Bush Dog Caucus Grows To 70

by: Chris Bowers

Fri Jun 20, 2008 at 16:48


In what is surely the most depressing post I have had to write since Open Left was founded, I am saddened to report that after the latest votes on a blank check for Iraq and warrant-less wiretapping with retroactive immunity for telecom companies, the number of Bush Dogs in Congress has swelled from 38 last August to 70 today. That is, 70 Democratic members of Congress voted for both of the bills listed above.

The only bit of good news to report is that three of the Bush Dogs from 2007, Leonard Boswell, Baron Hill and Tim Walz, all voted against at least one of the above bills, thus moving them out of the ranks of the Bush Dogs. The Boswell change is particularly important, since it demonstrates that even failed primary challenges can have a positive impact. Also, now with thirty-five new Bush Dogs to choose from, we have a wide range of primary targets for 2010.

The new potential primary targets, signified by an asterisk in the table below the fold, include virtually every member of the House leadership, such as James Clyburn, Rahm Emanuel, and Steny Hoyer, not to mention prospective leadership member John Murtha. Numerous blue district Democrats have joined the ranks of Bush Dogs, as have a handful of Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic caucus members. With a list this broad, it should be possible to build an organization over the next two years that targets a large number of these Bush Dogs--possibly as many as half of them. If we can take out a dozen of these Bush Dogs in 2010, it would change the behavior of the Democratic caucus for a long time to come.

Anyway, the gruesome details on the 70 Bush Dogs can be found in the extended entry.  

Chris Bowers :: Bush Dog Caucus Grows To 70
The Bush Dog Caucus
Member District PVI Term # 2006 win % New Dem Blue Dog
Altimire PA-04 R +2.6 1st 52% Yes No
Baird* WA-03 D +0.3 5th 63% Yes No
Barrow GA-12 R +2 2nd 50% Yes Yes
Bean IL-08 R +5.2 2nd 51% Yes Yes
Berkley* NV-01 D +9.0 5th 65% Yes No
Berman* CA-28 D +24.8 13th 74% No No
Berry* AR-01 D +0.5 6th 69% No Yes
Bishop, S* GA-02 D +2 8th 68% No Yes
Boren OK-02 R +4.9 2nd 73% No Yes
Boucher* VA-09 R +7.0 13th 68% No No
Boyd FL-02 R +2.2 6th 100% No Yes
Boyda* KS-02 R +7.3 1st 51% No Yes
Brown, C* FL-03 D +13.5 8th 100% No Yes
Carney PA-10 R +8.0 1st 53% Yes Yes
Cazayoux* LA-06 R +6.5 1st 49% No No
Chandler KY-06 R +6.6 3rd 85% Yes Yes
Childers* MS-01 R +10.0 1st 54% No No
Clyburn* SC-06 D +11.2 8th 64% No No
Cooper TN-05 D +6.2 3rd / 9th* 69% No Yes
Costa CA-20 D +4.6 2nd 100% No Yes
Cramer AL-05 R +6.4 9th 100% No Yes
Cuellar TX-28 R +1 2nd 68% Yes No
Davis, A* AL-07 D +16.9 3rd 52% Yes No
Davis, L TN-04 R +3.2 3rd 66% No Yes
Dicks* WA-06 D +5.7 16th 71% No No
Donnelly IN-02 R +4.3 1st 54% No Yes
Edwards TX-17 R +17.7 9th 58% No No
Ellsworth IN-08 R +8.5 1st 61% No Yes
Emanuel* IL-05 D +17.8 3rd 78% Yes No
Ethridge NC-02 R +2.7 6th 66% Yes No
Giffords* AZ-08 R +1.4 1st 54% Yes Yes
Gilibrand* NY-20 R +2.5 1st 53% Yes Yes
Green, G* TX-29 D +7.7 8th 79% No No
Gordon TN-06 R +3.8 12th 69% No Yes
Herseth SD-AL R +10.0 3rd 69% Yes Yes
Hinojosa* TX-15 D +3 6th 61% No No
Holden* PA-17 R +6.6 8th 65% No Yes
Hoyer* MD-05 D +9.1 14th 84% No No
Kanjorksi* PA-11 D +5.5 12th 72% No No
Kildee* MI-05 D +11.9 3rd 73% No No
Kind* WI-03 D +3.1 6th 65% Yes No
Lampson TX-22 R +14.5 1st / 5th* 52% Yes Yes
Lipinski IL-03 D +10.3 2nd 77% No No
Mahoney, T* FL-16 R +2.4 1st 49% Yes Yes
Marshall GA-08 R +8 3rd 51% No Yes
Matheson UT-02 R +16.9 4th 59% No Yes
McIntyre NC-07 R +2.8 6th 73% Yes Yes
Melancon LA-03 R +4.8 2nd 55% Yes Yes
Moore, D* KS-03 R +4.2 5th 64% Yes Yes
Murtha* PA-12 D +4.8 17th 61% No No
Ortiz* TX-27 R +1 13th 57% No No
Peterson MN-07 R +5.6 9th 70% No Yes
Pomeroy ND-AL R +13.1 8th 66% No Yes
Reyes* TX-16 D +9 6th 79% No No
Rodriguez TX-23 R +4 1st / 5th* 54% No No
Ross AR-04 D +0.5 4th 75% No Yes
Ruppersberger* MD-02 D +7.8 3rd 70% No No
Salazar CO-03 R +5.6 2nd 61% No Yes
Scott, D* GA-13 D +10 3rd 69% Yes Yes
Sestak* PA-07 D +3.6 1st 56% Yes No
Shuler NC-11 R +7.1 1st 54% No Yes
Skleton* MO-04 R +10.8 16th* 68% No No
Snyder AR-02 R +0.1 6th 61% Yes No
Space OH-18 R +6.1 1st 62% No Yes
Spratt* SC-05 R +5.6 13th 57% No No
Tanner TN-08 D +0.1 10th 73% No Yes
Taylor MS-04 R +16.3 10th 80% No Yes
Udall, M* CO-02 D +8.1 5th 67% No No
Wilson OH-06 D +0.4 1st 62% No Yes

