Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Adopt-a-Blue Dog

[Politics] Not that I'm totally barking up the wrong tree here by rebutting my boss's Bob Barker-esque call to spay and neuter blue dogs everywhere, but I think a rebuttal article here to the one Holly referenced here is also worth a look. The author makes some good points namely that if you're critical of conservative blue-dog democrats for being Bush lap-dogs, why not wait a few months for the reign of Obama to begin?

That really makes worrying about blue-dog democrats kind of a moot issue. The point I personally have to bring up is that do we really want to eliminate Intra-party diversity? Do we just want our politics to come in two flavors: straight up republican and democrat? I wonder how the author of the Salon article would respond if he had heard that the GOP was trying to stamp out the voice of log-cabin republicans had (in the rare case) they started to become a prominent voice in the GOP?
Now don't get me wrong there are good blue dogs and bad and ones perhaps like our very own who could use a good whomp from a rolled up newspaper, but on the whole I don't think this pack of dogs needs to be put down.

For having grown up with a retired sheet metal working dad who was very much pro-labor and who used to write "IMPEACH REAGAN" on dollar bills but now still supports the war on terror, I have to say there is diversity within the party that some tend to forget too easily. If you ask me, the blue we democrats represent comes from a blue collar and I think its unfortunate that for some liberals the only blue-collar they know of is the upturned one they wear on their Ralph Lauren Polo shirts while they bitch over iced-lattes about all the boorish states inbetween the coasts. (Eric S. Peterson)


  1. Bro,

    Amen and Amen. Its yogurt/arugula eatin' dems who see the world through rainbow colored/Obama-flavored ray bans that are driving me out of the party. Thanks for reminding them of the one brand of diversity they don't embrace - diversity of view points.

  2. Right on Brandon and L P,

    As a rightie, libertarian conservative, I hate having Matheson in the 2nd District seat.

    But he puts up a competitive campaign every year. You put Rocky or someone like him in that seat, and they'd get creamed.

    Dems in Utah have the same problem I have with McCain: He's not down the line correct on the issues, and sometimes he's absolutely incoherent policy wise. But sometimes, these people are the best shot you have at someone coming close to representing your views.

    I think the solution for Holly is to run for the Legislature. Hell, I think she's in a district that she might win. See how hard fought some of these seats actually are, and then whine about the moderates wrecking your party.

  3. If you would spend less time coming up not-too-clever dog puns, and more time studying national politics, Mr. Peterson, you might have come up with something interesting to say here.

    You see Blue Dog Democrats as a healthy expression of party diversity, and compare them to the Log Cabin Republicans. Fair enough, but the difference is that while the Log Cabin Republicans are nationally outspoken, they have never wielded any legislative clout. The 47-member Blue Dog coalition does. On those occasions when they vote en masse with Republicans, their numbers are more than enough to erase the Democrats 31-seat majority. And if the Democratic majority grows this fall, it will almost certainly be on the backs of new Blue Dog (or Blue Dog-esque) Representatives.

    Now, I’m not advocating an expulsion of Blue Dogs from the party, as Glenn Greenwald does (not in the article you linked to, but the one that that article is a rebuttal to). Anyone who regularly reads Greenwald know that he can be, shall we say, a little extreme. But if you think that the problems Blue Dogs pose will go away when Bush leaves office (no more FISA ‘compromises,’ etc.), you should think again. If anything, it could be worse. With the Democrats controlling both chambers of Congress and the White House for the first time since 1994, there will be heavy expectations for them to clearly state an agenda and enact legislation to address the numerous challenges facing the country. But beyond some core issues, such as healthcare reform (which many Blue Dogs favor, but will almost certainly disagree on the specifics of any plan), it is going to be very difficult for the Blue Dogs and the party leadership to reach any consensus. This will be particularly when it comes to new business regulations and national security.

    The reason why this is a particular problem for a President Obama and a Democratically controlled Congress is that their key opposition will not be external (as in Republicans), but internal. And many crucial House committees have high-ranking members, and in some cases Chairmen, who are Blue Dogs, and who will be able to shut down legislation before it has any chance to enter the public debate. (This is, in part, why the Congressional leadership fights were so fierce after the 2006 election. I’m thinking specifically of the Blue Dogs, and other moderate Democrats, pushing for Steny Hoyer as Majority Leader, and Nancy Pelosi fighting tooth and nail to keep Jane Harman (a Blue Dog) from charring the Intelligence Committee.)

    It’s all well and good to be in favor of party unity (in theory, who isn’t?), but there are parliamentary realities here. Even if Obama is president, the Blue Dogs (including Utah’s Jim Matheson) are going to present a real problem that, one way or another, the national party is going to have to grapple with.

  4. At the begging of that last paragraph, I meant to say, 'It's all well and good to be in favor of party diversity.' My Bad.

  5. I'm a centrist democrat, but Louis is right. There is no comaparison here with the Log Cabin republicans. As Louis states, the Blue Dog coalition weilds enough power to twhart a democratic majority. Over the last two years, they have let their power go to their heads and given congressional dems a bad name. This isn't diversity so much as tyranny of a minorty. Look at Zell Miller and what he did to Max Cleland, is that a blue dog you want to adopt?

  6. Oh, that's it. No raise for you Eric! hahaha.

    Good post. Good food for thought.

  7. Holly may forgive you, but I still have a bone to pick. Another problem with your whole argument is that you some how equate Blue Dogs with being a throw back to old blue collar Democrats. (The decline of working class influence in Democratic politics and it’s correlation with the decline of American’s manufacturing base, and a decades-long shift to the Republican party as social issues have come to dominate popular politics is a topic for another time.) If you look at those Congressmen who self-identify as Blue Dogs, you will see that they come from a wide variety of districts from across the country, with no consistent social constituency supporting them. Not to mention that they are some of the most pro-business members of Congress, of either party. The Blue Dog Coalition has little to do advocating a particular ethos, and everything to do with the political clout and survival of its membership.

  8. As a leftie, pro-government Democrat, I hate having Matheson in the 2nd CD seat. He's worse than useless; if he just sat there and took his paycheck it would be one thing, but to actively support and vote for the most egregious outrages that Bush and his partners in crime have shoved down our throats is unforgiveable. And to say that anyone who thinks Matheson is worthless is "yogurt/arugula eatin' dems who see the world through rainbow colored/Obama-flavored ray bans" is crap, in a word. I've worked my whole life, I don't eat yogurt or argula and I don't really like Obama, even though I'll vote for him (anything to get Bush and the rest of those criminals out of office!). Matheson doesn't represent blue collar workers, given that he's voted for big business every time; he only represents himself. As someone else said, he spends all his time campaigning and raising money, not helping his constituents. Here's my solution: Not Holly Mullen but Jenny Wilson for 2nd CD.


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