“No Labels”

Everything you need to know about the new political group No Labels is contained in its slogan: “Not Left. Not Right. Forward.” It’s smug. It sounds like an Obama campaign catchphrase. And it ignores the whole reason politics exists, which is that not everyone agrees on what “Forward” is.

That’s Chris Beam, writing in Slate in a piece that is nicely inflected with some political science. For example, this:

No Labels sounds noble in theory. But the group misunderstands what bipartisanship is. It’s not two parties deciding to be nice to each other. It’s a moment when their self-interests happen to align—moments that are increasingly rare. Washington does not have a “civility problem.” It has a polarization problem. Politicians aren’t any meaner now than they were 30 years ago. It’s just that over the last few decades, the two parties have become more ideologically coherent.

The whole piece is here.

And while we’re on the subject of new movements of political independents, or whatever, see Jon Bernstein’s latest on Matt Bai in an unfortunately recurring segment.

One Response to “No Labels”

  1. Sebastian December 14, 2010 at 2:28 pm #

    This might not be the best place to get an answer to this – but who likes Matt Bai (his writing/thinking not the person)?
    Everyone I read makes fun of him and no one I talk to thinks he’s insightful. Plus he’s not even a great writer. So – why does Matt Bai get that much room in the NYT?