Blue Dog Democrats Exposed as Frauds

If there’s anything positive to come out of the past year, it’s that conservative Blue Dog Democrats have been exposed as frauds – concerned more about raising corporate cash and enabling Republican obstruction than any pragmatic desire to help Democrats in the red states. Blue Dogs have always claimed a high ground on Capitol Hill, saying that they represent “tough” districts where the voters are “moderate.” Progressives get told to sit down and shut up, because if Democrats are “too liberal” they will lose their majority in Congress.

But now many Blue Dogs are in trouble because of health care, and ironically what could save their hide is a public option. Instead, they are left selling a corporate-friendly bill hashed behind closed doors that forces Americans to buy private insurance – which will only make their constituents vote Republican. That’s why so many Blue Dogs are retiring – so they can bail and become lobbyists for the insurance industry.

Yesterday, Jane Hamsher at the blog Firedoglake re-printed some poll results on health care reform that would make anyone consulting the Democrats think long and hard about the current plan of action.

When asked if they support “requiring everyone to buy and be covered by a private health insurance plan,” only 34% of American voters said “yes” and 60% said “no.” But if you ask the same question and add “with a choice between a public option and private insurance plans,” the results reverse – with 60% saying “yes” and 40% saying “no.”

The numbers aren’t that different when you zero in on “swing districts.” A public option is slightly less popular, but still does well (50-46) – and gets far better reviews than a mandate without the public option (34-60), which is effectively what is now on the table.

And it gets worse when you deal with the “excise tax.” People who live in swing districts really don’t like “placing a tax on the highest-cost private insurance policies in order to pay for health care reform,” with 29% saying “yes” and 55% saying “no.” But ask them about “raising taxes on households making more than $350,000 a year in order to pay for health care reform,” and the proposal suddenly gets majority support at 53%.

So if you’re one of those House Democrats who represents a “swing district” and are worried about re-election, wouldn’t you be furious that the public option was taken out of the Senate health care bill – and you’re now being pressured to pass it unaltered? And wouldn’t you want to scuttle the excise tax right away – keeping the House version that rightly taxes the rich?

Nope. Blue Dog Democrat Mike Ross of Arkansas came out against the public option in September, claiming that his constituents opposed it. It didn’t matter that Daily Kos commissioned a poll in his district (and other Blue Dog districts as well), showing it was popular. Even a public shaming on national TV by Keith Olbermann wasn’t enough to alter his version of reality.

“The idea that removing the public option from the House bill rendered it more popular in swing districts is laughable,” said Jane Hamsher after analyzing the poll results. “Electoral slaughter is being imposed on the House if they are forced to swallow the Senate bill and honor Rahm Emanuel’s back-room deals.”

But instead of fighting to keep their jobs, a lot of these Blue Dogs are choosing to retire. Of the 12 House Democrats who are retiring this year, seven are Blue Dogs – and five of the six Democrats who are not leaving Congress to run for higher office. They’re too cowardly to admit that the public option is popular in their districts, as it exposes them as frauds. Better let a Republican win their district in an open seat, so they can claim the party lost that seat because Democrats are “too liberal.”

We’ve already tried pushing these Blue Dogs to do the right thing, but they just don’t care. That’s because the “tough district” canard was always a lie. If you know anything about their history, the Blue Dogs are not really motivated by a desire to keep Democrats in power.

The Blue Dog caucus was founded in 1995, when Newt Gingrich was House Speaker – and liberals were as weak as ever. The name “blue dog” was a play on the old term “yellow-dog Democrat,” and this group of conservative Democrats complained about being “choked blue” by the more liberal leaders in their Party. They would meet in the offices of their co-founders – Louisiana Congressmen Jimmy Hayes and Billy Tauzin – on whose wall there was the painting of a blue dog.

Both Hayes and Tauzin later switched parties, and are now right-wing Republicans. Both retired from Congress, and are now making a lucrative career as lobbyists. And in Tauzin’s case, he now works for the private health insurance industry – and probably lobbied his old Blue Dog colleagues to kill the public option.

And that’s my prediction where these retiring Blue Dog Democrats are headed. After all, they did more to help the insurance industry scuttle health care reform – turning an angry public against the Democrats so that Republicans will have more power after 2010. One year from now, they will be working on K Street – reaping far greater salaries than they are now.

Meanwhile, the rest of us get ripped off by private health insurance.

Paul Hogarth

Republished with permission from BeyondChron.


  1. jacksmith says

    A LINE IN THE SAND – From jacksmith – WorkingClass

    My Fellow Americans and People Of The World

    A strong Government-run MEDICARE like Public Option is STILL! CRITICAL!

    We have had a long hard struggle to find out what would be the BEST! that this congress and the Whitehouse could do to fix our highly dangerous, poor quality, most costly, and MOST! disgraceful healthcare delivery system in the world. It is clear that congress can do much more for the American people than what is proposed so far.

    It is clear that congress can pass a strong GOVERNMENT-run public option CHOICE. Available to everyone on day one. Expand Medicare and not levy any new taxes on workers healthcare benefits and plans. LET THIS BE YOUR LINE IN THE SAND!

