Is it possible that Republicans, Democrats and independents can agree on strategic goals for the country – logical, commonsense steps that will move America forward in the 21st century? Could these goals be so compellingly reasonable that everyone agrees they become national priorities?
A set of goals to meet these requirements recently has been proposed. They appear in a new e-book from No Labels, the organization of Republicans, Democrats and independents who pledge to put country ahead of party. Released in mid-January, the book is No Labels: A Shared Vision for a Stronger America.
These are the strategic goals articulated:
• Create 25 million new jobs over the next 10 years.
• Reform Medicare and Social Security so they are secure another 75 years.
• Balance the federal budget by 2030.
• Make America energy-self-sufficient by 2035.
Reaching these goals would alleviate our huge unemployment and underemployment problems; ensure that tomorrow’s seniors have dependable Social Security and Medicare programs; prevent a debilitating debt crisis; and disentangle us from dependence on unfriendly, Middle East oil-exporting countries.
This is achievable in a
country as rich and powerful as America. Our two main political parties could work together on strategic national goals, as opposed to fighting over tactical political goals. It requires both parties putting country ahead of party.
NO LABELS DOES NOT provide a detailed path to each goal, but rather how to create the necessary political environment to succeed. The issue is not developing a viable plan, but rather generating the political will.
Energy independence is an example. The Left should acknowledge that, for the foreseeable future, we are dependent on carbon fuels for most of our energy. Fracking technology and shale gas and oil deposits have provided us an incredible gift, making energy independence possible, and they must be managed and used properly. The Right would need to accept the need for focused research and development of renewable energy for the future.
The No Labels book is a quick and fascinating read that, in addition to laying out national goals, outlines No Labels’ national strategic agenda to move beyond the paralysis in Washington. Former Gov. Jon Huntsman, R-Utah, is the editor and introduces each chapter. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., writes the foreword and how problem-solving worked in his state.
Huntsman and Manchin are the inspirational leaders of No Labels, and are passionate about improving national politics. As governors, they worked across the aisle to make their states function and prosper. They, like most Americans, are disgusted by the endless political gamesmanship found in Washington.
In chapters by current and former members of Congress and past administrations, there are revealing examples of how difficult political issues were solved through bipartisan cooperation.
Former Secretary of State James Baker writes how Ronald Reagan was an idealist, but also was a realist, working with Democrat Tip O’Neill for the good of the country.
President Clinton’s chief of staff Mack McLarty recalls the president and Newt Gingrich meeting in the White House – not to debate, but to tally votes for legislation they both supported.
U.S. REPS. CHARLIE Dent, Peter Welch, Lynn Jenkins and others write about experiences with bipartisan success. They are among the nearly 90 Democratic and Republican members of Congress who belong to the No Labels Problem Solvers Group. Among them are U.S. Reps. Jack Kingston, John Barrow and Sanford Bishop of Georgia. It is the only forum in Washington where Republicans and Democrats routinely meet and discuss issues where they search for common ground.
No Labels: A Shared Vision for a Stronger America provides a path for America to resolve its political paralysis, and reasons politicians should fix, not fight. Now, more than ever, it is essential reading for citizens concerned about the direction of our nation.
Learn more at NoLabels.org.
(The writer is a retired U.S. Navy officer. He lives and writes in Savannah.)