'No Labels' Look For Political Common Ground Bipartisanship is getting harder and harder to find on Capitol Hill, and in political conversations across the nation. A new group called the "No Labels" is bucking the trend. Founding leader Bill Galston talks about the search for common ground in government.

'No Labels' Look For Political Common Ground

'No Labels' Look For Political Common Ground

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Bipartisanship is getting harder and harder to find on Capitol Hill, and in political conversations across the nation. A new group called the "No Labels" is bucking the trend. Founding leader Bill Galston talks about the search for common ground in government.


Ken Rudin, political editor, NPR
Bill Galston, founding leader, No Labels

TONY COX, host:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. Im Tony Cox in Washington. Neal Conan is away.

A Slurpee summit, the lame duck session gets underway, and in Alaska, candidate Joe Miller still refuses to conceded. It's Wednesday and time for another edition of the Political Junkie.

Former President RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

Former Vice President WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad - wheres the beef?

Former Senator BARRY GOLDWATER (Republican, Arizona): Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

Former Senator LLOYD BENTSEN (Democrat, Texas): Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy.

President RICHARD NIXON: You don't have Nixon to kick around anymore.

Former Governor SARAH PALIN (Republican, Alaska): Lipstick.

President GEORGE W. BUSH: But Im the decider.

(Soundbite of scream)

COX: Every Wednesday, NPR's political editor Ken Rudin joins us to review the week in politics, and this week, Republicans headed to the White House for a long-awaited meeting with President Obama, where lots of nice things were said but little progress was made.

Republicans have said they plan to block all Democratic legislation anyway. That is, until tax cuts and the budget pass. Plus, remember the midterm elections? We're still following them. We'll catch you up on Joe Miller's uphill fight in Alaska and the recount in Minnesota.

And later in the hour, we'll talk with former Bush speechwriter David Frum. He is founding a founding member of the new No Labels organization, a bipartisan group hoping to find common ground without labels.

But first, as always, a trivia question. And here's Ken Rudin.

KEN RUDIN: Hi, Tony.

COX: Hey.

RUDIN: Okay, well, let's see. A bunch of Republicans who want to be the next Republican national chairman are in Washington this week. They're going to have a little debate. We're still waiting to see whether Michael Steele decides whether to run again. He's very embattled, and he may not run again.

But anyway, we have an RNC-related trivia question. Now, actually, we have two questions. There will be two T-shirts but only one answer per caller. Anyway, the question is: Name the last Republican and Democrat who ran for president after he served as party chairman.

COX: Okay, so if you think you know the last Republican or Democrat who ran for president after he served as party chairman, give us a call. Our number here in Washington is 800-989-8255. Or send us an email, the email address talk@npr.org. And you can join the conversation at our website. Just go to npr.org, and click on TALK OF THE NATION.

So Ken, it was a bit of a rough Thanksgiving weekend for the president. He got 12 stitches.

RUDIN: Yes, it was a basketball game. He got 12 stitches. I think it's just a coincidence, but the gentleman who inflicted the damage is the new ambassador to Siberia. I think not many people know that, so he's been no, that's not true.

But anyway, but more importantly, I think maybe even more of a headache is that, of course, he met with Republicans, the first meeting between Obama and the Republicans since the November 2nd elections. And they have, of course, a lot of things they want to iron out.

But ultimately, it was a frank meeting. It was a productive meeting, as the president said. But ultimately, nothing was accomplished. They can't put partisan differences aside. And the Republicans basically said today that basically, we're not going to agree on anything until a resolution is made regarding the Bush tax cuts that are going to expire at the end of the year.

COX: So why did they call it the Slurpee summit?

RUDIN: Well, they were supposed to serve Slurpees, say that one time fast. But actually, no Slurpees were served, no drinks of any kind. They didn't have the famous beer summit, remember that, the civil rights thing a year ago.

COX: For Skip Gates.

RUDIN: Skip Gates, exactly. There wasn't much of anything accomplished or served, except both sides let them know that they would like to talk, like to keep talking. But ultimately there was no agreement on anything.

And again, the Republicans say we're not going to agree on anything until we have a resolution regarding the Bush tax cuts.

COX: So what does that bode for the lame duck session?

RUDIN: Well, there's a lot that still is on the plate. Don't ask, don't tell, they're having hearings today, this week, on reversing that policy. And Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, says he would love to have that resolved in the lame duck.

