AmiBlue's picture

    Not Left. Not Right. Forward.

    no labels

    There’s  talk of a 3rd party drifting around the ether.  John Avlon  pushes  Thomas Friedman to the forefront yesterday over at the Daily Beast.  Old Tom expounded at the Aspen Festival about how it’s time for a 3rd party.  He’d vote for an Alan Simpson/Erskine Bowles ticket or Bloomberg would be good, too, he opined.   But they recognize third parties are likely the third rail in politics, so what's to be done?

     What Avlon doesn’t mention is that he is one of the founding fathers of an organization  called No Labels, which  registered as a 501 (c) (4) organization in December of 2010.  It’s motto is:  Not Left.  Not Right. Forward.   Most of the founders have connections to the Clintons. 

    The Clintonians:

    Andrei Cherny – Founder and president of Democracy: a journal of ideas, adviser to the Kerry campaign and chairman of the AZ Democratic Party

    Jon Cowan – founder of Third Way

    Bill Galston – Deputy Assistant for Domestic Policy under  Bill Clinton and a student of Leo Strauss

    Dan Gerstein – a Lieberman communications director and aide.

    Nancy Jacobson –  Co-founder of Third Way, aide to both Bill and Hillary Clinton

    Kiki McClean - former Senior Advisor to Hillary Clinton for President, former National Press Secretary to Al Gore for President; former Communications Director of the Democratic National Committee

    Mark McKinnon – needs no introduction

    Holly Page – former Executive Vice President of the Democratic Leadership Council

    John Veroneau - former Deputy U.S. Trade Representative under President George W. Bush; former Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton

    Jonathan Miller – worked for Al Gore when he was VP (seems from his wiki to be one of the more liberal members of the group, environmentally at any rate)

    David M. Walker – appointed Comptroller General by Bill Clinton and is currently part of the Peter G. Peterson foundation.

     And then there’s

    Lynn Forester de Rothschild  -  You remember her, I’m sure, as the Democrat who supported Hillary, but refused to support Obama,  giving her nod to McCain instead.  Her name is not on the No Labels founders’ list, but her wiki says that she has “announced her desire to form a “centrist”  group that combines what she views as "the sensible policies of both parties." Although this has not publicly been confirmed, there is speculation that this group is No Labels. On June 22, 2011, she hosted a fundraiser for Jon Huntsman, Jr.'s presidential campaign.”

     From the No Labels wiki [emphasis mine]:

    “No Labels describes itself as an alliance of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. The group claims to have started a grass roots centrist movement made up citizens from across the political spectrum and plans to address attacks on liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats stemming from within their own parties[5]. Additionally, No Labels promises to reward people for bipartisan behavior[12][13].

    The organization argues that in American politics today the far left and far right dominate the news cycle, debates, and town hall meetings. The general public only sees who's yelling the loudest, not who's accomplishing something. Their goal is to tackle this problem by mobilizing citizens to pressure the political parties to work together to address major issues[14][15].” [The far left dominates the news cycle! Seriously?]

    No Labels’ manifesto declares that they are neither centrist, Democratic, nor Republican, but when you look at their goals and you look at the membership, it’s pure 3rd way/DLC/center right.  The “blogs” on the No Labels’ web site chastise Obama for leaving town  this weekend rather that meeting with Congress; they praise the Lieberman/Coburn Medicare proposal; describe Mark Dayton’s shut down of the MN government as a “ploy of political brinkmanship”; they compare Huntsman’s announcement of his candidacy to Reagan’s 30 years ago; and they quote Politico a lot.  Oh, yeah – they’re starting a radio program, too, hosted by  Nancy Jacobson and Mark McKinnon: How to turn Democrats and Republicans into Americans Again is one of the programs.

     No surprises here.  The organization is just what you would expect given its members.  It’s hard for me to imagine a  grassroots uprising of centrist Americans.  But I imagine Obama and the other Democratic Party leaders are paying attention to it.  In fact one of the blog headlines blares “Obama agrees with No Labels”  specifically about keeping the Senate in session over the 4th.  Another bragged that 10 Senate republicans agree with No Labels on something.  Although they claim they don’t have a political agenda, clearly they do.  Even though I tend to doubt their organization will catch fire like the Tea Party did, I do believe the village idiots will listen because the people are part of the club and  No Labels claims to represent the neglected majority of Americans.  Certainly Democrats will listen because they are so rootless these days, foundering without an ideology that binds.  No Labels bears watching because they're scary, to me at least.


