Have you heard about the newest political movement?
It's purported to be an attempt to firm up the political
center by giving people who are tired of the banter of
the Left and the Right dominating the national political
scene. Its members call their creation the "No Labels
Movement", as they profess to eschew political labels
such as "liberal", "conservative", and "Tea Party".
They supposedly want to arrive at some sort of com-
promise consensus on the issues of the day such as
taxes, spending, and border security.
Now, my treasured readers, it's certainly true that the
camps at each end of the political spectrum do control
much of the political debate; all of the political ideas
are formed by them, for both sides stand for certain sets
of principles which in turn make up their ideological
content and party platforms. Political parties therefore
are the inevitable result of competing ideas and interests;
this is why there is a Democratic Party and a Republican
Party (as well as a handful of smaller political parties,
i.e. the Libertarian Party). Moderates, the relatively
quiet folk who inhabit the middle of the political spectrum,
don't formulate political ideas; rather, they help themselves
to those generated by the Left and the Right which appeal
to them and cobble them together into a political framework
with which they are comfortable. In other words, moderates
make nothing --- they only borrow.
Although there is nothing inherently wrong in doing this,
it is certainly no way to propell anyone into the forefront of
our political scene. In order to lead anything, be it a church,
a club, a business, or a nation, one must have a vision in mind.
One also must have ideas of what steps to implement in order
to achieve the vision, as well as how best to accomplish the
former. Thus, a political movement or party which claims the
middle ground can fall into the trap of not really standing for
anything, thus creating a political vaccuum. As with nature,
politics abhors a vaccuum.
Take the Whig Party of the 1840s and 1850s. This was a
centrist party which avoided the political head-butting of
the day; they were adverse to taking stands on the big issues,
especially slavery. When some of their candidates stood on
one side of an issue while some others stood on the other side,
or took no side at all as sometimes was the case, the Whigs
fell out of favor with an electorate which demanded specific
action be taken on the questions related to these issues. The
Republican Party was thus created by disaffected Whig voters
and anti-slavery Democrats. They soon elected Abraham
Lincoln president, who brought an end to slavery in the
The shorter-lived American Independence Party of the 1990s
also had an aversion to the stands and the passions of the
parties of the Left and the Right. It also had candidates who
disagreed on what stands to take on the issues of that period,
and in the resultant vaccuum their nominee for the presidency
in 2000 was the hard-core conservative, ex-Republican Patrick
Buchanan. The one-time Nixon speechwriter gained all of
one per cent of the popular vote.
Now, the "No Labels" people claim to want to offer an alter-
native to the liberals and conservatives to the people, even
though they emphatically stated a preference for conservatism
in last year's election. This silly movement, founded by the
milquetoast speechwriter for President George W. Bush
(perhaps this is one of the reasons why Dubya's presidency
got far off the conservative message and far away from con-
servative principles!) and funded by New York Mayor
Michael Bloomberg, a political figure who is far to the left
of many prominent Democrats and has a bottomless reserve
of cash, is thought by some to be a sort of "Trojan horse"
because of some distinctly liberal elements within its ranks.
As National Review Contributing Editor Jonah Goldberg
pointed out in NR's 12/30/10 issue, "The party of 'nonparti-
sanship' is always the cloak of self-serving operators,"
in this case, both failed liberals and conservatives; indeed,
roundly defeated liberal GOP Senate candidate Mike Castle
(DE) and sketchy Democrat senators Joe Leiberman (D-CT)
and Joe Manchin (D-WV) are charter members. This is yet
another reason why a political body which claims to eschew
labels cannot lead the political debate, or even function as
a political entity for very long. Who can trust a supposedly
moderate political group which is rife with people from one
side of the spectrum or the other?
Take your savvy Peasant's advice: Don't be fooled by these
hucksters. Anyone claiming to be without an ideological label
is either very naive or they harbor a hidden agenda. Just say,
"No thanks" to "No Labels".
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