The Blue Dogs Are Our Guide Dogs

Good article today at Politico about rural Democrats and Obama.

The problem with a scandalous, over-reaching and audacious administration like the Obama administration is that there are almost too many stories to cover.

Republicans would be wise to use ‘antsy’ Blue Dogs as their guide to swing voters. They are called Blue Dogs, but they can be our guide dogs. In the Politico article, two issues that have Blue Dogs concerned are car dealerships and environmental issues. Republicans should seize those issues and not relent.

Some quotes from Politico:

“They don’t get rural America,” said Rep. Dennis Cardoza, a Democrat who represents California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley. “They form their views of the world in large cities.”


“For Obama, it’s a very tough high-wire act,” said Frank O’Donnell, executive director of the environmental group Clean Air Watch. “The farm states are among those that the Democrats desperately want to keep in the fold at the same time the farm states historically aren’t very good on environmental issues.”


“In rural jurisdictions, your dealerships are pretty big employers. If you knock out four dealerships, the ripple effects of that are substantial,” said Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-Md.), who represents a largely rural Eastern Shore district and is co-sponsoring a bill that could force the auto companies to honor their contracts with the rejected dealerships.


Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) questioned how independent owned and operated businesses have any financial impact on automakers. “None of us can quite understand why they consider dealerships a drag when they are the ones that buy the cars, that take the financial risks. Many of the dealerships that are being closed are profitable.”


“There is a different focus [at EPA] than under the Bush years,” said Rick Krause, senior director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau. “And there very well could be some political risk involved.”


“If Collin Peterson and these rural and conservative Democrats in the House are unable to work out some arrangement with [Henry] Waxman and [Ed] Markey, it could resonate beyond the Beltway,” said Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and a veteran Kentucky political reporter.

The car dealership fiasco really struck a nerve. Blue dogs are worried about environmental issues. Sure, people like the lofty rhetoric of being pro-environment, but when the rubber hits the road many rural Americans have a problem with practical implementations.

Blue Dogs are showing us what issues are resonating with swing voters in rural America. Those are Republican voters. We need to win them back.