There will be a vote, and this is separate from everything else, but there probably will be a vote on the START treaty. That's the new arms-control treaty with Russia. And John McCain is among those Republicans who say that, yes, I think we can work out a deal with that. Jon Kyl of Arizona has been holding it up for the longest time, but it looks like that may happen.

But others things like, you know, other things about things like extending unemployment insurance. The Democrats say this is just crazy. You can't stop this. It's playing partisan politics with the people who need the money the most.

And the Republicans say, well, look, we understand this and we're sympathetic, but we have to pay for it. And therefore, they have to work out that deal, as well.

COX: All right, let's see. We have a couple of people online that want to give a crack at the trivia question. The first one is Herb(ph) from Charlotte, North Carolina. Hello, Herb.

HERB (Caller): Hello, how are you doing?

COX: Fine, how are you. What's your answer?

HERB: I think for the Democrat, it was Howard Dean.

RUDIN: Well, Howard Dean actually is not the correct answer because he ran for president and then was elected DNC chair. I'm looking for somebody who was party chairman and then ran for president, in that order.

COX: All right, let's try somebody else. This is Brad(ph) from Marietta, Ohio. Hello, Brad.

BRAD (Caller): Yeah, hi, Tony. My answer is going to be the first President Bush was RNC chair, I believe, under President Nixon.

RUDIN: You're correct about one thing. The first President Bush was RNC chair 1973 to 1974, and then he ran for president in 1980 and 1988. But he was not the last Republican to do that. So Bush would be a right answer, but he's not the last one.

COX: All right, let's try one more. This is Jessica(ph) from Pittsburgh, Kansas. Hello, Jessica, you have the answer?

JESSICA (Caller): Hi, I hope I do, I think.

COX: I hope so, too. Go ahead.

JESSICA: Yes. Is the answer Bill Richardson?

RUDIN: Bill Richardson actually was never Democratic national chairman. He never was. He did run for president in 2008, but and he may have been chairman of the Democrat Governors Association but never DNC chair.

COX: All right, we'll have to keep the lines open. Somebody's going to come through with the right answer.

RUDIN: We have these T-shirts dying to be given away.

COX: Absolutely. Let's talk about Charlie Rangel for a moment. He wants the he wants to be dealt with in a certain way. He doesn't want to be censured. He wants to be what?

RUDIN: Well, he doesn't he probably doesn't want anything, but if given a choice, he would probably rather have a reprimand. Ultimately, there is no difference between a censure and a reprimand except because you don't lose your power, you can still vote and all that stuff.

But short of expulsion, a censure is the most damaging penalty that any member of Congress can get because basically if you're censured, you stand before the well, you face your peers, and you hear the speaker of the House read off the charges against you, whereas if it's a just a reprimand, it's basically a slap on the wrist.

Neither one is acceptable or preferable, but given the choices, Charlie Rangel says, like, basically, you know, I've suffered enough. I was forced to resign as Ways and Means chair. I've been humiliated. And Im not a crook. I didn't personally, you know, line my pockets with money like so many people who have been censured.

But again, the House Ethics Committee overwhelmingly voted to censure Rangel. There should be a vote this week.

COX: All right, let's take another call, shall we? This is Veronica(ph) from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Hello, Veronica, do you have the answer?

VERONICA (Caller): Yes, is it Bob Dole?

RUDIN: Well, Bob Dole is actually just like the George H.W. Bush. Bob Dole was chairman '71 to '73. He was chairman when Watergate happened. He said it wasn't on his watch. It was his day off that day. But then he ran for president back, later in 1980. He was chairman first. I'm looking for somebody who was DNC chairman first and then ran for president.

Dole is a correct answer, but he's not the most recent.

COX: This must be a toughie because people are, they're getting close but not quite close enough.

RUDIN: Yeah, Bush and Dole are correct answers except they're not the most recent Republican.

COX: All right. Let's talk about the GOP for a moment, as a matter of fact. We can take our pick, actually. Let's begin, though, with Michael Steele and the RNC, the fight, apparently, that's brewing over who will be the next chairman of the Republican Party.

RUDIN: Yeah, you know, you would think that because the Republican Party had such a good day, year, in 2010, November 2nd, they picked up 63 seats in the House to take control of the House. They got six Senate seats, did great with governorships, state legislatures. They did the best they've done since 1928.

But a lot of people feel that it was in spite of Michael Steele, not because of Michael Steele. The RNC has been accused of wasting money. There was just a report that came out that several hundred thousand dollars have already been spent on the 2012 Republican convention. That's going to be in Tampa.

