Against Logo Politics
As a good place to start I suggest this commentary by E.J. Dionne. That said, I am much less patient with the No Label types than he seems to be. Our problem, documented not by partisan accusation but by actual research (since we all want, in Dionne's terms, to be fact based), is a rapid, relentless move rightward among Republicans. That shift is grounded in and subsequently helps sustain dramatic increases in political-economic inequality. Incivility and the hectoring tone of politics is a symptom of that underlying reality. So simply making nice is not going to get us anyplace useful. What it will get us is Obama-esque capitulation to reactionary demands. In other words, the location the No Label crowd hope to occupy - what they call " the vital civil center" - is not the center; it consists in a set of right-leaning or flat out conservative positions that look "moderate" only in comparison to the reactionary views of conservative Republicans. If we neglect that, our politics will generate disastrous consequences. And talking nicely to one another as we head over the precipice does nothing to change that.
Politics is about competition and disagreement. One need not be a cynic to suspect that "consensus" is typically a way of papering over the way one or another group is getting the shaft. I have inveighed against bi-partisanship repeatedly here and won't do so again. It generates bad policy and undermines democracy more generally. The No Label folks simply don't get that. They think we need a new logo. I think we need democratic politics.