Under No Labels banner, half-million step up for better government

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Former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman and conservative West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin were unveiled Monday as the new co-chairmen of No Labels.

No Labels is a national bipartisan group of Republicans, Democrats and independents. Numbering a half-million members, their motto is, “Stop fighting, start fixing.” The group’s goal is to make government more effective through nonpartisan changes to Washington’s dysfunctional political culture. Initiatives include “No Budget, No Pay,” filibuster reform and reform of the Senate confirmation process.

ALSO ON MONDAY, Georgia Reps. Jack Kingston, a Republican, and John Barrow and Sanford Bishop, both Democrats, were announced as charter members of the No Labels-sponsored Problem Solvers Bloc. The bloc is a rapidly growing group of 25 Republican and Democratic members of the U.S. House and Senate dedicated to working across the aisle to make Congress function again.

Members of the Problem Solvers Bloc do not surrender their political identity. They remain loyal Republicans and Democrats, but they put the interests of the country above that of their parties.

I attended the No Labels’ meeting in New York City Monday, where Gov. Huntsman and Sen. Manchin were introduced. They spoke passionately to an audience of 1,300 enthusiastic No Labels members about the need for reform.

Gov. Huntsman and Sen. Manchin are disgusted by the contrast between serving as governors willing to work across party lines vs. the constant partisan warfare in Washington that creates perpetual gridlock.

No Labels proposes five simple principles of leadership for politicians. They are: Tell the whole truth about our national challenges; govern for the future, not the next election; put country ahead of party; take responsibility; and work together.

IMAGINE FOR A moment how effective Congress would be if, for example, politicians governed for the future and not just the next election. What if they put the country first? These are principles worth supporting, and you can learn more at NoLabels.org.

There couldn’t be a more urgent time for a group of national political leaders to band together to improve our political process. The fiscal cliff debacle will be followed by battles over the debt ceiling and sequestration. The
result? Market instability, business uncertainty, continued high unemployment and individual anxiety.

With America divided politically, neither party has the power to get all it wants. Because Americans are by nature practical and goal-oriented, citizens prefer action to ideological stalemate. Politicians need to adopt this point of view, begin political power-sharing and become problem-solvers.

Republican Olympia Snowe said it best upon her retirement from the Senate earlier this month: “For change to occur, our leaders must understand that there is not only strength in compromise, courage in conciliation and honor in consensus-building, but also a political reward for following these tenets.”

SEN. MANCHIN said he was embarrassed to be part of the 112th Congress, the least-productive and least-respected in American history. With more legislators joining the Problem Solvers Bloc, the 113th Congress can change that paradigm and become effective.

Jack Kingston, John Barrow, and Sanford Bishop deserve our support for their courage in stepping outside the comfort zone of party dogma into the difficult world of compromise and effective legislating. They are displaying leadership at a time when the country sorely needs it.

Shouldn’t the rest of Georgia’s congressional legislators become problem-solvers? Ask them: Why not?

(The writer is a retired U.S. Navy officer. He lives and writes in Savannah.)

Comments (7) Add comment
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soapy_725
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soapy_725 01/20/13 - 10:36 am
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More political BS
Unpublished

Another game to get us to the next election. More of the Mushroom Theory of Control. Keep them in the dark and feed them sh_ _. The most important events in American history. Re Elections.

Congressional Entitlement Programs for Members of Congress. Pure and simple.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 01/20/13 - 10:38 am
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A one party system?
Unpublished

We already have a one party system. The do nothing but get reelected party. The buy votes with entitlements party.

dichotomy
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dichotomy 01/20/13 - 11:15 am
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It sounds good, but I don't

It sounds good, but I don't blame it all on the politicians. I think their "high road" has been replaced by a line in the sand. The political situation today reflects their constituents. The citizens are pretty well divided 50/50 and one side says we've gone too far and the other side says we need to go farther. And those citizens on both sides are to the point where they view comprimise as the reason for all the bad policies which they feel have gotten us to this point. Most people truly feel that an elephant is a mouse designed by compromising politicians. Lot's of pundits and capitulators are talking about compromise and "doing what's right for the country" but there is BIG, DEEP disagreement on what's right for the country. I wish these legislators luck as long as the compromise slants in the direction I favor. Anything else is a 4000 lb. mouse.

