Sept. 1 Radio: Can 'Non-Partisan' Solve Problems?

My featured guest Sept. 1 on the MTL Washington Update radio show was former two-term Kentucky Treasurer Jonathan Miller, a longtime Democrat and a Jonathan Millerco-founder of No Labels, the new national civic group that seeks to improve government by reducing political partisanship. Co-host and MTL founder Scott Draughon and I explored at noon (EDT) whether this is a solution for grave national problems -- or a gimmick. The show kicked off a strong fall schedule for our nationally syndicated My Technology Lawyer (MTL) Update series, now in its sixth year.

Organized late last year, Miller’s group seeks to improve government decision-making by reducing political partisanship, primarily at the House and Senate levels. Analysts suggest No Labels seeks to support conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans. Critics of No Labels and of Americans Elect, a new group seeking Presidential access in 50 states for an unnamed third party candidate in 2012, say voters can't hold government decision-makers accountable without traditional political labels. Click for the archived link here, available worldwide. As usual, we welcomed call-in questions via the toll-free phoneline at (866) 685-7469 and by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

On Aug. 22, No Labels made news by announcing that 60 percent of the House failed to hold town meetings last month, with the Democrats significantly more inaccessible to their constituents in such meetings. A week previous, No Labels urged the new congressional “Super-Committee” to get to work promptly on deficit-reduction issues. The group’s directors include prominent officials, fund-raisers and strategists from major parties, plus business and non-profit leaders. The group convened 1,000 founders in New York at the beginning of this year for its official launch. He said it will hold a political convention next year.

As usual, we started this week's show with commentaries on headlines. Topics included President Obama’s declining poll numbers, advances by Texas Gov. Rick Perry in GOP polling.

Miller authored a well-received 2007 book,The Compassionate Community: Ten Values to Unite America. He retired in March from four years in a  cabinet post with Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a fellow Democrat, as Secretary of Finance and Administration. In nearly two decades of public office, Miller’s other senior posts in state and federal government include deputy chief of staff of the U.S. Department of Energy, and legislative director for Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN). He practices law in Lexington, KY, and advises an energy consulting firm focused on clean energy solutions. He blogs at his website, The Recovering Politician ("Miller's Post-Partisan Forum for Politicians Who Have Left the Arena and Lived to Write About It") and at the Huffington Post. No Labels is a 501(c)(4) citizens movement of Republicans, Democrats and Independents to address the politics of problem solving. Click for details.

He begins a terrific MTL Washington Update fall schedule of newsmakers with diverse views. Join us for this first installment -- and add your voice!

Sample News Coverage By and About No Labels

No Labels, 60 Percent of Congress Not Holding Town Hall Meetings, News Release, Aug. 22, 2011. No Labels polled all current members of the House of Representatives to find that only 40 percent of them scheduled town hall meetings over the August recess. “Washington must hear from all Americans, not a handpicked few who passes a partisan litmus test or can afford to donate,” said William Galston, a No Labels Co-Founder. “Our concern is that elected officials are only hearing from their respective partisan bases and will not expose themselves to criticism. Politics is about competing ideas, and everyone should have a seat at the table.” The results of the phone survey also reveal that members of both parties share the blame, with 67.9% of Democrats and 50.8% of Republicans stating they had no town hall meetings scheduled for the recess period.

No Labels, Super Committee Members Must Begin Work Immediately, News Release, Aug. 15, 2011. Members of the Super Committee have only 101 days remaining prior to the November 23 deadline to report a deficit reduction plan of at least $1.2 trillion. No Labels is calling on the 12 members of the Super Committee to return to Washington immediately to begin their deliberations.

Los Angeles Times, Americans Elect seeks to upend primary system, Matea Gold, Washington Bureau, July 28, 2011. County registrar offices across California on Thursday will begin receiving the product of an audacious enterprise — nearly 1.6 million signatures collected by Americans Elect, a group attempting to ride exasperation with the nation's political leaders into a place on the ballot in all 50 states by 2012. It hopes to select an alternate presidential ticket through an online, open convention. Its status as a social welfare group has enabled it to keep private its financiers even as it tries to qualify as a new party.

Irregular Times, No Labels and Americans Elect: A List of Known Connections, Jim Cook, July 28, 2011. Americans Elect is a 501c4 corporation founded last year and headquartered inside the Washington DC beltway that does not disclose the identity of the people who are funding it. No Labels is also a 501c4 corporation founded last year and headquartered inside the Washington DC beltway that does not disclose the identity of the people who are funding it.

Washington Post, The political fantasyland of the 'No Labels' movement, George F. Will, Dec. 19, 201. As the new political group No Labels convened in Manhattan, a judge was issuing a decision that illustrated why the group's premise is preposterous and its pretense is cloying.