Two More Slimy Self-Serving Conservatives Headed From Congress To K Street
Earlier in the week many of his were chuckling in resignation when it was announced that Indiana corporate shill and reflexive reactionary Evan Bayh-- also well as paid Fox contributor-- is going to work for a long-time fascist organization as a lobbyist.
Not long after announcing his plans to retire in 2010, then-Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) offered this bit of commentary on why he'd opted to leave Congress after two terms in office: "I want to be engaged in an honorable line of work." It was taken as a biting critique of the increasingly polarized and dysfunctional Senate, and a hint that Bayh's post-Senate plans might include a quiet career in academia, away from politics.
Now Bayh is eating his words. As iWatch News' Peter Stone reports, Bayh has signed on with one of the most corporate-friendly, anti-environment shops in all of Washington, DC: the US Chamber of Commerce. According to an internal memo penned by Chamber president Tom Donohue, Bayh, along with former Bush White House chief of staff Andy Card, are now part of the Chamber's anti-regulation messaging team, doing "speeches, events, and media appearances at local venues."
The Chamber's hiring of Bayh, a big name in Washington circles, will only help its efforts to delay or kill new regulatory legislation in Congress. Indeed, Donohue's memo touts how the Chamber has filed legal briefs to challenge the validity of President Obama's health care reform bill; successfully delayed a new Securities and Exchange Commission rule on giving shareholders a say on corporate directors; unveiled plans to undermine the clout of the fledgling Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; and delayed a rule forcing companies to disclose when they use conflict minerals from the Congo in their products. Bayh and Card, the memo says, will help the Chamber push this pro-corporate agenda in Washington and beyond.
But just as we were hoping Bayh's revolving door would hit him in the butt on the way out, news broke that an even worse example of a right-wing Democrat would soon be scurrying from Capitol Hill to K Street. This year-- as almost every year-- spoiled child of privilege and scummy dishonorable Blue Dog Dan Boren was the Democrat who voted most frequently with the Republicans on key substantive issues before the House. His ProgressivePunch Crucial Votes score for the current session is a dismal 17.43, not just the worst for any Democrat, but worse than 16 Republicans. Boehner and Cantor have been able to count on his support as much as George Bush always did. The Democratic caucus will be infinitely better off without him, even if fellow Blue Dog Brad Carson, the district's former congressman, wins the seat.
With Boren gone the once-mighty Blue Dog caucus of rightists and racists will have been cut down from 54 to 23. That's 23 too many. As Politico reported, former Tennessee Rep. John Tanner, a leading conservative Democrat who helped found the coalition in 1995, acknowledged that the Blue Dog wing is, for the time being at least, struggling for survival.
“It ought to concern us from the standpoint that we need to put aside strongly held philosophies,” said Tanner, who retired last year.
Former North Dakota Rep. Earl Pomeroy, a Blue Dog who lost his seat last November, put it more directly: “I think you could say this was the most disastrous House election that Democrats ever had, and those who paid the highest price were those in swing districts and those who were Blue Dogs.”
While Boren didn’t announce his plans, many in the growing ranks of former Blue Dogs have beaten a path to the lucrative environs of K Street, where they aren’t regularly berated by progressives who resent their departures from party orthodoxy or Republicans insisting they are tools of a liberal national party. In just the past few months alone, former South Dakota Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, former Tennessee Rep. Bart Gordon, Pomeroy and Tanner are among those who have taken the lobbying path.
I was on the phone with a senior progressive Democrat when the news of Boren's retirement hit the transom. I asked her if she had heard the news about Boren. And she shot back, "Did he finally make if official and switch parties?" I told her he was retiring and she asked me if I knew he was related to Paul Ryan by marriage. Boren, who's on the Board of Directors of the NRA, didn't endorse Obama in 2008 and voted against healthcare reform and was always strictly anti-Choice.
Last November Blue America helped defeat the only Democrat with a worse voting record than Boren: Bobby Bright, an Alabama Blue Dog. This year our ActBlue page, Send The Democrats A Message They Can Understand is assisting progressives who fighting for nominations against Blue Dogs and other conservative Democrats. We have three on our list so far and if you'd like to help them in their struggle we'd be most appreciative.