Labeling No Labels: This one is predictable. A group called “No Labels” has formed which tries to underscore the fact there is a center and that political labels are not what (should) matter. This is a threat to some who feel anything that does not have a D or R or L or C label is either a lie or threat. So who is a symbol of unfettered partisanship, unadulterated ideogical hate who would immediately go after the group? Why Rush Limbaugh — the mega popular and mega rich talk show host who blasts the poor and then takes off in his private jet, the guy who inspired the “Flush Rush Quarterly” years ago that was packed with his assertions and copious details of how distorted or wrong statements he passed off to believing listerners as facts were. Here’s a bit of John Avlon, writing in the Daily Beast:
According to Rush Limbaugh, I’m a hard-core liberal, no different than Michael Moore who paid the bail for “the serial rapist Julian Assange.” Also, I’m not willing to admit who the terrorists are, and I’m helping to kill Christmas.
It’s all because I co-founded a new group that launched this week called No Labels. We’re Republicans, Democrats and Independents—dedicated to confronting the culture of hyper-partisanship that is distorting our debates and stopping our nation from solving the serious challenges we face.
This idea is threatening to professional polarizers like El Rushbo—which is why he devoted an hour of his show this week to attacking us. In particular, he took personal aim at co-founders Mark McKinnon (a Republican Bush/McCain adviser and fellow Daily Beast columnist), Kiki McLean (a Texas Democrat and Clinton administration alum) and myself. In the process, he again proved the need for No Labels.
Rush’s core concern seems to be that there is no such thing as the center or independent voters. He believes that America is divided between the far-right and the far-left, and he likes to offer only that false choice because he believes it’s a fight he can win. But an emphasis on swing voters or independents—the largest and fastest-growing segment of the electorate—makes the math more complicated. It screws an inflexible ideologue up.
“If we do this right, we can discredit this whole mind-set of the ‘moderate center’ being the defining group in American politics,” said Rush. “Because this No Labels group is going to end up illustrating what a fraudulent idea that whole concept of, ‘There are people who decide issue by issue. On the left they like certain things, on the right they like certain things.’”
So Rush believes that there are no principled Americans who decide what they believe on different policies issue-by-issue. For someone who talks about freedom a lot, he doesn’t have much faith in free will or free-thinking. He doesn’t believe that Americans—especially independent voters—can consider themselves fiscally conservative but socially liberal. You either walk in lockstep as a social conservative and fiscal conservative or you are a ‘hard-core liberal’—libertarians, apparently, need not apply.
Read Avlon’s post in its entirety.
But there is MORE.
Limbaugh is NOT THE ONLY ONE blasting No Labels. Keith Olbermann, in noting the group’s formation, contemptuously dismissed it as a group made up of “conservative Demcrats” and warmed over Republicans — a further sign that ideologues have a mind meld when it comes to trying to discredit those who DARE not to embrace their agendas, question their agends, and perhaps do a pick and choose on their own agendas. The most thoughtful critical take on No Labels came from Washington Post columnist EJ Dionne, Jr. UPDATE: No Labels got some good national coverage today on Meet the Press (Joe Scarborough, another of my favorites, is also heavily involved in the group). UPDATE II: Some conservatives have also started writing No Labels jokes.
Internet Freedom to be Upheld Or Constrained? A vital FCC vote comes on Tuesday.
The Dream Act Died in the Senate but don’t only blame Republicans.
Senators and the 911 Bill: Jon Stewart and others have noted it. It is amazing how Senators who received government health care have the audacity to nix a bill to help out the 911 responders — particularly Senators who exploited 911 in their speeches now seemingly filled with what appears in retrospect to have been hypocritical statements. Fox News’ Shep Smith blasted the Senators as you can see in this video HERE. But ABC News reports that a “Christmas miracle” could occur: a bill could be passed in the lameduck Congress (take your bets on whether John McCain will oppose this one as well). Actually the miracle is that politicians could set aside their partisan and ideological games for a moment and perhaps for once vote out of humanity to help true heroes whose lives were altered or destroyed by their working on the scene of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Even if the act passes “Shame on You” is not sufficient for Senators who gave their middle fingers to 911 responders in their time of need. Hopefully voters will remember the initial vote and who voted against it.
The John McCain Meltdown: We’ve had several posts here on TMV (scroll down and read them all) on former Maverick, former independent voter favorite, Arizona Senator John McCain’s virtual melt down as he seemingly gave America a re-run in opposing the axing of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell just as he opposed a Martin Luther King, Jr. day. There are all kinds of theories on what is going on with John McCain and whether he was a political Maverick or not (for those of my parents generation I now argue that he is more of a political Edsel). Read THIS VIEW from Balloon Juice’s Dennis G.
SIGNS THE START TREATY WILL GO DOWN? It’s not only beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Senate Majority Leader Mitch “Just Say No To Anything The White House Wants Unless It’s a Bush Tax Cut” McConnell has come out against the START treaty. Call me a terriible cynic but I now have concluded what I would not have believed even a week ago after reading this: McConnell wants to defeat even meaures he would normally support for pure, craven political reasons. He is to statesmanship what a banana split is to a diet or what John McCain is to “maverick.” And (OF COURSE) Sarah Palin opposes it (most of what Palin says is opposing or attacking). The irony on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and Start: Most historians (place money on it) will give Obama high marks for DADT’s repeal but most likely not lambaste Republicans as a party. But if START fails due to GOP opposition with so many former Presidents and GOP policymakers supporting it, Senate Republicans will be correctly seen as a partisan hacks who would have voted for the treaty if it had been prosed by a Republican — the proof of that being that so many prominent Republicans who are well versed in foreign policy openly support it and insist its passage is vital. The Hill reports that Senate Republicans are digging in their heels. Despite the spin, this one truly seems about trying to get a political headline saying something Obama wanted went down to defeat. P-E-R-I-O-D.
THIS IS NOT AN ONION SATIRE BUT TRUE: Fox is thinking of adding background music to NFL games. A terrible idea but (sigh) one that fits in with American culture. I always wondered why I MUST have to listen to music when I shop or am on hold — usually music I would not normally listen to. Is silence or are the normal sounds that disconcerting?
A Lawsuit to Watch: Nevada and Arizona are suing BOA for mortgage fraud.
Haiti has a New Crisis: A political one.
Sometimes Blog Posts are Worth Re-running: Hart Williams says this one is more relevant than ever.
Did You Know That Axing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Means the End of the Military as We Know It? Some say it does..
OR Is Repealing DADT the beginning of the end of Social Conservatism? The must-read Doug Mataconis gives his take.
Al Qaeda’s Support Among Muslims In Six Muslim Countries? A poll suggests it’s strong.
ORRIN HATCH SONGWRITER: A song about the Jewish holiday Hannuka written by Mormon Seantor Hatch. (A Senator giving a song is unusual. A politician giving a song and a dance is not.)