FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Blue Dog Group

It’s going to take a little time to get used to it. The Republicans will no longer control Congress come January. Voters on November 7 stormed the polls to denounce the Bush administration’s scandal-laden entourage and the occupation of Iraq. One by one they went down. Even so, the defeat of the neo-cons certainly doesn’t mean Republican values are on the skids.

You would guess that with the massive anti-Bush uproar the Democrats would now possess a progressive mandate to reshape the corruption that engulfs Washington. But you’d be wrong. Many of the Republicans’ substitutes are anti-choice, pro-war, socially conservative centrists. Of the newly elected House Democrats at least 9 will be joining the conservative Blue Dog caucus. According to the coalition’s spokesperson Vicky Walling, the organization had endorsed 16 new candidates this year.

The difference between the Democratic Leadership Council liberals and the Blue Dogs is marginal. Whereas New Democrats tend to be socially liberal, Blue Dogs maintain traditionally conservative ideals. They may oppose free trade but the majority, like the DLC patrons, voted to limit access to bankruptcy protection and see social programs as expendable in the quest to balance budgets.

Of the 37 current Blue Dogs in Congress, 36 were reelected with the exception of Rep. Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee. Not one had opposed the invasion of Iraq. All supported the Bush tax cuts as well as the wall along the border of Mexico. None support impeachment. All support Israel unequivocally, and if Bush moves ahead with a military intervention in Iran, they’ll all be on board.

Rahm Emanuel, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, had chosen 22 pro-war candidates to run this election season in open districts or against Republican incumbents, 9 of which were victorious. Of the 9 winners, 4 are Blue Dogs: Brad Ellsworth (IN), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Baron Hill (IN), and Heath Shuler (NC).

That means of the 29 new Democratic Representatives, 13 are staunchly pro-war. Of the rest, only a handful hold moderately decent positions on US foreign policy, yet the small group will continue to remain a minority within their party. Not surprisingly, none feel our relationship with Israel should be altered. Clearly, that is the direction the Democratic leadership in Washington is looking for in its candidates.

The Blue Dog caucus will no longer have minority status in the House, and will bump their numbers to at least 45 next year. If Christine Jennings wins her recount in Florida that total could reach 46. To put this in perspective, the Blue Dogs are on their way to being on par with DLC’s strength in the House and could outnumber the Black Caucus. The Blue Dogs will soon make up at least 20% of the Democrats in the House of Representatives.

The future looks bleak for progressives in the Senate as well. Of the 6 new Democrats who won Senate races, none plan on challenging the Bush administration’s war on terror. Aside from Jon Tester of Montana who supports Murtha’s call for redeployment, virtually every new Democratic Senator-Elect opposes a timetable for troop withdrawal and believes the Bush administration, not the Democrats, should come up with an alternative course for Iraq.

Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island was quoted in October 2005 by the Brown Daily Herald as saying, “[by] disclosing an exit strategy … US leaders would be compromising troops’ safety.” Senator-Elect Jim Webb of Virginia, who served as Secretary of the Navy under Reagan, “opposes a timetable for withdrawal.” Democrat Bob Casey, who knocked off Sen. Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania, does not support a timetable to get troops out of Iraq. And while Sherrod Brown of Ohio supports a timetable for Iraq, he believes Bush should put more pressure on Iran, noting that while we’ve been occupying Baghdad, Iran has “gained ground in their effort to posses weapons of mass destruction.” And if you think Vermont’s big Bernie Sanders has what it takes, don’t forget he supported the bombing of Serbia.

Every new Democratic Senator-Elect also supported Israel’s invasion of Lebanon.

From the Blue Dog take over of the House to the Democratic saturation of the Senate, Election Day 2006 may have brought change to Washington. Sadly it was only in name, not in policy.

JOSHUA FRANK is the author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, and edits http://www.BrickBurner.org

 

 

More articles by:

JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book, co-authored with Jeffrey St. Clair, is Big Heat: Earth on the Brink, to be published by AK Press next month. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank

September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail