Blue Dogs' Last Gasp
We're working on getting the video that should be right here embeddable, meanwhile, you can watch it here.
Reactionary Blue Dog, Jim Matheson (UT) was on Fox desperately trying to rally his right-wing base in his fight against teabagger Mia Love. He boasted that he voted against Obamacare 3 times, wants to extend the Bush taxcuts for millionaires and billionaires, and says he prefers, like most rightists, tort reform instead of Obamacare. And then he said that his endorsement by the rabidly right U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Jon Huntsman Sr. are bigger deals than the new employment figures.
In the current session, Matheson's ProgressivePunch score is one of the most dismal even just among the Blue Dogs. Half a dozen libertarian-leaning Republicans had more progressive voting records than his 21.16. The only Democrat who voted more frequently and more consistently with Boehner and Cantor were Mike Ross, the ultra-corrupt Arkansas sleazebag who's retiring and Dan Boren, Bush's favorite Democrat, also retiring. These Blue Dogs are a bad lot, first and foremost because they are all-- ever single one of them steeped in corruption-- and second, because they fight against the interest of working families. Steve Israel, when he decided to make a play for a leadership role "resigned" as a Blue Dog, although he's still working hard to bring the caucus back to prominence by spending massive amounts of DCCC money on Blue Dogs while starving progressives of any meaningful support. And this week there are rumors that California Blue Dog Adam Schiff, redistricted into a very liberal area, has decided to renounce his Blue Dog affiliation. (He's still a New Dem, basically just as bad, and his voting record as a Blue Dog will stand as is. We should be hearing a lot more about Mr. Schiff as the contours of the 2014 primary shape up.)
The corporately funded right-wing PAC, Center Forward-- which spent thousands of dollars in West Virginia to bolster Republican teabagger David McKinley against grassroots progressive Sue Thorn, is now spending millions to bolster the DCCC efforts to elect more Blue Dogs next month.
Formed this year, Center Forward is essentially a rebranding of a group called the Blue Dog Research Group, which dates to the heyday of conservative Democratic influence. The reorganized nonprofit organization does not disclose its donors, but it has received financial support from other political organizations such as the Blue Dog PAC, which funnels money to candidates.Jason Altmire didn't exactly lose to an opponent on his left. He lost to a super-corrupt right-wing freak, Mark Critz. Both voted with the GOP on key issues far, far more frequently than with the Democrats. Altmire's ProgressivePunch score in the current session was 24.37 and Critz's was an almost equally reprehensible 35.43. The other Pennsylvania Blue Dog, Tim Holden (with a 35.44 score) was defeated by Matt Cartwright, a solid moderate with progressive tendencies in economics. Center Forward spent $104,700 running attack ads during the primary that distorted his positions. Cartwright crushed Holden anyway.
Center Forward’s first big splash came in March with a $1 million national ad urging Congress to “put partisan politics aside” and reach a deficit-reduction deal without “radical schemes that gamble with America’s future."
The group has since rolled out a steady wave of ads aimed at helping specific lawmakers. Last month, Center Forward aired $1.35 million in ads to aid Reps. John Barrow (D-Ga.), Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah). The group added another $500,000 to help Barrow and Matheson this month, and it has also waded into the U.S. Senate race to help Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) in his race against Republican tea party favorite Richard E. Mourdock...Given their dwindling ranks and a polarized electorate, it’s not clear how much impact Center Forward will have in the near term.
Two prominent Blue Dogs from Pennsylvania, Reps. Jason Altmire and Tim Holden, lost primary battles this year to opponents from their left who painted them as traitors to core Democratic values. Nearly 10 others have retired or announced their intention to do so at the end of their terms.
Center Forward's biggest investment so far has been for Matheson. They spent $666,825 attacking Mia Love. A close runner up is money attacking another teabagger, Richard Mourdock, on behalf of raging right-wing Blue Dog Joe Donnelly in Indiana. And they wasted another $328,015 trying to bolster John Barrow's hopeless campaign in Georgia. (Even they know better than flushing any money down the toilet for Larry Kissell, the most likely Democrat anywhere in the country to lose in November-- and one of the most deserving.)