People keep flipping out about a lack of bipartisanship. Many of those same people flipped out at Obama when he made the tax deal with Republicans. But I digress…
A conference was held on Monday to address what a bunch of political has-beens have labeled “excessive polarization and hyperpartisanship of American politics.”
I say has-beens because many of these people were relevant years ago, and others are just former politicians trying to distance themselves from the more doctrinaire members of their party.
Byron York, as usual, as an excellent piece in The Washington Examiner. As he points out, this “No Labels” conference had a “Democratic tinge.”
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.
The events were moderated by MSNBC personalities Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, Dylan Ratigan, and Michael Smerconish. If Fox News seemed to be associated with the Tea Party, then No Labels was an MSNBC affair.
For all of MSNBC’s leftward tilt, the event’s organizers insisted No Labels was strictly bipartisan. And indeed, many participants said they had voted for both Republicans and Democrats in state and local elections. “I am a Democrat who has always voted for the person’s stand on the issues rather than just by party label,” said Bunny Davis of Tucson, who warned the gathering about a takeover of “extremists” in Arizona. But the story was a little different when it came to the White House. “Have I voted for a Republican for president?” Davis said. “No, I haven’t.”
Of course there were people there who have voted for Republicans for president. But at times the No Labels rollout just felt like a Democratic campaign event. For example, before lunch the group’s college-age volunteers, all wearing orange No Labels T-shirts, filled the stage to sing Akon’s anthem. I wish they didn’t have no labels, they chanted, swaying with the music. There’d be more change with no labels. The music was interrupted with brief clips from speeches by John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama.
No Labels organizers claim that they, unlike the Republican or Democratic parties, represent the true majority of Americans. “We can do it because we have the numbers,” said co-founder John Avlon, a former Rudy Giuliani staffer and author of the book “Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America.” It’s not clear what numbers Avlon was referring to. It’s also not clear how No Labels, were it to become a viable political movement, would ever get things done.
Any time an organization enlists college students or rap music to push its message, run in the opposite direction. Co-founder Mark McKinnon is a self-hating Republican. This organization is just another way for him to say “sorry” for working for Bush. It’s also no surprise that most attendees leaned Democrat. They lost the election and are now seeking to blame it on partisanship.
Well, excuse me! I prefer debate and political diversity to groupthink and ideological sameness. Bipartisanship is just a euphemism for “Republicans do whatever Democrats want them to do.” When the GOP opposed ObamaCare, they were labeled “the party of no.” You know what? I’m glad they said no instead of going along with a big government intrusion into health care.
I hope House Republicans do whatever they can to save this country from Obama’s liberal agenda. So far, things are going fairly well, and the GOP doesn’t even control the House yet.
The tax compromise, which I like less and less the more that pork gets thrown in, is a step in the bipartisanship direction, just not in the way that the mindless mental midgets at the “No Labels” convention would like. Republicans and the President came to an agreement that both pleased and displeased both sides. Monday night’s Senate vote on the compromise, 83-15, moves the bill forward so that it can be put into law. The legislative procedure is complicated, but the vote was a victory for real bipartisanship.