'No Labels'? No Thanks!

Self-congratulatory, schoolmarmish earnestness and warmed over Beltway pap

Fiscal cliffs, "nuclear options," trillion-dollar platinum coins—in this late stage of our imperial decline, we seem to be drowning in apocalyptic metaphors and loopy policy gimmicks. Who among us can disagree with the sentiment articulated by hip-hop star Akon in his "No Labels Anthem": "We may not understand this whole process and how things go/I'm just an ordinary man tryna live free and God knows"?

No Labels, the ostensibly post-partisan group founded in 2010 to promote "a new politics of problem solving," launched a press offensive this week. The group's newly minted national leaders, Sen. Joe Manchin, (D-W.Va.) and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, penned a Washington Post op-ed Monday and appeared on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday.

Our political leaders need to "step up" and, er, "be willing to sit down" with members of other parties, Manchin and Huntsman write: "hyper-partisanship" is bad news.

I agree: I can't stand Red Team/Blue Team tribalism. Which is why I'm trying to figure out just what it is about No Labels that irks me so.

In part, it's the self-congratulatory, schoolmarmish earnestness surrounding the campaign. No Labels actually gives out a label: the "Problem Solvers Seal" for candidates who have committed "to join a group of Problem Solvers." It's as cloying as a "Mean People Suck" bumper sticker and promises to be just as effective.

No Labels demands that "at all joint meetings or sessions of Congress, each member should be seated next to at least one member of the other party." They pushed this idea before last year's State of the Union and got more than 200 members to look for a cross-aisle BFF to sit with. If that led to an outpouring of legislative comity in 2012, I missed it.

Indeed, much of the campaign is warmed over Beltway pap. Pressed by ABC's George Stephanopoulos on the gun issue, Sen. Manchin could only sputter something about a federal "commission about mass violence" staffed by "experts from all different fields." How bold!

Still, over the last year, the No Labels brain trust fleshed out its pleas for togetherness with a process-oriented agenda. To be fair, there's a good idea or two in its 22-point platform.

"Automatic pay docking for Congress" if it fails to pass a budget is admirably punitive and might provide a much-needed incentive. A return to Jimmy Stewart-style filibusters, where senators have to "stand on the floor and speak as long as they can" promises at least to be entertaining, as does No Labels' proposal for Westminster-style "Question Time for the President," which might help knock presidents off their pedestals, deflating their air of majesty.

Some of the rest: "A Line-Item Veto with a Twist," "Fast-Track Legislative Authority for the President," is appealing only if you're deluded enough to think our major political problem is a lack of presidential power.

Worst of all—and most telling—is No Labels' call for "No Negative Campaigns Against Incumbents," which, it says, contributes to "a cycle of mistrust and retribution." Poor babies. Still, with incumbent re-election rates that rarely drop below 85 percent, they manage to get by.

"I wish they didn't have no labels," Akon sings. "There'd be more change with no labels." You may say he's a dreamer, but the notion here is dumb.

Our problems are legion: unsustainable middle-class entitlements, overextension abroad, the world's largest per-capita prison population—and most of them stem from past occasions when "problem solvers" got together in chummy bipartisan fashion. We may need a little less collegiality to get out of this mess.

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  • Brett L||

    I almost joined No Labels. The FSU chapter president (at least as of last October) was a smoking blonde.

  • SIV||

    As I fondly recall the former-Florida State College for Women had no shortage in the smoking hot chick department.

  • ||

    Still doesn't. Go Noles!

  • Brett L||

    Its like the legal version of "Dazed and Confused". I get older, they stay the same age. New crop every August and a supplemental draft at the new year.

  • ||

    "No Labels" = Government "Problem Solving" = You get fucked

  • Jubal Harshaw||

    No Negative Campaigns Against Incumbents

    Ban campaigns for incumbents.

  • ||

    Ban campaigns for incumbents.

  • Jubal Harshaw||

    I thought about that!

  • ||

    Ban campaigns for and incumbents.

  • radar||

    Of all the irritating horseshit these clowns peddle, this is the one that pisses me off the most. Hey, how dare you proles hold us, your Great Men, accountable!!

  • SugarFree||

    as does No Labels' proposal for Westminster-style "Question Time for the President," which might help knock presidents off their pedestals, deflating their air of majesty.

    As long as they are broadcast live and he's alone (and suitable measures are taken to make sure he doesn't have an earpiece.)

    Every question he doesn't give an answer to or doesn't answer in a timely fashion to adds 5 minutes to the process.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Send him through a nudie scanner and/or pat him down on the way to the podium.

    DISCLAIMER: I still hate you.

  • SugarFree||

    You just have to let me in your heart.

  • ||

    Oh! Oh! Do you hate me too, Tulpy-Poo? Please?

  • ||

    As long as the Pain Monster moderates.

  • Lord Humungus||

    You know who else believed in a new politics of problem solving?

  • ||

    Your mom?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Ming the Merciless?

  • Doctor Whom||

    When Team Red and Team Blue join forces, you know who the common enemy is, don't you?

  • ||

    Your mom?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Who is this "mom" character? And why are you so infatuated with it?

  • SugarFree||

    His mom died giving birth to him. When they exhumed her, it was discovered that she was a jackal.

