An alliance of centrist Republicans and Democrats is seeking to organize a grass-roots movement targeting the middle of American politics, a political sphere depopulated by the midterm elections and a vital tool for any potential third-party presidential candidate.
The group, called "No Labels," has drawn support from supporters and advisers of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the country's most powerful independent politician, raising questions about his national political ambitions. Mr. Bloomberg has been invited to attend the group's Dec. 13 launch.
Political analysts see a potential Bloomberg bid if Washington's divided government turns into gridlock, if the economy doesn't improve, and if former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and President Obama are the likely nominees. Mr. Bloomberg said he wouldn't consider running in 2012. "I have the best job in the world," he said.
No Labels (www.nolabels.org) is led by Democratic fund-raiser Nancy Jacobson and Republican strategist Mark McKinnon, who were introduced to each other by Kevin Sheekey, Mr. Bloomberg's political adviser.
The group has raised more than $1 million to seed its effort against what it calls "hyper-partisanship." Backers include co-chairman of Loews Corp. Andrew Tisch, Panera Bread founder Ron Shaich and ex-Facebook executive Dave Morin. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, as well as U.S. senators Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Michigan's Debbie Stabenow, will attend the New York launch.
The group's goal is to start a centrist equivalent to the tea-party movement on the right and MoveOn on the left. It sees an opportunity based on the defeat of liberal Republicans in recent years and the heavy losses taken by conservative Democrats in 2010.
No Labels founders say they have purposely not asked Bloomberg to donate to the party because they do not want the party to be too closely associated with him.
But that's just jive.
His fingerprints and moneyprints are all over this party.
The party founders - one Dem, one Repub - were introduced to each other by a Bloomberg aide.
Bloomberg knows he needs a ground operation of some kind to run an independent presidential bid. This is his attempt to create that operation while making it look like a "grassroots effort."
And of course getting political hacks like Lieberman and Villaraigosa on board provides some cover and allows him to make the party look like it is some organic sprout-up rather than some very well-organized, very well-funded create by a billionaire brat with money to burn and an ego the size of the Northeast that needs aggrandizing.
Conditions weren't right for Bloomberg to run in '08. He needed a Hillary/Rudy race to run. But he got McCain/Obama and it was hard to argue that the "Change We Can Believe In" guy and the Republican most liked by independents were going to be hyperpartisan.
But 2012 may be different. Nobody believes the "Change We Can Believe In" jive anymore and whoever wants to win the Republican party primaries has to run a really right-wing campaign.
And of course Bloomberg has $300 million to drop on the race.
That said, can a Jew from New York (even a secularized one) who has a record of taking away people's guns, cars and transfats win a national campaign for president?
Maybe he can, or maybe he can give Sarah Palin the White House.ReplyDelete
I recall Bloomberg saying something about a third term that went something like this: I would never challenge term limits. So much for I will never run for president. In fact I see the Klein move to NewsCorp and the recent Cyndi Adams revelation that Bloomberg may be interested in acquiring ABC news as confirmation along with the news of this centrist crap as proof the little dictator will run. " Only I can save us from economic ruin and political polarization vote for me". He can spend 3 billion it will not wash. By the way GQ has just named him politician of the year. Guess how much that cost him or is that a magazine with ties to chancellor in the waiting Ms Black?ReplyDelete
I actually like the idea. I consider myself a Centralist and hate both mainstream parties. The donkeys are too Liberal and the elephants are too Conservative. However, I don't think I can join knowing that Mayor4Life could be their nominee. Therefore, I will stay Independent.
Chaz, here's the problem with this "No Labels" party and most of the past "centrist" parties. They're built around some personality (Perot, Ventura, now Bloomberg) and more a vehicle for that personality than an actual alternative to the two party system.ReplyDelete
Also, many of the so-called centrists tend to be cheered on by the Village Elite like Broder, Friedman et al and my goat gets ups whenever I hear those assholes pontificate about that.
That said, I DO find myself increasingly disenchanted by the current system.
But I cannot see how a party that contains union bashers like Joe Lieberman, Debbie Stabenow, Antonio Villaraigosa, and anybody named either Bloomberg or Tisch will ever garner my vote. To me, they're just corporate shills.
So I am a no vote for this party.
But wouldn't it be great if Bloomberg picked Lieberman to run with him for president - two Northeast men with whiny voices and Napoleon complexes - fantastic! Would give Sarah Palin a run for her Freudian money.
Anon, can you tell me where you heard about Bloomberg wanting to buy ABC? Disney owns ABC - if he buys ABC, that would be huge. Even more press people wouldn't want to criticize him for fear of not working in the future. I remain convinced that as a media mogul, he gets kid gloves treatment from the press who fear they might have to go work for him in the future.
IMHO, Ventura can't be called a "centrist". He has a strong courage of conviction and is not afraid of standing up for what he believes in. He was our governor. While I don't like all he did, he is not the split-the-difference type of guy. Not a centrist for centrist sake. He is as close as we can get to a Libertarian. Unlike Ron paul, Ventura doesn't dismiss racism. He is an admirer of Malcom X. He is for legalising Marijuana, diplomacy, anti-war, non-corporate, pro-uinon etc etc. Drawbacks : he doesn't like regulations.