The “No Labels” conference at Columbia today was all about asking people and politicians to shun political party labels in favor of independence and common sense.
But New York’s top two party chieftains said that the organizers have it all wrong.
“When voters go to the polling place on Election Day they like to have some sense of what the candidates they are voting for actually stand for,” said Jay Jacobs, the state Democratic Party chairman. “Political parties give you a solid idea of the general idea of who you are voting for.”
And although the speakers at today’s conference excoriated the special interests for having outsized say over the political process, Jacobs said that political parties serve as a bulwark against constituencies that would dominate politics otherwise.
“Political parties provide the counterbalance,” he said. “If it weren’t for them you would have the very wealthy able to buy elections.”
Jacobs’ G.O.P. counterpart, Ed Cox, declined to make the case for political parties in general, but did say that his political party was necessary.
“It depends upon the party. In the case of the Republican Party here in New York State and the nation we are stressing fiscal conservatism that’s why we won these races overwhelmingly that’s what we are bringing to Washington and what we will bring to Albany.”
Jacobs agreed with the conference’s organizers that political parties could have a baleful effect on the political process, but said that they remained the best solution to solving political problems.
“It’s like Winston Churchill’s line that Democracy is the worst form of government except for all of the others. Political parties are a negative part of politics except when you don’t have them.”