Wednesday, December 22, 2010

No Labels

The new group No Labels is supposed to discourage "hyperpartisanship." Now hyperpartisanship is bad when it means that people are unwilling to support ideas that are not their own or when it means that people are not willing to compromise at all. On the other hand, hyperpartisanship can be good when it means that people do not embrace bad ideas just because they are not their own idea. This should be completely obvious, but I am concerned that it really is not and that too many people want to show how civil and bipartisan they are. Frank Rich writes "the notion that civility and nominal bipartisanship would accomplish any of the heavy lifting is ... a mindless distraction from the real work." Political movements have goals. To say your goal is only to get to work and deal with issues without too much clarity about what kinds of ways it is going to deal with what kinds of issues, is at best not going to accomplish anything. At worst, it will accomplish the complete centralization of political power around itself, as its own cause too good to share power with the unworthy politicians.

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