How The Blue Dog/DCCC Axis Really Operates
Alabama ex-Blue Dog Parker Griffith turned Republican before losing his seat
Friday night I was at a wedding and spent much of the time talking with my newest pal, Nicky, the sensible Dutch grandson of an old friend, Bart, from my days in Amsterdam. Nicky's in business school in Holland and although only 23, he's a far keener observer of American politics than most Americans twice his age. He's a moderate, like most Dutch people I've met, but "moderate" in Holland is unrelated to "moderate" in this country. The popular (corporate-owned) media has managed to expropriate a perfectly good word and turn it on it's head. Political headline writers use "moderate" instead of right-wing. I know it's not a conscious conspiracy; it's an unconscious one. Moderates in Holland accept same sex marriage as natural, accept legalized marijuana the way we accept legalized beer and generally don't want to see Big Government interfering in people's private personal affairs. In the last 2 days I saw our own media describe Republican birther and radical right extremist Mike Coffman and right-wing Blue Dog John Barrow as "moderates."
Neither is, by any rational definition. Through the current congressional session when it came to crucial roll calls, Boehner and Cantor have been able to count on Barrow almost always. He's voted against the progressive position 75% of the time, despite representing a Democratic district that gave Obama a healthy win in 2008. Only 3 Democrats have voted more frequently for the GOP's extreme right agenda than Barrow this year: Blue Dogs Dan Boren, who represents a solid red district and is retiring this year, Mike Ross, who represents a solid red district and is retiring this year, and Colin Peterson, who represents a solid red district and is... living in an alternative universe. Barrow blames gerrymandering for the plight of the Blue Dogs he's trying to pass off as "moderates."
And one of those far right Blue Dogs often dubbed a "moderate" is Jim Matheson, whose father was a popular Utah governor, and who has been targeted for political extinction by the GOP. Progressives should be cheering. He's on the wrong side of every substantive issue that matters to progressives and even before casting his vote with Boehner and Cantor, he's working diligently to water down progressive initiatives inside the House Democratic caucus, which has a lot to do with why well-intentioned pro-working family legislation comes out hopelessly compromised, unrecognizable and indefensible (like the Affordable Care Act with it's awful market-based conservative underpinnings that are hated by everyone except Big Insurance).
Even as Matheson fights for his own survival back in Utah, he and Barrow are leading a fight-- along with "ex"-Blue Dog Steve Israel in his position at the helm of the DCCC-- to grow the decimated Blue Dog caucus. Just a reminder-- the Blue Dogs lost half their members in the 2010 elections because Democratic voters refused to show up at the polls to vote for them, a completely rational decision since the Blue Dogs refuse to support Democratic principles, policy or values. This weekend the Salt Lake Tribune explains how Matheson is trying to grow the Blue Dog caucus and has "hired the Blue Dogs’ first campaign strategist and overhauled the coalition’s recruitment effort, trying to get stronger candidates to run in districts he thinks Democrats can reclaim." The article doesn't mention Steve Israel's insidious role in this venture, embracing all 11 right-wing Blue Dog candidates this year, many of them running against progressives in primaries where the DCCC has promised to stay neutral, a lie that never goes away.
Here's how it works in district after district across the country. A real Democrat enters the primary and along comes a Blue Dog. The Blue Dog PAC and the Blue Dog incumbents fill the Blue Dog candidate's coffers with contributions. The most corrupt corporate whores on Capitol Hill, the Blue Dogs get their sleazy lobbyist friends-- many of whom are Blue Dog ex-congressmen and former Blue Dog staffers-- to shower even more cash on candidates who they know will "play ball." Then Matheson and Barrow go to a very sympathetic Steve Israel and whine about the neutrality policy, claiming it isn't a real contest because the real Democrat has raised so little money and their candidate is flush with cash. Israel then "reluctantly" adds the Blue Dog to one of the bogus "Red-to-Blue" lists-- lists that signal wealthy Democratic donors that these are the candidates the party is backing. That's how a reactionary and corrupt operative like Hayden Rogers, who opposes almost every single plank the differentiates Democrats from Republicans, has wound up as the Democratic candidate in western North Carolina. Israel is already spending money on the race even though there is virtually no chance that Rogers will win. It's a scenario that plays out endlessly in district after district. Millions of donor dollars will be wasted to rescucitate the all-but-extinct Blue Dogs but smart money says that 2013 will find less of tehm-- not more-- in Congress. And all those wasted millions... could have been used to elect actual Democrats like Dave Gill in Illinois, Carol Shea-Porter in New Hampshire and Patsy Keever in North Carolina, who beat, against all odds, well-financed conservative challengers but are now being starved for cash by Israel and the DCCC. If you'd like, you can help real Democrats here-- while the DCCC fights to elect anti-Choice, anti-gay, anti-working family fanatics like Hayden Rogers and the 10 other Blue Dogs they've taken under their wing.
Random picture of random conservative Dem, doing a random thing conservatives do