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Time For The Democrats To Bid Adieu To The Blue Dogs?

The DCC carefully neglected to mention that the most vile provisions were pushed by, among others, the Finance Chair of the DCCC, Wall Street shill Jim Himes (New Dem-CT).
Time For The Democrats To Bid Adieu To The Blue Dogs?

Wednesday afternoon, the DCCC was asking people to sign petitions against "Boehner's" Wall Street giveaway in the omnibus appropriations bill. They carefully neglected to mention that the most vile provisions are being pushed by, among others, the Finance Chair of the DCCC, Wall Street shill Jim Himes (New Dem-CT) and by most of the Blue Dogs and New Dems left in Congress-- including the ones who were defeated and are just hanging around the lame duck looking for K Street jobs. We've written about how Himes and his fellow Wall Street shills have been working on this since last year. The House passed it October 30, 2013 292-122, 70 slime bags from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party joining the GOP to vote for it back then, including not just the Blue Dogs and New Dems who always support the Republicans over working families, but House party leaders like Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Joe Crowley (D-NY) and purported "progressives" like Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY), Gwen Moore (D-WI) and Charlie Rangel (D-NY).

The provision is the work of former Blue Dog Blanche Lincoln, currently considered one of the slimiest lobbyists in DC. (Before she was reinvented as Senator Blanche Lincoln she was a low-life Blue Dog congresswoman, Blanche Lambert, who managed to get into office by beating an incumbent trapped in a bank scandal.) Of course, the DCCC doesn't care where the names and contact info for their petition come from-- that stuff is commoditized and monetized and has intrinsic value-- but it is funny that the Wall Street whores who still hold so much sway at the DCCC are using a Blue Dog/New Dem initiative-- killing Wall Street derivatives regulation-- against the Republicans who partnered with the Blue Dogs and New Dems to sneak it into the omnibus.

This is the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, the ruin of the great traditions and values of the party and all that ails the party. We write about it often here at DWT. In fact, last Monday we looked at Michael Tomasky's proposition that the Democratic Party should just forget about The South entirely. Tempting... but... uh, no.


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The DCCC thought you wouldn't notice that Jim Himes, their own Finance Chair, is behind this plan to gut Wall Street reform.

The Democratic Party should stop catering to the worst political instincts of Southern conservatives, for sure-- and rebuild the party without worrying about winning by aping Republicans. That field is ceded and that's what the Democrats should let go of. In its place-- and it may take years-- they need ti build a part from the bottom up that is dedicated to serving the interests of working families. In other words, as Ryan Cooper, wrote in The Week on Wednesday, the Democrats shouldn't give up the South; they should give up Blue Dog-ism. "Southern Democrats," he admits, "are typically awful policy-wise, and have a history of grotesque racism. But as Ed Kilgore argues, the way to thread this needle is to stop making those sellout moves, not write off a quarter of the country."

Blue Dog-ism is dead, just like most of the actual Blue Dogs in Congress. But any party that aspires to win national power must contest every national election (ideally, every election, period). At the least, it puts the party in place to pick up seats should the favorite implode in a scandal. And these days elections are highly chaotic, with nobodies becoming contenders overnight on a regular basis. Putting somebody up for every post, without exception, is a critical part of how big majorities are built.

Indeed, Tomasky is entirely too confident about Democrats' future-- as Greg Sargent explains, demographic trends and Republican gerrymandering are interacting with our antiquated, rattletrap electoral system to give Democrats an enormous negative handicap in the House. It's Republicans, not Democrats, who are actually in a strong enough position to consider writing whole regions off (they won't, of course).

And that brings me to the final problem: race and class. Tomasky notes parenthetically that, yes, Democrats will still have a smattering of majority-minority seats across the South. That's because about the most loyal Democrats in the entire country are southerners-- black ones. They're also disproportionately poor, just like southern whites, and deserve full consideration and attention. The poor, the jobless, the uninsured, and the middle class deserve good policy regardless of where they live or their race (yes, whites too). That egalitarian, universalist promise is the only political stance that has the proven historical power to challenge an energized, revanchist right.

Landrieu-style conservatism is a political loser. But racially-aware economic populism might not be, in some places. There are something like 700,000 unregistered black and brown people in Georgia, for example. If they all voted, it would turn Georgia into a swing state. A muscular Democratic Party divested of these silly resentments could make it happen.