* = Newly minted Bush Dog, as of June 20th, 2008

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E Tu Murtha? (0.00 / 0)
Tis a sad day.  

We won the Battle. Now the Real Fight for Change Begins. Join MoveOn.org and fight for progressive change.  

Udall? (0.00 / 0)
It's not a good vote, for sure. But this doesn't make him a Bush Dog through-and-through. He's been a strong progressive on many other issues, right?  

The Bush Dog label... (4.00 / 1)
The label of Bush Dog was initially developed after significant numbers of Democrats betrayed the Part on two issues, the blank check for the Iraq war and FISA.

That means there are some ok Dems on the list, and some terrible Dems not on the list. The point of the list is not to challenge ever single Democrat on it, so unless Udall is so bad as to inspire a serious primary challenger, he's probably ok. Similarly, not everyone who we challenge (Al Wynn, for example) is necessarily on the list.

So yeah, Udall's a Bush Dog. Doesn't mean he will be or deserves to be primary challenged, it just means that he has chosen to betray the caucus and join the President in some of the most sickening legislation of the last 8 years.

I support John McCain because children are too healthy anyway.


[ Parent ]
Its two votes (4.00 / 5)
Not one. He voted for both the FISA with immunity and the blank check for Iraq.

So, other than endless war, illegal spying on Americans, and immunity for telecoms, he's a good progressive, right?

There is no way to be a good progressive and be on this list. It just isn't possible.  


[ Parent ]
Many disappointments (4.00 / 2)
Especially Gillibrand, Reyes, Murtha, Udall... Hell, I guess there all disappointments. And lets not forget the two brand spankin' new Bush dogs we elected specially, Childers and Cazywhatever.

Let me take a moment though, to say that I'm extremely impressed with your ability to find a silver lining anywhere:

Also, now with thirty-five new Bush Dogs to choose from, we have a wide range of primary targets for 2010.

Now that my house is totally infested with cockroaches, I get to spend more time stomping on them!

I support John McCain because children are too healthy anyway.

I can see a small benefit. (0.00 / 0)
Primary fights cost less than general election battles, and tend to draw out the more active members of the party.  

We may find that we're more effective at replacing Bush Dogs and DINOs than we are at replacing "real" Republicans.  (I'm reminded here that we beat Joe Lieberman in the primary.)

In other words, now that we've replaced some of those fast-moving cockroaches with slow-moving cockroaches, we should have an easier time of stomping.


[ Parent ]
Even cheaper are primary (4.00 / 2)
pledges!

Quoting some idiot I found on the internets:

Pledgeblue.com provides immediate negative feedback to Steny Hoyer, Dan Boren, and Jim Cooper and other dogs of the "Blue" and "Bush" breeds, when they step over the line. Like a rolled-up newspaper to the snout.

This is how it works: Dan Boren says, "Obama is the most liberal senator in Congress and his record does not reflect working in a bipartisan fashion."

This is covered on the blogs, and Pledgeblue sends an email to its list, and 200 DFHs each pledge an average of $50 to the 'Bluer than Boren' account, promising to donate that amount to any more-progressive (not actually progressive, just more) primary opponent who runs against Boren from the left.

Then Boren gets a letter, an email, a phone call, etc., saying: "Due to your comment, 'blah blah blah,' Pledgeblue raised $10,000 in pledges to your as-yet-unnamed primary opponent."

Rinse and repeat. The issue isn't even winning the primary races. Just keeping the dogs on a leash.

We probably can't win many of these fights, if we define 'win' as 'victory in the primary.' But we can win if we define 'win' as 'attach a price to capitulation to Republicans and to trash-talking Democrats.' Our goal is merely to move conservative Dems not actually into the left, but as far toward the left (or maybe even just the 'center') as they can reasonably go.

Even Dems in completely safe seats, where they are unaccountably beloved by constituents, despise the necessity of spending time and money winning a primary that might not otherwise happen. That's a big headache. And if they can avoid it by shutting up a little ... why not? We need to give him a reason to STFU: to attach a price to spewing garbage.

The FISA battle is a little different; as Mimi Katz says, many of these Dems might well be voting for reasons of self-preservation, which overrides all other concerns. But this sorta thing, that institutionalizes primary challenges combined with pledges, strikes me as a very valuable addition to the netleft toolbox.

Feedback? Refinements? Mocking?



[ Parent ]
You've suggested this before... (0.00 / 0)
...and it's an intriguing idea.  

A concern I have is that it's harder to get people to contribute to an "as-yet-unnamed" candidate.  Would people be able to renege on their pledges if they decided that the primary challenger turned out to be worse?  


