying pressure from the center of the spectrum, mostly in influencing primary elections but also in mobilizing support for candidates who take courageous stands. We can also influence redistricting processes in the states, which has the potential to enormously impact the ability of both parties to maintain their duopoly.

I will be actively involved with No Labels in Washington DC, starting with hosting a Meet Up on January 4. DC area voters interested in learning more and go to labels for more information.

Please join our movement to move the country not left or right, but forward. Help end the hyperpartisan dysfunction.

Kevin Bliss
Washington DC

Posted by: kblissdc | December 14, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

No Labels = liberals who don't like to be called liberals, socialist,or leftist and republicans who are RINOS.

business neon signs
business opportunity

Posted by: getjiggly2 | December 14, 2010 2:17 AM | Report abuse

We need a third party because both major parties serve nobody but the super-rich and multinational corporations, despite the kabuki dance of "partisanship." Even questioning the value of "free trade" and offshoring is verboten for both parties. It seems to be about the last great taboo in our society. Rocking the globalized boat risks cutting off those valuable camapign funds and the grossly overpaid jobs which await politicians after they complete their "public" service.

Posted by: ejs2 | December 13, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

No Labels = liberals who don't like to be called liberals, socialist,or leftist and republicans who are RINOS.

Posted by: MangoJuice1 | December 13, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

It won't work because they will be ignored by the Corporate media and the Corporate-funded "issue" groups set up to suck all the air out of political discussion and fill the political air with noise and distraction.

Corporate-funded bullies shouting down their political opposition. Remember, "The Creator" gave Corporations the inalienable right of freedom of speech.

Posted by: thebobbob | December 13, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

" 'No labels' -- really only embraced by someone who has decided to abdicate judgement."
Posted by: fishcrow | December 13, 2010 4:36 PM
I'm not sure about that.
However, I would say that considering the massive number of people who have bought into using labels, this meeting is much too little, much too late.
The man who is our former congressman, redistricted out of office by Tom DeLay, is attending the "No Labels" conference.
My question is what do they hope to accomplish?
How can they counter the 24/7 pounding of debasement, discrimination and outright false reports Faux News delivers daily and has for a decade or more?
There are a ton of "think tanks" and organizations out here delivering patently false and fake "studies" about issues that concern many in the nation.
They believe anything.
How do they contradict, in the eyes of many Americans, the vitriol they hear in church and almost everywhere?
When people elect candidates based on whether they believe they can advance an unspoken agenda of bringing on the "End-Times" (which is based on a manipulative misrepresentation of reading the Bible preached by a self-appointed "minister" back in 1808), how do you penetrate the fog of faith over which some people just shut their minds to considering any other theological concepts which don't support this?
As I used to tell a union representative, the men may come to union meetings to discuss their relationship with their company and the pay and benefits the union supports on a Monday or Tuesday, however the following Sunday they go to their church.
They then go into the voting booth and vote against their paycheck.
Once the results of their votes come to pass, they whine and gripe, blame everybody else, but refuse to discuss the fact that they voted for the very result they then complain about.
I have a Republican friend who tells me his elderly father, who still votes, doesn't know what to think about any issue until he gets his daily dose of Rush Limbaugh.
He laughed and said that Rush Limbaugh tells his father what to think about any issue getting attention at the time.
I just can't wait until the GOP in Congress start messing with Social Security and delete elements of Medicare, compelling deeper expenses at the doctor's office and the hospital.
They voted for it.
And they probably won't admit that.
They'll just continue to grouse about things they think they can't do anything about.
Kinda sad.
I would hope "No Labels" would have an impact; I sincerely doubt that it will have any influence at all, at this late date.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | December 13, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

"No labels" is something that sounds good when we are in the 8th grade and still a bit naive. Not being able to use generalizations or labels denotes a lack of sophistication. It's really only embraced by someone who has decided to abdicate judgement.

Posted by: fishcrow | December 13, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

We need to get a 5 party system or a formal ban on political parties.

Posted by: alex35332 | December 13, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company