OK, just who are the Blue Dog "Democrats"?
Well that's easy, considering that these people are actually proud of their efforts to destroy the Democratic Party and what it stands for.
From their own website,
Blue Dog Leadership Team
Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD), Blue Dog Co-Chair for AdministrationRep. Baron Hill (IN-09), Blue Dog Co-Chair for PolicyRep. Charlie Melancon (LA-03), Blue Dog Co-Chair for CommunicationsRep. Heath Shuler (NC-11), Blue Dog Whip
Blue Dog Members
Altmire, Jason (PA-04) Arcuri, Mike (NY-24)Baca, Joe (CA-43)Barrow, John (GA-12)Berry, Marion (AR-01)Bishop, Sanford (GA-02)Boren, Dan (OK-02)Boswell, Leonard (IA-03) Boyd, Allen (FL-02)Bright, Bobby (AL-02)Cardoza, Dennis (CA-18)Carney, Christopher (PA-10)Chandler, Ben (KY-06)Childers, Travis (MS-01)Cooper, Jim (TN-05)Costa, Jim (CA-20)Cuellar, Henry (TX-28)Dahlkemper, Kathy (PA-03)Davis, Lincoln (TN-04)Donnelly, Joe (IN-02)Ellsworth, Brad (IN-08)Giffords, Gabrielle (AZ-08)Gordon, Bart (TN-06)Griffith, Parker (AL-05) Harman, Jane (CA-36)Herseth Sandlin, Stephanie (SD)Hill, Baron (IN-09)Holden, Tim (PA-17)Kratovil, Jr., Frank (MD-01)McIntyre, Mike (NC-07)Marshall, Jim (GA-03)Matheson, Jim (UT-02)Melancon, Charlie (LA-03)Michaud, Mike (ME-02)Minnick, Walt (ID-01)Mitchell, Harry (AZ-05)Moore, Dennis (KS-03)Murphy, Patrick (PA-08)Nye, Glenn (VA-02) Peterson, Collin (MN-07)Pomeroy, Earl (ND)Ross, Mike (AR-04)Salazar, John (CO-03)Sanchez, Loretta (CA-47)Schiff, Adam (CA-29)Scott, David (GA-13)Shuler, Heath (NC-11)Space, Zack (OH-18)Tanner, John (TN-08)Taylor, Gene (MS-04)Thompson, Mike (CA-01)Wilson, Charles (OH-06)
What purpose do these Blue Dog "Democrats" serve?
According to their website,
The fiscally conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition was formed in 1995 with the goal of representing the center of the House of Representatives and appealing to the mainstream values of the American public. The Blue Dogs are dedicated to a core set of beliefs that transcend partisan politics, including a deep commitment to the financial stability and national security of the United States. Currently there are 51 members of the Blue Dog Coalition.
"Center"? Better make that "Way Right". "Mainstream values of the American public", how about "Twisted values of the American Right". "A core set of beliefs that transend partisan politics", apparently their "core set of beliefs" is that the Republicans are right and "transend partisan politics" is just obvious BS. Maybe they can fool the blissfully ignorant with that transending partisan politics line. They should really hire someone who knows something about fantasy writing to do this stuff. And they do have a commitment to the financial stability and national security of this country. That is, if you remove the code words and replace them with what they actually mean. "Financial stability", that means "Status Quo", in other words, keep things like they are now, the rich getting richer and the rest of us getting crapped on. No tax hikes for the wealthy or Big Business, we can cut services instead. "National Security" is code for throwing taxpayer dollars at military contractors while doing virtually nothing for the troops.
There probably are 51 members, but since this is from their website, who can be sure?
The Blue Dogs were called the Bush Dogs by discerning observers. Wonder why?
A tightly-knit group of self-styled moderate and conservative Democrats in the House of Representatives known as the Blue Dog Coalition supported controversial legislation granting the Bush administration expanded powers to spy on Americans.