[ Parent ]
Yeah, I'm getting slightly (0.00 / 0)
obsessed with the idea. But in a good way, honest!

I don't think we'd collect contributions, just pledges. So no money changes hands at all, at least not to what I'm calling 'pledgeblue'. We wouldn't even have a Mastercard/Visa account. PledgeBlue would just keep a record of pledges, then remind people to contribute when a candidate emerged. It's just a database and email list, basically.

And frankly, I imagine that many people would renege on pledges, even if the challenger was good. I don't  know what the conversion rate for this sorta pledge usually is; lowish, I'd guess.

But still, there'd be some money, and very, very early. (The whole 'like yeast' thing.)

And, to my mind even more important, you'd be able to threaten the Bush dog in question with an endless stream of emails and letters telling him (or, rarely, 'her') exactly how much money  his latest idiotic statement or horrific vote raised in pledges for an as-yet-undeclared primary challenger.

And it's that steady stream of correction, using the language of money, that I think has value, especially in the long-term. Basically this is a way of institutionalizing and leveraging our periodic outrage.

Not sure if I'm making this clear, though.


[ Parent ]
I'm thinking . . . (4.00 / 1)
. . . you'd have to come with some way of backing up your claims.  

Say you send a letter to Dan Boren saying, "we've raised $250,000 in pledges for your primary challenger in 2010."  Then what?  Either:

* people don't follow through with the pledges, in which case you'll quickly be seen as an empty threat,

* or people do follow through with the pledges, but they'd have to do so at other sites like ActBlue, and you'd have the challenge of "proving" credit for those contributions.  You might still be seen as an empty threat.  

I'm not pooh-poohing your idea; it'd be nice to find a way to use the netroots' contributing power as more than just an ATM for the left.  But I think you've still got some kinks to work out.


[ Parent ]
Well, perhaps dedicated (4.00 / 1)
ActBlue pages, 'PledgeBlue for Smith' and whatnot.

But let's say your Dan Boren.  Every two weeks you get this email, maybe a phone call to your office, saying, "The grand total of our pledge drive against you is now $21,000 because you said X." "Now it's $28,000, because you did Y." "Now it's $128,000 on account of Z." The steady drip-drip makes you crazy.

Now, years down the road, you've got forty of these letters, and some completely hapless idiot from  your district is running against you, and the letter says, "Via our ActBlue pages, we already sent $4,134 to your primary challenger, with more to come," well you're thrilled it's not $128,000, but you're still bummed. You don't want a primary challenger. Primary challengers just suck, and raising money sucks, and dealing with hassles suck.

You're gonna win, make no mistake. But this is just so annoying. So maybe mostly write off 'PledgeBlue' as ineffectual gadflies, but unless you have very good reason, will you keep trash-talking Democrats? It's not worth it. On votes that you could safely go either way, will you maybe go left instead of right? Sure, why not? Easier that way.

I guess that's my point. To make it just a tiny bit easier for them to veer slightly left then slightly right.

However, all that said: you're probably still right! I wonder if the 'pledges' can be for something other than money, sometimes. Letters to your hometown newspaper. Or, um ... I dunno. Phone calls to your offices. Maybe if PledgeBlue coordinated some action from everyone who 'pledged.' Like if I pledged, I'd get an email every two weeks saying, 'Please call Congressman X at this number today, and tell him you're still hating on him for doing such-and-so.' And those reminders would be rolled through the list, so every week for six months Congressman X would get another damn call...

Okay, I'm just brainstorming now. Maybe better to do that in the privacy of my own text file!  


[ Parent ]
Keep us posted... (4.00 / 1)
...on what you come up with.  

An idea I had last night would be this:  

Form a PAC that accepts contributions (not pledges) in advance of crucial votes like so.  The contributions are tied to a member of congress and to a particular vote.  

Telegrams could be sent out before the vote saying something like:

"Congressman Hoyer, PledgeBlue has raised $15,000 for you in appreciation for your NO vote tomorrow on retroactive immunity, and we are prepared to transfer these funds into your general election campaign.  

If you decide to vote YES, however, these funds will revert to PledgeBlue's Primary Challengers Fund."

What this does is establish a carrot-and-stick approach:  the funds will have already been raised, so the telegram won't be seen as an empty threat.  It'll give the representative a reason to do the right thing, rather than merely getting a whack on the head for doing the wrong thing.

And a more general "Primary Challengers Fund" will give PledgeBlue some flexibility.  In the case that no one actually steps up to challenge Hoyer in 2010, the fund could be redirected towards nearby districts that can be turned bluer.  

I'm sure there are some caveats to this approach as well, but I thought I'd toss out the idea.


[ Parent ]
I think a general primary challengers fund (4.00 / 2)
would actually be more credible.  With all of the netroots dumping into it, it would cross $100k per cycle pretty easily.  Then you have a BlocPac+commenters style decision on whom to give the money to when primary season rolls around.

Knowing that your actions were contributing to a REAL primary challenge to one of your colleagues, (and possibly yourself!), rather than that your actions were contributing to a jackoff $12k primary against you yourself, would be more of a deterrent I think.

Especially to leadership.  Steny Hoyer ain't skeered of a primary challenge, but he'd be pretty upset if everything he did wrong resulted in $10k more to his most vulnerable incumbent.  As a leader who depends on the goodwill of MoCs, that would make him look REALLY bad.


[ Parent ]
Bill Foster (4.00 / 1)
still not a Bush Dog.

