We cheered recent actions by self-described coalitions of moderate Democrats, primarily in the U.S. Senate, who, with unanimous Republican support, blocked passage of the huge energy tax called “cap and trade” and wondered aloud if this marked the Dawn of Blue Dawg Democrat power.
The only other signs of potentially powerful coalitions that could block bailouts, massive budget deficits and higher taxes were statements by some prominent Blue Dawg Democrats and some votes in losing causes on the (non) Stimulus and Omnibus Spending bills as well as the Budget.
The fact is that even if all 47 of the Blue Dog Coalition (BDC) voted against the Obama/Pelosi agenda in the House, they couldn’t stop it. But far from all of them vote against their dear leaders, even after having campaigned against such liberal policies. Only 8 Democrats voted against the Stimulus and 20 against the Budget (12 of whom were non-blue liberals that thought the $3.6 trillion too little).
Heath Shuler (D-NC), a self-described fiscal conservative from Western North Carolina and one of the stars of BDC inexplicably voted for the budget after having voted against the Stimulus.
It seems that the blue dog brand of fiscal “responsibility” most resembles the kind that got former Republican Senator Bob Dole called the “tax collector for the welfare state” during his presidential campaign in 1996:
This year and next, big deficits are needed to pull the economy out of the ditch. But in the longer term, deficits must come down. The ”pay-go” rule, a Blue Dog obsession, is the way to impose discipline. It requires lawmakers to offset the costs of legislation with tax increases or spending cuts.
By the way, these centrists are not Lite Republicans. When Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, said, ”I want to ask my friends, the Blue Dog Democrats, do you really want all this government?” he truly asked the wrong question.
The Blue Dogs have no ideological objection to government. They support such Obama priorities as healthcare reform. They just want them paid for.
I don’t think the large number of democrats and independents that drank tea on tax day were clamoring for higher taxes. I think their definition of fiscal responsibility means reducing the size of government and that potentially the most powerful political message sent by the Tea Parties is to Blue Dawg democrats that they best vote like they talk.
Consider the bold Freshman talker from Eastern North Carolina, Senator Kay Hagen:
The Democrats’ newest female star senator, Kay Hagan, surged into office last fall, swinging on the coattails of Barack Obama and his progressive message of change.
But since taking the oath of office, Hagan has signaled repeatedly that she won’t fall in lockstep with her president.
In her first three months in Congress, Hagan has criticized Obama’s budget, sponsored an opposition bill to a piece of tobacco regulation legislation that he supports and joined a conservative-leaning group of Democrats calling themselves the “Moderate Dems.”
Still, she has voted with Obama on every major piece of legislation so far.
Talk has always been cheap and has gotten a lot cheaper during this recession, but it appears that the notion that there are very many moderate to conservative democrats with the courage and inclination to vote that way is still a myth I dubbed “Drawl and that’s all” three years ago.
I do applaud the efforts of Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Ben Nelson (D-NE) in reducing the Stimulus, voting against the Budget, blocking Cap and Trade for now and slowing comprehensive health care reform, again, for now, and hope that their coalition can slow the Obama agenda. But one would have more of chance to have one’s hopes realized by pulling for the Washington Nationals to win the NL East than that moderate Washington Democrats will actually accomplish anything.
Even their efforts on cap and trade are being undermined by the Obama Administration via regulatory classification of the air we exhale as a pollutant.
The fact is that one, and nearly only thing voters accomplish when they replace an elephant with a cross bred jack ass and a blue tick hound is to empower San Francisco liberals to nearly triple Bush deficits; slash defense; raise taxes; appease enemies; and keep job producing investors on strike.
Maybe the pork they bring home will go to different constituents, but I doubt that and the soothing sound of their conservative rhetoric will suffice as a substitute for not stopping failed liberal policies that threaten the prosperity Americans expect.
Voters must watch what Blue Dawgs do rather than what they say.
Maybe if they invite them to a party and replace the Obama/Pelosi/Reid Kool-Aid in their water bowls with tea, they can make the Dog’s bite as big as their bark.
In response to a comment, I felt compelled to add the fact that you will search in vain since at least the late 1980s to find even ONE democrat that comes close to voting as conservatively as the worst RINO. For an example, see the ACU.
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
Originally published @ Examiner.com, where all for verification links may be accessed.