Why Blue Dogs?
Jamelle and John are caught up in the question that, if dwelt upon too long, can kick start an existential crisis in just about anyone to the left of Ben Nelson: Why do Blue Dog Democrats insist on losing? Why do they sabotage their own party at every turn? Why do they have a knee jerk reaction of opposition to everything decent President Obama wants to do?
Is there ANYTHING that centrists and moderates will not do to hurt themselves? Anything? The public is livid about jobs, centrists oppose job creation efforts. The public wants the middle class tax cuts extended while the taxes on the rich ended, the centrists oppose that. And on and on and on.
And who is it that is going to get wiped out in the upcoming election? The centrists. Nancy Pelosi isn’t going to lose her seat. Maxine Waters ain’t going anywhere.
Are they just masochists? Could we just get all the centrists to wear a cilice? Would that be enough self-inflicted pain that maybe they would go along with some decent legislation that might save them?
Democrats were bound to lose seats this fall; the president’s party almost always loses seats in a midterm election, and with a large majority, Democrats were bound to lose more than usual. But no one prophesied a GOP House in 2010, and it will happen — in part — because Blue Dogs are too cowardly to help themselves.
At the end of the day, we have to assume they behave this way because they believe this way. They have come to see the world as Republicans do. They think Obama is some crazy liberal and mindlessly oppose everything he does. The reason this will kick start an existential crisis is that it’s hard to understand why people who are clearly conservative aren’t Republicans. Why not just be a fucking Republican?
Beats me. It must be a Beltway thing, where they start off as Democrats but then spend so much time hanging around Republicans that they lose their minds. There’s another factor, which is what I was kind of jokingly stabbing at when making fun of Blanche Lincoln for being a terminal dork. A lot of Blue Dogs really do live in complete bubbles, with no exposure to the world as the rest of their fellow Americans understand it. If you can live in a bubble that shields you from the fact that Pete Townsend is a rock star, then you can easily live in a bubble where your idea of what a party identification should mean has no attachment to what the voters think it should mean. You can drift for years, even decades, to the right and never stop to think that your political beliefs violate the Democratic brand, because you have no concern for the real world outside of your bubble. If you get deep enough into the shit, being a Democrat has roughly no more meaning than being a supporter of a certain sports team. You back them because you always have, and call yourself a fan even if you disagree with absolutely everything they do. Because you are insulated from the consequences, and have ceased to remember that politics isn’t a sporting event, but has real consequences for real people.
Why Republicans don’t have this problem, I have no idea. Maybe it’s because their brand as the Party For Assholes is so clear that you either conform or move on.