Evan Bayh Forming Blue Dog Caucus in the Senate

by: Matt Stoller

Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 09:37


I suppose they should formalize it yet.

Bayh, who has spoken with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) about his initiative, said he is trying to create a faction of moderate Senators who will gather on a weekly basis ahead of the usual Tuesday Democratic Caucus meetings.

Additionally, Bayh envisions inviting outside speakers to address the group, which would also work in concert with third parties that have similar viewpoints, like the Third Way, a nonpartisan progressive think tank.

A Reid spokesman said the Majority Leader was similarly upbeat about the idea.

"Nearly a decade of Republican fiscal irresponsibility has contributed to our current economic crisis," Reid spokesman Jim Manley said in an e-mail statement. "That is why Sen. Reid welcomes Sen. Bayh's decision to form this group. For we know that Sen. Bayh, like all Democrats, is committed to restoring our nation's fiscal and economic health."

Over the past three weeks, Bayh and his staff have reached out to Senators to judge the appetite for such a group.

"I've had some expressions of interest," Bayh said. "I'm going to continue to meet and talk to my colleagues."

Likely targets for Bayh would include moderate Democrats like Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Jim Webb (Va.), and Sen.-elect Mark Warner (Va.).

You can read more on Third Way here. Steven Benen is not encouraged, but I have a somewhat different attitude.  This shows that the 60 vote threshold argument was nonsense, power is concentrated in the hands of conservative Democrats and a few Republicans, and that's how these guys wanted it.

Matt Stoller :: Evan Bayh Forming Blue Dog Caucus in the Senate

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National ambitions (0.00 / 0)
Although this will increase Bayh's face time on TV, it will most assuredly end any national aspirations for him and his happy crew of screw ups.  Why Warner would want to be involved as a Blue Dog rather than say, a New Dem, also makes no sense.  Also intersting: no Bill Nelson and especially, no Tom Carper.  No Kay Hagan, either.

Warner is a technology guy concerned about the future and these are publicity hounds wedded to the past.  Being a blue dog won't play so well in NoVa (remember that, Mr. Webb).

A side note, here.  Lowell is moving on and Raising Kaine will be ending and , presumably, morphing into its successor blog, Blue Commonwealth.  It's happening at the end of the year.


Warner (0.00 / 0)
The Blue Dogs spent most of 2008 whining that the Senate "didn't care about fiscal discipline", and started pursuing Senate candidates in order to get a foothold in the Senate. Warner was the only one to take their endorsement.

However, it wasn't like the Blue Dogs didn't know anyone in the Senate, Blanche Lincoln was one of the original founders of the group back in 1995.


[ Parent ]
De Facto Multiparty System (0.00 / 0)
As I've noted elsewhere, a group in the center like the Blue Dogs trying to control the action is what we would see if we had a multiparty system with proportional voting in the U.S.

What Cabinet departments would you offer the Blue Dogs to form a center-left rather than a center-right coalition?

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both


Looks something like mitosis (0.00 / 0)
This could be the natural birthing of a new conservative party from within the Democratic caucus. But this time, presumably, a party that stays within the boundaries of democratic governance and the rule of law. Meanwhile the GOP spins out into a kind of anti-democratic fringe group, which is really more close to what they are anyway.

Meet the Grand New Party.


[ Parent ]
What is the point? .. (0.00 / 0)
Likely targets for Bayh would include moderate Democrats like Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Jim Webb (Va.), and Sen.-elect Mark Warner (Va.).

Aren't most of those names DLC?  They are all DLC except for Warner(who may be DLC) and Webb .. what exactly does the DLC bring to the table these days?  They are supposed to be a business friendly group(which no one ever explains what that is supposed to entail exactly) .. yet this is a very anti-business(well Wall Street especially) atmosphere


Blue Dogs = DLC (0.00 / 0)
I don't quite remember when this wasn't the case. The two are basically interchangeable.

They really shouldn't have caucuses in the Senate, but Reid might as well cede any real power he has as Majority Leader to this group of spineless toadies.


[ Parent ]
Spineless toadies or corporate shills? (0.00 / 0)
Follow the money...

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
Don't both usually apply ... (0.00 / 0)
Spineless toadies or corporate shills?

to tools like Evan Bayh?


[ Parent ]
Perhaps toady was the wrong word (0.00 / 0)
I meant someone who lacks the courage of their convictions, versus someone who has neither to begin with and is just a whore. Although these days, I honestly can't tell who's who, or if there is a meaningful difference. But in theory at least, there is a difference.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
Landrieu's votes (0.00 / 0)
Her continual support of Big Oil was exasperating. She seemed deathly afraid to cross them by voting for any environmental legislation, yet turned around and called for help with restoring wetlands after Katrina.  

[ Parent ]
Um, what happened to the DLC? (0.00 / 0)
Wasn't that the de facto BDC in the senate? Has it been disbanded, or have its members shifted too far to the "left" (or been co-opted by Obama) for these senators' comfort? Or is this actually Obama's stealthy way of co-opting conservative Dems (or perhaps progressives)?

I.e. are these senators looking to form a coalition to counter some of Obama's policies, if they deem them to be too anti-corporate progressive, or are they going to be Obama's people in the center-right, whose mission will be to make him look good to the left while at the same time making it easier for him to NOT pass such policies, so that he can say "Hey, I tried my best to pass all these cool progressive things, but these awful conservative Dems blocked me, so what's a guy to do"? I.e. will they be his adversaries, if he really means to implement progressive policies, or will they be playing bad cop to his good cop, in a coordinated con?

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


Moderate Democrats?? (0.00 / 0)
With "moderate" friends like these, who needs right wing enemies?
"We have met the enemy and it is us."
Damn, its tough being a Democrat.

Nice of them (0.00 / 0)
to make up a list of primary targets for us though.

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[ Parent ]
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