And they say that Steele has had too many gaffes, too many embarrassments and too much wasteful spending going into 2012, when obviously the Republicans would love to knock off President Obama and take control of the Senate.

And so January 13th to the 15th is when the RNC will meet in Washington. We don't know if Michael Steele will even stand for a second term, but there is no shortage of candidates who are looking to replace him.

COX: I want to talk about Sarah Palin, but maybe we'll have luck with this next caller. Let's see in terms of getting the trivia answer, which we are trying to get. This is Pat(ph) from Wallingford, Connecticut. Hello, Pat.

PAT (Caller): Hello. Is it Chris Dodd on the Democratic side?

RUDIN: We have a winner.

COX: All right. Congratulations.

RUDIN: We have one winner. Chris Dodd was DNC chair '95 to '97. Then he ran for president in 2008. Matter of fact, he wanted to become president of Iowa. He moved his whole family out to Iowa, didn't last past the Iowa caucuses.

That is the Democrat we're looking for, Chris Dodd. Pat wins a T-shirt for the Democrats.

COX: All right, Pat, hold on. Don't go away. Let's try one more person because we're trying to get the Republican side, as well, right? Let's ask Cathy(ph). She is in Keene, New Hampshire. Hello, Cathy.

CATHY (Caller): Hello. My guess is Jim Gilmore.

RUDIN: And that is the correct Republican answer.

COX: All right, two in a row.

RUDIN: Jim Gilmore, the former Republican governor of Virginia, was he was RNC chair in 2001, 2002, ran for president. Not many people remember that. But he ran for president, dropped out in 2007. So Cathy is right. Jim Gilmore is the last Republican.

COX: Cathy, thank you. Hang on, Cathy. The next person that you will hear from will tell you about the T-shirt that you have won.

CATHY: Thank you.

COX: Let's end this part of our Political Junkie conversation talking about, who else, Sarah Palin, in Iowa, signing books, causing some things to happen. Joe Scarborough was writing about her in a not-so-friendly way.

RUDIN: No, it was pretty caustic. I mean, everybody seems to be fascinated, good and bad, about Sarah Palin. She was in Iowa this week selling her book. Of course, photographers were not allowed to bring their cameras, which is not a good thing if you're a photographer.

Journalists were not allowed to ask questions, and of course she dismissed any talk about 2012, which is fine. This is still 2010. But she is, you know, everybody just seems to be fascinated with her.

Joe Scarborough, the MSNBC host, former Republican congressman from Florida, penned his very acerbic post in Politico this week that basically said that, you know, she's delirious if she thinks she should run for president, and Republicans need to speak out.

Joe Scarborough is not a member of the Republican establishment. He's a talk show host, for goodness sakes. But again, he said something that many Republicans have been saying behind closed doors.

COX: Well, she does have a 58 percent favorable rating within the GOP. But at the same time, and I don't know if these numbers add up correctly or not, but it says she also has a 39 percent unfavorable rating.

RUDIN: That's correct. No, that is correct. That's the last number I saw for her, too. And, you know, she's very popular among the Republican rank and file, but whether she can beat Barack Obama in 2012 is another question.

COX: All right, more with Political Junkie Ken Rudin in just a moment. And up next, we'll talk about labels, partisanship and new calls for moderation in Washington. Do you want your politicians to work together more or to move to the center or to stand on principal and not compromise?

Our number, 800-989-8255. Drop us an email at talk@npr.org. I'm Tony Cox. Stay with us. It is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)

COX: This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. Im Tony Cox.

Ken Rudin is here, as he is every Wednesday, NPR's political editor and our political junkie. Check out his blog and podcast and take a shot at his ScuttleButton puzzle at npr.org/junkie.

It was not an election season marked by compromise, to say the least. Many candidates felt they'd lost their primaries because they were simply too moderate in comparison to newer, more extreme candidates.

Now, a new group hopes to attract both voters and legislators who feel that they have been left out in the cold because they are too moderate. It's called No Labels. Their tagline is: Not left, not right, just forward.

And they've come on the scene right when bipartisanship is harder to find than ever. David Frum is one of their founding leaders, and he is going to be joining us in just a few moments.

Before then, do you want your politicians to be more moderate and to work together or to be uncompromising and stand on their principles? 800-989-8255, that's the number here. Or drop us an email, talk@npr.org. You can also get into the conversation at npr.org. Click on TALK OF THE NATION.

So let me come back to you, and we'll finish up a couple of things as we wait for our guest. There are still some races unresolved, not just even from this year but going back a ways, correct?