Good on Bill.  

We're watching ya, Bill.


This is what's retarded about this list. (4.00 / 1)
Foster freaking voted against the Democratic budget. A budget that will have much more far ranging consequences on ordinary peoples lives than the FISA bill.

People need to be careful here or else in the next decade we'll end up being about as relevant as the Club for Growth is today. I'm not saying don't hold people accountable. Just try to look at an overall record rather than basing it strictly on FISA or the War supplemental.


[ Parent ]
The FISA Bill (4.00 / 1)
Or rather the immunity portion, will prevent our knowing which citizens, activists, members of congress, members of the military, members of the Democratic Party, Climate scientists, etc.. etc. the Cheney/Bush adminstration spied on and possibly blackmailed over the last seven years.

Potential effects of such coercion on the lives of ordinary people?  Could be the whole game.  

If FISA passes, we'll never know.

USA: 1950 to 2010


[ Parent ]
Who is a fighter? (4.00 / 1)
This list is about those who aren't in the progressive corner when the fight goes into overtime. The right blocks SHIP because Republicans do NOT back down from a fight. But here are people like Murtha and Udall capitulating.

We're not going to go after everyone single person here, but we need to know who has a our back and who does not when the chips are down.  

We won the Battle. Now the Real Fight for Change Begins. Join MoveOn.org and fight for progressive change.  


[ Parent ]
Please Chris, (0.00 / 0)
It has been a shitty day, and I can't take anymore good news.  

Painful to say, (4.00 / 1)
but you left out Pelosi. She earned it today.

This was a list... (0.00 / 0)
of members who voted for both odious bills; Pelosi only sold out on one of them.  

But yes, she earned her place in history today.


[ Parent ]
Thankfully, not (4.00 / 3)
Pelosi voted against the war funding, which is the other criteria.

And targeting her would be a really bad idea anyway, as she's the only thing holding back Hoyer and Emanuel, who are apparently actually committed conservatives, as opposed to just lacking principles and backbone like most of the rest of the caucus.

I support John McCain because children are too healthy anyway.


[ Parent ]
left to wonder (0.00 / 0)
How long until more Californians end up on this list.

John McCain opposes the GI Bill.

If anyone from Boucher's staff is reading... (0.00 / 0)
Consider yourself on notice.  This voter's gonna be all over you in 2010.

What a fucking waste (0.00 / 0)
Jesus, I gave money to some of these assholes last cycle. If I knew I was getting more Republicans, I wouldn't have bothered.

Fool me once...

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!


Wow, a lot of them are D+10 or more (0.00 / 0)
Ugh.  

For what its worth, Scott, GA-13, is the only Democrat who is both a New Dem and Blue Dog and is in a D+10 or more district.  

Saxby Chambliss  


david scott (0.00 / 0)
you know I didn't know he was a blue dog. How in the hell are you a blue dog in this district. It's an extremely liberal district where he has nothing to worry about. He should be much closer to Hank Johnson over in Georgia's 4th congressional district. You know I didn't like him before  because he is just a connected politician who didn't show any type of skill to me so I have never voted for him but I didn't know he was bad enough to vote for this. I really need to pay attention more to the Democrats here in Ga since I know already the Republicans are insane.

[ Parent ]
Might as well start raising money now (0.00 / 0)
Might as well set up the fund-raising apparatus for the primary challenges now while everybody's got some fresh outrage.

I'd give $100 bucks today for a Steny or Rahmbo primary challenger.

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!


Proud of CT Dems (0.00 / 0)
All 4 CT Dems voted against both bills, including Caucus Vice Chair John Larson (CT-01).

You can send them all a note of support here.


My nominations (4.00 / 5)
Brian Baird, D+.3 but WA is trending blue.  He's a tool.

Artur Davis,  D+16.9  Way too conservative for the district.

Kanjorkski  D+5.5  Chris Cillizza said he is in some trouble.  Maybe if he feels some heat  he would change.  If not, there will be a freshman next time in a D district.

Reyes D+9  He has been a bust on the Intel Committee.

Rupersberger D+7.8  Don't know anything about him but that's pretty high.

While I was studying the chart a woman from the Dem Party or DCCC had the misfortune to call me and she really got a piece of my mind.  When she said "I'm not here to argue with you"  I told her she had better listen because there was a great deal of anger over this vote and they had better pass that on. She said I was the first to mention it today.  So I told her I was at that moment in a blog conversation about who to primary for next year.  

She was less willing to listen than some of the past callers. although I admit I was more steamed than usual.  Fortunately, in a way, they never seem to purge their lists keep calling, every week or so, I can keep repeating my message.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.


Dammit, Sestak. (0.00 / 0)
   No turkee for him.  Pennsylvania Democrats voted really poorly on this bill.  Most Pennsylvania Democrats are now Bush Dogs.  The Rendell-lead establishment needs a nasty primary challenge.  Soon-to-be-senate-candidate Allyson Schwartz did vote "nay."  At least there's that.

John McCain lets lobbyists shape his economic policy

you left Boswell off your chart (0.00 / 0)
So did he vote with us or against us on FISA in the end?

I called his office on Wednesday (as a constituent, not as "desmoinesdem"), and the staffer said they were getting a lot of calls on this issue. The ACLU was phone-banking its members on it.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.


He voted badly (0.00 / 0)


I support John McCain because children are too healthy anyway.

