Tanner and “Blue Dog” Democrats — conservative fiscal hawks “choked blue” by their party’s liberal flank — are building their own political operation to propel like-minded candidates to victory this fall. They’re also quietly raising their own influence within a party personified by liberals like Sens. Edward Kennedy and presidential candidate Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Blue Dogs building sway on the campaign trail – msnbc.com
Many in the Democratic party may see the rise of the ‘Blue Dog’ Democrats as a double-edged sword. I, on the other hand (who considers myself independent at the moment) see this as a net positive. A lot has been said recently about the “Reagan Democrats”- Democrats who went across the aisle to support Reagan’s presidency in the 80s. It seems that the underpinnings of the Blue Dog movement is not so much to convert stalwart Republicans to hop on the donkey (though I’m sure they welcome that), but to reclaim those more conservative members of the party that were wooed away by Reagan.
Personally, I tend to be happy to see such ‘insurgent’ groups in the majority party, and by most projections, the Democrats stand to expand their majority in Congress and have an advantage in the presidential race. Whether you agree with the positions of the Blue Dogs or not (on the face of it, I suspect I agree with their economic positions, disagree with their social positions), you must agree that they nevertheless provide a counterbalance, lest the more leftist wing of the party allow their heads to get too inflated- like the Republicans after securing their razor-thin majorities.
It seems that the Blue Dogs are already having this effect, for the better I think, on budgetary policy… forcing the Democratic leadership to reign in their traditionally prolific spending tendencies. After eight years of the Bush administration’s ‘rape and pillage’ policy of cutting taxes for the rich, gutting government programs and departments, while borrowing insane amounts of money to reward corrupt insider connections with fat contracts for doing diddly, some responsible spending is very much due.
As for social issues, while I disagree with these guys on issues like abortion and imaginary omnipotent ghosts, nevertheless, I think it’s valuable that they feel like such positions have a place and a forum once again in the Democratic party, rather than leaving their constituents with only the fascist wing of the Republican party to vote for.