  • ||

    666

  • SugarFree||

    11 An anothar monstar cumz form teh urf! Dis 1 can has too horn liek a lamb but soundz layk a dragn.

    12 An he haz teh powurz layk teh othar monstar. Ppl liek him 2.

    13 An he maeded Graet Wunderz: He r casting majik missel unto Urf. Scarey!

    14 An Evry1 wuz trixored. Letz maek a akshun film bcuz teh monstar iz strongar then Stevan Seegul.

    15 An Teh othar monstar maed evry1 watch teh film or he casted majik missil at tehm.

    16 An He maeded evry1 by it on vidio an dvd an teh speshun editiun. An maeded evry1 has markz on teh hed

    17 An U has a markz!! Or no moar cheezburgerz!

    18 Wisdom, I has it. Teh clevar ppl can do dis sum - wat iz 6 hundrad addad 3 tiemz twentey addad six. Taht is teh numbar of teh monstar!

    Revelations 13:11-17

  • ||

    IM IN UR ARMAGEDON EATIN UR SOWL

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I don't really see any TEAM RED on that force. Huntsman endorsed O! didn't he? And the other is a Donk Senator. Founded by a NYT squish too.

  • Brett L||

    OT: 3D printers fix HiCap magazine manufacturing ban before it happens. Not that the inability to enforce a law will stop politicians from attempting to pass it.

    Over the past weekend, Defense Distributed successfully 3D-printed and tested an ammunition magazine for an AR semi-automatic rifle, loading and firing 86 rounds from the 30-round clip.

  • Randian||

    oh oh someone used the word clip.

    Commence to shit-flinging.

  • Jubal Harshaw||

    When talking with real gun types, I use the correct language, but I don't gripe others about it.
    Still, I had a tough time not laughing in the local gun shop a couple months ago when I overheard a guy asking for a "barrel" for his "zipper." Turned out he wanted a drum magazine for his 10/22. No, I don't know why a 10/22 was being called a "zipper."

  • Jubal Harshaw||

    Hell, one of my kids printed me a new magazine follower for my Glock 36. I had to buff down the trailing (bottom) edge a touch, but it functions perfectly after several hundred rounds.

  • Tonio||

    Then you have awesome kids. Hope you appreciate that.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Who doesn't love substanceless platitudes?

  • Doctor Whom||

    Episiarch's mom lives for them.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Ironic that you're criticizing someone for being glib.

  • Randian||

    You are equivocating. I sincerely doubt that most of the posters who you think of as 'glib' are glib. They are just glib with you. I doubt, however, that you have sufficient introspection and self-awareness to understand why that is, however.

  • ||

    Shhh. Don't tell him the secret.

  • Randian||

    He's not going to get it anyway.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    "No Negative Campaigns Against Incumbents,"

    Wait, they actually explicitly called it that?

    It used to be they called it "campaign finance reform". The honesty should be refreshing, but it's only depressing.

  • nicole||

    The "cycle of mistrust and retribution" was the only good thing we had going, I thought.

  • ||

    Mistrust and retribution are literally the only things I even get out of bed for in the morning.

    Well, that, and butt rape.

    Also, fried chicken.

  • ||

    Fried chicken is a subset of retribution. Fuck chickens.

  • ||

    Fuck chickens.

    Well, I hadn't planned on it, but when I've already taken sodomy this far, I might as well go ahead and push that boundary.

  • BakedPenguin||

    So you're adding cloaca rape to your list?

  • SugarFree||

    Once you go cloaca, you never go back. It's three-three-three holes in one.

  • ||

    I'll defer to SF's extensive experience on this issue.

    I'm sold!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    There was a brief window wherein I thought Huntsman might not be completely horrible.

    However, listening to his contentless gibberish Sunday I had to ask myself why.

  • T||

    Cute daughters?

  • UnionBuiltOhioRoads(LAOL)||

    This

  • The Late P Brooks||

    As long as the Pain Monster moderates.

    There should be an app for that.

    Crowd-sourced infliction of electric shocks for dissembling and ignoring the question. Or just for the fuck of it.

    "OWWWW! What the fuck! That really is my name, and you all know AAAAAAAAUUUGH!

  • T||

    Fuck bipartisanship. All that means is a bunch of spineless wishy-washy middle of the road bastards go along to get along and fuck all of us in the process. I want more partisanship. I want Boehner to tell Obama to piss up a rope on the debt ceiling. I want Obama to veto everything that isn't exactly what he wants. I want so much gridlock the only thing Congress passes is gas.

    No Labels is a bunch of children who think nobody should be mean and that the solution to everything is more government, so fuck them too. If the opposing party is full of shit, call them on it.

    Bipartisanship is for statist power worshippers who have no principles.

  • Brandybuck||

    ^^^ THIS ^^^

    No Party is full of those kinds of people who say "government should do something, even if it's the wrong something at least it's something, so don't take time to read the bill just vote yes."

  • the origin of the feces||

    Okay, there's two of us now.

  • Brandybuck||

    Here's what irks me about No Labels: they want to replace bipartisanship with unipartisanship. For all of their faults, at least the Republicans and Democrats play lip service to so some ideologies. By definition a No Label Uniparty doesn't have an ideology, it's just a big tent umbrella for those who love moar gub'ment.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Put aside your partisan differences and worship and obey completely the state.

  • the origin of the feces||

    Respect your masters, citizen.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Bickering isn't the problem. Labels aren't the problem. The problem is that we have ceded almost unlimited power to some of the most dishonest and inept people in this country.

  • Bam!||

    My opinion on "No Labels": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8ws_APXilE

  • entropy||

    They have to be No Labels because if they consented to labels everyone would just call them vapid douchebags.

  • ||

    "Fast-Track Legislative Authority for the President," is appealing only if you're deluded enough to think our major political problem is a lack of presidential power an authority worshiping totalitarian cunt.

    FIFY

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