Whatever else can be said of the Blue Dogs, they certainly are good at getting press:
But the three could play a big role in the success or failure of the next president, one reason Obama took a break from campaigning last week to call each of them, among the leaders of the "Blue Dog Coalition," a group of conservative-leaning Democrats who are committed to balancing the federal budget.
That is certainly a charitable way to describe the Blue Dogs. One could also describe them as an overwhelmingly white and male group within an otherwise extremely diverse Democratic House caucus, who receive 85% of their donations for corporate lobbyists and who only wield power when they threaten to throw their lot with Republicans. As far as their efforts to be "fiscally conservative" go, it was primarily through the assistance of the Blue Dogs that we continue to spend $12 billion a month in Iraq without any strings attached, and it should also be mentioned that the Blue Dogs voted for the $700 billion bailout in equal proportion to other caucuses. That is some real fiscally conservative responsibility for ya'. Goes right up there with their move to block mortgage reform, which looks really fiscally responsible now, doesn't it? And then there is this:
Although the Blue Dogs demanded austerity measures in the House when Democrats won control of the chamber in 2006, the Senate more or less ignored such "pay-as-you-go" restraints.
Did you get that part? The Senate has "more or less ignored" the few actual measures of fiscal restraint the Blue Dogs tried to keep in place. Kind of makes you wonder how such a group is still described as so powerful, if the few aspects of their fiscal retraint are "more or less ignored." In fact, one has to wonder how such a supposedly powerful group committed to fiscal responsibility has managed to co-exist with a federal government that has overseen the least fiscally responsible spending regimen in history.
Could it be that the power of the Blue Dogs is not actually in maintaining fiscal responsibility, but in threatening to throw their lot with the demographically compatible Republicans in a narrow divided Congress and pass legislation that will then be signed by George Bush? And, could it be that when that threat is no longer applicable--which it almost certainly won't be once the Congress is no longer narrowly divided and George Bush is no longer President--that their demands will go from "more or less ignored" to almost entirely ignored?
The Blue Dogs have used narrow Democratic majorities and George Bush to wield power. Everyone knows that is the real source of their strength. I wonder what they will do once those mechanisms are no longer available. No matter what happens, I imagine they will continue to receive some very good press.