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Politics of No Labels on Display at State of the Union

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The politics of "no labels" was highly evident last night, especially in President Barack Obama's "State of the Union" speech. The president's speech built on a culture he began to shape back when he first erupted on to the political scene at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. His speech built on the idea that politics should not be about labels but people and solutions.

President Obama's "State of the Union" speech provided room for the continued rise of a new politics, a politics which a new political organization, No Labels, has organized to promote. The organization contends on its website that it cares deeply about country and is "frustrated and concerned about the tone of politics." (In that sense, the political reaction from politicians to increase civility has probably been very pleasing.) 

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The organization's founding leaders are Democrats, Republicans and Independents "passionate about addressing America's challenges." They are Americans --- a point, which President Obama heavily emphasized last night.

No Labels kept track of all the moments Democrats and Republicans clapped during Obama's State of the Union.

No Labels distinctly believes "hyper-partisanship is destroying our politics and paralyzing" America's "ability to govern" and that civility and mutual respect is lacking in U.S. politics. They believe in a "vital civil center--a place where ideas are judged on their merits." They are committed to "the future" and a government that will "work again and produce better results." They condemn the "crisis of governance" in America right now and urge Americans especially political leaders to put "labels aside and put the issues and what's best for the nation first."

Tuesday night, during the "State of the Union," the organization kept track of the speech with a "State of the Unity" meter. The meter kept track of those moments when Democrats and Republicans in President Obama's speech. Ignoring the fact that Democrats and Republicans had already created a moment for the organization to relish when they decided to go on "dates" and sit with one another in pairs at the speech, No Labels detected sixteen "Unity Moments" Tuesday night.

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Some examples:

...Now is the time for both sides and both houses of Congress -- Democrats and Republicans -- to forge a principled compromise that gets the job done. If we make the hard choices now to rein in our deficits, we can make the investments we need to win the future...

Let me take this one step further. We shouldn't just give our people a government that's more affordable. We should give them a government that's more competent and more efficient. We can't win the future with a government of the past...

...Our troops come from every corner of this country -- they're black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love. (Applause.) And with that change, I call on all our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation...

...For example, over the years, a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries. Those with accountants or lawyers to work the system can end up paying no taxes at all. But all the rest are hit with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and it has to change. (Applause.)

So tonight, I'm asking Democrats and Republicans to simplify the system. Get rid of the loopholes. Level the playing field. And use the savings to lower the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years -- without adding to our deficit. It can be done...

...We may have differences in policy, but we all believe in the rights enshrined in our Constitution. We may have different opinions, but we believe in the same promise that says this is a place where you can make it if you try. We may have different backgrounds, but we believe in the same dream that says this is a country where anything is possible. No matter who you are. No matter where you come from...

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These statements provide indication of what the public can further expect from an Obama Administration. There will be no re-investments in the public sector; such an agenda would be "too divisive." The "hard choices made to rein in deficits" will be choices that the business community can support. The public workers will get the shaft because, if they don't, an outcry will be heard from the right and from businesses that want money to be shifted away from public goods to subsidizing more private interests like subsidies.

"Competence and efficiency," as a focus, guarantees President Obama continues to appoint leaders to his Administration, who have connections to the culture of corporate crime and fraud on Wall Street that drove the U.S. economy to a crisis in 2008, that created bubbles and continues to engage in predatory lending practices that explicitly targeted communities of color.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for

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