There’s little evidence that the group No Labels, which exists to promote non-partisan policymaking, has ever had any impact on the American political process at any level. Yahoo News reported not long ago that the outfit “spends a disproportionate part of its budget maintaining and promoting its own organization, trying to keep its profile high while ensuring a steady flow of fundraising dollars” from undisclosed donors.
Nevertheless, the group continues to exist, and it recently asked both parties’ presidential candidates to endorse vague goals No Labels considers important: 25 million new jobs over the next 10 years; Social Security and Medicare fiscal stability for the next 75 years; a balanced budget by 2030; and energy security by 2024. Six candidates – Donald Trump, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, and Martin O’Malley – each endorsed the blueprint, called the “National Strategic Agenda.”
As the Washington Post reported, No Labels’ controversial co-chairman was delighted.
“We had no idea when we started out down this road how many candidates would make the Problem Solver Promise,” said No Labels’s co-chairman and former U.S. senator Joe Lieberman, a longtime Democrat from Connecticut who retired as an independent after losing his party’s primary. “Today, six have! I’m glad we got six. We could have gotten zero.”
One of the six, however, didn’t seem entirely comfortable with the idea of sharing the “Problem Solver” seal with one of his fellow competitors.
Martin O’Malley, the only Democrats to express support for the No Labels agenda, appeared via video at yesterday’s event, and took the organization to task.
“[Q]uite honestly, I think that you are watering down and dumbing down your ‘problem-solver’ label when you bestow it on someone like Donald Trump. When Donald Trump says things like all Mexicans are rapists and murderers, that’s not being a leader. That’s not solving problems. There’s other adjectives for that – one of them being racist. When Donald Trump says things like we should issue ID cards to all American Muslims, that’s not bringing people together. That’s not solving problems. That’s making a fascist appeal. So I would encourage you not to dumb down this label.”
That seems like good advice.
For more on what makes No Labels such an exasperating entity, check out our coverage from July 2014.