Blue Dogs self-asphyxiate

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 11:34


Congress returns to session this week.  In case you missed it, after passing Afghanistan war funding without battling an eyelash, last week Blue Dogs slashed an economic relief bill by nearly $100 billion.  It was a glorious "victory" for them:

The Blue Dogs won a significant victory by forcing House Democratic leaders to cut $79 billion in spending, including subsidies to help laid-off workers buy health insurance and ease state budget cutbacks.

This is only a victory if self-immolation is considered a victory.  Consider:

  1. Blue Dogs slash aid to states;

  2. In response, states will engage in massive layoffs of public sector workers;

  3. These layoffs will exacerbate an already dismal employment picture;

  4. Voters will likely turn against Democrats as a result;

  5. More Democrats in vulnerable seats will lose re-election;

  6. Blue Dogs are disproportionately from vulnerable seats.
So yes, truly a big victory for the blue Dogs.  They managed to reduce their own chances of re-election.  Awesome!

Of course, the Blue dogs don't think they are doing this.  Instead, they think they are following the will of the voters:

"We are hearing from the public, 'You're adding to the deficit, you're adding to the deficit,'" said Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, a member of the conservative Blue Dogs who have held together against many proposals that require even more borrowing by the Treasury to pay for them.

Yeah, sure they are.  That is why, when Americans are asked to list the biggest problem facing the country today, and are not prompted with a list of problems, only 5% cite the budget deficit:

CBS News/New York Times Poll. April 5-12, 2010. N=1,580 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?" Open-ended

Economy/Jobs: 49%
Health care: 8%
Budget deficit / National debt: 5%
Poverty / homelessness: 4%
War / Iraq / Afghanistan: 4%
Big government / bureaucracy: 2%
Moral values: 2%
Other: 21%
Unsure: 5%

The country cares a a lot more about jobs than about the deficit. So, naturally, to fulfill the will of the voters, Blue Dogs slash aid to states that will result in huge layoffs, all in the name of reducing the deficit.

Genius. The name "Blue Dog" derives from supposedly being choked blue by the left-wing of the party, but it seems to me that Blue Dogs are engaged in a self-asphyxiation right now.

Chris Bowers :: Blue Dogs self-asphyxiate

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You are right, Chris. (4.00 / 3)
This is why Blue Dogs must be defeated and why groups like OFA undermine the Democratic Party when they work for Blue Dogs.

They are defeating themsleves... (4.00 / 2)
The sad thing is that they won't learn the right lessons from this.

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


[ Parent ]
also, why a progressive supporting the DNC in 2010 is simply foolish (0.00 / 0)
if you squint you can see the "N" slowly morphing into an "L"

[ Parent ]
So who .. exactly ... (4.00 / 1)
"We are hearing from the public, 'You're adding to the deficit, you're adding to the deficit,'" said Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, a member of the conservative Blue Dogs who have held together against many proposals that require even more borrowing by the Treasury to pay for them.

Is Cuellar talking to?  Not his constituents .. that's for certain


Unless (4.00 / 1)
Cuellar's constituents are really his donor base, big corporations, and the super wealthy plus maybe editors and columnists for MSM. Blue Dogs as a whole represent mostly rural districts that are a little poorer than the country as a whole.  That would not be a likely home for the organized groups that are howling about the deficit.

[ Parent ]
Rural districts (4.00 / 5)
are home to the extraction industries. (And yes, I consider factory farming an extraction industry.) These are the patrons of the Blue Dogs, and the ones whose interests they represent.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Man, I can't wait for Cueller to get his ass booted out (this year maybe?) (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
And once again, (4.00 / 2)
they just seem to live in a fantasy world where deficits are caused only by spending and not a balance between spending and taxes.  And where taxes aren't at a historic low.  

My Blue Dog is Collin Peterson, a founding Blue Dog (4.00 / 5)
He's 100% agribusiness. Some of his money support comes from local agribusiness, but the majority comes from national PACs and agribusinesses and other businesses elsewhere.

He pays little attention to the County Democratic committees. In my county we didn't even put his literature out, because he ignored us. In general, party activists dislike him (in my experience), but he doesn't need them. He gets 70% of the vote in a district that's 56% Republican for Presidential races, so that means that better than a third of his supporters are Republicans. The Republicans run token candidates against him. Local people aren't optimistic about primarying him.

Anyway, he's counting on his money advantage and his Republican support, and he's counting on the opposition not mobilizing.



Almost Certainly (4.00 / 7)
this is an important aspect of what keeps the Blue Dogs following this line.  Most Blue Dogs are much more vulnerable--especially the newbies in their first or second re-election cycle.  But with a few "leaders" who are virtually impervious to constituent needs/desires, the caucus can keep them all in line, thus perpetuating conservative rule, no matter what the voters may want.  10-1 for jobs over budget cuts?  So what?  Jobs aren't on the ballot.  Unless we organize to put them there.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
We Need A Few Donna Edwards (4.00 / 2)
to primary some of these entrenched Blue Dogs in 2012.  A couple of decently funded progressive challengers may well move some of these Dogs to the left, ala what Sestak did to Spector, and a few of them might even win.

Winograd this year may also send such a message.


[ Parent ]
So where are the liberals? (4.00 / 1)
This is what the Blue Dogs believe.  Why do we keep blaming Blue Dogs for acting like Blue Dogs?  When can we expect liberals in Congress to stand up and draw distinctions between themselves and Blue Dogs?

7 or 8 times out of 10 Blue Dogs are better than Republicans.  So I have no problem with liberals joining with Blue Dogs to create a functioning coalition majority.  But Blue Dogs are not liberals.  If liberals refuse to educate the public that there are differences between the factions within the Democratic Party they are forever doomed to being blamed for "Democratic failures" when Blue dogs "self-immolate".  And we will be forever doomed to a public that vacillates between GOP governance and Blue Dog governance.


but is it auto-erotic asphyxiation ? (4.00 / 4)
From the doggedness of their anti-deficit beliefs, an analogy to a kink seems appropriate.  It sure does seem to turn them on and make them feel good, danger be damned.  But will they be found dead in the closet?  Time will tell.

end the occupation of Iraq

Well, It's Certainly auto-NEUROTIC (0.00 / 0)
that's for damn sure!

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
From immolate to asphyxiate? (4.00 / 2)
Or did I just read it wrong this morning? And if so, may I ask why the change? I like the image of them setting fire to themselves, which is most assuredly what they're doing. Self-asphyxiation, it seems to me, requires more volition than is evident in these putzes.

Can't it be both? (4.00 / 2)
Self-asphyxiation, while on fire.  Now that's how I want to see Blue Dogs' political futures.

[ Parent ]
They may both (0.00 / 0)
self immolate or asphyxiate (I also prefer the former), but they are bringing down other Democrats with them. They may be putting their own seats at greater risk, but they are still a grave danger to the rest of the party, even if ones cares only for Democrats' electoral fortunes (not that we should or do.)

It would be nice to see other Democratic incumbents notice the lead weight that is the Blue Dogs and to withdraw their support accordingly.  

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.


[ Parent ]
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