Blue Dog Ellsworth: Yeah, the Stimulus Was Partisan

Gee, there seem to be lots of Blue Dogs going home and telling their constituents:

  1. The stimulus was too partisan;
  2. Republicans got shut out of the process; and,
  3. The Blue Dogs are so influential that Congressional leaders can’t ignore them anymore.

It begs the question: if the Blue Dogs are so influential, then why are they now apologizing and declaiming responsibility for how it turned out? Either they are not all that influential, or they used that influence in support of Nancy Pelosi’s agenda.

The latest apologetic Blue Dog is Brad Ellsworth of Indiana, who feels really badly that Republicans were shut out of the process. Note the conspicuous use of the passive voice; Ellsworth has no desire to finger a responsible party – partly because he bears as much blame as anyone:

Having spent some time with the President Barack Obama on his recent trip to Elkhart, Ellsworth shared that Obama expressed his own regret that the bill had not been approached in a more bipartisan manner.

The congressman agreed.

“Maybe the better version would have been to go before the Republican Caucus before it was written and say, ‘What do you want in it?'” Ellsworth said.

He added that in that case it would likely have included more tax cuts along with the spending. He added, though, it is the majority party that writes bills, and the Democrats had the votes to pass it…

If Ellsworth and the Blue Dogs were serious about bipartisanship, they could have insisted on a bipartisan bill and voted against it if Democratic leaders refused. Instead Ellsworth voted yes, and by his own admission, the process was a partisan one that shut out Republicans.

If Ellsworth was serious about limiting spending, he could have voted against the Obama-Reid-Pelosi debt spending plan. Instead he voted yes, and added more than a trillion dollars to the debt.

In short, if Ellsworth really believed the process and the outcome should have been different, he and the Blue Dogs could have acted to change the outcome. Combined with the House Republicans, the Blue Dogs have the power to block Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic majority. Instead he voted to support Pelosi’s extreme agenda – and he should not go home to constituents and try to pretend otherwise.

What can I say in Ellsworth’s defense? At least he never claimed to have read this bill – like Nevada Representative Dina Titus did. I hope there doesn’t turn out to be anything unpopular in the bill because if there is, she’s taking responsibility for it.