Hot new lefty op-ed: Fellow Democrats, it’s time to purge the Blue Dogs

posted at 7:22 pm on October 25, 2010 by Allahpundit

An entertaining adjunct to Benjamin Sarlin’s Daily Beast post today listing five excuses parties start making when they know they’re headed for destruction at the polls. Number five on Sarlin’s list: “We Totally Wanted to Lose Anyway.”

Take it away, Ari Berman.

Margaret Johnson, a former party chairwoman in Polk County, N.C., helped elect Representative [Heath] Shuler but now believes the party would be better off without him. “I’d rather have a real Republican than a fake Democrat,” she said. “A real Republican motivates us to work. A fake Democrat de-motivates us.”…

A smaller majority, minus the intraparty feuding, could benefit Democrats in two ways: first, it could enable them to devise cleaner pieces of legislation, without blatantly trading pork for votes as they did with the deals that helped sour the public on the health care bill. (As a corollary, the narrative of “Democratic infighting” would also diminish.)

Second, in the Senate, having a majority of 52 rather than 59 or 60 would force Democrats to confront the Republicans’ incessant misuse of the filibuster to require that any piece of legislation garner a minimum of 60 votes to become law. Since President Obama’s election, more than 420 bills have cleared the House but have sat dormant in the Senate. It’s easy to forget that George W. Bush passed his controversial 2003 tax cut legislation with only 50 votes, plus Vice President Dick Cheney’s. Eternal gridlock is not inevitable unless Democrats allow it to be.

Republicans have become obsessed with ideological purity, and as a consequence they will likely squander a few winnable races in places like Delaware. But Democrats aren’t ideological enough. Their conservative contingent has so blurred what it means to be a Democrat that the party itself can barely find its way.

This sounds suspiciously like DeMint’s famous formulation that he’d rather have a GOP caucus comprised of 30 Marco Rubios than 60 Arlen Specters. Berman’s not going quite that far — he wants a smaller majority, not an immaculately pure minority — but I’m still not sure how this would work in practice. For one thing, there’s nothing stopping them now from passing cleaner bills on major agenda items. If, as Berman seems to believe, there are 218 votes available on the Democratic side for pork-free progressive legislation, then the Blue Dogs can be safely ignored. Let ‘em vote no on things like ObamaCare; it won’t stop the bill and it’ll help them get reelected. If there aren’t 218 votes available for liberal bills — and bear in mind that the Congressional Progressive Caucus has only a bit more than 80 members — then obviously the numbers required for a smaller yet more effective majority are, er, problematic. Beyond all that, I’m at a loss as to how having fewer Senate seats will increase pressure on Democrats to “confront” the Republicans on the filibuster. I would think it’s just the opposite: The closer Democrats are to 60, as they are now, the more vehemently opposed to filibusters they should be. As their majority shrinks and they get closer to minority status, the more self-interest should soften their antipathy to the procedure, especially when they have many more Senate seats in play in the 2012 cycle than Republicans do.

No need to overthink this, though. This sort of proposal isn’t meant to be taken seriously. It’s meant to do things: (a) designate an easy scapegoat for the election beating, even though no one to the right of, say, Keith Olbermann seriously believes the Dems are going down because their caucus was too centrist, and (b) provide a little balm for the impending wound as described by Sarlin in this piece. In fact, the truly hot meme among lefties right now is that losing the House will actually help Obama in 2012, whether by giving him someone to blame, forcing the GOP to take some responsibility for the economy, or providing cover for him to tack towards the center. That variation on “we totally wanted to lose anyway” at least has some sense to it. Read the rest of Sarlin’s excuses list so that you’re well prepared for the rest of the week.


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The midterms will be a lot more effective than that mean dog catcher in the little rascals.

Mr. Joe on October 25, 2010 at 7:25 PM

The lefties tend to be in safe districts (but no district is really safe). Still, the blue dogs will be first to fall.

