The year 2010 may have been defined by Tea Party fervor and success, but some reporters and politicos are trying hard not to notice. Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker painted as significant a new group calling itself "No Labels," founded by among others, a Bush strategist who adored Barack Obama too much to make ads against him in 2008 and CNN analyst John Avlon, who wrote a book with a label for a title: "Wingnuts."
It will form a political action committee to help defend moderate candidates of both parties against attack from the far right and the far left, said John Avlon, a founding member and one-time speechwriter for former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (R). "There's this idea that somehow walking in lock step with a party is courageous," Avlon said. "I think it's conformity. . . . That's the opposite of courageous. It's cowardly."
Rucker ended the story with consultant Mitch Dworkin, identifying him only as "Dallas-based," not as a Democrat who helped the erratic Gen. Wesley Clark run for president: "The country is not governable right now," he said. "It's a bunch of little brats and children who throw tantrums if they don't get everything they want." Isn't calling the political elite a bunch of "little brats" a....label?
The former Bush ad maker is Mark McKinnon, who was a Democrat before bonding with Dubya, and his quote in the Post demonstrates all the behavioral tendencies of the centrist, which always places itself in the middle (no matter where the poles are) and declares itself in favor of vague generalities like "governing" and "good behavior," without getting very specific:
"What strikes me when I leave Washington is the extent to which there's a huge disconnect between Washington and the rest of the country," one of the group's founders, Republican consultant Mark McKinnon, said in an interview. "The rest of the country is not hyperpartisan. They say, 'There's MoveOn on the left, the tea party on the right and nothing in the middle for me.' We're trying to become a microphone for those voices, to create a system that rewards and gives a shout-out for good behavior."
Rucker didn't wonder how people who call politicians "little brats" get to give out grades for "good behavior." He didn't seek out anyone from a "hyperpartisan" camp to suggest that the "huge disconnect" may be people in Washington who are trying to avoid noticing the election returns from a few weeks ago, where people may have been voting for "gridlock," for trying to put a stop to the dramatic growth of government power under President Obama.
In other words, the story seems completely one-sided -- but that side is in the middle, and it proclaims it's against taking sides.
Over at Politico, Ben Smith was a little more mocking, reporting the event at Columbia University, "headlined by a mixture of centrists, opportunists, and liberal Democrats who don't seem entirely sure why they're here, is being greeted by polite and moderate applause by the medium-sized audience."