I’m constantly surprised by the ways people can get sucked into things that sound good on the surface but have no real substance.
Take, for example, the “No Labels” movement launched so ceremoniously in New York late last year. We saw Democrats, Republicans and Independents meet to supposedly do great things for America. Their rallying cry includes these words:
“We are not labels – we are people. We care deeply about our country. We are frustrated and concerned about the tone of politics.”
Sounds pretty good, right? Who could be opposed to this kind of thinking?
But wait … keep reading. Soon you’ll be asking yourself, “where’s the beef?” as I did. Despite my valiant effort to scour their website and read all the links found in Google, I can’t find more than several high-level pontifications about good intentions. These statements of purpose are included at the end of this blog.
But do good intentions help to solve real problems? What beliefs and values do these people subscribe to in order to guide their thinking, if anything? Do they have positions on anything, or are they just wanting to “go with the flow” espoused by their leaders?
“We believe in the vital civil center — a place where ideas are judged on their merits.”
What does this mean? If empirical evidence can demonstrate that lowering marginal personal income tax rates actually increases the total amount of tax collected by the government, would they support that? If another government program can be shown to be causing the number of people dependent on government to increase rather than giving the people the tools to be self-sufficient, would “No Labels” people support stopping program funding?
Further, great sounding statements such as “We may disagree on issues, but we do so with civility and mutual respect” later falls flat with me when they highlight people like Thomas Friedman on their website attacking the Tea Party movement. If the Tea Party is not about promoting a widely held set of beliefs and values, then Mr. Friedman does not understand it well.
So, what beliefs and values do “No Labels” supporters share?
Personally, I just want people, politicians and special interest groups to give me the truth – – no fables or half-truths – – and then we can have an intelligent conversation about what we need to do to fix something and move the country forward. Until we quit shouting at one another and deal with the brutal facts we are facing, we will never fix what ails us in America. Helping groups such as Independence Caucus (http://www.icaucus.org/) who have principles is a great start.
Do you agree?
Web sites and materials from the “No Labels” movement:
A New, Different Political Movement
Sept. 29, 2010. Posted by No Labels.
Tom Friedman’s latest New York Times article, The Tea Kettle Movement, elaborates on the real political movement we need to see occur in this country. The Tea Party movement, which is currently taking place, he renames The Tea Kettle Movement (full of steam and without solutions). While the other movement, which our country needs, he refers to as the true Tea Party Movement. Friedman’s true movement consists of citizens who identify as centrist Republicans, Independents, and centrist Democrats who are looking for a leader with a plan to make America great again. The article points to the fact that the answer isn’t just about shrinking government and cutting taxes. This rhetoric may resonate in the November elections, but it doesn’t address the problems facing America
ARCHIVE JANUARY 2011
Original> Redefine Patriotism
In today’s hyper-partisan politics neither party is willing nor can, without committing political suicide, do what is in the country’s interest if it is not in their party’s interest. It’s the sad reality of modern American politics. So No Labels was founded in part to ask our political leaders to “Put labels aside and do what’s best for America.” As No Labels supporters we are trying to build a support structure so our political leaders can put the country’s interest ahead of their own party. Right now the only support structure that seems to exist promotes special interests and …
Yesterday. Posted by Nicholas Goebel.
David Brooks writes on the role of civility and humility in politics. He says, “Civility is the natural state for people who know how limited their own individual powers are and know, too, that they need the conversation. They are useless without the conversation.” Read more here and don’t forget to join the No Labels National Conversation the day after the State of the Union by signing up here.
Jan. 14, 2011. Posted by No Labels.
We are not labels – we are people.
We care deeply about our country.
We are frustrated and concerned about the tone of politics.
We are passionate about addressing America’s challenges.
We are Democrats, Republicans and Independents.
Most importantly, we are Americans.
We believe hyper-partisanship is destroying our politics and paralyzing our ability to govern.
We may disagree on issues, but we do so with civility and mutual respect.
We believe in the vital civil center — a place where ideas are judged on their merits.
We believe that together we can make the future better and brighter — and give us what we all deserve — a government and a political system that works — one driven by shared purpose and common sense.
We believe our politics can change, so that government will work again and produce better results.
The consequences of inaction have never been greater, because the issues we face have never been more serious, more complicated, or more dangerous.
And yet, we have a crisis of governance – A crisis that compels us to work together to move America forward.
We must put our labels aside, and put the issues and what’s best for the nation first.
A promising future awaits us.
iCaucus Mission Statement
OUR PRINCIPLES ARE:
- LIMITED GOVERNMENT
- FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY
- ADHERENCE TO CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY
- REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE TO WASHINGTON; NOT WASHINGTON TO THE PEOPLE
OUR GOAL IS TO:
- BRING GOVERNMENT CONTROL AND ACCOUNTABILITY BACK TO THE PEOPLE
- REMOVE THE INFLUENCE AND CONTROL OF “BIG MONEY” SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS
- HOLD OUR REPRESENTATIVES ACCOUNTABLE TO THEIR PROMISES AND PRINCIPLES
OUR METHOD TO ACCOMPLISH OUR GOAL IS TO:
- FIND, VET, ENDORSE AND THEN HELP ELECT PRINCIPLED CANDIDATES
- TEACH OUR DELEGATES A PROVEN METHOD TO ACHIEVE GRASSROOTS ELECTORAL SUCCESS