    Please. I must be incredibly dense, so explain this to me like I'm a four year old child.  Why is this group necessary? The Democratic part of the Democratic party is not in control or even, it seems to me, to be having any effect at all on anything other than the fun we're having in the blogging community.  We certainly aren't affecting policy decisions, which are all pretty much center-right or leaning center-right at best.  The middle-huggers are already in control of the Democratic party, so why is a third party made up of mostly Democrats a necessary idea, other than to make it easier for more moderate Republicans (if there are any) and Independents that have been brainwashed into thinking that any candidates described as Progressive or Liberal are too loathsome to vote for, an excuse not to vote for their own radical party nominees?  (Whew. Sorry, that sentence wore me out.)  Seriously, where is this idea heading?  To have Centrists abandon the Democratic party and let it become strictly the party of Liberals/Progressives, thus dooming it in their minds?  Do they think that re-branding is what will save the Non-Conservative agenda? Is this a tacit admission we have lost the war of ideas and now we need to re-trench and amputate our core principals for our own survival?  Are Progressives/Liberals so hopelessly out of favor that even the people we have elected to carry our banner have abandoned us?  Please. Explain it to me like I'm a four year old child, because right now, I think these people are a bunch of gutless pussies who want nothing better than to surrender all for the sake of their own survival.  Please tell me why I am wrong.



    They claim not to be a third party.  Their stated goal is to rouse the neglected middle of the road silent majority to action, which I have a hard time picturing.  As for progressive liberals being out of favor, I guess that's the case.  Obama has certainly let us know that, hasn't he?  My biggest question about them is why they aren't out working for Obama rather than putting on this centrist kabuki.  Obama fits right in with their state goals. I have to wonder if there aren't a lot of still-bitter Clinton supporters out there who spotted an opportunity to turn the tables.

    "Their stated goal is to rouse the neglected middle of the road silent majority to action ..."

    What neglected middle of the road silent majority? Is there some grand mass of people out there in middle America that are yearning for Obama to move further to the Right? Other than actual Republicans?   Independent voters that are frequent Fox News viewers may think Obama's policies are Liberal, but if they had more intelligence they either wouldn't be Independents or they wouldn't be watching Fox. 

    This is a sham. A complete pull-the-wool-over-our-eyes, never-mind-the-man-behind-the-curtain b*llsh*t that will come to no good end.   A palace coup that steals its own silverware.

    After decades in which the key leadership factions of the Democratic Party have moved steadily to the right, and shot so far past the center that they are now far more economically conservative than the Rockefeller Republicans of a generation ago, it boggle my mind that there are people who think we need a new "centrist" movement.

    By the way, while the group has no "label", it looks like they have a definite complexion - all white!


    Lisa Borders is an African American on the founders list.  She's an Atlanta politcian.  I didn't include her because she didn't seem to have any Clinton connections, the prevalence of which was one of the things that struck me about the group.  The Clintonians are all the usual suspects from the 90s who started us down the slippery slope that got us to where we are now. 

    I'm just talking about the picture.

    Agree with Dan.  We don't need another 'centrist' movement.

    The trouble with the American experiment in democracy will not be solved by removing labels.  It's a problem of 'no brains'. We are talking about a country where 60 million voted to put Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the oval office.  Where our former lying psychopathic nitwit Prez was afraid to go out and meet, in his own driveway, the mother of a young man he had sent to his death. Sent on a mission sold by his blatant fear mongering, by a self styled macho War President who then then joked about WMD at the correspondents dinner, and yet was easily re-elected  A country where 40% of so of the population doesn't even know they were lied to, or worse, doesn't care: there were no WMD in Iraq.

    Only when individual Americans use the abundant sources of information available to them to select leaders who are intent primarily on solving the problems in this country will the problems in fact be overcome. Curently, too many vote for the guy with the best attack ads, and the dollar rules the airwaves and the candidates.

    As it is now, any candidate who cannot sum up his/her theme on a bumper sticker (and back it up with tens of millions on last minute TeeVee commercials) is operating at a level where they won't get the undecided low information voters ballots. (The Bush Base is, of course, beyond reach, they will vote exactly the way Murdoch, Rush and Ailes tell them to).

    I think the movement--for a lot of ordinary people, not political movers--is about a FEELING that our politics are gridlocked by ideology and so we can't get to solutions that everyone knows will work.

    Triangulation started as tactic for making an end-run around entrenched and determined partisan opposition to liberal policies. Then it became reified as The Third Way, a position unto itself.

    One could, and maybe should, make the argument that Clinton should have stuck to his liberal guns and made the argument for liberal policies.

    Temperamentally, Americans don't like isms or ideology. The only ideology they can tolerate, and even like, is one based on the Constitution.

    But I think we have to learn what conservatives did a long time ago: Take an ideological stand; connect your stand to basic American principles (like the Constitution); and don't back down until you've convinced a lot of people of your point of view.

    Compromise--though most Americans say they are in favor of it--doesn't work unless BOTH side are willing to truly compromise. One of my hard-right interlocutors on FB told me, "Peter, I can't continue to discuss this unless you're willing to meet me half way." Well, meeting him half way would have put me to the right of Jim DeMint. So I said, "Richard, when you come up with good arguments for your point of view, I'll accept them, but no pro forma giving up of ground."

    Gorver Norquist said it all in 2003:

    One person interrupted, as I recall, and said, “C’mon, Grover, surely one day a Democrat will win the White House.”

    Norquist immediately replied: “We will make it so that a Democrat cannot govern as a Democrat.”

    From Deval Patrick via Steve Benen

    THAT is scary.

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