Yesterday A Pack Of Mad Blue Dogs Teamed Up With The Republicans To Defeat An Unemployment Insurance Extension For Two Million American Families
Most progressives recognize that it was the ability of the conservative Democratic faction of the too-Big-Tent-- Blue Dogs, New Dems and random reactionaries whose ancestors were Democrats-- to water down Democratic initiatives that has so alienated the grassroots base from the party. The result was that over half the Blue Dogs and lots of New Dems were defeated. That's a good thing. What isn't a good thing is that they so tarnished the Democratic brand that a handful of progressives and moderates were also defeated. Members like Alan Grayson, Mary Jo Kilroy, John Hall, Phil Hare, Carol Shea Porter, Ron Klein were dragged down by reactionary garbage like Bobby Bright, Gene Taylor, Travis Childers, Chris Carney, Frank Kratovil, Zach Space, Harry Mitchell, and Allen Boyd.
No new Blue Dogs were elected-- all their horrible, anti-family challengers were defeated, despite the fact that millions of dollars were wasted trying to elect crap candidates eager to undermine the Democratic agenda, like Chad Causey (AR), Roy Herron (TN), Stephene Moore (KS), Stephen Raby (AL), Trent Van Haaften (IN) and Lori Edwards (FL). One of the few Democratic freshmen elected in this cycle is Florida state Senate leader Frederica Wilson. Yesterday she wasn't shy about letting reporters know what she thinks of the treacherous Blue Dogs. "I'm proud of Nancy Pelosi and the way she's handled legislation. I'm not a Blue Dog. I'm a real donkey."
Democrats have good reason to be angry at Blue Dogs. They ruined everything they touched. There's only one reason there's no public option in the health care reform bill: Blue Dogs. There's only one reason the Wall Street reform legislation is missing some crucial pieces and lacks teeth in some areas: Blue Dogs. On issue after issue, the Blue Dogs did the Republicans' dirty work for them-- and, for whatever reason (Hoyer, Emanuel, Obama?), Pelosi gave in to them and tried to smooth over the differences. There are only 23 Blue Dogs left and many of their leaders went down in flames, as did the 3 who sided with the GOP most frequently, Bobby Bright (AL), Gene Taylor (MS) and Travis Childers (MS). And even though their excuse for voting the Republican line was that the GOP would beat up on them in the campaign... the Republicans beat up on them during the campaign anyway-- relentlessly, even called them Democrats! This week the survivors (as well as the losers) tried, unsuccessfully, to derail Pelosi's leadership.
"Nancy Pelosi was the face that defeated 60-plus members," Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Calif.), one of the founders of the Blue Dog Coalition and among those defeated, told reporters Wednesday. "At some point in time you have to put your personal agenda and ambitions aside for the good of the country and certainly for the party.
"I don't know how we go into these districts like the one I represented-- do represent now-- and recruit good, moderate, energetic candidates if you have the exact same leadership team, headed by the same person."
Well, maybe starting with "moderate" would be a good beginning. Boyd was anything but. In fact, he was the only Democrat, or excuse for a Democrat, Bush had been able to find to co-sponsor his bill to privatize Social Security. You think voters in Tallahassee were enthusiastic about that? And this year the Democratic base and Democratic-leaning independents just did not come out to vote for Allen Boyd, not despite the fact that he almost never supported the Democrats on contentious legislation but because he never did. Perhaps he thought he could make up the difference by getting Republicans or Republic-leaning independents to vote for him the way he has in the past. Not this year. He lost to a teabagger coroner. Boyd was considered so string the GOP didn't even bother to run an opponent against him in 2006. And in 2008, when McCain was winning the district with 54% Boyd managed to win reelection with a hefty 216,804 votes (62%) to 133,404 (38%) for the Republican. He won every county in the district but Bay, Walton and Okaloosa. This year less than half his 2008 voters turned out for him-- only 104,415 (41%) while the coroner won almost the same number of voters the Republican candidate got in 2008, 134,912 (a slight increase-- in a non-presidential year!). And this time it was Boyd who only won 3 counties-- Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, all with African-America majorities, staying loyal to the party even in the fact of what a crap Representative he's always been for their communities.
Donald Fowler, a former Democratic National Committee chairman and South Carolina moderate, said Blue Dogs are often "treated like bastard cousins."
"They feel a little bit like they're left out and they're second-class citizens," Fowler said. "I think that's terribly unfortunate, and if anybody treats them that way they should be ashamed of themselves. Their mommas should've taught them better."
Yesterday the House voted, under a suspension of the rules, to take up the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Continuation Act, which would keep over two million American families from facing a loss of unemployment insurance. Although 21 Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with the Democratic Party in favor, the bill, which needed a 2/3s approval, failed, in part because 11 Democrats crossed the aisle in the other direction and voted with Boehner and his cronies. Maybe if my momma had taught me better I wouldn't point to who the culprits were. But she taught me honesty and standing up for needy neighbors instead so... these are the scumbags, most of whom are multimillionaires themselves, who voted to let unemployment insurance expire for millions of Americans who were thrown out of work because conservative policies destroyed their jobs:
Marion Berry (Blue Dog-AR)- retiring due to severe alcoholism; his handpicked successor, chief-of-staff Chad Causey was defeated
Allen Boyd (Blue Dog-FL)- defeated
Bobby Bright (Blue Dog-AL)- defeated
Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN)- last remaining Blue Dog from Tennessee
Lincoln Davis (Blue Dog-TN)- defeated with less than 40% of the vote
Baron Hill (Blue Dog-IN)- defeated
Walt Minnick (Blue Dog-ID)- defeated
Glenn Nye (Blue Dog-VA)- defeated
Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN), narrowly reelected
Heath Shuler (Blue Dog-NC), narrowly reelected
Gene Taylor (Blue Dog-MS)- defeated
How mean-spirited and rotten for the losers to send this kind of a Christmas present to their out of work constituents and their families? Blue America helped defeat Bobby Bright this year and we fully intend to target other Blue Dogs in the coming primary cycle. If you'd like to help, here's out Bad Dog page. Never too soon to start doing America's mommas' work. Most Democrats just don't want to discuss the Blue Dogs perfidy. Yvette Clarke from Brooklyn, whose district has been especially hard by the economic turndown, issued this statement-- plenty of well-deserved blame for her Republican colleagues, but not a peep about her Blue Dog colleagues:
“It is no secret that our country is experiencing tough economic times. Today, I joined my Democratic colleagues and voted to extend unemployment insurance to the millions of Americans who are currently unemployed. Unfortunately, my Republican colleagues decided to vote against our efforts to give Americans the unemployment benefits they need as they continue to search for work.
“We in the government cannot leave the American people by the wayside; we must help the American people as our country climbs its way out of this economic ditch. We will work to find emergency short-term extensions that will help families get through the holiday season, but rest assured we will not stop fighting for a long term, permanent solution.”