Why So Blue? Dem “Dogs” Become Stray Dogs

June 10, 2011

So-Called Conservative Democrats Aren’t Conservative, But Have No Place to Call Home in Nancy Pelosi’s Extreme Caucus Either


  • Rep. Dan Boren’s decision to retire is symbolic of a Democrat party led into the extreme by Nancy Pelosi.
  • The Blue Dogs are more bark than bite, often voting with Pelosi and her liberal allies. Despite their voting record, these Blue Dogs never seem to completely please their master Nancy Pelosi.
  • Blue Dogs lost political cover on the right when the flagship so-called centrist Democratic Leadership Council closed its doors. Now unwelcome on the left and without a home on the right, Blue Dogs have become stray dogs.


Oklahoma Democrat and self-proclaimed “Blue Dog” Democrat Dan Boren called it quits Wednesday, confirming what many already know: there is no place for conservative Democrats in Nancy Pelosi’s increasingly extreme caucus. Boren’s departure leaves just 23 Blue Dogs up for re-election in the House next cycle—and that number may dwindle further:


“ANOTHER BLUE DOG BITES THE DUST”: “On the heels of an election that decimated the Blue Dog ranks in Congress, one more conservative House Democrat is packing it in.


“Unlike the Blue Dog Democrats who were tossed out by voters, Oklahoma Rep. Dan Boren is leaving of his own accord, announcing Tuesday he will not seek a fifth term. …


“The Blue Dog decline has been sharp, to put it mildly. Following the 2008 elections, the coalition counted 54 House members. When the dust settled from the 2010 midterms, just 25 remained. There will be two fewer with the departures of Boren and Indiana Rep. Joe Donnelly, who is running for Senate.”(Alex Isenstadt and Dave Catanese, “Another Blue Dog Bites the Dust,” Politico, 6/9/2011)


How did the Blue Dogs get here? Boren’s advisors say the extreme, job-destroying policies of the national Democrat party took “a toll” on so-called conservative Democrats:

“UNPOPULARITY OF [BOREN’S] NATIONAL PARTY” TOOK “A TOLL” ON DEMOCRAT: “But there was also a private acknowledgement among Boren loyalists that the unpopularity of his national party in deep-red Oklahoma had taken a toll on him. …


“One Boren adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 65 percent of the district’s voters currently have an unfavorable impression of Obama.


“The congressman’s camp was bracing for his toughest race yet.” (Alex Isenstadt and Dave Catanese, “Another Blue Dog Bites the Dust,” Politico, 6/9/2011)


Perhaps some of the damage has been self-inflicted as well. Many of the self-proclaimed Blue Dog Democrats who survived the 2010 cycle have continued voting in lockstep with Nancy Pelosi on her job-destroying liberal agenda:


ZERO DEMOCRATS VOTE FOR GOP FY 2011 BUDGET THAT WOULD MAKE RESPONSIBLE SPENDING CUTS: 235-189. (“Final Vote Results for Roll Call 147,” Clerk of the U.S. House, 2/19/2011)


FINAL VOTE ON OBAMACARE REPEAL: 245-189, with only 3 Democrats joining GOP. (“Final Vote Results for Roll Call 14,” Clerk of the U.S. House, 1/19/2011)


ZERO DEMOCRATS VOTE FOR FY 2012 GOP BUDGET: 235-193. (Final Vote Results for Roll Call 277,” Clerk of the U.S. House, 4/15/2011)


The door also closed on the flagship so-called centrist Democrat organization, the Democratic Leadership Council, because in a world where so-called conservative Democrats vote in lockstep for the Obama-Pelosi agenda, there are no more conservative Democrats. These Blue Dogs are now stray dogs left without a home:


“The centrist Democratic Leadership Council, which fought and largely won a battle for the soul of the Democratic party in the 1990s, is on the verge of bankruptcy and is closing its doors, its founder, Al From, confirmed Monday. …


In the Obama era, the group has simply struggled for relevance. Its leaders remained close to the Clintons, and presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton headlined the DLC’s 2006 annual gathering in Denver. But as Hillary Clinton’s presidential fortunes waned, so did the DLC’s influence. By the summer of 2008, the organization was kicking off its annual meeting a mere block from Senator Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters in Chicago – but the candidate didn’t find time to drop by.” (Ben Smith, “The End of the DLC Era,” Politico, 2/07/2011)