Heard on the Hill

Not So Much Fun in the Sun: No Labels on a Sweltering Day

No Labels? No extra shirt? Probably a problem. Sorry, Congress.

On Thursday, the nonpartisan group No Labels — dubbed on its own website as "a movement of Democrats, Republicans and everyone in between dedicated to promoting a new politics of problem solving" — held a rally in Senate Park to demonstrate how awesome being bipartisan can be. One by one, dozens of lawmakers, sweating through shirts in the blistering sun, declared themselves problem solvers. Problem solvers for the children. Problem solvers for America. Problem solvers for photo opportunities.

Here's the thing, children, America and photographers: People who think it's a good idea to hold a giant news conference in 93-degree heat with 65 percent humidity to bask in the love of their own ambition to solve problems call into question their ability to solve problems, or at least plan an event.

HOH sweated through it all (yes, we're bitter and we'll concede this upfront) and clocked how quickly it took congressmen and senators to run offstage and into the shade after they were done passing t̶h̶e̶ ̶p̶e̶a̶c̶e̶ ̶p̶i̶p̶e̶ the microphone.

Twenty-five seconds was about how long it took for scores of lawmakers, some of whom were on the older side, to clear the stage. Our favorite part of the event was the presence of black vans waiting near the edge of the park with their motors running, presumably to take some of the representatives back to House office buildings without making them walk through the Capitol plaza in the oppressive heat.

Perhaps "carbon emission" or "climate change" could be added to the list of problems these problem solvers want to solve?

"We talk to each other, not about each other," declared Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., one of the co-chairmen of No Labels, to a crowd of baking bipartisanship-lovers in folding chairs.

As anyone covering the acrimony on Capitol Hill knows, though, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., might have a good word to characterize such feel-goodiness.

So until another major manufactured legislative fight consumes Washington — debt ceiling, anyone? — the No Labels bipartisan warmth will live to see another day. But maybe we're just cynical. Or overheated.