RUDIN: Well, there's still I mean, there's still three major races, three races at least for November 2nd that we haven't got an answer yet. Alaska Senate is still going on, Joe Miller.

Basically, Lisa Murkowski, the Republican who was defeated for the Republican nomination by Joe Miller and ran as a write-in, she has a 10,328-vote lead over Miller. Miller is challenging 8,159 of those votes. And even if he wins on those, she still wins, but he's not giving up. He's suing the state.

Norm Coleman, of all people, Norm Coleman the guy who went on this nine-month marathon challenging his defeat to Al Franken in Minnesota in 2008, he said: Joe, give it up. So for Norm Coleman to say give it up, you know it's probably over for him.

In the Minnesota governor's race, speaking of Minnesota, Mark Dayton has an 8,700-some-odd vote over Tom Emmer. The recount began Monday. 70 percent of the vote has been counted there. Since Monday, Dayton has lost 37 votes. So he still has an 8,700-some-odd-vote lead. He's probably going to be the next governor of Minnesota.

The only thing we don't have in the House yet is New York's 1st Congressional District on Long Island. Tim Bishop has a 214-vote lead over Randy Altschuler. We may not have an answer to that until January.

COX: I've got to go back and ask you about Joe Miller because, you know, he came in as a surprise candidate, had the support of Sarah Palin and the Tea Partiers and upset Lisa Murkowski. Now, though, how does this dragging this out affect his political star, his light?

RUDIN: Well, you know, I think he was shocked. I think many people felt that once he won the Republican nomination, the election was his. Nobody except for Strom Thurmond in 1954 had ever won as a write-in. So you figure Lisa Murkowski was just not going to survive.

But he made a lot of gaffes. He made a lot of mistakes. A lot of his past came to light. And slowly but surely, Murkowski, a name that's not easy to spell if you're doing a write-in campaign, you know, came back, and he really basically was blindsided.

So again, he's saying well, you know, you're not allowed to misspell Murkowski. And in any state, almost any state, if the voter intent - if you want the candidate, if you spell Murkowski with a Y at the end for example, most people say look, it's very clear who what candidate that voter wanted, and they accept it.

Joe Miller says no, there are no exceptions. You can't play games with voter intent, no spelling mistakes. So it was kind of likely he's going to, you know, sit on this. And Jim DeMint, the senator from South Carolina, the Republican powerbroker among conservatives, is supporting Joe Miller, said look, you know, he's the Republican nominee. He's our guy. We should fight with him as long as there's a viable chance of winning.

COX: What about Lisa Murkowski? How disaffected, if at all, is she with the Republican Party, who abandoned her in this race, now that she's won? She's still a member of the party. What should we look from her what should we look for from her?

RUDIN: Well, she wasn't really abandoned by the party. Basically, when she was no longer the Republican nominee, of course, the NRSC sticks with its nominee and that was Joe Miller.

But what's interesting about Murkowski, and we're talking about - we'll talk about this with David Frum, too - that all this reaching across the aisle which so looked down upon by Tea Party folks - they didn't like compromise and things like that.

And the left was not crazy about compromise, either. They thought that Obama compromised too much. So both extremes were not crazy about the compromising. Lisa Murkowski says when I come back to the Senate, not if but when I return to the Senate, I will reach across party lines. I will work with Democrats. And perhaps that's what helped her lose the primary to Joe Miller, but maybe that's what got her re-elected as a write-in.

COX: Yeah, people are trying to determine how the what the temperature of the country is with regard to and the question that we asked earlier, whether or not you want your representatives to be stalwart in their principles, or do you want them to compromise.

Let's take a caller. This is Jeff(ph) from North Port, Florida, who wants to chime in on this very topic. Hello, Jeff, welcome to TALK OF THE NATION.

JEFF (Caller): Yes, as like I told the call screener, my you know, my elected official that I recently voted for is Marco Rubio. And I definitely want him to be willing to work with Democrats. There's no question about that.

But what I don't want to see from Republicans is I don't want to see what went on during the health care bill. I don't want to see them behind closed doors, you know, like Pelosi and her bunch. I hate - I absolutely despise that.

But as far as what you were talking about, about the extremes, you know, on the right and the left, as a conservative, I don't you know, like when I read in, like, in a lot of the national newspapers, and they refer to people like Susan Collins as a moderate and whatnot, I don't consider Susan Collins a moderate. She's a liberal Republican.

I mean, I understand that you have to be a certain way to get elected, you know, in Massachusetts and these areas up north.

