"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Blue Dog Democrats Headed for Extinction?

When I read last night that Almire and Holden had lost their Democrat primaries in PA, figured the days of the Blue Dogs were going away rapidly.  What this means is that the House becomes more polarizing and less about working together to get things done for the American people.

Living in Oklahoma, home of Congressman Dan Boren who is retiring at the end of this session, we observed up close what it is like to have a Blue Dog Democrat.  When it comes to Defense, he has always been there for our military and has represented our bases well.  He was a voice of reason on the Democrat side with his fellow Blue Dogs but Pelosi didn't see it that way so she set out to destroy the Blue Dog coalition and get more liberal Democrats in the House.  Now you have the Republican Establishment trying to get more moderate/liberal members of Congress instead of Conservatives.  That leaves both parties trying to kick out more conservative members.  Why?

It is getting more obvious that some establishment types don't want smaller government and prefer to have a government that does all.  In the process, we get a ruling class of politicians who only care about themselves and getting richer.  Is that where we are headed today?  Both parties need a reality check that a lot voters on both sides of the aisle are not happy with our choices for President and how Congress is performing.  Now we are also seeing Blue Dogs retiring or defeated in their own primaries.  It is shocking when you see the figures:
Only two short years ago, the Blue Dog Coalition numbered 54 as Democrats controlled the House. But they were decimated by the 2010 elections, as many of the GOP victories came at the expense of moderate Democrats who had previously held those swing districts. 
By the swearing-in of the 112th Congress, the Blue Dogs' numbers had been cut in half. Now, they are flirting with slipping into the teens.
The polling across America when it comes to Congress as a whole shows a very low opinion of how Congress is doing.  It is ridiculous how little really gets done.  All talk and no show which is probably a good thing as they are not spending more money.  There seem to be a lot of members who forget they work for the people and need to do what is best for their constitutions no matter the party which is lost on a lot of them.  Now with the Blue Dogs heading for extinction, the voice of common sense is going to be even less which is not a good thing.

Looks like the establishment of both sides are flexing their muscle using big donors on the GOP side and unions on the Democrat side to oust members they don't like and protect their fair haired members who when they say "jump," they jump.

What will the 113th Congress look like?  Too early to tell but on the Democrat side it is definitely going to become more liberal.
Blue Dogs Headed for ExtinctionBy Shane GoldmacherApril 25, 2012 | 10:28 AM 
The Blue Dogs' bark in Congress is sounding more and more like a whimper. 
The once-powerful coalition of conservative Democrats suffered two more casualties on Tuesday as Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., lost to fellow Democratic Rep. Mark Critz, and Rep. Tim Holden, D-Pa., was ousted by political newcomer Matt Cartwright
Congressional elections are just underway in 2012 but the Blue Dog losses are already starting to pile up, as several senior members have opted to retire, others face more challenging districts and those who've confronted the voters -- Altmire and Holden -- have been involuntarily sent packing. 
The losses of Altmire and Holden highlight the electoral predicament Blue Dogs are in: They are vulnerable to challenges from both ends of the political spectrum. 
Holden, a ten-term congressman, had successfully fended off GOP challengers for years. But Pennsylvania mapmakers redrew his district to be more Democratic and he lost to a more liberal challenger. Similarly, labor unions propelled Critz past the more moderate Altmire, who voted against President Obama's health care law. 
"Redistricting and a broken, polarized Congress have made it tough to be a moderate in Congress," said Arkansas Rep. Mike Ross, a Blue Dog leader, in a statement after the Pennsylvania results. "The Blue Dogs are in the middle, and we're used to being attacked from both sides." 
The group's PAC has endorsed eight new candidates, but it is not just rank-and-file Blue Dogs that are departing this year - it's the group's leadership. Three of the four official leaders, Ross and Reps. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., and Dan Boren, D-Okla., have already opted to retire. And the fourth, Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., is a top target of congressional Republicans. During the Masters golf tournament, which is in Barrow's district, House Republicans ran ads trying to link Barrow and Obama, buying golf-themed ads and billboards. 
Republicans used redistricting to remap Blue Dogs across the country into less favorable terrain. In North Carolina, two Blue Dog congressmen, Larry Kissell and Mike McIntyre, are atop the GOP target list after being put into more GOP heavy seats. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has already reserved more than $2 million in television time to hold those seats. In Utah, the state's lone Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson must campaign in new terrain to keep his job. 
Excerpt:  Read More at The National Journal 

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