December 14, 2010

"No Labels, a group that aspires to build a grass-roots movement for political independents and independent-minded voters in both parties..."

Every couple of months we get something like this, don't we? It's the "Coffee Party" all over again — isn't it? — an attempt by elite Democrats to create the impression of a grass-roots movement. It never works. [Remember "One Nation"?] And "No Labels" is such a silly... uh... label. It has a certain nostalgic 60s vibe: I ain’t lookin’ to... analyze you, categorize you, finalize you or advertise you.... But I came from the 60s, and I'm sick of that vibe when it's used to advertise to me. Wasn't there some ad campaign with a sincere-looking model staring straight into the camera and saying "no labels"? Or was it "no games"? Or no some other damned thing?
On Sunday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg flatly ruled out an independent run for president in 2012. On Monday, he appeared at the national unveiling in New York of No Labels...

It’s also possible, though, that he understands something about the modern political culture that many of those speculating about the purpose of No Labels do not — that an independent not only no longer needs to spend time encouraging the formation of a party organization to run for president, but he’s also probably better off without one.
Especially if he's a billionaire!
... No Labels was created by two Washington consultants, the Democratic fund-raiser Nancy Jacobson and the Republican image-shaper Mark McKinnon, and its slick opening event featured throngs of journalists, free boxed lunches and a song written for the occasion by the pop sensation Akon. The group’s slogan, printed on T-shirts and banners, summarizes its purpose this way: “Not left. Not right. Forward.”
Hey, that's the Wisconsin motto — "Forward." And free lunch, eh? There is a such thing as a free lunch. That could be a motto. Anyway, I just don't get the enthusiasm around Mayor Bloomberg.
Some commentators have speculated that No Labels could even form the basis of a serious third party, with the mayor at the helm, something America hasn’t seen since Ross Perot’s Reform Party collapsed from a long internal power struggle in 2000.
Hmmm. Let me think. What is the similarity between Mayor Bloomberg and Ross Perot?

Here's what Rush Limbaugh said about No Labels yesterday:
Now, what is this?  Well, let's take a look at who these people are.  Mark McKinnon, Kiki McLean, Nancy Jacobson.  I'll tell you what this is about.  It is about money.  These are political consultants.  They need candidates.  They need candidates running for office for whom they can take whatever the consultant gets, 5%, 10%, what have you.  All three founders of No Labels are Democrats.  They would love for Bloomberg to run for president.  Why?  Because he is a billionaire.  Get him to run as an independent, maybe even third party.  You know, sucker him into an independent run where they get the money, win or lose.  Whether he wins or loses doesn't matter.  They get the money.  And he would lose.  But there are always, as a friend of mine says, there are always political operatives who will tell a billionaire what he wants to hear....

We know the founders are left-wing political consultants and we know that Democrat and liberal are labels that do not help political people these days.  Of course they would want to get rid of them.  By the same token, conservative is a good label.  Naturally they would want to get rid of that.  And naturally they would find some so-called pseudo smart Republicans who would agree with them on this.  How many of these people belong to a particular religion, and why?  Because of their belief system.  Nothing wrong with labels as long as they are appropriate; as long as they are true; as long as they are properly descriptive.  It's called language.
ADDED: Here's Byron York:
No Labels was formed by a group of Democratic and Republican political consultants. On the Democratic side, there is Nancy Jacobson, a former finance director of the Democratic National Committee and veteran of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. On the Republican side, there is Mark McKinnon, who worked for former President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain before announcing, as the 2008 general election race got under way, that he would no longer work for McCain because, as he said at the time, "I just don't want to work against an Obama presidency."

Now, after two years of an Obama presidency and a Republican opposition, McKinnon believes something is terribly wrong. "Nancy called me about nine months ago and said she wanted to start an organization to address hyperpartisanship," McKinnon says. "She had me at hello."

The event featured appearances by a number of Democratic politicians: Villaraigosa, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, and retiring Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh. For some reason, most of the Republicans who showed up were recently defeated officeholders: South Carolina Rep. Bob Inglis, Delaware Rep. Mike Castle, and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. God knows why a group devoted to principle above politics would invite the opportunistic Crist to speak, but No Labels did.
AND: Does Bloomberg maintain that he's not running for President?

78 comments:

T J Sawyer said...

No Labels.

Liberals in disguise.

No shit!

