Thursday, December 27, 2012

Scraping The Bottom Of The Blue Dog Barrel


Steve Israel failed at everything he attempted as DCCC chairman, including revitalizing his moribund Blue Dog caucus

In days past, despite defections from Tea Party extremists and libertarians, Boehner's Plan B would have sailed through Congress with the help of reactionary Blue Dog "Democrats." It didn't work this time because there are hardly any more Blue Dogs left in Congress, a tiny handful of right-wing Democrats struggling to fend off opponents on the left and on the right and to be able to deliver for the special interests, primarily corporate special interests, that fund the organization and its mostly corrupt members. 2010 was basically the Great Blue Dog Apocalypse, dozens of them either outright defeated by Republicans or forced into retirement rather than undergo the pain of certain defeat. And much of the detritus that managed the escape two years ago met it this year. Starting with the defeat of very right-wing Pennsylvania Blue Dogs Tim Holden and Jason Altmire in primaries and another round of sure losers retiring to K Street lobbying firms, what was left of the anemic Blue Dog caucus was again pulverized on election day. The 3 co-chairs, Heath Shuler (NC), Mike Ross (AR) and Dan Boren (OK), 3 of the Democrats who have been most consistent in their support for the Boehner/Cantor agenda in the House all recognized they could never win reelection and abruptly announced retirement.

Steve Israel and the DCCC went hog-wild, spending immense amounts of money recruiting and bolstering conservative, anti-Choice, anti-gay, anti-family candidates. With one exception, every one of them lost, some in embarrassing landslides. The one victor was Texas Blue Dog Pete Gallego. Four more Blue Dogs were defeated last month: Larry Kissell (R-NC), Leonard Boswell (IA), Ben Chandler (KY) and one of the Blue Dogs' main NRA champions, Joe Baca (CA), who lost to an NRA opponent with far more mainstream positions than Baca across the board. That left the "caucus" down to an irrelevant 14 members, many of whom are also members of the up-and-coming right wing of the congressional Democrats, the New Dems (basically same crap, with a different name and less tolerance, supposedly, for the racism, homophobia and rampant misogyny of the Blue Dogs). The New Dems are also corporately funded and see themselves as the "missing link" between mainstream Democrats and the rightward-drifting Republicans. So far they haven't been reactionary on social issues, only on economic and fiscal ones. So where does that leave the Blue Dogs themselves?

They just announced their caucus elections. The three new co-chairs are John Barrow (GA), replacing Heath Shuler as co-chair for administration; Jim Cooper (TN), replacing Barrow as co-chair for policy and Boren as Blue Dog whip; and Kurt Schrader (OR), replacing Mike Ross as co-chair for communications. It's unlikely that Barrow can be reelected again in 2014. Anti-immigrant fanatic Heath Shuler, already (illegally) working as a K Street lobbyist, made the announcement: "I’m proud to announce that Congressmen Barrow, Cooper and Schrader will be leading the Blue Dogs in the 113th Session of Congress. Each of them is a strong fiscal conservative with a history of working with both Democrats and Republicans to find balanced and bipartisan solutions. Now, and in the next Congress, the Blue Dogs will be at the negotiating table-- ready and willing to work with both sides to address the fiscal cliff and the fundamental budgetary problems that face this country.”

Barrow runs away from a constituent
That's like wiggling their collective waggle in the direction of Boehner. They're for sale, always ready to get down on their knees if the price is right. “The American people insist on a more bipartisan approach to addressing the problems we face as a nation,” said Barrow. “People are tired of the ‘all-or-nothing’ strategy of both parties in Washington. I’m honored to continue my work with the Blue Dog Coalition, and I'll continue to promote bipartisan, commonsense legislation that restores fiscal responsibility and promotes job creation across the country.” Barrow's NRA ad promoting weapons has made him a target for reformers eager to end NRA dominance in Congress. Barrow's primary role in Congress has been to give the stamp of "bipartisan" on the wackiest and most right-wing legislation Boehner and Cantor have been able to come up with. His ProgressivePunch crucial vote score was a dismal 24.25 for the 112th Congress, emphasizing that he has been one of the half dozen "Democrats" who has voted with the Republicans more than three-quarters of the time. The only Blue Dogs to the right of Barrow going into the 113th are Jim Matheson (21.05) and Collin Peterson (22.06). Five Republicans have more progressive scores than Barrow. Blue America is interviewing suitable opponents to run against him in the 2014 primary.

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At 5:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

. “...the ‘all-or-nothing’ strategy of both parties"...

This low-information blue dog might as well be a tea bagger. What is he, anti-Obama, too? Our duly-elected President has practically given away the farm, IMO and that of other libs like me. Accuse him of being soft, of being a push-over, but NEVER accuse him of not negotiating!

At 10:23 PM, Blogger John said...


Please, a list of all 14 Blue Dogs and of all New Dems.

What was the largest number of Blue Dogs?

John Puma

At 2:50 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

John, I'm in the middle of the jungle in Kerala with the most rudimentary internet access imaginable. Let me get that to you next week when I'm back in an internet-friendly zone

At 11:14 AM, Blogger John said...


Sure, thanks.

John Puma

At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Raise More Hell said...

51 New Democrats, about 1/4 of the caucus. List of new ones at the link. My state, Washington has 5 of 6 Democrats in this coalition.

Four of the 5 signed the 11/15 letter asking that everything be on the table in fiscal cliff negotiations.

Here's what the New Dems advertise, "We're Ready to Deal."’re-ready-deal


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