[ Parent ]
Can we start (0.00 / 0)
a page that people can suggest primary candidates against all of these people so we can start planning?

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

Lampson a target? (0.00 / 0)
Seriously?  That's probably going to be one of the hardest seats for us to keep and we're going to jeopardize it?  I mean, we're talking Tom Delay's old seat...

Narrow the list down (0.00 / 0)
Of course, there are going to be more Bush Dog Democrats elected in November, so you're probably looking at 85-90 seats. I think you now need to narrow down this list to those that are out of step with their districts (large D PVI in particular) and are voting wrong on a range of key issues.

The AFL-CIO spin-off They Work for Us would be worth profiling. They have the same idea. It's headed by Steve Rosenthal, who was in charge of the major 527 operation in the 2004 elections (ACT?). Mike Lux must know him. SEIU is also gearing up a major operation for next year (millions of dollars, a hundred thousand volunteers) to hold members of Congress to account on health care, economic issues, and the war.

I don't think the blogosphere is strong enough on its own to take this on. Identifying allies and especially those whose strategy includes an openness to primary challenges is crucial.  

It is, of course, crucial to identify and cultivate potential challengers. I like the idea of pledges of funds or commitments to action, but I think at this point it might be better to strategize about developing a coalition around red-line issues. Obviously, for the labor movement, the Employee Free Choice Act would be at the top of the list. Universal health care, an end to the war, net neutrality--what are the issues that are the bottom lines for the potential coalition members and can they support each other on them? And then from there can flow the commitments to action.

In short, I think you get where you want to go with a positive agenda first and then a commitment to organize in the districts of these "swing" votes. Primary challenges are too late to affect the crucial congressional votes in the next two years. Actually, primary challenges are more likely to arise if there is a commitment to working in such districts. Open Left has played a crucial role in the first step: identifying such members and districts through its Bush Dog campaign.  

 


Very Narrow List (0.00 / 0)
You're right.  I would think that a member would have to be in a heavily Democratic district and come out on the wrong side of many issues to be targeted.  That's probably less than 5.

[ Parent ]
I agree with others here - we need to be more targeted. (0.00 / 0)
Absolutely keep this full list. But in terms of those we need to primary--
--Lets create a list of those who are coming up for election next cycle.
--Drop those who are in deep red districts. Granted many Republicans are of a libertarian bent, but for right now the libertarian wing isn't calling the shots in Republicans party.
--Drop those who have a high progressive rating on progressivepunch.com
--Then where are we?

I still think we should environmental concerns into the mix. Any Dem not voting strongly on the environment/global warming is a capitulator. If we add that into the mix surely we have a narrow list.  

We won the Battle. Now the Real Fight for Change Begins. Join MoveOn.org and fight for progressive change.  


Just getting Democrats elected has always been a fool's errand (4.00 / 2)
But it's been an errand the netroots has embraced with a near religious fervor. The mission statement at Daily Kos made no quibbles about electing bad Democrats, so long as they were Democrats. The logic used to justify this mission is perfect. The Republicans are insane, therefore any Democrat, no matter how bad, is preferable to the Republican, ergo, we must support the Democrat. So long as the Republicans continue to act like reactionaries, we will be content to elect conservatives who call themselves Democrats. So long as they keep nominating the likes of Reagan, Bush and McCain, (the only sort of candidate they would embrace) Democrats will embrace the likes of Bill Clinton. At the end of the day, the right will get what it wants, it'll only take longer to get there, and those misguided souls who bought into the nonsense of just electing Democrats to stop Republicans, should by now, realize what a stupid miscalculation that strategy was.  

We were told just two short years ago that Democrats, even bad ones, should be embraced if only because they were a vote for the leadership. The leadership would protect us from bad legislation by killing it, watering it down, or delaying it until the calvary arrived. As everyone can now tell, the leadership is the problem. Bad Democrats will give their support to bad leadership, it's how a minority within the caucus yields power beyond their numbers, by supporting the leadership that gives priority to these Democratic miscreants, and giving cover to them when the shit hits the fan. When the Democrats took over and almost immediately began selling the base down the river, there were no shortage of apologies for everything from the secret trade bills being negotiated with the White House to the farce about Iraq. I notice those apologies have disappeared now. But now we have a Democratic majority that acts exactly as a Republican majority would, save a few oversight hearings that serve to embarrass the Republicans, but do not forcefully address the problems. What good is oversight if you're not willing to punish lawbreaking or incompetence? But still we gleefully report on the latest tracking poll that puts another bad Democrat ahead of his Republican opponent.  

The movement to elect any Democrat is so misguided I can recall many instances when Democrats were vigorously defended for talking out of both sides of their mouth, or refusing to commit themselves to a public position on issues like immediate withdrawal from Iraq. It's politics after all, and it was explained by many a party loyalist that public promises could compromise the electoral chances of individual Democrats. Any suggestion that Democrats make public commitments to various policy issues was often attacked as Pollyanna. We can't have litmus tests for Democrats they said. It goes against our history, or personality as a party (as if the Democratic tradition of backstabbing their constituents, or getting nothing done was  something to be proud of.) I think the last 18-months has demonstrated what a masterstroke Newt's Contract On America was. It committed every Republican candidate who signed it (only two Republicans didn't sign it) to a very public course of action, and that very public promise to support the agenda, no matter how objectionable, made it impossible for them to move away from it later without being painted as the most obvious of campaign liars. It was a cheap, effective form of discipline. Until progressives can develop a similar pressure point, we will continue to have days like today. A day not that unusual from just about every other day in the leadership of Pelosi, Hoyer, Clyburn, Emanuel, Reid, et al. Wretched these people are.  