Mr. Joe on October 25, 2010 at 7:26 PM

The Dems are trying to hedge their losses. Making it sound like a good thing isn’t such a bad idea. Plus it puts them in the position to shift the blame back on us.

The Expert Knows
http://theexpertsblog.blgospot.com

HotAirExpert on October 25, 2010 at 7:26 PM

Read the rest of Sarlin’s excuses list so that you’re well prepared for the rest of the week.

Pass.

BKeyser on October 25, 2010 at 7:28 PM

the truly hot meme among lefties right now is that losing the House will actually help Obama in 2012, whether by giving him someone to blame

demagogues need that. someone to blame. That’s why he’s botching this election. Nobody makes this horrendous string of missteps unless you’re driving the bus that’s killing these blue dogs and others. Their replacements are being grown at Harvard and Columbia right now……

ted c on October 25, 2010 at 7:29 PM

forcing the GOP to take some responsibility for the economy,

But I thought polls say that the majority still blames Bush and the GOP for the economy.

ddrintn on October 25, 2010 at 7:29 PM

Turn even harder left–that’s the ticket.

mwbri on October 25, 2010 at 7:30 PM

LoL. Those fools. I mean teh blue dogs should be voted out for being as gullible as they were. They thought they mattered?? Ha!

Their reputations are tarnished forever being associated with this class of dems and poster children for willing dupes/useful idiots.

bloghooligan on October 25, 2010 at 7:31 PM

More than 40% of Americans call themselves conservative. About 20% label themselves liberal.

Answer: the Democratic Party needs to be more liberal.

Epistemic closure? Heck, this is the equivalent of using crazy glue to glue your eyes shut.

SteveMG on October 25, 2010 at 7:33 PM

Yes, please remove your blue dogs from red districts.

WisCon on October 25, 2010 at 7:33 PM

Come home, Reagan Democrats.

beatcanvas on October 25, 2010 at 7:33 PM

Please do it, donkeys. Please try to impeach John Roberts, too. Keep pushing Anthony Kennedy and the moderate Democrats over to the right side of the great divide.

Terrie on October 25, 2010 at 7:33 PM

Their goal is communism. Pure, and simple.

Of course, they’ll be the leaders, and the rest of us get to beg for scraps.

capejasmine on October 25, 2010 at 7:34 PM

It’s funny though to see libs making scapegoats of the Blue Dogs in pretty much the same way that GOP moderates are forever making “socons” their scapegoats.

ddrintn on October 25, 2010 at 7:34 PM

Ya know, only one of their 5 Great Plains States seats are up this cycle, and Byron Dorgan chose to retire rather than face the voters. Think Baucus, Kent Conrad, Tim Johnson or Jon Tester really want to face the voters this cycle? They would all be gone. The Dems are lucky in that they have a favorable playing field this cycle, most of the Senate is being played on their home deep blue turf. I can think of 10-15 seats that could easily go R this cycle that aren’t being contested till 2 or 4 years from now.

lizzie beth on October 25, 2010 at 7:35 PM

There were no Blue Dogs after 2008, so what is this moron talking about?

portlandon on October 25, 2010 at 7:36 PM

PURITY TEST!!!

txhsmom on October 25, 2010 at 7:38 PM

When did all these filibusters happen? Me thinks there’s a bunch of dems out there who don’t know what the word actually means.

RachDubya on October 25, 2010 at 7:39 PM

Dear Democrats,
We will help you with your Blue Dog problem.

Love,

The Tea Party.

BetseyRoss on October 25, 2010 at 7:41 PM

When did all these filibusters happen? Me thinks there’s a bunch of dems out there who don’t know what the word actually means.