COX: All right, Jeff, hold on. You've said a lot. Let us respond to that. Ken thank you for the call, by the way, Jeff.

RUDIN: Well, first of all, I agree with Jeff. I mean, Susan Collins is a liberal Republican. I mean, you know, that sounds like a contradiction in terms. But she's one of the few left in the Senate. There are very few left. Maybe Olympia Snowe might be considered that, as well. But I think...

COX: Not moderate?

RUDIN: Well, she's, you know, she's I mean, on some things, she's liberal, and some things, she's moderate.


RUDIN: I mean, we always say that Ben Nelson is a conservative Democrat from Nebraska. You can say that he's a moderate, too. But whatever. I mean, I think other sides see liberals and conservatives differently.

But I think Jeff makes an important point. You don't have to sacrifice your principles to push - to make things work. In other words, you could still be a conservative, and you could still be a liberal, but if you are willing to work with the other side without losing your principles but willing to advance legislation and work on some kind of compromises, not like, as Jeff says, behind closed doors but aboveboard, then I think the country will be better served.

COX: All right, let's take another call. This is Sheila(ph) from is it DePoister, New York? Sheila, are you there?

SHEILA (Caller): Yes, I am.

COX: Oh, OK. Is it DePoister, New York? Am I saying that correctly?

SHEILA: Yes, you are.

COX: Thank you. Welcome, and we like - we enjoy having you on. What's your comment?

SHEILA: I'd like them to work together, but unfortunately, I think there's way too much money made in corporate media for them not, you know, to not work together. There's whole swaths of media that have made a lot of money from people being absolutely against the other side, calling them names - and this happens on both sides - calling them names, and I hate you, and you're this, I'm going to take my country back.

And with that kind of hyped emotion, there's a lot of political pundits that have made a lot of money keeping that going and keeping that out there. So they might want to work together, but they're so involved with the media that has put them there, I don't think they'll have the chance.

COX: That's an interesting question. Thank you for the call. In fact, Kathleen Parker wrote about this in The Washington Post the other day, talking about: Can this be done? Can disparate points of view come together and work in a coalition fashion?

It doesn't appear, from what we have seen here in Washington certainly this year and during the Obama administration, that that works.

RUDIN: No, and in fairness, it didn't work that great during the Bush administration, as well. There are a lot of Republicans who are doing everything they can to stop the Obama agenda, and there were a lot of Democrats who want to stop the Bush agenda.

But Sheila does make a good point. And I don't know she didn't say this, and I don't know if this is what she was referring to, but the folks at MSNBC on the left and the folks at Fox News on the right, it's in their interest to keep things polarized and just, you know, argumentative. And that's why so many people get their news from MSNBC and Fox because basically they preach to the converted, and they fire up the emotions.

But if you're going to try to work across party aisles, that's not what these folks in the media are all about.

COX: Let's go to Hugh(ph) in Oakland, California. Hugh, welcome to TALK OF THE NATION.

HUGH (Caller): Hi. I want my candidates to do both. I want them to stand on principle but find areas to get things done. So for example with health care, instead of all health care or no health care, you know, potentially cutting kids with pre-existing conditions off, find a cost-effective way of keeping things the same.

And with the Bush-era tax cuts, instead of saying Obama has to compromise, I think compromise involves both parties finding a way to include small business owners that might not be able to continue having their tax cuts, find a way to include it for them if they reinvest their profits in the company, as opposed to all wealthy individuals.

COX: Hugh, thank you very much for that call. Isn't, though - let me ask you, Ken Rudin. Isn't Washington about power? And when you're about power, you just don't give up that power.

RUDIN: Well, it is about power, but once upon a time, there was also something about compromise, where members of both parties would, you know, after the yelling on the Senate or House floor, they'd go to the members' offices, and they'd open up a bottom drawer and take out a bottle of bourbon and discuss these things and say, look, we - look, Civil Rights legislation in '64 and '65 could never have happened if -not compromises on both sides. And I think Hugh makes a good point that you don't have to sacrifice anything but just make things happen.

If David Frum were here - and we don't have him yet - but I think that's what this No Labels group is all about. You don't have to just give up your principles but, again, if the American people are serious about the fact that theres frustration that things are not getting done, then maybe perhaps this is the only way to do it.

COX: Let me ask Lisa(ph) from - is it Kannapolis, North Carolina? Is that how you say it?

LISA (Caller): That's right.

COX: All right. Let me - hold on. I'm going to ask Ken this question, and then I'd like to get yours as well, Lisa.

LISA: Okay.