In 2014 the Democratic Party wasted millions of dollars on Blue Dogs. Most of them lost but even the few who managed to hang on by the skin of their teeth will spent 2015 and 2016 voting with the Republicans against progressive initiatives and helping Boehner claim his right-wing policies have "bipartisan support." Of the 11 Democratic incumbents who lost their reelection bids-- so not counting Blue Dogs and New Dems like Jim Matheson (UT), Mike McIntyre (NC) and Bill Owens (NY), all of whose seats went to Republicans, who were forced to retire rather than lose-- 7 were Blue Dogs or New Dems; only one, Carol Shea-Porter who represented in a red-leaning district-- was a progressive.

These are the New Dem and Blue Dog incumbents the DCCC and House Majority PAC wasted their money on:

• John Barrow (GA)- $2,479,984- 45.2%
• Nick Rahall (WV)- $4,967,124- 44.7%
• Pete Gallego (TX)- $2,224,626- 47.7%
• Brad Schneider (IL)- $3,229,684- 48.4%
• Dan Maffei (NY)- $1,854,912- 40.1%
• Joe Garcia (FL)- 2,155,260- 48.5%
• Ron Barber (AZ)- $2,983,689- 50%

That's about $20,000,000 down the tubes-- to conservatives who undermine the entire Democratic Party brand and just bolster Boehner and the Republicans at every turn. Almost all the conservative DCCC recruits lost, another massive waste of money and resources. The garbage recruits who they did manage to elect were just as big a waste of money:

• Pete Aguilar (New Dem-CA)- $1,419,942
• Gwen Graham (Blue Dog-FL)- $3,549,870
• Brad Ashford (Blue Dog-NE)- $1,490,268

Six and a half million dollars to help Boehner's right-wing agenda look "bipartisan." The money could have been much better spent-- and should have been. Certainly the DCCC could have kept Steve Horsford's D+4 Nevada seat had they chosen not to play games and spent only $478,691. At least Horsford tended to vote with the Democrats most of the time. His ProgressivePunch crucial vote score for the current session is 73.54, not fabulous but not like the ones accrued by the dreadful incumbents the DCCC did back, like Barrow (26.64), Barber (32.58), Collin Peterson (33,62), Gallego (34.07), Kyrsten Sinema (36.20), and Sean Patrick Maloney (40.17%).

UPDATE: Cromnibus Passed Last Night With Wall Street Deregulation

There was a glimmer of a progressive rebellion against Obama in the 2 party establishments but in the end, the wretched bill passed 219-206. Boehner lost 67 Republicans but picked up 57 Democrats, enough for his-- and Wall Street's-- 13 vote win.

No one is taking credit for putting the Wall Street giveaway into the Cromnibus but its looking like it was a deal between House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and Wall Street's #1 Senate prostitute, Chuck Schumer. The House Democrats who voted for Wall Street will be able to lie to their constituents and say they did it to keep the government open-- rather than to keep the bribes from Wall Street flowing. Among the Democrats who crossed the aisle were Chaka Fattah (D-PA), who is headed for a criminal prosecution and is rumored to have made a deal to get a pardon and the most corrupt of the new freshmen, New Jersey boss George Norcross' younger brother Donald Norcross (who was already sworn in because of a special election).

Democratic Party leaders who joined the Republicans on behalf of Wall Street included Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD), Assistant Leader Jim Clyburn (SC), DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (New Dem-FL), DCCC Finance Chair Jim Himes (New Dem-CT), Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Joe Crowley (New Dem-NY), and New Dem Chairman Ron Kind (WI). And, of course, all the regular garbage like Patrick Murphy (New Dem-FL), Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem-NY), Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ), Scott Peters (New Dem-CA), Cheri Bustos (Blue Dog-IL), Dan Lipinski (Blue Dog-IL), Ann Kuster (New Dem-NH), John Delaney (New Dem-MD), etc.

Worse yet, a senior Republican Senate aide boasted that "If liberal Dems vote for this package it shows that conservatives can use must pass legislation to repeal the regulatory state." (Actual "liberal" Democrats all voted against it, though. All the progressives we back at Blue America, like Alan Grayson, Donna Edwards, Raul Grijalva, Keith Ellison, Judy Chu, Matt Cartwright, Beto O'Rourke, Al Lowenthal, Carol Shea-Porter, Jerry Nadler, did the right thing and voted against the travesty.

New Dem Boehner enabler Jim Himes (D-CT)

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