The Blue Dogs have apparently informed the Democratic leadership in the House that they support the ongoing occupation of Iraq.
The Blue Dogs have provided key votes on controversial bills backed by the Bush administration. In September of 2006, 31 Democratic representatives voted with the Republican majority in the House to pass The Military Commissions Act. The controversial act empowered Bush to designate individuals as "enemy combatants," and deny them certain legal rights.
"The FISA bill is an absolute embarrassment. The idea that Congress would pass legislation, in this day and age, that would allow the government to spy on Americans with out any independent review from the courts or Congress is unbelievable."
You even have to pass an ideological purity test to Join the Blue Dogs.
According to Mahoney, he faced a thorough vetting process before being accepted into the group. "You have to be interviewed and accepted by the group. You have to be able to demonstrate that you're ideologically supportive of being fiscally conservative. You show them speeches and statements you've made in the past," Mahoney told the Charlotte Sun, a local paper from his district.
Wow. I'd be happy to show them some of my statements.
Let's recap, the Blue Dogs claim to be fiscally responsible, yet they backed Bush's trillion dollar war for no reason.
So, what are the Blue Dogs doing for us now? Quite a bit actually, if you're an insurance company. Squat, if your uninsured or underinsured.
The support for Blue Dogs from health care professionals is even more evident. Health pros are among the top 20 industry donors to 38 Blue Dogs since 1989 and are the No. 1 donor for five of them. Health pros have also given the typical Blue Dog $47,550 more than the typical non-Blue Dog Democrat in the House. This month the American Medical Association, which lobbies on behalf of doctors, also came out against a public health insurance plan. The AMA is among the top 20 contributors to 10 Blue Dogs since 1989.
Insurance and pharmaceutical companies fear that a public health option would allow the government to control costs and steal business. And with the Blue Dogs leading the charge against the government-funded plan, the industries might just get their way. Without any support from the GOP, two-thirds of the coalition's members, who mostly represent Southern and Midwestern states, would have to get behind the House legislation, according to Kaiser Health News.
The Blue Dogs by working hand in hand with their ideological soulmates, the GOP and the Mainstream Media, are going to blow the smartest thing that this country has been trying to do in a long time.
But be forewarned, the rot from within the Republican Party doesn’t mean Republicans can’t still win elections. They know how to drive up the “negatives” of their opponents. In a rare display of candor, North Carolina Representative Patrick McHenry said: “Our goal is to bring down the approval numbers for [Speaker] Pelosi and for House Democrats. That will take repetition. This is a marathon, not a sprint.” He boasted about the GOP’s “strategy” going forward: “We will lose on legislation. But we will win the message war every day, and every week, until November 2010.” This Republican “communications” operation is already in full swing with the corporate media playing the usual enabler role.
The Blue Dogs provide an opening for the Republicans to “triangulate” against the progressives inside the Democratic Party. They’re calling for “belt tightening” at a time of severe under-consumption and high employment. Republican leaders in the Senate will try to use the Evan Bayhs and Blanche Lincolns of the Blue Dog faction as a wedge to defeat vital parts of President Barack Obama’s legislative agenda.
Blue Dogs, willing dupes of the Right.
But there are still some real Democrats who have the cojones to stand up and say what needs to be said.
WATERS: Well that may be difficult for Rahm Emanuel, because don't forget -- he recruited most of them. As when he was over in the Congress, in the leadership, Rahm Emanuel recruited more conservative members and based on some of the information I'm getting, they told them that they could vote the way they wanted to vote, that they would not interfere with what was considered their philosophy about some of these things. So, now the chickens have come home to roost.
But many of these Blue Dogs represent districts that have strong pockets of poverty and minorities and they're not representing them with this approach that they're taking. And so I don't know whether or not there will be people running against them. Certainly we're not organized to run anybody against anybody, that's not normally what's done. But there may be people out there listening and observing all of this who may get motivated based on what they're seeing, and throw their hat into the ring.