AllenS said...

Republican image-shaper Mark McKinnon. WTF is that?

GMay said...

Hell, let's make the wild assumption that it is starting off from The Center (whatever that is), it will drift leftward anyway.

I read a little about this yesterday. Did they happen to outline any policy positions? Because I'd sure like to hear what their idea of "forward" is.

mesquito said...

Who wouldn't want to be attached to Mike Bloomberg's fanny for $50,000 a month?

cgeteert said...

I look forward to the day I can point to someone wearing a "No Labels" T-shirt and say 'you really don't see the irony'?

damikesc said...

Professor, please note the ONLY people gung-ho for a Bloomberg run are media types based out of NYC.

Literally nobosy else takes the nanny seriously.

LarsPorsena said...

No Labels

No Principles

Clyde said...

Here's your label: Democrats and RINOs. Bloomberg is the king of the nanny-staters, the diametric opposite of the Tea Party's message of responsibility, accountability and self-reliance. Castle and Crist are both RINOs par excellence (and sore losers). The only reason that there are only two RINO stooges is that the one in Alaska won her write-in contest.

No, thanks.

Pogo said...

They should try the No Lapels angle, and all wear nehru jackets.


"McKinnon says. "She had me at hello."
So Nancy Jacobson is Jerry Maguire?
Did she say "You complete me"?

Who's the cute kid in glasses in this scenario?

traditionalguy said...

Taking a firm stand against taking firm stands seems so noble and so clean. But will they have to throw out any member who slips up and stands for something other than neutrality? It sure is a nice thought. Kind of like a Unitarian group formed to be firmly against political party activities; or does that stand for something? Somebody alert America's Politico...he always knows the answers.

MadisonMan said...

What damikesc said. The fact that something appears in the NY Times does not mean in any way that it is relevant to the entire Nation.

Althouse columns and mentions excepted of course.

traditionalguy said...

P.S....I really enjoyed reading the Professor's stimulating thoughts posted on this early morning. Thanks.

mesquito said...

Somebody alert America's Politico...he always knows the answers.

Well, these things always seem much clearer from Minsk.

amba said...

Supposedly I agree with these people about hyperpartisanship ... so why do they repel me?

section9 said...

No Labels has one thing in common:

They despise the Label that says "Palin"

Pogo said...

"We don't stand for anything.
We have weak knees."

AllenS said...

No Labels -- Democrats and Loser Republicans

donttread2010 said...

@cgeteert

"I look forward to the day I can point to someone wearing a "No Labels" T-shirt and say 'you really don't see the irony'?"

Non-profit?

This is dead before leaving the gate. I imagine a stillborn mission statement filled with non-this and non-that. Another pointless attempt to inoculate liberals from criticism, no?

Pogo said...

No Lame-os.

Noel Abel.

No justice. No labels.
Know Labels. Know justice.

Nolo contendere.

No Ladles. (soup kitchen, closed)

Low Naples. (cheap italian food)

No Stables. (free range arabians)

craig said...

There already was a group called "No Logo", supposedly to protest the mass-merchandising of everything. Later, their followers were frustrated that they couldn't display their anti-capitalist bona fides, so No Logo started selling No Logo-branded merchandise.

traditionalguy said...

Is this a re-run of The Democratic Leadership Council, but is too afraid of the mentally ill "Progressives" to say so publicly? Or is it a Sadducee type group that just values money and doesn't want all that populist passion to upset thir money changer's tables? Hmmm.

virgil xenophon said...

The No Label crowd want to consider themselves the "Decents." Sportsfans this is ALL about holier-than-thou in-crowd elitism. ( and nothing wrong with throwing in personal financial gain while we're at it.) These people want to limit debate within the bounds of what they view as "proper," "reasoned" debate. Meaning that true conservatives--ESPECIALLY neolithic types like Palin, the T-Party and people like Limbaugh, Malkin, Hannity, et al will be hopefully ruled "out of bounds," i.e., "unacceptable" and beyond the pale in the public's eye (hey, listen to us, NOT them!) by the "non-partisan" example of the No Label crowd--to be excluded from polite company and formal debate. Trust me. These people will inevitably side with those proposing new legislation for control of political discourse on both the internet and the airwaves allowing only "approved" "acceptable" "non-inflammatory" discourse.

junyo said...

Having Mark McKinnon as your token Republican is like having Zell Miller as your token Democrat.

