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I’m Officially Bored With This Blue Dog Story


The new narrative being pushed into every media outlet who will take it — and there is no shortage — is that the new Blue Dog Democrats will overtake congress, shift the balance of power to the right and purge the influence of the unelectable, scary left.

New Democratic Coalition Co-Chair Ellen Tauscher made this comment to the New York Times:

“I think there’s tremendous agreement and awareness that getting the majority and running over the left cliff is what our Republican opponents would dearly love,” Ms. Tauscher said, adding that this was something “we’ve got to fight.”

Aside from the superb timing — throwing down the gauntlet right before the election and starting an inter-party war at the abject most inappropriate time (in classic Joe Lieberman style) — why are these people trying to party like it's 1995?   Because running against your own base worked so very well then for the Democrats.  Alienating the folks who put the boots on the ground, drive GOTV efforts, give money, give a shit is just SO VERY not smart one week before a critical election.

But then again, who would look for "conservative" Democrats for leadership anyway?  The people who sided with the Bush Administration to bring you the war in Iraq, who criticized other members of the party for speaking out against it, who not only rolled over for but proudly led in the passage of the Bankruptcy bill are just not the people I think anyone is looking to for leadership.  

There's a narrative being set up here for the post-election, and not only is it entirely premature, it's incredibly cynical.  These Rahm-annointed so-called "centrists"(as if anyone who runs as an anti-choice candidate in a country where most people respect a woman's right to choose is anything but an extremist) are going to be the "fiscally responsible ones" who keep us libruls like Henry Waxman from taxing and spending the country out of existence.

The K Street lobbyists are looking for someone to take their money these days, and I have no doubt that they see these party conservatives as the best bet for vote-buying.  This does not inspire people to look at them as leaders, fiscal or otherwise.  I was on Warren Olney's show To the Point this morning with Jonathan Collegio of the NRCC, who was obsessed with the notion that Nancy Pelosi would make it a priority in her the first 100 hours to increase taxes 3-4% across the board for people in every income bracket (an absurd claim — Pelosi's plan is to roll back tax rates for people in the $250,000-and-up bracket to their Clinton era levels).  

Blue Dog house member Jim Cooper of TN correctly countered with the fact that the tax bill for every man, woman and child in this country had been increased by the Bush's administration's out of control spending, because somebody was eventually going to have to pay those phantom bills.  But when asked, he did not say how Pelosi or the Democrats had a way to reduce spending and get the deficit under control.

The only person on the program who seemed to have an answer for that was Henry Waxman, whose dogged insistence on giving congressional oversight to wasteful, no-bid contracts and and endless supply of monopoly money making its way into the pockets of those selfsame K Street lobbyists who are looking to buy them a few Democrats seems to be a very good start on getting government spending under control.  I'm sure the Blue Dogs would like to jump on that money train and Sistah Souljah the base in order to advance their own careers, but the only one who seems to be acting like a fiscally responsible adult is Henry Waxman.  It doesn't conveniently fit into the media narrative of "raging liberal spendthrist" that seems to dominate every discussion, but it is nonetheless the truth.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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