    Lastly, there can be NO! INDIVIDUAL MANDATES without a strong Government-run MEDICARE like Public Option CHOICE. Or the American people WILL! and SHOULD! revolt with an all out CIVIL WAR against congress and this Government.

    House and Senate progressives and the tri-caucuses should aggressively push for the inclusion of a strong Public Option, Medicare expansion, and no new taxes on workers healthcare benefits and plans. If the obstructionist kill meaningful healthcare reform, then you should kill this bill. Because it will be far worse than the healthcare disaster we have now. It’s failure will be on the obstructionist heads. And they will be punished and replaced.


    What is proposed in the Senate bill is the worst case scenario for health-care reform. It would shift trillions of taxpayer, public and private dollars into the hands of the private insurance industry (The single most costly, deadly and dangerous product sold in America). And it would compel by law millions of Americans to financially support this oxymoronic criminal enterprise. You cant have a individual MANDATE WITHOUT A STRONG PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE!

    You will have NO! realistic way of controlling cost and quality. Cost will continue soaring through the roof bleeding the American people dry, and KILLing our economy. And our quality of healthcare will continue to decline below our current ranking of “WORST! quality of healthcare delivery in the developed World”.

    From the very start, the American people have been crystal clear about what they wanted. They wanted a humane single payer system like the rest of the developed world has (HR676). Or at least a humane strong GOVERNMENT-run public option CHOICE!! This is what the American people gave the democrats control of the house, control of the senate, and control of the Whitehouse to do.

    Those of you that can, should prepare now to remove every member of congress that fails to support YOUR healthcare reform with a strong Public Option, Medicare expansion, and no new taxes on workers healthcare benefits and plans. Run against them in teams if you have to. But take them out. And replace them with a strong single payer or PRO PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE candidate.

    Now! is the time to bring maximum pressure on your members of congress. Contact your representatives and spread the word.

    The Public Option


    I have to tell you now that the H1N1 virus is a man-made WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION! and TERROR! It is a WEAPONIZED version of a flu virus. It has swept the planet infecting millions. And causing a global pandemic that has killed tens of thousands, and injured millions.

    The H1N1 virus is the product of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! It was released in the U.S. in Texas in early January of last year, but not recognized until around April 2009 in California. The reason I know this is because when it came to America, it came to see me FIRST! How sweet…

    This was around the time the MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! assaulted the Whitehouse with all their devils deals to cripple and weaken YOUR! healthcare reform. Especially your right to have a single payer system like HR676 (Medicare For All) which most of you wanted.

    They don’t even want you to have your HUGE!!! compromise position of a strong government-run MEDICARE like Public Option CHOICE. To compete with their DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, MURDEROUS, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT PRODUCT (The single most costly, deadly and dangerous product sold in America).

    They also wanted to take away your rights to have your government meet it’s responsibility to use it’s full power to regulate, negotiate, and control drug cost, healthcare cost and quality. Something every other civilized country in the developed World has done for it’s people. Their Greed! moral degeneracy and lack of patriotism knows no bounds.

    Many of you will remember that before we knew about H1N1. I posted a open message to the President and Congress warning them to be vigilant about their health, and cautious about any medical advice they received. As I said then “they will not hesitate to try and hurt you”.

    The U.S. and the World have been under a BIOLOGICAL TERROR ATTACK! for over a year now. It is CRITICAL that We The People Of The United States take away control of our healthcare system from the GREED DRIVEN MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!

    For our own National security, and the security of the world.

    A Strong, government-run, MEDICARE like Public Option CHOICE. Available to everyone on day one, with the full unfettered power of the federal government to regulate, negotiate, and control cost and quality. Would be the most workable way to deal with this global crisis at this time. Including patent suspensions as needed for national security or the greater good.

    As an American I invite the peoples of the World to help us fix our healthcare crisis. And bring pressure on our government to meet it’s responsibility to protect global security by controlling, and removing the corrupting influence of GREED and the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT motivations from healthcare in the U.S. and around the World.

    I call on the governments of the World and the global intelligence community to track down these MASS MURDERERS, and bring them to justice. CONNECT THE DOTS! And be vigilant that they don’t slip in another viral strain on you under the cloak of H1N1 sequestration.

    Further, the proposed patent protection on biologic’s must be stripped from the US bill. And greatly shorten/restricted, or abolished completely. This is a grave danger to humanity and global security.

    I think President Obama is doing the best he can at playing the disastrous deck of cards he inherited from the previous administration. And I think he is doing an excellent job. But the wolves and devils of the medical industrial complex! are trying to exploit, and take advantage of his good heart, and desperate desire to help suffering Americans. But we must be strong and insist that healthcare reform be done right for the American people. Or everyone loose’s.

    This is all I can say in a message post. I’ll try to find a way to tell you more later.

    God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings

    jacksmith – Working Class

    p.s. The so-called nominal H1N1 virus is designed in such a way as to make it more lethal to children and young adults. The medical community must be more vigilant of secondary bacterial infections in the young caused by H1N1. And remember, a viral infection is also a transfer of genetic code to you. Think about it, and be vigilant. :-(


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