Politics is a team sport. People who do not realize that live on the fringes and generally are unsuccessful in getting anything done. There are often people on your team who you do not really appreciate for their character or policy priorities. But why the Blue Dog Democrats have bought onto the policies of the current House leadership is beyond me.
My Democratic friends often confront me about my involvement in Republican politics. These people often focus on the issue of abortion since my leanings are somewhat different then most of the members of my party. I make clear to friends that I agree with 85% or more of my fellow Republicans’ positions. That is why we are a party. I therefore do not get where the Blue Dog Democrats agree with what the leadership of Congress is doing and why they do not revolt.
The Blue Dogs were formed in 1995, long before the current Congress. On their website, they state they are fiscally conservative Democrats with the goal of being in the center of the political spectrum and adhering to the mainstream values of the American public. Their numbers have grown significantly in the last three elections, with 28 of the 52 current members being from those three classes. 32 of the 52 would be considered from Republican leaning states. A few of the remainder are in sections of Democratic states that lean Republican. There are a few like Loretta Sanchez from California that just make you wonder what she is doing as part of this group. She would in no way be considered a moderate and probably is just attempting to cover her behind because she hails from Orange County, an area that is traditionally Republican.
Though the group has become large and significant in the recent health insurance reform discussion, day-to-day it is essentially powerless. There are only two members who chair committees. Those committees are of lesser importance -- the Science and Technology Committee and the Agriculture Committee. The leadership of all the other committees, including Judiciary, Foreign Affairs, Ways and Means, Budget, Appropriations, Energy and Commerce, Armed Services, Financial Services and The Rules Committee, are in the hands of the most left-wing members of the Democratic caucus. The leadership of the House is made up of avowed left-wing members, except possibly for Steny Hoyer who was a sop to more moderate members of the delegation when he was elected.