RachDubya on October 25, 2010 at 7:39 PM

You’re right, it’s hilarious watching all these lib pundits witnessing the failure of their programs and then saying that their Congress and Messiah couldn’t get a damn thing done because of all that Republican obstructionism.

ddrintn on October 25, 2010 at 7:41 PM

I would imagine some Blue dogs were legitimate Scoop Jackson types in 2006. All that got them was a nice little sit-down with San Fran Nan on how to climb the ladder (or else).
Now all they’ll have is a 4 year accumulated pension.
In retrospect, we may be lucky that Pelosi was so strident- a smart liberal politician could’ve tempered Dear Leader a little and made +39 seats last a longer time.

jjshaka on October 25, 2010 at 7:42 PM

Thanks, AP, I love George Rodrigue’s Blue Dog stuff. If I’m not mistaken, this particular work was done by him to celebrate the election of Bill Clintoon.

His latest limited edition ($1,800 per) has Blue Dog standing next to a vintage steam locomotive, something our Democrat posters would know nothing about as they’re only into “Light Rail”.

Del Dolemonte on October 25, 2010 at 7:44 PM

When did all these filibusters happen? Me thinks there’s a bunch of dems out there who don’t know what the word actually means.

That grabbed me too.

Not having enough votes for cloture is not the same thing as a filibuster.

SteveMG on October 25, 2010 at 7:45 PM

After the 2008 election, and the Obituary written for the Republican party by the media, the Blue dogs really believed all the Obama hype.

The Obamacrats want to blame the blue dogs, but need to look into a mirror to find the real culprits.

portlandon on October 25, 2010 at 7:45 PM

Their conservative contingent has so blurred what it means to be a Democrat that the party itself can barely find its way.

Funny, I know what a Democrat stands for quite clearly.

The Lone Platypus on October 25, 2010 at 7:47 PM

Good.

Let the democrat party become unapologetically progressive, let the republican party become unabashedly conservative.

A clear choice for the American people.

Choose.

Rebar on October 25, 2010 at 7:47 PM

And Republicans have to sit in the back, according to the clown in chief. Good God this guy is insane!

lukespapa on October 25, 2010 at 7:48 PM

Speaking of Blue Dogs or Rhode Island Dogs…….

WOONSOCKET, R.I. – President Barack Obama attacked Republicans with gusto Monday as he plunged into a final week of midterm election campaigning, but his party’s prognosis remained darkened by the feeble economy and his itinerary was designed largely to minimize losses.

Nor was his greeting totally friendly in Rhode Island where Obama has pointedly declined to endorse his party’s candidate for governor.

Obama can “take his endorsement and shove it,” declared Democrat Frank Caprio, battling Republican-turned-independent Lincoln Chafee in a gubernatorial race rated tight in the polls. Chafee endorsed Obama during the 2008 campaign for the White House.

In a little more than five hours in the state, Obama was booked for a factory tour and for a pair of fundraisers that party officials said would bring in $500,000.

He said Republicans had driven the economy into a ditch and then stood by and criticized while Democrats pulled it out. Now that progress has been made, he said, “we can’t have special interests sitting shotgun. We gotta have middle class families up in front. We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.”

You know……he can put the GOP in the back of the car/bus if he wants too…..but DOTUS we got some newsies for yous……CONSERVATIVES ARE GOING TO BE DRIVING THIS CAR…..get your freaking Slurpee and have a seat….ON THE TRUNK.

PappyD61 on October 25, 2010 at 7:50 PM

I don’t think they need to have a purge of Blue Dogs after this election… most of them look to be getting purged by the voters for going along with Pelosi’s bullsh!t.

The Blue Dog Caucus membership is in the high 30s or low 40s as of now. I think all but about 5-6 of them are in serious danger of losing come November 2, which should be roughly the difference between Republicans taking the House and being the minority party.

teke184 on October 25, 2010 at 7:55 PM

Purge those Blue dogs. Go ahead, complete the hijacking of the Dem party. Bring it on. Drive those Reagan Dems back into the GOP. I personally may be pretty much hard right, but I hope our arms will be wide open to them.

petefrt on October 25, 2010 at 7:58 PM

Leftist sure are comfortable using the word “purge”. Must be channelling their inner Stalin. Just saying.

