POLITICS
05/13/2013 03:17 pm ET

No Labels Will Have An Occasional Radio Show, For Some Reason

AP

Good news for people who like radio-broadcasted vapidity! Former Utah governor and presidential aspirant Jon Huntsman (R) and current West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) will be joining the Sirius XM satellite radio lineup via a new radio show sponsored by No Labels, the organization dedicated to "break[ing] political gridlock and promot[ing] constructive discussion." The group has been at this for a few years now, without much in the way of broken gridlock and discussion promotion, but I'm sure that a satellite radio show will be a GAME CHANGER (TM).

The Hill's Daniel Strauss fulfills the obligation to report on this development:

The radio show will be called "No Labels Radio: A Town Hall with America," according to The Associated Press.

Terrific.

While there's no doubt that No Labels and Huntsman have a certain amount of schtick-synergy to generate, it's an odd move for Manchin, who lately has been bucking the No Labels norm by actually attempting to pass legislation through the manifestation of political courage. I speak, of course, of his attempt (with Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Pat Toomey) to expand the system of background checks for gun sales. No Labels, by contrast, has largely decided to punt on the matter, rather than to wish Manchin the best.

The organization's relative absence from the background-checks debate is surprising when you consider the fact that key figures associated with No Labels at its incarnation -- such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough and the group's co-founder Mark McKinnon -- have all been outspoken proponents of gun-safety legislation.

But being a proponent of something is a "label," and thus a little bit too gauche for the organization. When No Labels last checked in with Manchin's effort, they were at least very nice about it:

Sens. Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey are set to unveil a gun control bill on background checks with across-the-aisle support. Manchin's leadership in finding common ground on such a divisive issue is a perfect example of why he is one of our honorary co-chairs. This is a No Labels leader putting the No Labels attitude into practice, bringing the No Labels behavior to Washington. Finding solutions is doable -- problems can be solved, but it takes the type of leadership Manchin has shown to get there.

Of course, the bill didn't have "across the aisle support," finding the solution didn't prove to be "doable," and No Labels didn't actually generate any measurable amount of "No Labels attitude" in support of Manchin's effort.

The larger problem, of course, is No Labels' characterization of the matter as "divisive." In fact, Manchin/Toomey had widespread public support.

While No Labels has a sort of blinkered perspective on these sorts of things, we can nevertheless credit Manchin for actually nutting up and trying to do something. And he's obviously not too resentful that the organization he co-chairs didn't step up alongside him.

Funnily enough, the forthcoming No Labels radio show will only air 12 times a year, which means they're a lot more realistic about how little they have to say than I would have imagined.

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