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Author Topic: why blue dogs are important  (Read 957 times)
freepcrusher
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« on: July 04, 2012, 10:40:08 pm »
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It seems that the democrats really played the game wrong when they had unified control in 2009 and 2010. The last democrat administration to keep majorities in both chambers by the end of its run was the Kennedy/Johnson era from 1961-1968. For all the progressives on here (particularly that guy from Utah whose name escapes me), the thing is that one has to be patient. To me, Phillip Burton is my idol. You have to take incremental steps so that people don't get alarmed
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The first thing is to get congressional majorities of course. Everyone can be an unabashed liberal at heart but actually voting that way is only reserved for maybe 150 house members and 35-40 senators from safe seats.

The idea is that every legislative session, there will a major agenda. Whether it be repealing taft hartley or the bush tax cuts there will be that one thing that will want to be passed. You already have 150 or so foot soldiers who will already vote yes, the next thing is to figuring out who can vote yes and who can't. The yes-no votes from marginal districts would be rotated in meaning that Congressman A votes yes on Bill 1 and no on Bill 2 and Congressman B votes no on Bill 1 but yes on Bill 2. When proposing such a bill, always make sure to propose it at the beginning of the session so that it would naturally blow over.

Also, the congressman from marginal districts voting for "the bill" will have the opportunity to obscure that vote. The idea would be to have the house liberals propose legislation and intentionally bring it to the floor vote where the democrats from marginal or conservative districts can then kill the bill and make them look like a hero back home. Another thing to do is for the committee chairman to allow token conservative legislation proposed by democrats from conservative districts. The idea is that the bill would really have no effect whatsoever but dems from marginal districts could vote with the republicans to let the bill pass and shield them from attacks.

Lastly, there is the idea of the "drive by vote". The idea is that in the remaining D-Local, R-National districts, to make sure that the incumbents stay happy with their constituents. The first thing is to make sure they sign an anti-retirement pledge meaning that unless it is shaping up to be a good democrat year, they should not retire so the democrats can keep it for decades. A dirty little secret is that districts tend to flip to democrats before they start voting further up the ballot (see Tom Downey or Dick Ottinger). If the democrats can win those districts and keep the "D-Local R-National districts" then it gives them the opportunity to win 270-280 seats. The last thing is to make sure that these democrats in DLRN districts are really no different from someone like Ed Markey but will vote like Gene Taylor and with republicans north of 50% of the time to appease their constituents. But for the few times they don't vote with the republicans, it would be for a bill such as one to reschedule cannabis.

So the idea is that the democrats can have a majority that can slowly and steadily get things accomplished from a legislative standpoint even though about 50 or so members of the caucus have low ACU ratings.

The senate is obviously trickier because of the filibuster rule, but the general rule is the same. Only pick one major issue to pursue and any other time, the Mark Pryors and Joe Manchins of the world can vote with republicans to shield them from attacks. But at the same time, when deciding who to pick to vote on what bill, the party leaders should make prioritize it by when they are next up. The ones who just won election or re-election would be given a higher priority to vote yes and the ones with an upcoming re-election would be allowed to vote no.

The second thing is that if there is a republican presidency but a democrat or divided congress, it is imperative that democrats stick together. The thing is that it is easier to get away with voting no then it is with voting yes on something. An incumbent democrat from a marginal district will be OK 95% of the time on voting no on a GOP bill because most presidents lose seats in midterms.
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Miles
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« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2012, 10:44:57 pm »
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Wonderful post!
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BlueDog Bimble
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2012, 02:35:11 am »
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Wonderful post!

Up with the Blue dogs!!!!!!!!
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2012, 02:44:03 am »
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Excellent post above! Hatred (mostly - irrational, the only argument i heard was "how dare they??!!") of "blue dogs" on Democratic sites and "RINO's" - on Republican surpasses all thinkable and unthinkable limits))) Many times i wrote something similar both on democratic and republican sites. Net results - bannings both here and there (SSP, DKE, RRH come to mind quickly). That's what a democracy is for "ideologically pure"... Everyone there considers himself and only himself 100% right, and opponent - 100% wrong. Very sad.. What for such sites exist in such case? As pure "echo chambers"? What for parties exist if all they want is to hear from "the pure"Huh?
« Last Edit: July 05, 2012, 03:18:54 am by smoltchanov »Logged

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Ebowed
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2012, 10:35:33 am »
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Obamacare contains all kinds of concessions to Blue Dogs / Republicans.  Everything about that legislation is 'incremental.'  Fact is, the Democrats were going to lose seats in 2010 regardless of how they conducted themselves in the prior session.
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rob in cal
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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2012, 11:29:41 am »
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I like the Blue Dogs, but I actually would have liked to see them in coalition with Republicans, maybe with a Blue Dog elected Speaker of the house in a narrowly divided House with Dems having a small majority.  We still don't know what would happen if the Dems had only a 5 to 10 seat majority in the house, but if and when they win back the House, its likely that some of the new Dems will be Blue Dog types I would think.
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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2012, 12:35:29 pm »
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I like the Blue Dogs, but I actually would have liked to see them in coalition with Republicans, maybe with a Blue Dog elected Speaker of the house in a narrowly divided House with Dems having a small majority.  We still don't know what would happen if the Dems had only a 5 to 10 seat majority in the house, but if and when they win back the House, its likely that some of the new Dems will be Blue Dog types I would think.

