No Labels, No Partisanship?

RINOs of the world, unite.

Moderate Democrat and Republican leaders are coming together to form a new organization called “No Labels,” which will, in the lead up to 2012, organize a grassroots movement that reaches out to centrist voters. The WSJ reports that No Labels wants to target the part of the “political sphere depopulated by the midterm elections and a vital tool for any potential third-party presidential candidate.” (via Hot Air.)

Enter New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is one of the group’s chief supporters, and a possible third-party spoiler in 2012.

No Labels’ purpose is to fight hyper-partisanship in politics, to be the “centrist equivalent to the tea-party movement on the right and MoveOn on the left.” Does it surprise you that David Frum is one of the organization’s founding leaders? So are Republican strategist Mark McKinnon and Democratic fundraiser Nancy Jacobson. 

From No Labels’ website:

Hyper-partisanship is one of the greatest domestic challenges our nation faces. It divides America and derails our ability to solve our shared challenges.  Rather than focusing on solving problems, hyper-partisans use labels to demonize their opponents, enforce orthodoxy within their own ranks, and marginalize sensible compromises.

Putting aside our labels can offer a hopeful alternative, grounded in an approach that brings people together to develop practical solutions to common problems.  That doesn’t mean that we forget about our differences.  It does mean that we regard those with whom we disagree as legitimate voices in the dialogue of democracy, as citizens who might have a piece of the answer to tough questions.

When it comes to politics and political parties, I think litmus tests and “orthodoxy” are foolish and harmful–especially for the GOP right now. However, I don’t agree with No Labels that partisanship itself is a problem. “Ordinary politics is partisan politics,” as Harvey Mansfield has written. To say otherwise–to try to create a postpartisan era of “No Labels”–is a utopian departure from reality.

No Labels is officially planning to launch in New York City on December 13th.