In the News

The (Blue) Dog Days of Summer

By John Brockmeyer

2010 was bad year to be a Congressional Democrat. But as bad as it was, it was even a worse year to be a Congressional Blue Dog Democrat. Republican challengers, the NRCC and independent expenditure groups hammered moderate Democrats on their votes on the stimulus, Obmacare and raising the debt ceiling to $14.3 trillion. The Blue Dogs, some of whom had been reelected with ease for decades, found themselves in the fight of their political lives. Many didn’t make it.

The 2010 election cycle saw the Blue Dog pack thinned by over half.  Those that remain now appear to be Washington’s most endangered species.  And life isn’t getting any easier.

Tuesday’s defeat of the “clean” proposal to lift the debt ceiling was just an exercise in political gamesmanship.  It does, however, set the stage, as Paul Kane has written the Washington Post for a “long summer of heated negotiations”.   This promises to be tricky ground for the remaining Blue Dogs.  Voters, especially in marginal districts, are clear in their distaste for higher and higher federal deficits.

The Blue Dogs are in a tight spot. The countdown has begun to the August 2nd deadline set by the Treasury Secretary.  The next two months could determine their future.  Moderate Democrats once ruled Capitol Hill.  Could we be witnessing the last of the breed?

The featured image is George Rodrigue’s silkscreen print “Top Dog Yellow” (1992)

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