Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Make Congress Work! – An Initiative by No Labels

Written : Mar. 20, 2012

No Labels is an organization, not a movement, which asks politicians to put aside (but not give up) their party labels in order to seek a spirit of bi-partisanship and a will to work together to solve our nation’s problems. It sounds perfect for me, but I hold a healthy skepticism for No Labels because they formed in 2010 (and not in 2005 or 2006) in response to the nation’s partisan atmosphere. The calls for President Bush’s public humiliation and hanging for war crimes didn’t motivate them to organize. The right’s resistance to President Obama’s policies did. Forgive me, but this sticks in my craw a bit. Nevertheless, I choose to keep my eyes open. One of the No Labels founders, William Galston, a former advisor to President Clinton, appeared on CSPAN on Mar. 19, 2012. On the Washington Journal program he revealed some interesting ideas, and also some weak ones.

Visit their Make Congress Work! web site and you will see their 12 methods:

1. No Budget, No Pay states that if they can’t pass a budget and all of their spending bills on time, issuance of government paychecks for the members of Congress stops. A terrific idea, but I doubt whether they’ll pass it. They didn’t ask me, but I like it and vote yes!

2. Up or Down Vote on Presidential Appointments: Here’s a knee-jerk reaction to Republicans holding up Mr. Obama’s appointments. One wonders why no one thought of this when the Democrats resisted President Bush’s every move. For that reason, no on this one.

3. Fix the Filibuster: Another way to support this president? Isn’t the entire mainstream media enough? I agree in general, but due to the bad timing, I don’t agree with it.

4. Empower the Sensible Majority: Sensible in whose eyes? Seems reasonable, but this will favor the Democrats after the 2012 election. I vote no.

5. Make Members Come to Work: What a concept! Make the House and Senate coordinate their schedules and work three 5-day work weeks a month. Awesome, they should pass this one!

6. Question Time for the President: Great idea! I agree, this would force the members to face the president and each other. Yes!

7. Fiscal Report to Congress: Hear it. Read it. Sign it. : No Labels calls for a non-partisan leader to offer a televised financial report to the nation, then leaders of both parties sign it. Yes, it’s a good idea. It can’t hurt. Do it.

8. No Pledge but the Oath of Office: This is in direct opposition to Grover Norquist’s petition when he asked leaders in Congress to sign his pledge to not raise taxes. I agree with Mr. Norquist – and the Tea Party - on this. The American people say enough with requests for more taxes, let us keep most of the money we earn. Stay out of my pockets. Number 8 is a big thumbs down with me.

9. Monthly Bipartisan Gatherings: This is like a team-building event at work. It strikes me as a little silly, but it lands on the plus side. Yes, this is fine.

10. Bipartisan Seating: Each member should sit with at least one member of another party. This is silly. Our representatives, if that’s who they really are, deserve the right to sit anywhere. Tell them the rule forcing all members to sit with members of his or her own party is over. Sit wherever you want. I say no because of the way No Labels worded it.

11. Bipartisan Leadership Committee: Another fine idea… But it supports Democrats after the 2012 election. To be fair, pass it in 2014 or 2015. Not now.

12. No Negative Campaigns Against Incumbents: Guess who this favors in the upcoming 2012 presidential election? In fairness, number twelve asks better behavior of every person running against any incumbent, including Congressmen. But, who defines the word negative? This is subjective. No way.

Not bad, my total is five in favor, seven against. I wonder what Congress will do with these proposals?


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Keywords: Conservatism, Conservative blog, Mark A. Cohen, From The Left to the Right, Make Congress Work, No Labels, William Galston, bi-partisanship, our nation’s problems, solving problems together

Keyword Phrases: “Conservatism”, “Conservative blog”, “Mark A. Cohen”, “From The Left to the Right”, “Make Congress Work”, “No Labels”, “William Galston”, “bi-partisanship”, “our nation’s problems”, “solving problems together”

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