The folks over a Open Left have been on top of this for a while. You should really check them out, excellent stuff.
Without challenging these members, we will never be able to get progressive legislation through Congress. Or, to put it another way, we think expanded warrantless wiretapping authority is awful for any President to have because we don't want to be spied on. We think the Iraq war is really bad and that troops should be withdrawn. We don't agree with Bush Dog Democrats on the substance of their policy ideas, nor do we think it's a good thing that they are helping George W. Bush govern in an effective working conservative majority.
That was from 2007, they're now fighting the Bush Dogs on health care. The principle's the same.
My personal "Dog" went on MSNBC to lie about health care.
One of the most recalcitrant Democrats in the health care debate said on Wednesday that his skepticism about a public health insurance option was driven by concern for the health of private insurers.
Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Meeting," Blue Dog Democrat Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma said that he generally agreed that a government-run insurance program could effectively lower costs for consumers.
"The problem," he argued, "is in a state like Oklahoma, where we have a lot of private insurers, you have a public option come in and it drives everything else out and the only thing left is the public option and then you have rationed care."
This is what Boren and the Blue Dogs and the Republicans are backing.
Rescission (also known as "post-claims underwriting") is the process whereby health insurers avoid paying out benefits to treat cancer and other serious illnesses by seeking and often finding chickenshit errors in the policyholder's paperwork that can justify canceling the policy. In one job evaluation, the health insurer WellPoint actually scored a director of group underwriting on a scale of 1 to 5 based on the dollar amount she had managed to deny through rescission. (The director had saved the company nearly $10 million, earning a score of 3. WellPoint's president, Brian A. Sassi, insists this is not routine company practice.) Rescission's victims tend typically to be less-educated people who are more likely to make an error in filling out their insurance forms and lack the means to challenge a rescission in court—a path in which success is, at any rate, not guaranteed, because under state law the practice is perfectly legal if done within the allowable time frame (typically up to two years after a policy is issued).
The health crisis doesn't get more gothic than this. Robin Beaton, a retired nurse in Texas, was rescinded last year by Blue Cross and Blue Shield after she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Blue Cross said this was because she had neglected to state on her forms that she had been treated previously … for acne. Beaton eventually persuaded her congressman, Rep. Joe Barton, to twist Blue Cross' arm, but the delay meant it was five months before she could receive her operation. Otto Raddatz, a restaurant owner in Illinois, was rescinded in 2004 by Fortis Insurance Co. after he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Fortis said this was because Raddatz had failed to disclose that a CT scan four years earlier had revealed that he had an aneurism and gall stones. Raddatz replied—and his doctor confirmed—that he had never been told about these conditions (the doctor said they were "very minor" and didn't require treatment), but Fortis nonetheless refused a payout until the state attorney general intervened. The delay in treatment eliminated Raddatz's chances of recovery, and he died.
The bottom line is this, we have to have a single payer (government) option. This is the one thing that Big Biz and their minions are fighting the most. Without it we would have the same thing that we have now. What we have now is paying the highest price in the world for the 37th ranked health care.
What single payer means is the country would expand Medicare i.e. to cover all its citizens. If they wanted it. And who wouldn't.
Or you could look at it as everyone receiving Veterans Administration health care. That's what I have and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
So don't believe the scare tactics and lies that the Right is putting out. It's just a part of their evil plan to regain power and it's not in your own best self interest.
Even the nutcases on the Religious Right are getting into the act.
Perkins explains: "In a world of health care rationing, the elderly, the handicapped and the frail are the most likely to lose their lives because care was delayed or denied. Under the government-run plans in England and Canada, the countries' sick and elderly aren't getting the care they need. As a result, their system isn't improving lives but prematurely taking them. Here in the United States, President Obama's rationing would mean that you and I could be denied basic care while our tax dollars are used to underwrite a mother choosing to end the life of her unborn child."
Scare tactics and lies. I guess some of us are just as stupid as the politicians think we are.