by Jesse Jackson Sr.
(TriceEdneyWire.com)—Labels, as all consumers discover, are just packaging. And truth in packaging is almost a contradiction in terms. The purpose of packaging is to make a sale, not admit the truth.
The political group that calls itself “No Labels” is a perfect example. Its name, game, and claim all are poll driven and message centered. The billionaire-funded group praises bipartisanship as an end in itself. Now it is toying with running a Third Party candidate for president—peddling West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin as a “centrist,” running on a manifesto entitled, inevitably, “Common Sense.” The manifesto offers up a series of poll-driven, carefully crafted policy positions, wrapped in pretty paper and designed to sell.
If there were truth in packaging, “No Labels” would call itself “No Clue.” It seems perversely blind to the reality we face.
America faces severe, simultaneous challenges—what academics call a “polycrisis.”
They are pressing and apparent. Climate change threatens existence itself, with severe weather already savaging lives and communities. Extreme inequality corrupts elections and subverts decent government. The million plus lives lost to Covid have exposed our broken public health system. Our infrastructure is dangerously decrepit. Our healthcare system is simply unaffordable. Systemic racism continues to mock the promise of equal justice under the law. We’re taking on both China and Russia, while fighting endless wars trying to police the world, a mission even our military, the most expensive and powerful in the world, can’t afford.
We have guided missiles but misguided leadership.
How does “No Labels’ Common Sense” address these challenges? Mostly by ignoring them. On climate change, they worry not about the extreme weather but about the price of oil, wanting an “all of the above” energy policy that polls well but utterly fails to address the crisis.
On extreme inequality, they say nothing. On infrastructure, they praise Joe Biden’s infrastructure act (while preposterously trying to take credit for it), without talking about how it is but a first step to what is needed. On health care, they offer traditional nostrums that won’t offend insurance companies and Big Pharma—and won’t take us any closer to affordable and comprehensive health care for all. Systemic racism or even the Supreme Court’s assault on civil rights goes unmentioned.
They embrace the impossible mission of policing the world, calling for even more money for the military while demanding deficit reductions. That puts Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block, which they imply but don’t admit, promising not to cut the benefits of those already or near retirement. Fifty-five and under look out.
Their remedy is not new ideas, but “bipartisanship.” Bipartisanship polls well, but consider dealing with a Republican Party that overwhelmingly believes that the election in 2020 was stolen, that Donald Trump is innocent, that “wokeness” is the greatest threat to America, that taxes should never be raised, that we spend too much on education and too little on the military, that voter suppression and political gerrymandering is an imperative, that guns should be free and women’s bodies should be regulated.
We already suffer from the overwhelming bipartisan support for giving more money to the Pentagon, despite the fact that it is the greatest source of waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government. There is a bipartisan consensus not to move to Medicare for All, which is the only way for Americans to have good health care they can afford. There’s bipartisan support for the “all of the above” energy policy that is contributing directly to accelerating and catastrophic climate change.
Their prospective presidential candidate offers not new leadership but business as usual.
Joe Manchin, who grew rich in the coal business, primarily uses his Senate seat to protect subsidies to coal and big oil, and to impede investment in renewable energy. He embraced the filibuster to block electoral reform to limit big money in politics.
“Common sense?” No, just more political nonsense. “No Labels?” No, just no clue and no way out. Billionaires have the money to create a party. Pollsters and message gurus can figure out how to package it. Venal politicians can test to see how they can profit from it. But don’t fall for it. This is just another beltway bandit con job that the country can’t afford.