The Mythological Democrat

You may remember Dr. Matthew Manweller. He’s the Central Washington University Political Science professor who rather shamefully suggested that Republicans ought not “go after” Blue Dog Democrats in 2010. Since I wrote this post castigating Dr. Manweller for taking such a naive stance, he’s pointed me in the direction of two articles which he felt were relevant.

The first was an op-ed at The New Republic, that opens with an excerpt from Federalist Number 10 penned by James Madison.

Among the numerous advantages promised by a well-constructed union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice.

So far, so good. Madison and I are totally on the same page. I even agree with the authors of the article that we’ve reached a point where our political system is on dangerous ground because of unbridled factionalism. Of course, it’s all down hill after that, as The New Republic article goes on to lay the blame for this alarming state of affairs solely on the Republican Party, with the last, precipitous slide having been caused by their stubborn refusal to embrace the Baucus health care bill.

The Republican reception of Baucus’s bill doesn’t so much represent a crisis for health care reform as it does a crisis for our system. The GOP is no longer representing interest groups; rather, it has become an interest group itself–and an implacable one. So that a compromise piece of legislation that achieves a rough consensus among the various factions in the debate fails to get even one vote from one of the two major parties.

Forget that the Democrats weren’t exactly wetting themselves with excitement over this bill. Ignore its questionable credentials as an actual bipartisan effort (just because there were Republicans sitting on the committee, doesn’t mean their ideas were incorporated into the bill; a true bipartisan effort should have garnered support from the GOP committee members). Forget that; just focus on the Republican opposition and make something sinister of it.

The second was a news story detailing the defeat of the Senate Medicare bill, where we learn that 13 Democrats voted against it.

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, needed 60 votes to proceed. He won only 47. And he could not blame Republicans. A dozen Democrats and one independent crossed party lines and voted with Republicans on the 53 to 47 roll call.

Indulge me while I make an unrelated point. The Democrats’ failure to pass health care reform legislation cannot be attributed to GOP opposition, as much as I’d like to think there was something they could do stop this train wreck from happening. The truth is – and I’m certainly not the first to make this point but Robert Pear and David M. Herszenhorn, who wrote the article apparently have yet to be clued in – Republicans hold a minority of seats in both the House and Senate. If the Democrats want to pass their health care reform, all they need to do is, you know, pass it. The GOP can’t stop them.

Getting back to Manweller’s point…getting back to the point…yeah. Actually, I’m not sure what Manweller’s point is here.


I am a Blue Dog. I am moved by mysterious forces, the nature of which the GOP can never fathom.

Then on Saturday, I happened across this article about North Dakota Democrat, Earl Pomeroy. Here’s the part that immediately caught my interest.

Congressman Earl Pomeroy (photo) of North Dakota, a supposed Blue Dog Democrat fiscal hawk (emphsis added) demonstrated his peculiar brand of “hawkishness” this week when he quickly announced his support of Nancy Pelosi’s health care bill.

And now my point.

With very few exceptions, the Blue Dog Democrats aren’t conservative. Amongst the House Blue Dogs, over half support the conservative position less than one third of the time. In my estimation, that disqualifies them even as moderates. In the Senate, the list of ten so-called moderate Senators who pose a threat to the passage of health care reform legislation is even more revealing; only one, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, could reasonably be called moderate. The other nine? They support the conservative position less than one quarter of the time.

This tells me that the existence of conservative and moderate Democrats in the House and Senate is largely a myth created by the Democrat Party. Why? Because by changing the public perception of what constitutes a legislative moderate, they hope to force the Republican Party to the left lest it be characterized as extreme. And Stockholm Syndrome Republicans inside the beltway and elsewhere perpetuate the myth of the moderate Democrat and participate in their own marginalization by trying to make nice with the Blue Dogs.

You can’t count on Blue Dog support because they’re not conservatives or, for the most part, even moderates. If they occasionally vote in line with conservative principles, you can’t know or understand their motivations because they surely differ from those of real conservatives. The only way to ensure a return to government based on the Constitution and conservative principles is to elect as many conservatives as possible to the House and Senate, even in districts now represented by a Blue Dog.

The GOP leadership needs to show some fighting spirit going into the mid-term elections to help rebuild their brand. Taking a soft approach with the Blue Dogs is not the path to success.

Update: ‘Scuse me for saying so, but Dick Morris agrees with me.

Update: ‘Scuse me again, but Grover Norquist agrees with me, too.


Filed under Politics, Washington

15 responses to “The Mythological Democrat

  1. Catpax

    Exactly! In fact the GOP better grow a spine and quickly or they are going to die and will still never know why! We have enough people talking out of both sides of their mouths to last several lifetimes, so we don’t need any more and the Dems are crafty little devils putting conservatives up against a wall and then taunting them to defend themselves! We don’t need to have our backs against the wall or defend ourselves; we just have stay on track and behave conservatively!!!

  2. Deathknyte

    I am pretty sure the “mysterious forces” that guide the blue dog dems are usually known as “I want to be re-elected.”

  3. Ken Hahn

    There are no conservative Democrats. There are no moderate Democrats. Democrats come in four flavors:
    1. liberal
    2. very liberal
    3. extremely liberal
    4. with no known philosophy except reelection.

    Most lapdogs, er blue dogs are in the last group although some are merely liberals of some stripe that talk conservatively to maintain viability in conservative districts. The media will, of course, call any Democrat who might not vote to advance authoritarian social democracy all the time a conservative.