Also, having Akon write your party's theme music. Really? Was Waka Flocka Flame unavailable?

junyo said...

Taking a firm stand against taking firm stands seems so noble and so clean.

"A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything." - Malcolm X

Meade said...

Oh, I thought you said it was a "no lapels" party.

AJ Lynch said...

The elites prove they are one-trick ponies when they try these stunts over and over again. Yet they think we rubes are the dumb ones.

bgates said...

Who's the cute kid in glasses in this scenario?

Based on height, it would have to be Mayor Mike.

Michael said...

"Not left, not right, forward" is unconsciously revealing. One can imagine Obamacare being forward, but repealing it? Not forward. Doling out more money to the states for graft, I mean, road construction, that's forward, but cutting them off the spigot, no. Gay marriage, condom education in preschool, Jesus covered with ants... all forward, but any ingrained cultural hesitation about such things... not forward. Hope and change, forward, standing athwart history yelling stop, no.

But then, the first rule of rhetoric is that anyone denying something right out of the box has basically just admitted to it, isn't it?

bgates said...

Some commentators have speculated that No Labels could even form the basis of a serious third party

They could call it the Party of No.

Mark said...

I'm really disappointed that Manchin had anything to do with this. Supposedly he's smarter than that.

Michael said...

"Professor, please note the ONLY people gung-ho for a Bloomberg run are media types based out of NYC."

This is an important point. The media always build up New Yorkers because the media is based in New York. All my life I've heard about the prospects, indeed the inevitability, of President Rockefeller, President Lindsay, President Cuomo, President Hillary, President Giuliani, even President Pataki... and the last New Yorker to even get to the race was Tom Dewey. Meanwhile our presidents have come from Georgia, Arkansas, Texas, Illinois.

The day Bloomberg enters the race he'll have a solid 8% "none of the above" vote, and by election day the process of introducing a New Yorker to the rest of the country will have whittled it down by half.

Original Mike said...

Haven't read any of this yet, but I saw it on Hardball last night. The fact that the completely unprincipled, self centered Charlie Crist is involved tells me all I need to know. And I'm not even talking about his run as an independent. I'm talking about his calculated, position-shifting pre-primary behavior.

10ksnooker said...

They keep trying to figure out what lie will work.

Maybe they should just try the truth.

JBlog said...

Considering their behavior during the Bush administration, any liberal who wants to talk about civility with me needs to start with an apology.

Pogo said...

"We're against all those uncivil bastards in politics."

Assistant Village Idiot said...

We want to explain to you why you should be mostly liberal, and we don't want to have to raise our voices this time

backoutwest said...

counterfeit goods often have no labels

pumping-irony said...

No labels, or what the advertising world used to call, "Brand X"...

George said...

Pro-tip for No Labels:

Use a different font for your signs than Obama's campaign used.

Rialby said...

damikesc and Michael - as a reformed NYer, I couldn't agree with you more.

The squishy center-right (see: Noonan, Brooks, Frum, Parker, Buckley Jr) wants more than anything to have someone like them in the White House. Elitist snobs that they are.

W? Way too Texas.
Obama? Socialist train wreck.
Clinton? Cum stain.

The one guy that they should have gotten behind BUT NOBODY DID was a guy named George HW Bush. They threw him overboard too for the charming rogue from Arkansas.

Bloomberg doesn't have a chance in hell of winning anything outside of NYC. Shit, Boston wouldn't even take him back at this point.

James said...

Was Waka Flocka Flame unavailable?

WOW...that's a reference I never expected to see on Althouse's blog.

NO HANDS!!!

Mark said...

Look what fell off the truck.

edutcher said...

The name is all wrong.

Call it Reach Across the Aisle...

or Democrats and Assistant Democrats...

or RINOs and the Demos That Love (To Take Advantage Of) Them.

Original Mike said...

"I'm really disappointed that Manchin had anything to do with this. Supposedly he's smarter than that."

I saw his interview with Chris Wallace a couple of weeks before the election and came away thinking "not smart".

I'm not surprised to see him here, though. He's in a very awkward position. Democrat (who's up in 2 years) who got elected by disavowing the Democratic position. I think he's flaying around for a life boat.

SteveR said...

Halfway down the stairs
is a stair
where i sit.
there isn't any
other stair
quite like
it.
i'm not at the bottom,
i'm not at the top;
so this is the stair
where
I always
stop.

