Lisa Murkowski: Alaska without labels and without the wild

All that hurtful talk about “Republicrats” scorning them as squishy-brained and sheeplike, a Congress of Easter Peeps despised by up to 89 percent of the country; the middle age, the mid’lin, the mediocre and mauve — what novelist Curtis White called (scornfully) the “middle mind.” Now they who seek to be neither masters nor men have a name: “No Labels.” And it even claims its own generation, a conspicuously multicultural chorus that sits passively in the pew and looks selected by elder churchmen.

But the young’uns don’t seem to be jumping in. Gawker calls it “the most boring political movement of all time.” Maybe they try passing out cookies at the airport. Or how about the phrase, “Have you heard the good news?”

It suggests an attempt at a new third party, but one afraid to go into the water. I proposed here a few weeks ago a third party to encompass the new themes of the last two years, to be called a Federalist Party, stressing state and regional responsibility in Jefferson’s configuration, pitching Joe Miller of Alaska as its candidate for president. And guess who arises as the darling of No Labels? Lisa Murkowski, the senator from Alaska.

In the lame-duck session Murkowski has transformed from traditional Republican to No Labels independent. She was one of three Republicans to vote yes on the DREAM Act, one of eight who voted to repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell” and she broke with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in announcing she would vote for the START Treaty. This accommodating “nonpartisanship” is right out of the No Labels playbook.

"Alaskans want to be heard on the issues; they don't necessarily want to be tied to a political label or a party position," Murkowski said on CNN's "John King, USA.”

Conservative columnist George Will called the new group preposterous and cloying.

“The premise, obscured by gaseous rhetoric, is that political heat is inherently disproportionate. The complacent pretense is that it is virtuous to transcend the vice of partisanship,” he writes.

And in a remarkable occurrence of actual bipartisan agreement, liberal New York Times columnist Frank Rich says:

“In its patronizing desire to instruct us on what is wrong with our politics, No Labels ends up being a damning indictment of just how alarmingly out of touch the mainstream political-media elite remains with the grievances that have driven Americans to cynicism and despair in the 21st century’s Gilded Age.”

“ … out of touch … mainstream political-media elite”: Sarah Palin could not have said it better.

That Murkowsi jumps to the front of this movement is actually good news for the Tea Party and especially for Joe Miller, her nemesis. Self-righteous churchmen gathered against Little Richard, Elvis and the Beatles as No Labels gathers before a generation rising in Congress in the new year. But we forget their names. They rallied against Jack Kennedy as well.

I can’t speak for Alaska. But this is what I’d like from a leader, maybe Joe Miller:

"When the long winter nights come on and the wolves follow their meat into the lower valleys, he may be seen running at the head of the pack through the pale moonlight or glimmering borealis, leaping gigantic above his fellows, his great throat a-bellow as he sings a song of the younger world, which is the song of the pack." — Jack London, The Call of the Wild, 1903.

The song of the young. The song of the pack. There is still time.


Visit Mr. Quigley's website at http://quigleyblog.blogspot.com.