Blue Dogs and such...

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Now and then I get a real wedgie over how my Congressman, Mike McIntyre, votes on issues I think are important. I decided to look into his voting record and try to compare his stance on issues as opposed to, for example, Watt, Price and Miller....who generally vote the way I think.

Long story short, it's not that simple. If one googles "Congressional Voting Records," up comes an interesting array of organizations all anxious to tell how individuals voted on their issues. Public Citizen, American Association of University Women, various unions, retired citizens...and just about every group one can think of tracks and measures votes on issues these organizations feel are critical to their interests.   More below the fold...

After poring over all that I decided to look at the Blue Dogs and the Congressional Black Caucus to see how these folks voted on issues that seemed representative of progressive / populist causes. A remark made in the 3/28 Black Agenda Report grading the CBC on progressive legislation said "Just over half of the voting CBC members can be counted on to do the right thing, most of the time." And after looking at the best records I could cobble together on the Blue Dogs, I'd say about the same for them...perhaps more like a little less than half the time. And, truthfully, I found several occasions where McIntyre voted against the party and against more progressive Representatives, and I agreed with him. Not often, but occasionally.

Here's how I ended up: I'm opposed to these internal Congressional groups, caucuses, and so forth, because I want my Congressman to vote what his or her conscience and integrity tells him/her is right for the people...and not necessarily be in allignment with or beholding to any group. Next, I want clean legislation proposed and voted upon...not bills and resolutions tainted with inappropriate funding amendments or tax items intended to buy votes. Last, I want my representative to pay attention to what's going on both at home and nationally and to take action without waiting to count irate calls before getting into motion.

An example of such an issue is the Universal Default policy (small print in the contracts) that Credit Card companies use to justify raising interest rates to 30%+ on all cards held by an individual even if only one card is delinquent. This is pure and simple usuary and corporate collusion to screw the economically disadvantaged.

So, to me, the Blue Dogs are generally dangerous to progressive voters, but then again so is the CBC. It's all about special interests...no matter how they're disguised...as in "fiscal responsibility" or "racial equality."

What do you think?

 
[Edited: text wrapped at image, greg]

Comments

I pretty much agree with you, Stan

Brad Miller is not aligned with any group. I like that. He's aligned with the voters in his district, I guess and that's getting to be a pretty powerful group if you look at Rep. Miller's committees.

If the members of the CBC are not voting as a group or the Blue Dogs are not voting as a group (rubber stamping) every single time then we're OK. I haven't looked at the numbers. It would be interesting to study it.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

They (the Blue Dogs anyway) seem to vote

pretty much as a group...with someone straying now and again. Usually they vote more to the right than I would prefer. I haven't yet forgiven my rep for voting for the Bankruptcy Bill and the Military Commissions Act (torture, etc) and the Defense bill that gutted posse comitatus.

SE NC Dems

Stan Bozarth

The CBC pulled what I thought was a disingenuous stunt

when they rallied behind Cynthia McKinney regardless of her pompous treatment of a Capitol guard and cries of racism...when the guy was just doing his job. They've rallied behind Wm. Jefferson also...$90K in the freezer does look a little screwy to most folks.

SE NC Dems

Stan Bozarth

Do you favor...

...the abolishment of political parties? I mean, if you're truly interested in our elected officials voting with "conscience and integrity," then why have political parties?

NY Times Article: A Team Community Gains Strength From Its Weakened Coach

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There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

I think a lot about the abolishment of parties

Here's how I see it.

Anyone can associate with anyone they want, and join whatever whatever they want. Free country.

Not one cent of taxpayer money should be allocated in any way whatsoever to support, perpetuate, sustain or otherwise be related to any political party. I know this is incredibly idealistic and naive, but it seems to me to be a worthy aspiration. No rooms for party functions. No party activities when you're in public facilities. No emailing of party anything on government computers. No emailing of government anything on party computers.

A bright, clear line, just like the one we (try to) sustain between church and state.

I hadn't given it much thought.

I'll ponder it...but my initial reaction is, yeah, I could do without the party stuff and all the infighting and false posturing that goes with it. It might lead to another problem tho...no way to do a flush job now and then.

SE NC Dems

Stan Bozarth

Greg...thank you!

You'll have to send me an email and tell me how to wrap the text. :-)

SE NC Dems

Stan Bozarth

Maybe you can click edit

and get in there and see the coding?

Well, duh!

I never thunk uv it. Thanks A :-)

SE NC Dems

Stan Bozarth

The Easy Way

I think it's a bit irresponsible to lump groups like the Blue Dogs and the Congressional Black Caucus with special interests. By definition, special interest groups have some advocacy component, which isn't applicable to the Blue Dogs or the CBC, as they're made up of members of Congress. They're not advocacy groups, they're caucuses...members coalescing based on a shared ideal or political philosophy.

Brad Miller is not aligned with any group.

Yes, he is--in fact, Rep. Miller started the House's Community College Caucus. The group, which has now blossomed to over 120 members in the House, seeks to garner support for the important role of community colleges in adult education and job training. What's wrong with that? It's an opportunity for one quarter of the Congress to unite and work towards a solution for improving community college education.

It's easy to scapegoat political parties and what you call "special interests" (again, I think it's the wrong terminology, but I'll use your vernacular). There's not much that's glamorous about advocating for them, but they exist for a cogent reason.

Interestingly enough, I think your blog illustrates why they are necessary. Most voters don't have time to wade through a litany of congressional voting records and depend on interest groups to provide shortcuts to the issues that are most representative of their interests.

Beyond that, find that people aren't so much against "special interest" groups or pork barrel projects in particular, as they are against them in general.

NY Times Article: A Team Community Gains Strength From Its Weakened Coach

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There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

I am just saying what he told me

straight from his lips to my ears.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Every "group" I'm aware of has some "special interest"

from AA to the Toastmasters. I'm all in favor of groups that provide motivation, support, and assistance to individuals and/or support worthy causes...charities, Community Colleges, etc.

The Blue Dogs tenets appear to be fiscal conservatism amd traditional social values...among others. Picking any of those I can show you where they've essentially block voted in ways that ignores the greater good of an idea or proposition in favor of their "special interest." As long as I have a choice about belonging to or being represented by any such group, they have my blessing to knock their lights out in pursuit of their interests.

I think we elect a Congressman/woman thinking he/she is pledged to represent his/her district, not a "group" or "caucus"...or whatever it may be called.

SE NC Dems

Stan Bozarth