Halfway up the stairs
Isn't up
And it isn't down.
It isn't in the nursery,
It isn't in town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head.
It isn't really
Anywhere!
It's somewhere else
Instead!

JorgXMcKie said...

Assistant Village Idiot @ 8:35 has the thread-winner.

[Is their an opening for the Assistant to the Assistant Village Idiot, or maybe an unpaid internship available? My hometown was so small we all had to take turns being the Village Idiot {we couldn't afford anyone full-time} so I never learned the trade properly.]

Larry J said...

"Labels ... get in the way of getting things done," said Tom Davis, the former Republican congressman from Virginia.

Let them be specific about the things they want to "get done."

Odds are most Americans don't want those things. What are they talking about, more government programs, higher taxes, more intrusiveness in our lives? Do they even care whether or not we want those things?

No, thanks. I gave at the office.

jr565 said...

On the Republican side, there is Mark McKinnon, who worked for former President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain before announcing, as the 2008 general election race got under way, that he would no longer work for McCain because, as he said at the time, "I just don't want to work against an Obama presidency."
Ah, a chris buckley republican. Or, to put it another way, an idiot. Why does that guy still use the word republican in his title. And I bet the only reason he worked for Mccain was because he was a maverick, and broke from the republicans on more than one occasion. It wasn't his conservativness that attracted him but that he was democratic enough to pass muster.
My guess is he would only support conservatives like Mccain, and only when they are not facing candidates like Obama.
I voted for Mccain, in fairness, but that was because he was running against Obama. And anyone who voted for an Obama aint a conservative.

James said...

Wasn't the old saying, "Forward;" "Never go straight?" It was a seventies stoner tack, I think.

BarryD said...

Bloomberg? President?

Let me just say that I utterly despise Barack Obama, as a person and as a politician, and I disagree completely with 99% of what he has done in office, ever, anywhere. He never had any business being in the White House, still doesn't. His school of thought about Con Law is a pernicious evil, too.

But... I would STILL vote for BO over Bloomberg. Any day of the week.

cubanbob said...

A minyan of bullshitters gather at a bullshit rally to proclaim they aren't bullshitters. Just democrats being democrats.

PaulV said...

No labels = Nobama

Hoosier Daddy said...

Whether he wins or loses doesn't matter. They get the money.

Billy Ray Valentine: Sounds to me like ya’ll a couple of bookies.

Randolph Duke: See Mortimer, I told you he’d understand.

Trading Places, 1983

AST said...

This is what I've heard my whole life about Communists. They were among us working to undermine freedom, hiding their true identities. Then I learned about Joe McCarthy, then I read "Witness."

Now Communism is supposedly dead, but its seeds in the U.S. have never ceased to grow in the education, media and union establishments

These No Label jerks are harking back to the past. They win your confidence and friendship then invite you to dinner and try to recruit you to sell Amway.

sunsong said...

This seems like a good idea to me. The country is so polarized right now that it is potentially harmful, imo. Whether this group works or they got their name right isn't that important. The idea that those who are more interested in dialogue than dogma would have an opportunity to be represented is a good thing, imo.

Right now the hyperpartisans hate each other. The hatred and rage is so toxic that the criticisms actually lose sanity and become inhumane. They can no longer see even the humanity of those who disagree with them. To me, it is a serious problem and having someone suggest that those in the middle, those who are independent, those who like some things about each party and dislike others - that those people dialogue with each other seems like a positive move to me.

Kirk Parker said...

Imagine no labels,
It's easy to do...

BarryD said...

The country is so polarized right now that it is potentially harmful, imo.

Translation: I don't know a goddamned thing about American history.

Paul Zrimsek said...

No Labels doesn't want to process anything that's been bought or sold, sell anything that's been bought or processed, or buy anything that's been processed or sold.

Jay said...

But I came from the 60s, and I'm sick of that vibe when it's used to advertise to me.

Well, the people coming up with these silly ideas are from tht 60's too and it is their frame of reference.

Thor's Dad said...

I just don't get this. Everybody has a philosophy for governing and accomplishing things - a vision of society. Even if you merely claim that you are trying to be pragmatic and trying to do what 'works'. One still comes at it with a vision of what that is and how it should be accomplished. This is just a means for hiding one's underlying worldview/philosophy. Plus the name is self-referentially incoherent. "No Labels" is in and of itself a label.

orbicularioculi said...