This is just NUTS (0.00 / 0)
The left as a group is acting like a bunch of ninnies right now: listing every Democrat that supported this bill as a "Bush Dog."

Give me a break. Why don't you try looking at where the campaign contributions from telecoms went in the House (and Senate) before labeling every.single.Democrat that just doesn't stand up to your scrutiny a "Bush Dog"?

And as far as I'm concerned, you're barking up the wrong tree entirely by pissing and moaning over retroactive immunity. You should be pissing and moaning about Part I and how much power that is going to give to the next president (Hint, hint...).

Why do you think Big O didn't speak out against it? Why do you think he focused so much of his "anger" on the retroactive immunity, hmmm? Because this is the piece that his base would be most unhappy about, thus letting him skate on the BIGGER piece.

And if you think Big O is going to filibuster in the Senate, you better prepare yourselves: he won't. He's got too much to lose by doing so and he isn't going to blow the "goodwill" of his brothers in the chamber.

Wow. He's just a pol, after all...


"Bush Dogs" (0.00 / 0)
Do we have to use name calling?  Doesn't that seem rather childish?  Isn't it possible to question the positions of some Democratic Members of Congress without using methods that we would not approve of a 5 year old using?  Many of these members, but not all, are in pretty conservative districts but are fairly progressive on most issues.  I always thought that the Democratic Party was big enough to contain differing viewpoints.  I hope that we still are.

You give two "defining" issues of what makes a "Bush Dog", funding the occupation (it's no longer a war) of Iraq and the recent FISA vote.  First, I have a hard time leaving a bunch of kids hanging in Iraq.  Anyone who thought that Democrats controlling Congress would mean an end to the occupation were naive at best.  It will take a Democratic president to end the occupation and do it with the care required.  You don't just pick up 100,000+ troops, their equipment and civilian support and pull them out in a month.   We need to withdraw troops from Iraq; however, we better be very careful about it.  So, you better expect at least 18 months to get them out.  That is simply a logistical fact.  Further, we better find other countries willing to commit to the reconstruction of Iraq.  That will not happen with George Bush.

As for the FISA issue, I haven't read the entire bill.  Have you?  Frankly, I doubt it, but I also doubt that alot of Members of Congress have either.  I'll admit that it does not sound acceptable, but not having read it, I can't say for sure.  I would prefer a modification of the original FISA law that would provide for current technology.  Certainly, civil immunity for telecomms is not appropriate, but maybe criminal immunity is.

Finally, name calling is not only wrong, but childish.  We can get through this, if we don't get into our typical circular firing squad.


Oh please, stop (0.00 / 0)
Have you not been paying attention for the last quarter of a century? What you refer to as silly name-calling is in fact a highly effective and very old tool in political discourse. The word liberal has been so demonized by the right that progressive politicians run from it with track shoes. "Tax and spend", ever hear that ditty? Reagan repeated that gem so often in his 1980 campaign that Democrats fell all over themselves giving Reagan his budget and economic policies, a move that put the country into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Language works. Labels work. Who gives a damn if they're "childish", stop obsessing over process, and start worrying about results. When are Democrats going to stop patting themselves on the back for being more high-minded then conservatives?

You ever hear a speech by FDR where he uses nomenclature like "economic royalists" to describe opponents of his fiscal policies? Do you realize how effective that rhetoric was? We're told we can't use that language today because it's too crude, it's class warfare. We couldn't use a Daisy ad today because it'd be deemed too inflammatory, and irresponsible. This stuff is killing the Democratic Party. But this attitude seems endemic in some quarters.

Are we going to be the party that gets something done, or are we going to be the party paralyzed by the Big Tent ethos? We've always had diverse opinions in the party, we're a big party you know. But contrary to popular opinion, it's not been a virtue. This is a party whose president proposed national healthcare on November 19, 1945, and 63-years later the party of diverse opinions is still working on it. The party of diverse opinions that couldn't end the Vietnam War because it just had too many opinions. A party of so many opinions that it cannot decide whether it's a party for labor, or against it with things like NAFTA, WTO, CAFTA, etc, a party that can't decide whether it's opposed to militarism, or for a never-ending series of adventures around the world, a party for civil liberties, or a party for the most expansive, unconstitutional, and indecent sort of executive tyranny any of us have seen in this hemisphere outside of banana republics--FISA, torture, military commissions, denial of habeaus, dozens upon dozens of Democrats voted for all of them. But I do agree with you about the term "Bush Dog", but for a different reason, it's not nearly savage enough. What do we call these bastards once Bush leaves office? A generation ago they were Boll Weevils, two generations ago, Dixiecrats, whatever you call them, they should be ostracized, not allowed to decide what legislation is considered, what isn't.    


