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The Blue Dog Fallacy

cpwill

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The Blue Dog Coalition was formed by Southern Democrats after the 1994 Republican mid-term landslide as a group of conservative but loyal Democrats - "yellow dogs" choked blue by their leaders' increasing liberalism. Unlike most congressional coalitions who seek to influence Congress through ever-larger numbers, the Blue Dogs conspicuously limit their membership every Congress.

The ostensible idea was to create space for moderate Democrats to distinguish themselves from a liberal Democratic Caucus that was increasingly out of touch with a right-of-center electorate. But whatever cooperation they initially offered the Newt Gingrich-led new Republican majority, over time, the Blue Dogs have drifted from that original stated mission...

Whatever substantive distinction the "Blue Dog Coalition" ever carried has all but dissolved into a crude and cynical branding mechanism. The Blue Dog Coalition exists not to help conservative Democrats influence policy, but to allow conventional Democrats to deceive the media and their constituents...

Since the formation of the Coalition in 1995, the Blue Dogs' economic voting record has consistently drifted leftward. According to the Annual Congressional Score Card of the National Taxpayers Union, a conservative economic watch dog organization, the Blue Dogs debuted in 1995 almost as advertised, earning an average score of 52 percent. As the chart below shows, the votes have gotten worse almost every year since. Of particular note is the precipitous drop in 2007 when the Democrats retook control of the House for the first time since the Blue Dogs' founding. It was then that the Blue Dogs' influence ought to have been optimal. The Coalition's membership was larger than the Democrats' overall majority of 15 seats in the 110th Congress and 40 seats for most of the 111th. The Blue Dogs could have - and should have - been a moderating influence on Speaker Pelosi's economic agenda and President Obama's gargantuan spending increases.

No such luck. On the biggest, defining votes since the Democrats took the House, the Blue Dogs have voted almost in lock-step with their party leaders. And with one leader in particular the Blue Dogs are more like lap dogs. Of the 62 votes cast by Speaker Pelosi during the current 111th Congress on economic issues, the Blue Dogs voted with her 80 percent of the time. Only two - Reps. Bobby Bright (AL-02) and Gene Taylor (MS-04) - have voted with Speaker Pelosi less than half the time, while three have voted with her every time...

The Blug Dog Coalition's nearly universal reputation for fiscal conservatism is wholly undeserved. They do not influence policy by voting as a bloc against spending excesses. They routinely betray the PAYGO principles on which their reputations rests. And they do not change the culture of spending in Congress by standing against earmarks.

The Blue Dog Coalition, in reality, is not a vehicle conservative Democrats use to influence policy, but an artificial brand conventional Democrats have created to help market themselves. This is the true purpose of the Blue Dogs' self-imposed membership limit - the exclusivity confers on each member an unearned aura of independence and fiscal credibility.
 

TacticalEvilDan

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Okay. So, in other words, it's just as fake as everything else in Washington.

Somehow, I think if we stopped pretending that the two major parties are capable of doing anything honest and genuine, we'd find that their BS only becomes news when they get their chops busted by the electorate.
 

Ned Racine

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Gene Taylor(D-Miss) did however (in 1999) Vote for all 4 Articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton , so he must of then had a few principle's .
 

TacticalEvilDan

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Or he figured his vote wouldn't make a difference, and that he could make political hay out of it.

DC politicians are not known for comitting hari-kari knowingly.
 

rathi

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No major group in Congress is interested in fiscal restraint at the moment. Republicans, blue dog democrats, and liberal democrats have all consistently voted for more spending. In the last six years, we have gone from Republican president/republican congress, republican president/democrat congress, democrat president/congress with every combination continuing to overspend.
 

TacticalEvilDan

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Nope, we're still in need of a Democrat President with a Republican Congress. That'll round out the Collector's Edition of **** the American Dream quite nicely. :lol:
 
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