Friday, January 18, 2013

Blue Dogs Show Their True Colors Again-- Red


Tuesday evening Boehner was finally forced by Northern Republicans-- like Frank LoBiondo (above)-- to allow a vote on aid for the victims of SuperStorm Sandy. LoBiondo sounds pissed off... and threatened his Confederate colleagues in Mississippi, Florida (and California) who refused to vote for funds. The bill passed, 241-180 but with only 49 Republican votes. 179 Republicans and one slimy Blue Dog-- Jim Cooper of Nashville (who had successfully lobbied for federal money for Tennessee flooding in the past)-- voted against the relief fund. But before the final bill, there were 9 roll calls on amendments, most of which were meant to diminish the federal assistance in some way. Worst of them was South Carolina secessionist Mick Mulvaney's amendment to force reductions in social programs to pay for the aid. That one failed 162-258, although only 71 Republicans voted for it. 157 Republicans followed Eric Cantor and the Confederates in supporting Mulvaney. And so did 5 ConservaDems: Blue Dogs Collin Peterson (MN), Jim Cooper (TN), Jim Matheson (UT), and Kurt Schrader (OR) plus corrupt corporate whore and New Dem John Carney (DE).

Another toxic amendment, very narrowly defeated (206-214), was offered by John Bircher Paul Broun (R-GA) and Broun had the support of Blue Dogs Matheson and Schrader plus corporate whore and head of the New Dem caucus Ron Kind (WI). When Louisiana secessionist and hypocrite John Fleming got his amendment passed 216-205 3 Democrats joined the GOP, Blue Dogs Collin Peterson and Matheson plus New Dem Caucus chairman Ron Kind (WI). Conservative Democrats almost managed to help Michigan reactionary Dan Benishek pass his crazy amendment. It failed 208-212, with 6 ConservaDems voting with 202 Republicans-- Blue Dogs Collin Peterson, Kurt Schrader, and Jim Matheson plus fellow traveler Dan Lipinski (IL) and New Dems Ron Kind and Scott Peters (CA).

The Blue Dogs didn't actually swing one outcome. There are only 14 members left in the pathetic motley caucus and after the Great Blue Dog Apocalypse of 2010, followed by this year's Blue Dog extinction, their clout barely registers... even when they can get some corporately-funded New Dems on their side. The latest blow to the right-wing group came last week when Adam Schiff resigned from the Blue Dog, petrified that redistricting has put him into a militantly anti-Blue Dog L.A. district. November's election only puked up one freshman Blue Dog, Texas reactionary Pete Gallego and the 13 who still haven't been defeated, forced to retire or officially join the Republican Party yet are:
John Barrow (GA)
Sanford Bishop (GA)
Jim Cooper (TN)
Jim Costa (CA)
Henry Cuellar (TX)
Jim Matheson (UT)
Mike McIntyre (NC)
Mike Michaud (ME)
Collin Peterson (MN)
Loretta Sanchez (CA)
Kurt Schrader (OR)
David Scott (GA)
Mike Thompson (CA)
Derrick Chengery took a look at how the Blue Dog Caucus has been losing relevance and are now "fighting to stay alive." Much of his analysis comes straight from the Blue Dogs themselves-- about how "independent," "moderate" and concerned with fiscal issues they are and ignores the reactionary social agenda-- anti-Choice, antigay, pro-gun, etc-- that most Blue Dogs have eagerly embraced, but he wonders aloud why they have "continued to dwindle." [Blue Dogs John Barrow, Mike McIntyre and Kurt Schrader all refused requests for interviews for his article.] Keep in mind that when Blue Dogs and their allies say "moderate," they're usually describing right-wing positions somewhat short of the neo-fascism embraced by Republicans. There's nothing "moderate" or vaguely mainstream about the Blue Dogs and their fellow travelers.
According to Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak, it's all about the national political climate.

During the height of the anti-Bush momentum in 2006, Blue Dog Democrats were able to gain support from certain groups of Republican voters who were frustrated with their party's leadership.

"Blue Dogs are often forced to be moderate by the demographics and makeup of their districts. Oftentimes, they're southern Democrats in very socially conservative districts that certainly go Republican in presidential elections," Mackowiak said. "But a conservative, pro-business, moderate Democrat can win in a good environment if they run a good campaign."

...Once standing strong at 54 members in 2008, Blue Dogs helped give Democrats control of the house for four years.

  The loss of Blue Dog incumbents in the 2010 midterm elections shrunk the coalition to 26 members, with voters favoring more conservative candidates.

November's election added to the loss, leaving Congress with just 13 Blue Dogs.

Times may be looking grim for the group. However, they still believe their coalition is the key to a successful Democratic party.

"What is so puzzling about Democrats writing off certain congressional districts … is that they fail to either see or accept the correlation between winning those highly competitive House seats below the Mason-Dixon Line and taking control of Congress," the Blue Dog Coalition said in a statement.

"It is not a coincidence that the reduction of Blue Dogs on Capitol Hill coincides with Republican control of the House of Representatives."

Due to their moderate views, they are seen in the public eye as swing votes for controversial spending bills. Some Republicans might argue that Blue Dogs' fiscal conservatism is all a facade, making them susceptible in elections.

"When I was on the Hill, we used to always talk about Blue Dogs having the bark but not the bite," added Mackowiak. "They talk about being fiscal conservatives, but they oftentimes vote for spending bills."

Another factor thrusting Blue Dogs into a downward spiral is a lack of party loyalty.

Although pundits have said our country is at a time where reaching across the aisle is crucial to legislative success, support of affiliated party has become crucial to keeping your seat.

The nature of being a Blue Dog prevents candidates from pledging devotion to a single political party, which can be frustrating during reelection.

Although this strategy works in certain instances, it tends to alienate some Democrat support. And when a Blue Dog goes up against a Republican who is able to attract both moderate and staunch conservatives, they become susceptible to defeat.

Meanwhile, the Blue Dog caucus maintains they don't want their fellow Democrats to lose sight of their party's message.

"We are not suggesting that Democrats abandon their principles. Rather, instead of always starting political debates on the far left, and only moving to the middle during negotiations, Democrats should begin in the middle and challenge Republicans to come to us," the Blue Dogs said in a statement.

Loyalty aside, the pressure of the election cycle on the Blue Dogs can be overwhelming.

"Most members of Congress only fear a primary or only fear a general election. But Blue Dogs fear both every two years," Mackowiak said.

"They fear primaries from the left because they're not 'liberal' enough. And then once they survive that primary, they try to move back to the middle and run against a fairly conservative and well-funded candidate."

Although there is no set agenda for the Blue Dogs going forward, the 13 remaining members of the coalition will undoubtedly be swing votes on crucial spending bills.
Several groups are recruiting a candidate to run against Nashville Blue Dog Jim Cooper-- the one "Democrat" to vote against aid for SuperStorm Sandy victims. Here's Blue America's brightest hope in that field and here's our Blue Dog extinction fund. Meanwhile, Josh Marks at The National Memo offers up 5 of the 56 right-wing ideologues as the perfect Republican congressional hypocrites. Each was a big advocate for emergency federal disaster funds in their own districts and each voted against the same thing for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut survivors. No wonder Peter King (R-NY) has been urging wealthy donors to stop giving money to Republican congressional candidates! Marks' list includes Congress' stupidest man, Louie Gohmert, California sleazebag Darrell Issa, Florida's own Porky-Pig John Mica, South Carolina's biggest-- among many, many, many-- embarrassment Joe "You Lie" Wilson, and the creepy little Ayn Rand fanatic from Wisconsin who wanted to be vice president.

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