Jonah Goldberg

A group called "No Labels" is getting an awful lot of buzz these days, despite the fact it has raised only $1 million. (Though it sounds more impressive if you say it like Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movies: One. Million. Dollars.) The professed idea behind No Labels is that its members don't believe in labels, by which they mean things such as Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative. Some black-hearted cynics see No Labels as a Trojan horse for a presidential bid by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent who finds the two-party system an unfortunate obstacle to his ambitions.

No Labels denies this. According to its website, No Labels is a centrist, middle-of-the-road group whose motto (at least its members believe in mottos!) appears to be "Put the Labels Aside. Do What's Best for America." It goes on: "We are Democrats, Republicans, and Independents who are united in the belief that we do not have to give up our labels, merely put them aside to do what's best for America."

Elsewhere, it likens itself to the Korean Demilitarized Zone, which it hilariously describes as an area designed by North and South Koreans alike for "cool heads" to craft "elegant solutions." No Labels wants to be a "Depoliticized Zone" that serves a similar purpose. Never mind that the real Korean DMZ is one of the most heavily mined and dangerous places in the world, where nothing fruitful has happened for half-a-century.

But bad metaphors are the least of their problems. These no labelers start from the premise that if you want what's best for the country, you must declare independence from your political party because Democrats and Republicans alike are either politically brainwashed dupes or are less than fully patriotic.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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