  4. Ron

    There will be few responses because the above is so obviously true. It is almost as if Obama and crowd is a conservative plant.

  5. dustydog

    Hard-line conservatives could sweep this country, only losing in New York City, DC, Seattle, and Baltimore. The GOP pushes for ‘moderate’ candidates because the incumbent republicans want it that way, not because the voters want to them to statists. And the incumbents are ‘moderates’ because they like the power and the bribery. There is no profit in leaving people alone, which is why the democrats and republicans are both firmly against the principle.

  6. Totally.

    They run as “moderates” or “conservatives”–Obama had success with this in 2008–and vote as “liberals”.

    Good riddance.

  7. firstpoppa

    The problem has been “moderate” Republicans wanting to get along with Democrats. Not possible. As said of Teddy Kennedy, ‘he was willing to cross the isle to shake the hand of any Republican WHO VOTED TEDDY’S WAY. Yeah, that’s “bipartisan”.

  8. rushbabe

    Spot on. As Rush always says, “There’s no such thing as a moderate, an independent or blue dog. When push comes to shove, they vote the way San Fran Gran Nan tells them to — and I believe most of them want to vote the commie way anyhow.

  9. Palladin

    I agree!

    “The GOP leadership needs to show some fighting spirit going into the mid-term elections to help rebuild their brand. Taking a soft approach with the Blue Dogs is not the path to success.”

    Yes.. but how do they do that? My approach would be for the GOP to establish a much better network of community-based activists who can devote the time to go door to door, just like the Dems are doing (like with their OFA organization).

    We need to hit the voters with facts about the incumbent blue dogs as well as any other Democrat.. but especially the blue dogs since they are usually in more conservative districts/states.

    Good post!

  10. That fighting spirit will not come from the GOP leadership but from an angry and motivated conservative base in the American population, and when it comes it will sweep away not only the Democrats but the GOP as we know it today. They realize this but they have NO idea what to do about it.

    This is no longer a fight between factions but a war against incumbency itself, an insular, incompetent, insensitive incumbency that holds itself inexplicably above the people it is meant to serve. And it cannot come too soon.

  11. BOOM!
    That is all needed to be said.

  12. Dr Irish

    According to Gallup 40% of Americans define themselves as conservative. Assuming those 40% know what that means, if Repubs run a conservative they only need 10.01% of Independents to win. However, when they run “moderates” they are basically telling the 40% to hold their noses and vote. If 10% stay home due to the “moderate” then you have to garner 20.01% of the moderates. Why dont they see this?

  13. Paula,

    All I ask is that you educate yourself before you criticize. We are on the same team working for the same goals. Only our strategies differ. I invite you to read my articles at and reconsider if you think I am “shameful”. I have been fighting this fight long before you have and have taken far harder approaches than you. But strategic differences should not be spun into moral questions.



  14. Pingback: The Mythological Democrat - Stealth Fusion Forum - World Breaking News

  15. Rob Stubbs

    We have all heard the awe inspiring lectures from the Politicians about how we need to work together and put the interests of the country first. We have seen the Republicans reach out and include their fine Democrat Brethren in the process of making legislation. President George W Bush in that grand spirit of trying to end the division allowed the appointees of the previous Administration to stay in their positions as he took office. We have heard that these gestures of good will would insure if the Democrats regained power they would certainly reciprocate in the interest of Bi-partisanship relations. If I lived in a grand fantasy realm where good intentions determined the outcome I would say it worked as intended but this is the real world. Every effort was made to be obstructionists aka the Party of No making even the most basic of tasks as onerous as possible. Only briefly did the divisions fade away as the results of 9-11 brought us together. It did not last as time passed and became another way to play the game of blame.

    To those paying attention there was no spirit of working together as the minority party did everything in its power to do to block, criticize, and offer no real alternatives to any plans put forth. And the bills put forth were not good bills but for the most part a series of bad ones like too many others enacted over the decades that were signed into law by a President who wanted to get along with both sides of the aisle.

    Then the Democrats took the House and Senate in 2006. You would certainly expect a sense of gratitude and a grand effort to be inclusive of the minority party. Shockingly but not those expecting this reaction The Democrats did everything they could not to include Republicans in decisions and then blame them for not being bipartisan enough. Now we cut to the present where an Overspending, Over Regulating, Over Taxing, Blame everything bad on the Previous Executive for legislation they passed, House and Senate and White House party with the Tax Payer money by passing every dream Liberal Democrat wish list into law.

    We then hear that it is somehow the duty of Republicans not to target the mythical practical Blue Dogs Democrats because it would show signs of being cynical and sometimes they cross the aisle bravely against the wishes of their party. All this bravery that got Tarp 2 passed, Stimulus Passed, Cap and Trade passed in the House, Health Care Reform Passed in the House. Funny how none of that cross the Aisle Bravery stopped the Bills from heading out of the House.

    What would be truly cynical is to suggest not to pursue winning every single election with full force in 2010 – 2012. The Party of the Moderate has failed to win or even maintain its power just because it has pretended shifting leftwards or being moderate with liberals is the path to Victory. If the GOP wants to shrink their presence even more in political power they will follow the advice of the Democrat Friendly Media, The Moderate Commentators who were all too eager to get behind the Democrat until he showed he wasn’t interested in ruling from the center, and Democrat Strategists who surely want the GOP to regain power.

    If they want to win they better start standing for Limited Government , Tax Cuts, Sensible not Nonsensical Regulations, Empowering the Individual and The Constitution once more.

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