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Ear to the Ground

Blue Dogs Get Taken to the Pound

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Posted on Nov 3, 2010
Flickr / T (CC-BY)

We will inevitably hear that the lesson of Tuesday’s election is that the Democrats need to move to the right. That thinking, in 1994, led to the Blue Dog Coalition of conservative Democrats. But the Blue Dogs went down hard Tuesday. Nearly half of the Blue Dogs running lost.

The Huffington Post:

According to an analysis by The Huffington Post, 22 of the 46 Blue Dogs up for re-election went down on Tuesday. Notable losses included Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (D-S.D.), the coalition’s co-chair for administration, and Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.), the co-chair for policy. Two members were running for higher office (both lost), four were retiring and three races were still too close to call.

The Blue Dogs, a coalition of moderate to conservative Democrats in the House, have consistently frustrated their more progressive colleagues and activists within the party, especially during the health care debate. Blue Dog members pushed to limit the scope and the cost of the legislation and resisted some of the mandates of the bill. Last summer, seven of the eight Blue Dogs on the House Energy and Commerce Committee even threatened to block health care reform unless it met their cost requirements.

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By My dog has a tumour, February 7, 2012 at 9:34 pm Link to this comment

Blue Dog Coalition members of the 111th Congress range from conservative on hot-button social issues to progressive on trade and immigration, Blue Dog Democrats are strongly united on fiscal conservatism and accountability, budgetary matters and pro-business issues.. On a side note, the dog in the logo looks a lot like my dog… but it has a tumour.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 5, 2010 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

hlouisnini, November 4 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment

As a life long (and it has been a very long life) Yellow Dog Democrat I never sniffed the behind of a Blue Dog Democrat that wasn’t sour, regressive and above all hypocritical - good riddance.
**********************

TMI! Yech…...

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By Tobysgirl, November 5, 2010 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

Our Blue Dog got reelected because his blue-collar fascism works well with the people of northern Maine, but I don’t think his margin (55-45) was as large as in the past. I’m with you, ITW, Grayson is a sad loss.

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By taikan, November 4, 2010 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment

The “Blue Dog Democrats” are (or were) essentially the same as the now almost completely vanished “moderate” wing of the Republican party.  They ran as Democrats because they weren’t conservative enought to get nominated as a Republican, and they were elected because they were conservative enough to get some Republican votes to go along with the votes of the Democrats who nominated them. 

They were a valuable resource for the Democratic Party hierarchy because they enabled the party to gain control in Congress.  That, together with the political power that accompanies such control, is what the party hierarchy most strongly desired.  Unfortunately, they didn’t do much good for anyone other than the hierarchy of the party, and they were just as much an impediment to the adoption and/or implementation of a progressive agenda as the actual members of the Republican Party.

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By mdgr, November 4, 2010 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment

Very good riddance, actually.

The Dems nominally just moved to the left, but Harry Reid, as it were, still reflects the Democratic Party’
s quintessential soul.

Which puts remaining progressives in a somewhat awkward position. Obama is making-nice with Republicans (more than ever), and there have got to be a lot of progressive legislators who are yet serving who feel more than a bit betrayed. Being a Democrat didn’t help Feingold very much. Or Grayson, just to name two progressives whom I rather liked.

Of course, Kucinich has made a career out of trying to save Vichy’‘s (D’s) soul, but his “principled” positions, in that light, seem increasingly histrionic and self-conscious.

The Dems were seriously wounded on Tuesday, and there are a number of us who would like that wound to be mortal.

The R’s are what they are, and the Tea Party could be a very threatening presence in 2012. To paraphrase Chris Hedges, however, it is not they who are the enemy—as much as that party of collaborators and passive-aggressive robots (Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi with her botox face and emotionless disconnect).

It is the D’s who are our chief impediment, the remaining progressive caucus notwithstanding.

My guess also is that the economy will continue to unravel (the Fed is even now wildly printing deflated dollars by which the “haves” might benefit and most every else will lose).

Moreover, Israel will almost certainly attack Iran very soon (by December, possibly, and Netanyahu as already served notice to Obama of that date). America will be dragged in, and the consequences are all too predictable.

Thus it is that an identity-crisis looms probably early next year for the progressive caucus. Will it stay and do nothing, or will it bolt—keeping its Congressional seats—and declare itself fully independent of the DNC.

Given the political winds, I think there’s more incentive to leave than to stay.

If that should happen, I see the distinct possibility of a viable and prodigious third party of lefties and indies emerging almost overnight. You can scoff, but changes happened virtually “overnight” in the Soviet Union, Germany and even Rome (accounting for a relative “snail’s pace in the ‘speed’ of time” two millennia ago).

My point is not that it is probable, but that it is possible, and if it were to happen, it could be historic.

Money would almost certainly follow as well, since lacking any real opponents, there is a real possibility that the Tea Party could win the Executive Branch in 2012. People like Warren Buffet, Soros and Bill Gates have to know that—they may be capitalists, but they have also managed to survive in our Darwinian world.  Not even they would relish Sarah Palin’s being given the nuclear access codes.

This perfect storm could be utilized to the advantage of progressives. It will cause a huge amount of splitting and polarization, and that is a very good thing.

Again, I am not suggesting probabilities and there will be those who will make utterances whose intent is to demoralize us. But I think there is a brass ring showing.

All I am saying is that when the time is right (I am guessing it would be in the late winter, early spring), some of us may wish to come together and move this meme out into the world. Which of us could build a website? Which of us knows Wiki? Which of us wants to take the initiative of Facebook?

The immediate goal would be to cajole as many progressives in Congress to declare themselves as independents.

The next stage would be to use that repudiation of the Dems to dramatize the enormous vacuum that has just been created.

The third stage would be to leverage that vacuum to give birth to a third party that would actually reflect the agenda and principles of these progressive Senators and Representatives.

Dennis Kucinich may or may not sign up. But frankly, I don’t really give a damned.

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By hlouisnini, November 4, 2010 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment

As a life long (and it has been a very long life) Yellow Dog Democrat I never sniffed the behind of a Blue Dog Democrat that wasn’t sour, regressive and above all hypocritical - good riddance.

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By GT, November 4, 2010 at 11:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Then there was Bart Stupak and, here in Cincinnati, Steve Driehaus.  They caused unnessary controversy during the healthcare debate by insisting that anti choice language be added.  While it is likely that few in his district supported him for his stand, Driehaus lost the support of progressives who wondered about the “ethics” behind depriving healthcare for the whole nation to satisfy religious “principles”.  Now we in Cincinnati have to find a progressive to take on Chabot.  There is a state representative Connie Pillich…...

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By Inherit The Wind, November 4, 2010 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

Well, if you are going to lose seats it’s best to lose Blue Dogs.  But Alan Grayson (not a BD) will be sorely missed.

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