If they did that, they should be considered treacherous. They are still democrats, and democrats are their base (see Parker Griffith).
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freepcrusher
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« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2012, 03:06:06 pm »
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Fact is, the Democrats were going to lose seats in 2010 regardless of how they conducted themselves in the prior session.

well you're always going to lose seats in the midterms but the question should be how many. Had the democrats been more stealth and not as obvious in their legislative agenda, they could probably have cut the losses in half.
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« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2012, 03:10:13 pm »
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Blue Dogs are ok for the Democrats  if you have an opposing party that's willing to compromise. But since the  modern Republican Party does not compromise, the Blue Dogs are useful to Republicans so that they can say, "See, even some Democrats didn't vote for Obama's legislation!"
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freepcrusher
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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2012, 03:57:32 pm »
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Blue Dogs are ok for the Democrats  if you have an opposing party that's willing to compromise. But since the  modern Republican Party does not compromise, the Blue Dogs are useful to Republicans so that they can say, "See, even some Democrats didn't vote for Obama's legislation!"

you just don't get it do you? My idea is that every democrat could essentially be a Maurice Hinchey or Barney Frank but would only show it on occasion. It doesn't matter if you have 230 or 290 democratic members. All that matters is that the legislation passes. The idea is to only propose one major controversial bill each session so the democrats from conservative districts can vote for them but also vote conservative on other issues so it can obscure your voting record.

My idea is not to have a bunch of Larry McDonalds or John Raricks on the house floor but rather to have a lot more Bart Gordons or John Spratts. By that I mean guys who were probably unabashed liberals but were able to conceal it for the most part and stay entrenched for decades on end.
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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2012, 04:14:53 pm »
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Blue Dogs are ok for the Democrats  if you have an opposing party that's willing to compromise. But since the  modern Republican Party does not compromise, the Blue Dogs are useful to Republicans so that they can say, "See, even some Democrats didn't vote for Obama's legislation!"

Tell me, which other Republican-held seats, above and beyond those that the Democrats are already targeting, should they target to make up the difference after ousting the Blue Dogs? As far as I'm concerned, it is infinitely more important to have 218 Democrats in the House than it is to have any sort of "ideological purity." There are currently 25 House Democrats in the Blue Dog Coalition. Without them, it's 25 more seats the Democrats need for a majority.
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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2012, 04:41:10 pm »
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I think this is a good point. It wasn't any one particular bill that hurt Democrats in 2010, it was the combination of bills perceived to be liberal like cap and trade, healthcare and the stimulus. TARP hurt a lot as well. If Democrats had only focused on healthcare and not touched cap and trade, opposed TARP and the stimulus they would have been in much better shape. And even with the stimulus, instead of pushing it all in one package, it should have been broken down into pieces that would have passed. Of course Democrats shoved a lot of things in there that would not have passed on it's own.
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Sibboleth
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« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2012, 04:49:54 pm »
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Do ordinary Americans pay such close attention to Congressional proceedings? Is such attention particularly strong in areas suffering from acute economic pain of one sort or another?
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« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2012, 05:14:05 pm »
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Do ordinary Americans pay such close attention to Congressional proceedings? Is such attention particularly strong in areas suffering from acute economic pain of one sort or another?

It can help with advertising. If the Democrats had only done healthcare and not the stimulus and TARP, ads could not be written that said Congressman X voted for the Trillion dollar stimulus, healthcare and TARP bills. One Trillion dollar bill is something..but three? That message was quite effective in 2010.
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morgieb
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« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2012, 05:54:12 pm »
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I think what hurt was the filibuster. If it wasn't for that we'd have amnesty, cap and trade and a public option.
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smoltchanov
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« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2012, 03:58:13 am »
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you just don't get it do you? My idea is that every democrat could essentially be a Maurice Hinchey or Barney Frank but would only show it on occasion. It doesn't matter if you have 230 or 290 democratic members. All that matters is that the legislation passes. The idea is to only propose one major controversial bill each session so the democrats from conservative districts can vote for them but also vote conservative on other issues so it can obscure your voting record.

My idea is not to have a bunch of Larry McDonalds or John Raricks on the house floor but rather to have a lot more Bart Gordons or John Spratts. By that I mean guys who were probably unabashed liberals but were able to conceal it for the most part and stay entrenched for decades on end.

IMHO - both "yes" and "no". More precisely: "dependent on district". Spratt's district (now, in slightly modified form - Mulvaney's) gave Obama about 44% of vote. For such districts your strategy will work: people there will tend to forgive a "liberal apostasy" on part of their congressman if it will happen infrequently. But for some districts, which Democratic "Blue dogs"even managed to win in 2007-08 (Minnick's, Childers's, Cazayoux's Bright's) - unlikely. Uning your own words - they need Larry McDonald's and John Rarick's, not Spratt's and Gordon's. And such democrats are extremely rare now (i really temped to have something like "census" and find - which really conservative Democrats and really liberal Republicans still exist in elective offices)..
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« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2012, 05:49:55 pm »
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The Dems lost big in 2010 because they overreached. Pretty stupid but both parties love to cater to their polarized bases. Look at Republicans in this session of congress: voting on stuff like the Rubio/Blunt amendment,  and defunding Planned Parenthood. Again pretty dumb. If this was 2002 Republicans would be run out of Congress for such overreach but the economy is not good so social issues aren't center stage now while the economy is the topic on everybody's mind.
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