These “No Labels” people are awfully smug

Although the people promising to make No Labels into a national scold are dissatisfied with the tone of politics, they are pleased as punch with themselves. If self-approval were butter, they could spread it across America, if it were bread. They might cover the country with sanctimony as they “overthrow the tyranny of hyper-partisanship.” But aside from No Labels’ policy bromides, and its banalities about playing nicely together, how might “nonpartisan” discussion proceed concerning complex and consequential matters such as those preoccupying Judge Hudson?

“Hyper-partisanship” is deplorable, but partisanship is politics. What would it mean to have a “nonpartisan” position on the issue with which Hudson has dealt? People have different political sensibilities; they cluster and the clusters are called parties. They have distinctive understandings of the meaning and relative importance of liberty, equality and other matters. Politics is given weight, and motion is imparted to democracy, by intensely interested factions composed of people who are partisans of various causes.