Have conservative Democrats in the House had enough of Deadbeatonomics? Congressional Quarterly reports that almost 50 members of the Democratic caucus may start blocking key points of the Barack Obama agenda. Not surprisingly, they hail from districts Obama failed to carry in 2008:
Democratic Reps. Jim Matheson of Utah and Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona have joined a quiet revolt in the House that could slow some of President Obama’s fast-moving priorities.
The two are among 49 Democrats from congressional districts that backed Republican Sen. John McCain ’s 2008 presidential race and whose support for the Democratic majority’s progressive agenda is increasingly not assured.
A dozen of them were among 20 House Democrats who voted against the $410 billion discretionary fiscal 2009 spending package (HR 1105) on Feb. 25. Another group later forced House leaders to sideline a contentious bill (HR 1106) to allow bankruptcy judges to modify home loans.
I wondered when some of these Democrats would remember that they have to get elected in 2010. I guarantee you that Republicans have not forgotten it. While the House Republican Caucus would like to partner with the Blue Dogs to take the edge off of Deadbeatonomics, they will certainly get aggressive in conservative districts next year in an attempt to wrest control of the House back from Nancy Pelosi and put an end to the trillion-dollar giveaways of Obama and Tim Geithner.
However, it’s a mistake to think that they will act as a group on all of the agenda points, and that may be a strategy by Pelosi to keep them in the House in 2011. If a Blue Dog votes for Porkulus but not the omnibus, he can argue that he attempted some fiscal responsibility. Others may vote for the omnibus but not the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. Others may vote to raise some taxes and not others. It’s a game of whack-a-mole that would allow them to claim to support their conservative-minded constituencies while providing no practical obstacle to Obama’s Deadbeatonomics.