Custom Search

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tensions Continue to Build as Blue Dog Democrats Refuse to Contribute to the DCCC

It is amusing to see the netroots and their total hypocrisy as they complain that the Blue Dog Democrats aka Bush Dog Democrats are not ponying up money to the DCCC.

The reason those complaints are funny and hypocritical is because the netroots have targeted these Blue/Bush Dog Democrats in a concentrated effort because they dare to think for themselves and vote accordingly instead of acting like mindless little robots and voting with the party.

They target them, they work against them, they insult them, then they cry like babies when the Blue Dogs refuse to contribute to the DCCC because they will need their money to fight for their seats in the next election.

In a previous post I pointed out how the left is trying to eat their own, here is another example that is not listed in the post linked above:

Open Left also cross posted at Daily Kos:

And so, you may have noticed a lot of chatter about 'Bush Dog' Democrats over the past few days. That's not an accident. We've been working to identify the group of conservative Democrats in the House who are holding back progressives from being able to effectively govern. These are concentrated in two main caucuses, the Blue Dog Caucus and the New Democrat caucuses. Blue Dogs consider themselves heirs to the Southern conservative wing of the party, and tend to vote for socially restrictive policies and a hawkish foreign policy. The New Democrats tend to be more partisan, but often are key to passing important pieces of right-wing legislation, such as the Bankruptcy Bill. In the last few years, these two caucuses have expanded their numbers, and the Blue Dogs have become the swing vote in the House allowing for effective conservative control of the Congress. We want to put a stop to the embrace of conservative values among House Democrats, and make sure that when Democrats are elected, they act like Democrats.

So who specifically are these people? As Chris Bowers noted, the two biggest defeats for House Democrats so far in 2007 have been the capitulation vote on Iraq, and the vote to allow Alberto Gonzales warrant-less wiretapping powers. We're calling the Democrats who capitulated on both bills 'Bush Dogs', as these are the most likely to capitulate on important fights in the future.

The first step in stopping this behavior is to identify the people engaging in it and offer up criticism. There are a few reasons for this. One, many of these members feel no pressure to vote correctly or uphold progressive values. Criticism is the signal they are relying on to let them know when they err. Two, some of these members may need to face a primary challenge, and it's useful for potential primary challengers to know that there is criticism of these members. Three, other members considering joining the Bush Dog caucus may be dissuaded if they know there will be criticism. Four, candidates running for office will finally have a signal on how they should talk about being good Democrats that are willing to take tough votes.

So here's my ask. Would you profile one of these Bush Dogs? What we need is a brief profile of the member, their voting record, their personality, and the district and its politics. Is there a primary challenge? Is the member well-suited for his or her district? Did the member do something to mitigate this criticism? Remember, this is not an attack, it's a profile so we can get to know these people and eventually persuade them to do the right thing. It doesn't have to be comprehensive or long, just enough to get a sense of who this person is and how they do their politics.

After showing an example and listing the names of the "targeted" Bush Dog Democrats, they go to say:

This is going to be uncomfortable for many of us. Criticizing the people we just elected, people who may even be nice to us personally, is never easy. And shifting away from raw partisanship, which was necessary from 2002-2006, towards the idea that we need good Democrats and not Bush Dog Democrats, is going to take some slight adjustments. We're going to be told that we are jeopardizing candidates in swing districts, that we are hurting the possibility of retaining the majority. We're going to be told we're bad Democrats.

None of that is true, and it is loser talk. There is no such thing as a Republican district, and Democrats only get stronger when we stand confidently for our values. Criticism makes us better, not weaker, and demanding that our candidates stand for ideas and not just party labels will make the Democratic Party a more vibrant and effective vessel for change. After all, at the same time as we push against Bush Dog Democrats we are also trying to elect Democrats all over the country. I mean, beating Lieberman in the primary in 2006 was just the spark the party needed to focus on Iraq. Perhaps this is the spark that progressives in the House and Senate need to get some ferocity of spirit.

In other words, this is a new project for many of us, but it's part of the continuum of what the netroots is all about. Such is how movements get stronger.

The netroots are deliberately going after the Blue Dog Democrats because they haven't "conformed" and become the little robots that the left wanted them to be when they helped them get elected and now today, I see they are whining that these Blue Dog Democrats are not contributing money they will need to fight for their seat, because of efforts like the one I showed you above.

From the Politico.
A large group of “Blue Dog” Democrats has refused to give money to the party’s campaign committee so far this cycle, underscoring simmering tension inside the Caucus and concerns about the caustic language of at least one anti-war Democrat.

According to a review of Federal Election Commission records, 15 Blue Dogs have given no money to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as of Sept. 30, despite heavy pressure from party leaders.

Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (D-Ga.), one of the 15, said he had donated on Oct. 1, but his staff would not say how much the congressman gave to the DCCC.

An additional 16 Blue Dogs have not given any cash but were exempt from party-mandated contributions because they are top GOP targets for defeat in 2008, party officials said.

The issue of party dues to the DCCC, including how much lawmakers are expected to cough up for colleagues, is extremely sensitive for members and leaders alike, one that they rarely discuss publicly.


Lists of who has given and who hasn’t are routinely circulated at closed-door meetings of lawmakers, and senior members are assigned to lean on colleagues who haven’t paid up.

While Democrats claim they don’t link committee assignments to party dues like Republicans did when they had the majority, a top Democrat acknowledged “there is enormous focus on getting members to contribute. We need the money, everything we can get.”

And this continuing pressure is often a source of friction.

Members of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of 47 moderate-to-conservative House Democrats, point out that they often represent tough, hard-to-hold swing districts that could easily go Republican, meaning they must build sizable campaign war chests in order to ensure their reelections, even if they look safe right now.

(Emphasis mine)

This problem and difficulty for the Blue Dog Democrats is compounded by the netroots attempt to target them and put their reelection campaigns in jeopardy.

Seeing my amusement yet?

It gets funnier.

But there is also lingering concern among the Blue Dogs — and resentment, in some cases — over comments made by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) to leaders of the anti-war movement.

In a late-August conference call, Woolsey encouraged the anti-war groups to field primary challengers to any Democrat who does not vote to end the war. While she later moved to repudiate the remarks, saying they were misunderstood, Woolsey’s statement angered many Blue Dogs and led some to withhold their DCCC dues.

“What [Woolsey] said was reprehensible,” said one Blue Dog who has so far declined to hand over any money to the campaign committee.

A Democratic strategist with strong ties to the Blue Dogs said the Woolsey incident is being seized upon by some conservative Democrats, even those who don’t yet have an opponent, as an excuse not to give to the party committee.

“Some of these Blue Dogs are saying, ‘If I have to defend myself in a primary, the DCCC is just going to have to wait,’” said the strategist.

The netroots want people like Hillary Clinton that will do whatever tells her to do but the Blue Dog Democrats were elected in conservative states because they are conservative Democrats and the netroots, in their unique ability to eat their own and shoot themselves in the head, just doesn't "get it".

They jeopardize these Blue Dogs by carefully targeting them, then they complain when the Blue Dogs hold onto the money they will need to fight for their seats in the next election after having the netroots make that fight even harder.

Amused yet?

Perhaps this is why the netroots are being "put in their place" by the Democratic party, at least they are saying they feel that way.