No Labels, No Chance

On Monday, a new group was launched at Columbia by two Washington consultants. The Washington Post reported, "No Labels is not a third party, its leaders said, but rather a home for Americans turned off by a deepening divide between Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals."

Matt Bai writes,

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.”

Bai is skeptical of its ability to actually get someone elected. He rightly points out that third parties haven't had a great track record in American politics. "Third parties, at least since the advent of the Republicans in the 1850s, have generally been vehicles for making statements or for pushing the parties in an ideological direction."

Would you support the No Labels party?

12 thoughts on “No Labels, No Chance

  1. I think they need something for people turned off by the actual Democrats and Republicans. The deepening divide between them isn’t really something that I see as a problem.

  2. I don’t think Mr. McKinnon is all that Republican. A Bushie, yes, but not much more.
    In 1984, he joined fellow UT alumnus Paul Begala (who later authored Is Our Children Learning?: The Case Against George W. Bush) working in the press office of Senate candidate Lloyd Doggett. The Democrat “got creamed,” McKinnon said in the Texas Monthly article, but it was his introduction to another future consulting star, James Carville. He said Carville “looked like a prehistoric reptile and acted like a hyperactive twelve-year-old. But if you spent enough time around him and got over the initial shock, you could see that he was a flat-out political genius.”
    McKinnon worked as the press secretary for Texas Gov. Mark White during the campaign that saw his 1986 defeat, then headed for Louisiana — a state known for colorful politicians — for his “Ph.D.” in politics, working for Buddy Roemer. A Democratic congressman running for governor, Roemer defeated Edwin Edwards, who had been in office since 1972, by portraying himself as an outsider ready to clean up Louisiana politics.
    After working on the 1988 Dukakis campaign, which he describes as unfocused and “futile,” McKinnon returned to Texas to help Richards win her 1990 gubernatorial race. He was not with her four years later when she lost to Bush. At the time, McKinnon told the Houston Chronicle that “Bush ran a pretty error-free campaign.”
    McKinnon’s 1996 retirement was, of course, premature; late in 1997, Texas newspapers began reporting that he was “in talks” with the Bush campaign, and in the spring of 1998 it became official.

  3. I don’t like the Reeps, and I like the Demmies even less. I was thrilled about John Anderson (yes! I am that old!) but I also saw Perot crash & burn.
    I would prefer Bloomberg to either Obama or Palin. This looks sort of like McKinnon and Jacobson setting Bloomberg up for a hugely expensive campaign which they would get rich running. So: generally skeptical, but with the right candidate, I would vote for them. It’s hard for me to imagine they would win.

  4. “This looks sort of like McKinnon and Jacobson setting Bloomberg up for a hugely expensive campaign which they would get rich running.”
    Indeed. If Bloomberg actually got into the debates, he’d get ripped into from both sides and made to give specifics. And by the way, I know the word “fascist” is way overused, but is there a more perfectly fascist slogan than “Not left. Not right. Forward”? It would sound great in Italian. (That was technically not a Godwin violation.)

  5. It’s fairly tone deaf. A launch event at Columbia University? With a theme song? In what universe does Columbia represent the middle of America? The famous old New Yorker cartoon of the view of the US from New York?
    We’re trying to become a microphone for those voices, to create a system that rewards and gives a shout-out for good behavior.” I’d think it were from the Onion.
    I wonder which billionaire’s backing this effort?

  6. Oh, this is so unbelivably delicious, thank you for posting. A launch at Columbia? Plagiarized icons? That anthem? The embarassing, inevitable conclusion of the Rally to Restore Sanity?My whole suite has been roaring with laughter for half an hour now.
    “♪ So how about we tie ourselves together and get it done? ♪

  7. “Would you support the No Labels party?”
    No, but I’m not looking for a “center” party (whatever that means). My usual complaints about the Democrats is that they’re not progressive enough, so a center isn’t going to help me at all. And then, I’ve never understood this mysterious center that votes for Republicans and Democrats on different days. I’d be quite interested in seeing individual profiles of switch voters (say, people who voted for Bush in 2004 & Obama in 2008). I usually think they’re not really a very big group, and the real difference in outcomes is the distribution of people who didn’t vote in 2004 and voted in 2008. But I don’t know the data.
    Is there reason to believe that “no labels” (boy does that sound like marketing) is Bloomberg? The NY connection and the media marketing seems suspicious, though I also like the theory that it’s marketing for the principals (and, I think, not the principles).

  8. And then, I’ve never understood this mysterious center that votes for Republicans and Democrats on different days.
    Everybody always votes on Tuesday.

  9. “Everybody always votes on Tuesday.”
    No, no, no. Republicans vote on Tuesdays, Democrats vote on Wednesdays.
    (Reverse according to personal party preference.)

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