[ Parent ]
Nice Low Standards (0.00 / 0)
The difference between you and I is that I am willing to engage in civilized discussion, and you wish to insult people.  I've had twenty-seven years of the low road, mostly by Republican.  I've had eight years of setting the bar so low, a piece of paper won't fit under it.  All of this has really made this Country so much better hasn't it.  Does everyone in the Democratic Party have to agree on everything?  Good ideas will win, but if you want to start the circular firing squad or go vote for Nader (that's worked out really well) or weaken Democratic candidates in primaries so they lose to Republican, I can't stop you.  But I am not obsessing over "process".  I'm obsessing over standards of civility, especially within our own party.  "Economic Royalists" were Republicans, and I do not find that term offensive.  Roosevelts rhetoric was eloquent and descriptive of his opponents political opinion.  It was used to describe those who supported the economics of the rich over those of the poor.  By the way, the term "Dixiecrats" was used by members of the States' Rights Democratic Party (started in 1948) to describe themselves.  "Boll weevils" was used by Southern Democrats to describe themselves and also by Democratic leaders to describe unreliable votes, and by the way, that term started in the 1920's.

Then you discuss "tax and spend liberal".  So if the Republicans want to jump in the gutter, we should too?  Well, I've seen many Republicans on may occasions lie or use half truths to attack Democrats.  So, do you think it is ok for Democrats to do so if it may help us reach our goals?  It seems that in this year's election, people have grown tired of such tactics.

Since 1945, the Democratic Party has done nothing?  Let's look at all of the nothings.  Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the EPA, ending the Viet Nam War (It probably took too long, but it was Democrats that ended it.), the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Airlift, the Peace Corp, going to the moon, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, the Truth in Lending Act, the Consumer Credit Protection Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, etc., etc., etc.  Need I go on.  But I suppose those do not mean anything.

Mr. Bowers listed two items which make Democratic members "Bush Dogs", FISA and Iraq support.  You listed many others which dozens of Democrats voted for.  Really.  Who?  At least Mr. Bowers list the members and their votes.  You just throw words into cyberspace.  You may be correct, but a little evidence would be nice.

Go ahead and question the positions of other Democrats.  There is nothing wrong with that, as long as it is done in a civil manner.  But I guess you adequately described your ability to do that when you said that it was acceptable to be childish.  That speaks volumes.


[ Parent ]
When FDR used the term economic royalists (0.00 / 0)
he was describing as many Southern Democrats as he was Republicans, many of whom were avowed enemies of corporate interests, the names Borah, LaFollete, Couzens, McNary,Frazier, Cuttings, Hiram Johnson, ring a bell? Most of FDR's New Dealers were old-line progressive Republicans. But what difference does it make if the rhetoric is aimed at Republicans, or miscreant Democrats? Why is "economic royalist" fine, but "tax and spend liberal" just puerile? There is no logic to your position other then one of partisan, as opposed to ideological, favor.

If we're going to have a history lesson, let me give you one. From 1936 until shortly after the Civil Rights Act, Congress wasn't just divided along partisan lines in Congressional Quarterly, but along ideological lines. Congressional Quarterly lists the votes of the "Conservative Coalition", an odious collection of reactionary Republicans like Taft and Hickenlooper, and arguably worse Democrats, like Richard Russell and Harry Byrd, nearly every Democrat that served from below the Mason-Dixon line minus LBJ, Estes Kefauver, Al Gore Sr., Hugo Black, a couple others were party to this group. They defeated every significant piece of legislation proposed by the Roosevelt administration after 1936, they strangled Truman's Fair Deal in the manger, did everything they could to defeat most of Eisenhower's agenda, including the Interstate Highway Act, and made sure none of Kennedy's New Frontier was acted upon. Can you name a single domestic accomplishment of Kennedy's outside of the military-industrial sector that wasn't achieved via executive order?

It speaks a great deal to your ignorance of intra-party politics vis-a-vis the Democrats that you list the bulk of the Great Society as evidence that the Democrats are indeed a functional party, see look, we've accomplished things. It took the assassination of a president to get the Great Society enacted, the 1964 election broke the control of the conservative coalition until it began to regain strength just two years later. There were a lot fewer opinions in the Democratic Party after 1964, just as there were fewer after the elections of 1932 and 1936. You want to praise the Democrats for that? We needed a Great Depression and the murder of a president to get the little bit of progressivism we've gotten out of the Democrats.

The overwhelming bulk of the Democratic legacy is the byproduct of two short legislative orgies, FDR's first term, and the first half of LBJ's term, six-years total, from those years we got--FDIC, Glass-Steagal (since repealed thanks to dozens of Democrats in Congress and Bill Clinton--scandals like WorldCom and Merrill Lynch could not have happened if it were still the law), SEC, Social Security, Soil Conservation Act, FHA, CCC, TVA, Rural Electrification, Farm Subsidies, Wagner Act, Food Stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, Clean Water, Wilderness Act, Truth in Lending, Head Start, PBS, Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, Highway Safety Act, Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Endangered Species Act, and several others that were signed into law by Nixon--Clean Air, OSHA, EPA, a new Mine Safety Act, etc, out of how many years of complete Democratic dominance of government we've had six-years of truly progressive government.  

You completely overlook the role that liberal Republicans have taken in shaping the progressive legacy that Democrats now take full credit for. It was a Republican, John Saylor, that introduced the Wilderness Act. It was a Republican, Pete McCloskey, that gave the first speech on the House floor for impeaching Nixon. It was a Republican, Mark Hatfield, who along with George McGovern, co-sponsored the most radical anti-war bill in Congress. A Republican, George Norris, was the father of the TVA, one of those profound accomplishments of the New Deal. It was Republican John Byrnes, whose bill was eventually turned into Medicare and Medicaid. (42 Democrats in the House, 7 in the Senate voted against those programs.) Need I go on? Some of Nixon's most ardent supporters were Democrats, the swine who wallow in the Big Tent until you need a decent bill to pass, then they go feed at the Republican trough. Need a refresher on how conservative Democrats sandbagged McGovern? How they helped pass Reagan's first budget and plunged the country into the worst recession in half a century? This is what all those opinions in the party have wrought. You know how many Democrats in the Senate helped pass Bush's first tax break? Eight.