These consultants are doing what they do, ginning up business to sucker the STUPID ignorant voters into voting for INCOMPETENTS.

Michale Bloomberg is Mayor Nanny of New York who buys his way into political office with his "stash".

Both sicken me.

raf said...

"I'm really disappointed that Manchin had anything to do with this. Supposedly he's smarter than that."

You think Manchin may be preparing to do a Lieberman? He had a scare in the last election and may no longer believe that "Democrat" is a winning label for him, but knows that a total switch to Republican in WV would offend many while impressing few. He may need a neutral label.

OSweet said...

It's like the atheist who gets in a cab in Belfast, and the cabbie asks him if he's Catholic or Protestant, and he says neither, he's atheist, and then the cabbie asks if he's a Catholic Atheist or Protestant Atheist.
The atheist is saying "I'm above all this," and the cabbie is saying, "No ... you're not."

rcocean said...

What, no David Frum?

BarryD said...

Ceci n'est pas une étiquette.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

Can someone direct me to the “platform” of No Labels…we’re for ObamaCare, but with changes? We’re for the Bush Tax Code with changes? What are they FOR? What do they intend to DO?

Finally, the very motto is foolish, Neither Right nor Left, but Forward…OK, which direction is forward? One’s progress can only be measured in terms of what one is moving towards or against, and in politics, those are NORMATIVE Values, “fairness” “transparency” “efficiency” and the like and hence can ONLY be understood in terms of labels….

Jon said...

Ann, I think you were channeling Mel Gibson on your "no games" ad:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyO6ayCb5rE

Roux said...

A lot of people think that today's "hyper-partisanship" is somehow different or worse than it ever was.... believe me it's not. We just didn't know about the ugliness of it because it never made the press.

AlphaLiberal said...

Uh, liberals are also attacking this group. For example, they refuse to say who is funding them.

It's the stand-for-nothing middlists.

Original Mike said...

Whatever you do, don't click on the song. I did, and now I can't get it out of my head.

Brian John Murphy (Capt. Irony) said...

No Labels...This would work much better as the name of a chain of discount dress shops.

The good news is that if this movement takes off it will only take votes away from Democrats.

Brian John Murphy (Capt. Irony) said...

No Labels...a terrible name for a political party but a great name for a discount dress shop.

What a sideshow of has-been and never-was politicos. Crist is a no-label guy because he used them all up! Shouldn't Arlen Spector be in this crowd? He doesn't stand for anything in particular.

As for Bloomberg? Let's hope he runs on the No Label Label. Then he can campaign down south and tell the voters how he won't let them put salt on their pulled pork sandwiches.

The good news is that if this astroturf movement actually takes off, it will only split the vote on the left.

Sigivald said...

"I just don't want to work against an Obama presidency."

So, "Republican" has a pretty flexible meaning in this analysis?

I mean, I'm willing to believe he worked for President Bush, and has at one point self-identified as a Republican (and may, ala Andrew Sullivan and "conservative" still believe he is one).

But at some point it becomes implausible, no matter what he tells himself; and when one refuses to "stand in the way of" the other party's candidate's victory, I think one can say that one has abandoned the first party pretty thoroughly.

It's enough to make me want to register as a Republican out of spite.

AllenS said...

How about No Libidos.

Palladian said...

"Use a different font for your signs than Obama's campaign used."

LOL. George is right. "No Labels" is indeed using the Obama campaign font, which is from Hoefler & Frere-Jones and is called "Gotham". The "No Labels" literature I've looked at uses Gotham Ultra as its font.

Um, nothing says non-partisan "No Labels" like a stolen design accompanied by the Hope&Change font! DUH.

Robin said...

Bloomberg's last big group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, pushed gun control measures supported by no one in the "center" and fell apart because its "Mayors" were being convicted of crimes and jailed.

Palladian said...

Hey, one of my comments vanished...

LakeLevel said...

With no Ross Perot, Clinton would have lost both times. This is nothing more than the launching of one gigantic dirty trick. The purpose is to get people who would otherwise vote for the Republican candidate to vote for the independant. It worked twice for Clinton and twice recently in Minnesota (Franken and Dayton). Anyone who takes this seriously is either a idiot dupe or they are in on it.