COX: Isn't Lisa Murkowski an example of a person who attempted to do that, nearly paid a very heavy political price for that? And before you answer, Lisa, what's your comment? I think it's close to what I'm talking about, isn't it?

LISA: Well, it seems to me that if a party member now, say, for example, minority party member votes on a bill and is widely perceived as having bent or bending to the - what the majority would be, it seems to me that the majority at the next election could say we were able to get legislation through that they couldn't, that the other party couldn't get through. And so it seems to me that party members would be punished for working together because in the future, I mean, it would make it look at the next election that their - the opposition was able to actually push legislation through?

COX: Absolutely, Lisa...

LISA: You see what I'm saying?

COX: Yes, I do. Thank you very much. And that's why I had her when I mentioned Lisa Murkowski because she seems to me - tell me if I'm wrong - to epitomize exactly what she's talking about?

RUDIN: Well, Lisa is exactly right. Here's a perfect example - two examples. Blanche Lincoln, the Democratic senator from Arkansas, I mean, basically, she did lose to a conservative Republican on November 2nd, but in the May primary, she almost lost to a liberal Democrat because she was too busy, too willing to work with Republicans on many issues.

Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a very conservative Republican, but every time he said something nice about Democrats, there's another Republican organization in South Carolina willing to censure him. So both the - both of the folks in the middle are just pushed away from because of the extremes, and they often pay the price, politically.

COX: Absolutely. We're talking with the Political Junkie about the recent push for moderation in Washington. Do you want elected officials who work together or who won't compromise on principle? You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

So we lost Frum, but we have someone else to replace Frum, the organization No Labels, its founding leader Bill Galston. Bill, welcome to TALK OF THE NATION.

Mr. BILL GALSTON (Founding Leader, No Labels): Glad to be here.

COX: So I'm sure you may - I'm hoping that you have heard some of what we have been talking about. How can you make this work in a climate where people seemed to want their elected representatives to take a stand and stick to it?

Mr. GALSTON: Well, I guess I stumble at the threshold because I've been reviewing survey data from post-election polls and, in fact, solid majorities of Americans would like their elected officials to work together across party lines. And that is certainly true of Democrats and independents. It gets more difficult when you look at the base of the Republican Party. But, overall, there is a strong national majority in favor of conciliation and compromise.

RUDIN: Bill, but if you take a look at the November 2nd election results, people will - we heard all yearlong that the Republican Party is the party of no. They don't believe in compromise. They don't believe in working across party lines. And yet, the American people, at least in the House, seem to reward them for this party of no philosophy so...

Mr. GALSTON: Ah-ha. Well, you know, blame James Madison because we have a system now where 40 percent of the people pass judgment on what 60 percent did two years earlier. And then 60 percent of the people pass judgment on what the 40 percent did two years after that. So it is perfectly true that in midterm elections with much lower rates of political participation and much higher percentages of base voters on both sides, that the rewards for compromise and conciliation are going to be very limited, especially when the political parties are as polarized as they are now. But if you're looking forward to a general election, then that calculus changes a lot and, you know, and even if you come in all hot under the collar and zealous, you have to care about a much broader electorate.

COX: Would this apply, do you think, to those who were elected as Tea Party candidates? Are they about to be moderated, if that is such a word?

Mr. GALSTON: Well, some will, some won't, but they're going to have to defend their voting records before an electorate that's at least 50 percent larger in two years than the one that put them into office in the first place.

RUDIN: Bill, but you're diminishing or dismissing what happened on November 2nd, are you?

Mr. GALSTON: Not at all. Not at all. And what I am saying is this - that politicians differ in the balance that they strike between conviction on the one hand and what I'll call careerism on the other. And the ones who are willing to vote their convictions, the next election be damned, will be regarded as very honorable. And many of them will have difficult reelection contests in a general election context. Those who strike a somewhat different balance may survive to fight another day, and I'm not predicting what any individual member of Congress is going to do, where any individual member will situate himself along that continuum.

COX: I'm going to have to...

Mr. GALSTON: That is the choice.

COX: Bill, I'm sorry, I've got to stop you there, only because our time is short. Unfortunately, we didn't get to go into this as deeply as we would have liked. We'll have to do it again on another political Wednesday.

Bill Galston is a founding member of the No Labels. He was a former policy adviser to President Bill Clinton and a senior fellow at Brookings Institution. And as always, every Wednesday here in Studio 3-A, NPR political editor Ken Rudin, our Political Junkie. Thank you again, Ken.

RUDIN: Thanks, Tony.

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