Label Me A Pragmatist

On Dec. 13 a No Labels movement was launched at Columbia University by a group of Democrats, Republicans and Independents. The movement is designed to fight hyper-partisanship in American politics. Prominent among the supporters was Mayor Bloomfield. Just what I was looking for - a political movement devoted to sensible and pragmatic ideals without label warfare. Today I’m not so sure. Frank Rich in his Dec. 19 column, The Bipartisanship Racket, questions the success of a No Labels movement. The part of his reasoning which got me questioning the No Label movement was this paragraph:

"The notion that civility and nominal bipartisanship would accomplish any of the heavy lifting required to rebuild America is childish magical thinking, and, worse, a mindless distraction from the real work before the nation. Sure, it would be swell if rhetorical peace broke out in Washington — or on cable news networks — but given that American politics have been rancorous since Boston’s original Tea Party, wishing will not make it so. Bipartisanship is equally extinct — as made all too evident this month by the pathetic fate of the much-hyped Simpson-Bowles deficit commission. Less than a week after the panel released its recommendations, the Democratic president and the Republican Congressional leadership both signed off on a tax-cut package that made a mockery of all its proposals by adding another $858 billion to the deficit. Even the Iraq Study Group — Washington’s last stab at delegating tough choices to a blue-ribbon bipartisan commission — enjoyed a slightly longer shelf life before its recommendations were unceremoniously dumped into the garbage."

As usual , Rich’s writing provides much food for thought. Perhaps the No Labels movement is destined for yet  another label - Idealists. Liberals, Conservatives, Progressives, Independents and now Idealists all fighting for our political minds. I suggest throwing one more in the mix, Pragmatists. This would certainly make for a rancorous group rivaling the original Tea Party.

Hyper-partisanship will probably continue to rule our politics. If so, the fight will be brutal and eat away at the fabric of our Republic. A solution is not in my arsenal of thought but I do know that unless we start doing things differently, we will go the way of the Roman Empire. If the No Label movement morphs into the Pragmatic Movement , we might have a beginning to the solution. Label me a Pragmatist!

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