Left- and right-wingers in Congress joining "No Labels"

In interviews with a dozen Republican and Democratic aides and strategists (none of whom wanted to be named), a distaste for the organization that began in December of 2010 was palpable and viewed widely on the Hill as a way for members to cloak themselves in bipartisanship without having to vote that way.

But supporters and members of the group say that political moderation, winning elections, or even getting really big bipartisan pieces of legislation done in Congress, was never really the point.

Vermont Rep. Peter Welch, a No Labels co-chair and a liberal who regularly teams up with Republicans, said that if the outcome is a more productive and civil discourse between members of Congress, it doesn’t really matter what people’s motivation is in joining.

“Some members will be there because they are bridge-builders, and some members will be there because it’s a somewhat painless way that will allow them to appear as bridge-builders,” he said. “But on the practical level you start establishing relationships.”…

“No Labels just protects the status quo in Washington by giving a good label and a good headline to vulnerable incumbents in their local newspaper,” one Democratic strategist said. “It should be called ‘Nice Labels’ ‘cause they just make incumbents look good without getting them to do anything.”