Blue Dog Boren: America Benefits When Democrats Lose

Dan Boren is not making any friends within the House Democrat caucus:

U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, Oklahoma’s only Democrat in Congress, predicts his party will lose seats in elections later this year.

While such a statement falls in the category of conventional wisdom that historically has the party in power losing congressional seats in mid-term elections, Boren parts company with others within his own party by suggesting such a setback would be a “good thing for Oklahoma and for me.”

“If we have a tight majority one way or another, that puts me in the driver’s seat,” the three-term lawmaker said.

“In the 112th (Congress), I probably will have the most influence I have ever had, no matter who has the majority.”

Describing a Republican takeover of the House as a “tall order” for the GOP, Boren said his party, even if it retains the majority in a new Congress that convenes in 2011, will be forced back toward the center politically.

He pointed to new figures on job losses and described his party’s legislative agenda last year as one of missed opportunities on the economic front.

“I think the House Democratic leadership along with the administration made a very large mistake by focusing on a lot of different pieces of legislation that would not do a lot to help the economy,” Boren said.

Give Boren credit for recognizing the hypocrisy of the Congressional Democrat leadership, and for the destructive nature of their agenda. But how can someone who expresses such hostility to that leadership also line up with them on a day-to-day basis? The House agenda is set by Speaker Pelosi. Steny Hoyer schedules the votes. Jim Clyburn whips support for passing these destructive bills. Boren voted for all 3 of them. In doing so, he bears a share of the responsibility for this agenda – even as he claims to be voting consistently against the worst of it.

Furthermore, Boren has not promised to oppose Pelosi, Hoyer, and Clyburn going forward. Indeed, he says he will never switch parties – suggesting he will continue to help enact an agenda he claims to oppose. And as the article notes, the Washington Post reports that Boren votes with Pelosi 87% of the time, (which Boren apparently regards as misleading).

It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Boren is really concerned with nothing more than getting re-elected. He backs the Pelosi agenda in DC, and tries to convince his constituents that he opposes her. He promises that regardless of the final outcome of the midterms, he will be empowered to help push enactment of moderate policies. Boren’s rhetoric to the contrary, he’s no friend to conservatives. Here’s hoping he faces a strong challenger who’ll call him on his duplicity.