NaCly dog on October 25, 2010 at 7:59 PM

I love my George Rodrigue’s dogs, and I can’t accept them used as poster dogs for those ba$tard Democraptic blue dogs. Photoshop some kind of icky rat on a string dog. Like a chi-wawa or a sh*t-zu.

Vote Bristol Palin tonite! Nothing pisses off the ugly left more than her doing well on Dancing with the stars!

anniekc on October 25, 2010 at 8:00 PM

“But Democrats aren’t ideological enough..”

Excuse me…?

… Come again?

Pardon…?

… Que?

Seven Percent Solution on October 25, 2010 at 8:03 PM

Republicans have become obsessed with ideological purity,

Obviously, Ari Berman is not a Hot Air reader …

Lourdes on October 25, 2010 at 8:08 PM

Come home, Reagan Democrats.

beatcanvas on October 25, 2010 at 7:33 PM

LONG OVERDUE…

Come home and help us solve the issues that need solving… NOW!!

Khun Joe on October 25, 2010 at 8:09 PM

Blue Dogs? You mean those who had the gonads to stand up to Pelosi? The ones who DIDN’T give a standing ovation to Calderon’s anti-USA diatribe blaming us for all his country’s problems? Remind me of who they are again?

Eren on October 25, 2010 at 8:27 PM

ER, we’ll take heath Shuler.

hawkdriver on October 25, 2010 at 8:31 PM

We’ll take Heath Shuler.

hawkdriver on October 25, 2010 at 8:36 PM

There is a major difference between GOP conservative purity as DeMint describes and the excluding blue-dogs the article describes. We saw that the RINOs were blurring for the public WHO was responsible for the spending in Congress. On the Stimulus we managed to avoid the GOP label being tarnished despite Snowe, Collins and Spector but it seems the public only under circumstances of complete partisanship understands and BLAMES the appropriate party. This mislabeling doesn’t work on the other side. The progressive agenda needs to be cloaked in bipartisanship or some other explanation in a center right country. In a center right country of only 20% liberals votes and groups need to bought off. To get to a majority the Democrates NEED mislabeling and they definitely need Blue-Dogs to a) Get them to a majority in both chambers and B)Give the press and the public someone who isn’t talking crazy like Pelosi or Reid with a D next to their name. So in conclusion what DeMint proposed we just saw WORK in the last congress (Unified Republicans voting conservative) where the insane democrats pi$$ED off the public and couldn’t hide behind a Republican and are now facing a sweep from power which they can never regain without using Blue Dogs. Let’s see how Rahm’s Blue Dog recruitment goes after this beating of partially Conservative Democrats. As liberals they ARE a rump party.

Conan on October 25, 2010 at 8:46 PM

If they toe the line, they are welcome…blue, white, green, yellow, black, pink…the only dog we don’t want is a Pelosi lap dog…

right2bright on October 25, 2010 at 8:54 PM

Republicans have become obsessed with ideological purity? Huh ? Does anyone remember Joe Lieberman who voted 90% Dem but it wasn’t good enough?

Dennis D on October 25, 2010 at 9:18 PM

I forget. How many Blue Turd Democrats voted against ObamaCare, the Stimulus, and Cap & Tax?

PD Quig on October 25, 2010 at 11:32 PM

Second, in the Senate, having a majority of 52 rather than 59 or 60 would force Democrats to confront the Republicans’ incessant misuse of the filibuster

That’s pretty funny – have you considered stand-up comedy?

Vashta.Nerada on October 26, 2010 at 9:30 AM

“I’d rather have a real Republican than a fake Democrat,” she said. “A real Republican motivates us to work. A fake Democrat de-motivates us.”

I agree with her. But from the other perspective, of course.

Kevin M on October 26, 2010 at 5:49 PM