Wednesday night Keith Olbermann gave the “Worst Person in the World” bronze to “the ludicrous new political organization No Labels. It’s sales pitch is it’s nonpartisan. It’s sales pitch is in part plagiarized…”
He gigged them for using a logo that belonged to another organization (a charge that is true).
But Olbermann went on, into the familiar character assassination zone that for me has long made listening to Limbaugh and Beck require an IV drip of Valium (and propelled me to start The Village Square): “Nice start for No Labels which – since it is a bunch of fraudulent conservative Democrats pretending to be moderates and fraudulent Republicans pretending to be independents – they really should have stuck with a different animal motif: Maybe wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
For liberals whose sensibilities are shocked by the putrid flying objects on talk radio, this should be a canary in the coal mine coming from someone as likable as they consider Olbermann. Liberals are just a couple decades behind conservatives in getting their information from the amen chorus of people who see it our way, but they may have officially arrived to group-think-land. If there is any surprise here, it’s the head-spinning speed with which the left managed to catch up to the far right in their condemnation of temperance in this case – the lack of which they seem to clearly see in conservatives but have become fairly blind to when it comes out of their own mouths.
It should be noted here that Rush Limbaugh spent a substantial amount of air time since the No Labels launch trying to de-legitimize them from his side of the third grade rock-throwing, again with petty ugly personalization as the weapon of choice. It shows how threatened people who make big bucks keeping you really angry are by the thought that you might one day become less angry.
John Avlon, one of the No Labels co-founders, observed today just how much this new group is roiling the waters of - well - the roiled waters.
The chickens of our dualistic group think come home to roost when the true believers on both sides of the aisle think that any compromise is completely unacceptable and absolutely biased against them. (Can you imagine the institution of marriage existing if spouses took this approach?) This week’s tax debate has become a bizarre civic house of mirrors as both “sides” squawk about how terrible the legislation looks from inside the box they live in.
In a form of governance constructed around engagement, debate and compromise, we’re in big trouble when we’ve lost the ability to engage in all three.
If No Labels can do a little mouth to mouth in reviving spirited and constructive democratic dialogue, I say that’s an act of authentic patriotism.