Jane18
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Jane18 01/20/13 - 11:36 am
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Mr. Conant's Last Paragraph

Have you ever heard a one of them give a straight answer? They do not even know how to answer with a yes or no................Would love to hear a straight anwer from Lewis(D-Atlanta).

Darby
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Darby 01/20/13 - 12:04 pm
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"For change to occur,

our leaders must understand that there is not only strength in compromise, courage in conciliation and honor in consensus-building, but also a political reward for following these tenets."

Good luck with that. Just try balancing "political reward" against the current standard of "financial reward" which is the real reason, overt or subliminal, that the majority of these folks enter politics.

You'd have better luck stationing a fox inside a chicken coop to provide security for your birds.

Change will come, IF IT EVER COMES, the way it always has. It can only emanate from the frustration and anger of the people. I defy anyone out there to show me where politicians have solved a political or corruption problem.

The best you can expect would be another band aid (Think debt ceiling, or "fiscal cliff", Medicare insolvency, welfare, etc, etc, etc.......)

Just put me into the cynical column.

Darby
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Darby 01/20/13 - 12:16 pm
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"I think their "high road" has been replaced

by a line in the sand"

Dichotomy - I like your "sand" metaphor. I'd like to take it a step further. It seems that over the last fifty years or so, those to whom we have entrusted our government have replaced the rock solid foundation on which the United States Constitution was formed, with shifting, porous sand.

To compound the problem, far too many American citizens, in exchange for "security" have their heads buried in that same sand.

Without a revolt, peaceful or otherwise, it's only going to get worse.

allhans
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allhans 01/20/13 - 12:40 pm
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There are those who walk in

There are those who walk in lockstep with their leader. Whatever their leader wants they bond together and follow along..
Then we have the other side who refuse to worship "man" and do not always agree with each other.
Can you see the label "no label" changing anything.

deestafford
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deestafford 01/20/13 - 02:42 pm
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"Compromise!" "Compromise"

WE continually hear that if the two sides would just "compromise'' things would be great. Just this morning on Fox News Sunday President Obama's senior advisor said, " If the Republicans would just compromise with us democrats and raise taxes we could break this gridlock and get things done for this country." You see, it's always "If the Republicans would just compromise...." not only from the democrats but from the media as well. There can only be compromising when the two sides have the same goal and right now the Republicans and the democrats don't have anywhere near the same goals for the country. The former is for smaller government, lower taxes, more freedom for individuals with less government involvement. The democrats believe we are stupid and most be taken care of by the elite statists. They believe not in the individual and personal liberty and responsibility but in group identity and people are poor because the rich stole from the poor and it's the government's responsibility to make everything and everyone...EQUAL with them deciding who gets what. Compromise? There ain't no way to compromise with those who want to destroy the foundations of this country. Remember Obama said he wanted to "fundamental change this country.'' No one asked him what the change would be and why. This no-label hogwash is just a way of saying they have no bedrock beliefs...only platitudes.

Darby
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Darby 01/20/13 - 04:53 pm
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"Then we have the other side who refuse...

to worship "man" and do not always agree with each other."

Actually, both sides have the problem of not always agreeing with one another. However, the side with the hero worship component has one thing going for them. They speak with a common voice. From their side you hear the same words, phrases, and talking points over and over and over again.

The other side, while they may have a common concept of what needs to be done, cling to their individuality and refuse to place themselves "in a box". In a political situation that is a weakness.

The first group gets its message across because it's heard loud and clear. That's because there are no individuals in that group. All are more than willing to subvert their needs to the mission and agenda of the group.

At the same time, the second group's message is distorted and easily lost to the listener as a cacophonous droning of mixed messages due to conservatives unwillingness to give up their individuality for even the briefest of times. Until that group learns the meaning of teamwork, they will never win another election.

There was a time when conservatives were able to work together. It was difficult. More than difficult, it was like herding feral cats.

But they had a political strategist named Lee Atwater. He was able to bring conservatives together in virtually the same manner that progressives, seemingly without effort, do now in every election. And he did it without those conservatives feeling they had to give up their individuality.

Atwater was so feared and and at the same time so successful that many Democrats were unable to conceal their public glee at his death due to brain cancer at age 40.

There may or may not be another Lee Atwater out there, but his template worked. It might be worth another look.

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