Two years after the 2010 midterm elections decimated their ranks, the coalition of conservative Democrats is poised to get pummeled again in November — moving the Blue Dogs dangerously close to extinction.
Of the 24 remaining Blue Dogs, five are not seeking reelection. More than a half-dozen others are facing treacherous contests in which their reelection hopes are in jeopardy.
It’s a rough time to occupy the right wing of the Democratic Party to be spineless lickspittles of the radical progressives and liberals that make up the current leadership of the Democratic Party.
In today’s Morning Jolt Jim Geraghty observed, while implicitly dismissing former (involuntarily) Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper’s (D, PA) sudden getting religion over Obamacare for the cynical political move that it probably is, that the myth of the conservative Democratic Congressman was, well, a myth – and that he’s been saying that since 2010. Well, I’ve been saying that, too – so I decided to look at all the examples of so-called conservative Democrats found in that article, and where they are no. The results were amazingly gratifying:
Bart Gordon (forced to retire, 2010)
Bobby Bright (removed, 2010)
Dan Boren (cutting and running, 2012)
Gene Taylor (removed, 2010)
Heath Shuler (cutting and running, 2012)
Joe Donnelly (switching out to lose Senate race, 2012)
John Barrow (going out fighting [cruelly redistricted], 2012)
Mike Ross is something like the fourth Blue Dog to have decided to throw in his or her cards this election cycle*; apparently, actually being opposed in an election for a change didn’t appeal to the man. AR-04 went strongly for McCain in 2008 (56%), and redistricting will apparently improve the percentages slightly, so it’s probably not too surprising that Ross decided that he wasn’t really up for another bruising reelection fight.
The Club for Growth (and I) would like to remind you:there is no such thing as a conservative Democratic politician. The ones who pretend talk a great game, sure. They know everything that needs to be said in order to keep voters who are still nostalgic for the Democratic party of their parents and grandparents. But when it comes to actual policy votes they vote as their liberal leadership tells them to. CfG checked the big economic votes: 100% voted for the Fannie & Freddie bailout. 63% for TARP. 91% for the ‘stimulus.’ 85% for Cash-for-Clunkers. 74% for the 2009 Budget – and where’s the 2o10 one, again? 73% for the bailout of the auto industry. Heck, even 54% for Obamacare.
And let’s not even START about PAYGO. More like PAYGOGOAWAY: there’s not much point to a rule to a fiscal sanity rule that can be set aside at the drop of a hat, and invariably is.
Said dilemma being, as Jim Geraghty put it, that the organization will have to make some hard choices this election on whether to endorse Republicans or Democrats: fortunately, it’s actually easy to solve. All you have to do is remember this:
Vulnerable House Democrats who supported the healthcare bill last month reaped big financial rewards.
Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports show the crucial yes votes cashed in between March 21 and the end of the first quarter on March 31. They received big money from Democratic-leaning political action committees (PACs) and fellow Democratic members of Congress.
Several of these members were last-minute yes votes, which helped push the legislation to passage.
After all that sturm und drang and haggling over the price on the Blue Dogs’ part, I just got told that the start of the Energy committee’s markup’s been delayed until at least tomorrow. 36/23 Dem/GOP partisan breakdown and Henry Waxman still can’t run a committee to save his life.
Alas, not being able to do the simplest legislative things will do little to destroy his career: the things that Beverly Hills voters find truly inexcusable have very little in common with the rest of the country, or indeed observed sentient life. And I include dolphins, orangutans, Border Collies, and several breeds of parrots in that category.
This throwaway line in a Hill article (“Dem healthcare infighting intensifies”):
And on Tuesday it prompted Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) to hint that more liberal members of the party should consider challenging centrist Blue Dogs in next year’s primaries.
…eventually led me to this (via The Patriot Room: he also has a related video there) article about what has to be one of the more, ah, creative strategies floated out there this year: taking down ‘conservative’ Democrats in conservative districts by weakening them or replacing them with liberal Democrats.
Asked if she would recruit more liberal candidates to run against Blue Dogs, Waters said, “That’s normally not done.”
But she added: “There may be people out there listening and observing all of this who may get motivated based on what they’re seeing and throw their hat into the ring.”
She also criticized White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for recruiting many of the House’s more conservative members when he headed the House Democrats’ campaign arm. Now, she said, “The chickens are coming home to roost.”
If you think that this is a bit long at 3:30, well, it has to be: they need a big hunk of time to let the names of all the ‘conservative’ Democrats currently unsure if they want to follow the President over the cliff of health care rationing. Via Hot Air:
Rep Price’s message was simple, as all good messages should be: this is the Democrats’ bill, and they can pass it any time that they want to. The truth is, of course, that many of the Democrats don’t actually want to – and never mind what Rahm Emanuel is sort-of-kind-of-not-really claiming about how it should clear the House next week. I will not pretend that their motives are pure, of course: most of them merely wish to keep their jobs and sinecures and junkets secure. Plus, of course, they’re raking in the money now from affected industries… which is of course their privilege, but I do have to wonder whether they’ll be taking money from the DCCC, too.
Actually, I don’t wonder. They will. And the progressives will complain, fulminate, and ultimately sit still for it, because that’s what they do.
Months ago, Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.), chairman of the Blue Dogs’ health care task force, told House leaders and chairmen they’d better include Blue Dogs in the writing of their health care bill. But that didn’t happen.
Now, Ross has become the rallying point for a massive revolt against the leadership health care plan and may be the biggest obstacle to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) oft-stated desire to pass it by the August recess.
This is, of course, nonsense. Mike Ross voted for the obscene debt bill masquerading as a stimulus package; and he’s used up his free pass by getting to vote against cap-and-trade. He’ll break on health care; there are a bunch of other fake ‘conservative’ Democrats who’ll need the cover, and one mustn’t be greedy, right? More to the point, Ross and his ilk like to pretend that they don’t know that the reason why there are so many tax-and-spend Democrats in positions of authority is because the Blue Dogs signed off on putting them there. This is all pure theater, in other words; and it’s theater as performed by actors who have a very low opinion of their target audience’s intelligence. I note all of this solely so that nobody is surprised when Ross comes out of a meeting with a fake grin, an agreement on a trigger mechanism for imposing state-run health care, and a breezy assurance that rationing old people’s medical treatment is the best way forward for fiscal conservatism.
And I can’t wait to see the person we run against him in AR-04 next year.