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November 16, 2006
The Return Of The Blue Dogs

Nine of the 28 seats gained by Democrats in the midterm elections came from the success of "Blue Dogs", conservative Democrats who convinced voters in previously Republican districts to trust them with reform. The Los Angeles Times now counts 44 of the faction in the House Democratic Caucus, and reports that they have begun to bark for their conservative policies:

They helped propel the Democrats to victory in last week's election, and now the "Blue Dogs" want their reward: a decidedly conservative fiscal policy that begins with a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget.

The coalition of moderate and conservative House Democrats on Wednesday introduced nine members who were newly elected to Congress, bringing its numerical strength to 44. That's more than enough, if all 44 join with the Republican minority in January, to block the initiatives of the more liberal House leadership headed by Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco). ....

Blue Dog Co-Chairman Jim Matheson of Utah said neither party could take the support of the coalition for granted. "Blue Dogs believe in partnership and not partisanship," he said.

Mike Ross of Arkansas, another Blue Dog leader, said the Democratic Party owed its success in the midterm election to the conservative Democrats who won many seats formerly held by Republicans. "Republicans did not lose their seats to liberal Democrats," Ross said. "Republicans lost their seats to Blue Dog Democrats, to conservative Democrats."

This parallels the problem Harry Reid has in the Senate, primarily with Joe Lieberman but also with Jim Webb. The Republicans have had the same problems in the past with Lincoln Chafee, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and a host of GOP Representatives. Razor-thin majorities amplify the importance of factions such as the Blue Dogs, and they intend to take advantage of it.

They've already had an impact on the platform, but it's an easily-manipulated entry. They insisted on a pay-as-you-go provision for appropriations, forcing Congress to find new revenues for every new appropriation or tax cut. That's not a conservative position, but it's at least somewhat moderate and responsible. The conservative position -- which the Times apparently doesn't know -- is that every new dollar spent should have a balancing cut in other expenditures. Conservatives don't want to take more money out of the private sector to fund government expansion, and Blue Dogs apparently can't see the difference.

Some pundits have disputed the notion that conservatism remained strong after the midterms; some even declared it dead as a political philosophy. However, the fact that one-third of all Democratic gains in the House joined the Blue Dogs shows that the philosophy has appeal that extends to independents. The Blue Dogs will prove a tough stumbling block for the more ambitious programs envisioned by the Democratic majority -- and if they don't, the GOP has those districts in thier sights for 2008.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 16, 2006 6:17 AM

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» Help From An Unexpected Quarter from Geezerville USA
When was the last time the Republicans got help from the Democrats? Nine of the 28 seats gained by Democrats in the midterm elections came from the success of “Blue Dogs”, conservative Democrats who convinced voters in previously Republican... [Read More]

Tracked on November 16, 2006 10:34 AM

» The Return Of The Blue Dogs (Updated and bumped) from Bill's Bites
The Blue DogsWashington Times Editorial With Democrats likely to pick up 30-32 House seats after all the counting, recounting, canvassing and run-offs are completed, Election Day was very good to the liberal wing of the House Democratic Caucus, which will [Read More]

Tracked on November 16, 2006 1:27 PM

» from Hang Right Politics
There’s been a little speculation on this page today about the Blue Dog democrats and their support for looney left philosophies. One third of the newly elected democrats ran to the RIGHT of their republican opponent. We can discuss how stupid t... [Read More]

Tracked on November 16, 2006 1:45 PM


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