Moderation In The Face Of Extremism

Author and columnist David Frum kicked off his “No Labels” organization with a big ceremony at Columbia University (where nothing is ever labeled) on Monday.  Their slogan is “No Labels. Not Left. Not Right. Forward.”  That sounds curiously similar to MSNBC’s new slogan, “Lean Forward,” which is appropriate, because nothing ever gets labeled at MSNBC either.

The group is absurd, verging on pathetic, and wise guys on the Right have been having fun kicking them around all week.  There’s a little mockery from liberals too, but it’s much less energetic, because they understand No Labels is on their side.  The opening ceremony was a parade of defeated liberal Republicans looking to get even with the Tea Party, and Democrats looking to build new careers. 

One of the panels at their launch ceremony concerned “Hyper-Partisanship”… which is, of course, a label, and a very useful club for beating partisan enemies.  Hilariously, this panel celebrated the Clinton years as the pre-hyper-partisan era.  That would be the golden age when Clinton stooges trashed prosecutors as “Republican operatives” to keep their boss safe from a perjury rap, and Alec Baldwin went on national television to call for the stoning death of Henry Hyde.  Meanwhile, Democrat Evan Bayh moved the crowd to delighted gasps by talking about how Republican Everett Dirksen offered to assist his father’s re-election campaign.  That’s “bipartisanship” in a nutshell – Republicans helping Democrats get re-elected. 

What this fatuous and arrogant organization really means by “hyper-partisanship” is “conservatives fighting back effectively.”  If there’s a serious idea underlying their posturing and deception, it’s the notion that independent-minded voters just want effective solutions to our problems, and they don’t care which party label is attached to them.  That’s easy to say when one party is sitting on top of a government they’ve inflated to three and a half trillion dollars, and have absolutely no intention of cutting until we force them to.  All such forceful efforts will, of course, be stridently denounced as “hyper-partisanship.”  Neat how that works, isn’t it?

A post by Nate Garvis on the blog site sums up the fatal flaw in their approach, for anyone who does happen to take it seriously:

“Lately, I find myself fielding variations of this question: “so what position will No Labels take on (insert issue)?  The honest answer is I don’t know and to answer with exactness is premature.  It’s not that there aren’t a lot of issues of importance out there.  From the start, we’ve known that we want better approaches in the areas of the deficit, economic growth and education just to name a few examples. 

And as much as it is important to get beyond talk and move into action, we shouldn’t underestimate how important it is to set a more productive working culture and just how badly broken our discourse currently is.  We did not get into this polarized mess by accident and we aren’t going to change it overnight.”

We aren’t going to change it without fairly severe partisanship, either.  The pretense that any serious constituency for fiscal restraint exists within the current Democrat Party is absolutely ridiculous, and calls either the honesty or intelligence of anyone who would make it into question.  This is a deeply radicalized party, captured by its far-Left fringe.  They’re shrieking in rage because they feel the brass ring of socialized medicine slipping from their fingers.  They’re so utterly lost in mindless class-warfare rhetoric that they made their openly socialist member, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, into a folk hero for delivering an eight-hour filibuster. 

If No Labels “honestly doesn’t know” what positions it will take on the issues, when our massive government teeters on the edge of collapse, and its very shadow is crushing what remains of the free-market economy, they’re completely useless to anyone who is serious about improving our situation.  Moderation in the face of extremism is submission, not independence.  The leviathan State is very good at feeding itself, and would love to be left alone, while we scramble to find the “center” of a political spectrum that has shifted dangerously to the Left.  “Compromise” with such a beast, or its worshippers, means slowing its rate of growth a bit.  More likely, it means pretending to slow its rate of growth.

One of the top goals for anyone who seriously wants to make America better, once the holidays are behind us and the 112th Congress begins, will be ignoring No Labels to death.  Fortunately, that will be easy to do.