|Consider the first bailout vote:
New Democrats: 62.71% yes
Blue Dogs: 59.57% yes
Progressives: 47.76% yes
This first vote, which was not symbolic, and actually resulted in a temporary defeat of the bailout, saw Blue Dogs voting for the bailout at a higher rate than Progressives. This is not surprising, since the bailout could just as easily be viewed as corporate welfare, rather than, as Nate terms it, spending money on reinforcing infrastructure.
Here is the second bailout vote, which passed due to lobbying from Obama:
New Democrats 79.3% (46-12)
Progressive Caucus 69.4% (50-17)
Blue Dogs 63.8% (30-17)
In this case, direct lobbying from Obama swayed Progressive and New Democratic votes, but made little impact with Blue Dogs. This is more of an indication of which caucuses are willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt than it is about ideology.
Now, here is the third vote, including the New Democratic caucus:
Progressives: 76.6% (49-15)
New Democrats: 75.0% (42-14))
Blue Dogs: 38.4% (17-27)
Rather than support of the bill increasing the more liberal a Democrat becomes, Progressives and New Democrats actually supported the bill in equal measure. This is despite the fact that New Democrats and Blue Dogs share more than a dozen members. Further, it is pretty obvious that the sudden anti-bailout shift of the Blue Dogs had everything to do with the third vote being symbolic. Amazing how they went from strong support of the bailout to strong opposition, just at the moment when the vote moved from being meaningful to being symbolic! In the end, the Blue Dogs stand for nothing if not symbolic, as opposed to real, fiscal austerity.
The increased Republican opposition is also obviously political, rather than ideological. Even though 91 of House Republicans supported the bailout back in October, only 4 voted for it this time around. Clearly, House Republicans are now voting against Obama for the sake of voting against Obama.
Overall, when bailout voting wasn't symbolic, when Obama wasn't President, and when Obama wasn't Obama making direct appeals to the Congressional Black Caucus to support the bailout, opposing the bailout was in fact more a more common Progressive position than a Blue Dog position.
Personally, not having received a direct phone call from President Obama urging me to change my position on this matter, and with no increased conditions on TARP actually being passed into law, I remain at the original progressive position. Further, over the course of all three bailout votes, the strongest and most consistent supporters of the bailout were the DLC New Democrats. As one would expect, bailout supporters are all corporate-welfare loving DLC types.
While I know it is a lot more complicated than all that, I wanted to show how easy it was to dismiss Democrats with whom you disagree as conservative tools.