If you'd been coming to this site long enough, you'd know that the word Bush Dog refers to more then just Iraq and FISA, a chart was produced showing exactly who voted in the affirmative not just on the Iraq supplementals, but on loathsome pieces of legislation, some predating the 110th Congress, such as the bankruptcy bill, Military Commissions Act, CAFTA, etc,. You can find it in the search feature by plugging in Bush Dog, bankruptcy, cafta, etc. You seem to be one of the only persons not aware of these wayward Democrats, were you blissfully ignorant of liberal paladins like Pelosi and Charlie Rangel negotiating secret trade deals with the White House while their own caucus was locked out, and unaware of what was going on? I hate to disabuse you of the fantasy that the Democrats are the people's party and they are doing everything in their power to achieve good outcomes, because they're not. Only about 2/3 of the party are fighting the good fight, the rest are just those non-conformist opinions that happen to coincide with corporate campaign contributions and rock-ribbed conservative dogma that we tolerate in the name of the Big Tent. They deserve every deprecation that can be heaped on their sorry collective.  


[ Parent ]
Stick to the Point (0.00 / 0)
When you call me "ignorant", you have no idea what you are talking about.  I wrote a post for a blog, not a thesis or article.  I didn't think you wanted an expansive "history lesson", so I did not attempt to give you one.  I simply addressed your accusation that Democrats have done nothing since 1945.  I didn't intend to address anything before then.  Further, I didn't even need to research to find the the actions I stated, and I know full well that many required Republican support. That would be hard to come by these days, since the progressive Republican is basically extinct and there are very few moderate ones.   However, they certainly would not have passed without vast Democratic support.  That being said, I certainly don't intend on going "tit for tat" on what laws have passed and who promoted them, because it strays far away from my original post.

This site defines the qualifications for being labeled a "Bush Dog".  See the link to the right, "What is a Bush Dog"?.

The bottom lines is this.  By your own words, you are willing to be childish in debate, and by the tone of your posts, you are willing to be rude.  I am not.


[ Parent ]
The point is (0.00 / 0)
After controlling all branches of government for what? 34-years between 1932 and 1994, and both chambers of Congress, usually by very large margins, for all but eight-years total, and at least one chamber for 62-years, with a healthy liberal Republican caucus known as the Gypsy Moths (these were real liberals, Wellstone-like in their legislative records--Javits, Mathias, Case, Percy, Hatfield, Brooke, Aiken, etc.) to balance out the disgraceful Boll Weevils. We have little to show for it. In fact most of the gains we made under Roosevelt and Johnson have been diluted, or stripped away with the complicity of dozens of Democrats. It was Clinton that signed financial deregulation into law. It was Clinton that signed CMA, making it impossible to regulate derivatives markets, thereby creating Enron. It was Clinton that sold energy deregulation giving us blackouts in California and price-fixing writ large.

Do you know, just for trivia sake that Jessie Helms, Thad Cochran, Trent Lott, Rick Perry, Elizabeth Dole, Richard Shelby, and Phil Gramm were all Democrats at one time? These are the Democrats whose opinions we once upon a time listened to, and tried to accommodate within the Big Tent, maybe that's why for our complete dominance of government for most of the last century, we have little to show for it. It's so-called liberal Democrats like Chuck Schumer who are putting up obstacles to changing the tax code so ultra-rich buyout tycoons like Henry Kravis have to pay the prevailing income rate on the fees they charge, instead of allowing them to claim a work product as capital gains.

I'll end with an anecdote Huey Long. One of those politicians that did not heed your advice about name-calling. The Democratic majority leader, Joe Robinson, was an archetype Blue Dog, before there was such a thing. Long, who had not been in the Senate but for a few weeks had had enough of the Senator from Arkansas, so he got up on the Senate floor and said (I'm paraphrasing from memory) "The honorable Senator from Arkansas spends half of his time denouncing Republicans, and the other half voting like one."  Seventy-years later, we've still got plenty of Joe Robinsons, but no Huey Longs. Call them what you will. The term Boll Weevil was no kinder then Bush Dog, implying as it did a nefarious pest hellbent on destruction.  


[ Parent ]
Chris (0.00 / 0)
Excellent work. Thanks for the tabulation.

But, Barrow's district is D + 2, not R + 2. I'm guessing he wasn't asterisked b/c he's already got a primary opponent this year.

I think it's imperative that we go after Hoyer, Emanuel, and Pelosi in 2010, and Harry Reid in the Senate (along with potentially Barbara Mikulski, Ken Salazar, and even Chuck Schumer). It needs to be ON, and in a big way.  


Emanuel. (0.00 / 0)
Shit, I feel its time to go for the gold. Being from Florida, I don't know jack about the Illinois pol landscape, so I don't know what it would take to even rattle him. But, hey, when someone pulls a Darth Vader on you, maybe its time to take out the Death Star. Apologies for the Star Wars reference, but thats what taking on one of the heads of th Dem establishment feels like to me.

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