Sunday, March 29, 2009

Blue Dogs Want Your Fire

As Publius says, you've got moderate groups in the House and Senate (the Blue Dogs, the Evan Bayh squad) that exist primarily to give political cover to Democratic Congresscritters and Senators from conservative areas. Is there any reason these people don't want to be criticized from the left? If the point is to show off that they're moderates, don't they want liberals cursing their names -- including the expert liberal name-cursers who write on blogs? If this is correct, "holding fire for a bit" will be counterproductive -- they'll just keep moving right until we start firing and they can look moderate. I suppose if you're Nancy Pelosi or somebody with real power, you shouldn't do anything brutal to them, though noisy public threats of brutality may help their cause.

So the smart play for people at our keyboards would just be: start firing at them no matter where they are, unless they've uncharacteristically staked out such a progressive position on some random issue that it would just cause confusion. They'll thank you for it in December of an even-numbered year.


Stephen said...

Your assessment presupposes that the Blue Dogs and Bayhites are significantly more liberal than the districts/states that elected them. But we all know that you don't have to be liberal at all to be a Democrat. You can be a business-worshiping, tax-cutting patriarchal fool and still be a Democrat in good standing.

And I'm fine with our party being the one that actually has a big tent while the GOP burns its tent to the ground to protect doctrinal purity. What I don't like is when Conservative Democrats are either put into top Congressional leadership positions and/or they're allowed to dictate terms to the rest. Pelosi does a much better job on this than Reid does, but then Pelosi is actually liberal. Reid clearly isn't anything close to liberal, and I'm starting to believe that this is our real problem in the Senate.

Anonymous said...

Since when is Evan Bayh a "moderate"?

Neil Sinhababu said...

Stephen, the assumption here is really that they just care about being re-elected. I'm sort of ignoring their policy views to make the calculations easier.

Stephen said...

Ok, Neil, I think I see your point better. But ISTM that there's more than just re-election calculus: Bayh and similar actually do despise progressives like us and allow their personal feelings to get in the way of political maneuvering.