Stop the Filibuster, Fix Presidential Appointments
Is “No Labels” the first centrist group ever to have good ideas?
Have we been too hard on the centrists? I just spent most of a day with these creatures, learning their language of applause and mutual congratulation. By the end, I was shocked: They were on to something.
One year ago, when the group No Labels announced itself with an all-day congratulation-fest in New York, Politico’s Ben Smith asked whether it was basically a Democratic front group. The only Republicans onstage, he wrote, “had recently lost primary races.” Its too-cute logo, a Noah’s Ark of animals to compete with the donkey and the elephant, was ripped off from an independent designer. Its slogan—“Not Left. Not Right. Forward”— was ripped off from MSNBC, said Rush Limbaugh.
In 2011, political reporters knew No Labels as the guys who sent out “action” emails with no actual policy demands. This was odd. While FreedomWorks or MoveOn would call for a phone-melting campaign to pass a bill or block a nominee, No Labels cried only for people to get along. A July 14 email asked supporters to “call your representative and urge them to continue their work in Washington to find a bipartisan solution.” An Oct. 5 blast about the supercommittee called for politicians to “put their labels aside and work together for the good of the country.” Repeat, repeat, every few days.
But this was before Dec. 13, and the smoothly choreographed launch of an actual No Labels plan. “Make Congress Work!” (the exclamation point is theirs) is a list of 12 ideas, crowdsourced over a couple of months and debuted by a panel that included two actual elected Republicans, Rep. Tom Petri of Wisconsin and Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada. There are a few nonclunkers among those 12 ideas. Presidential appointments: Give them up-or-down votes within 90 days. Filibusters: If people are going to do it, make them stand up and empty their lungs out, Jimmy Stewart-style.
Read the full story here: Slate Magazine