Sorry, Blue Dogs, No Truce
One way for the Blue Dog Democrats to avoid criticism from progressives is to stop humping the leg of insurance companies. Since that isn't going to happen, they just try to make us shut up:
In a closed-door caucus meeting Wednesday morning, Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.) called for unity and asked for the public criticism to stop. “She said we shouldn’t be questioning each other’s motives,” said one lawmaker.
Blue Dogs are particularly incensed by the remarks of Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), a liberal and senior Democrat on the powerful Ways and Means Committee. On an August conference call, Stark called Blue Dogs “brain-dead” and asserted,
“They’re just looking to raise money from insurance companies.”But another critic, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), said she had no plans to mute her criticism.“Hell, no,” Waters said. “Progressives have a voice in this caucus, and we’re not going to back down.”
I'm with Maxine, even if we are suffering from a general lack of civility these days. I cannot see any honest reason not to question the motives of the Blue Dogs. You see, it simply is not the case that the centrist position is to force every uninsured American citizen to become a customer of a for-profit health insurance company or face a stiff fine. When Blue Dogs cast shitty votes on women's rights or gay rights, I understand that they mostly represent culturally conservative districts. I don't like it, but I can agree that they're voting defensively to reflect the values of the majority of their constituents. In some cases it isn't even a majority, but a passionate enough minority to threaten their political careers. But when it comes to creating a public alternative to forking over money to rapacious health insurance companies, their districts are no different from the progressives' districts. No one wants to be forced to pay out their hard-earned money to a bunch of greedy corporate assholes who are more interested in denying you the care you paid for than in honoring your contract.
This is basic. There is no argument that opposing a public option is a safe position for the Blue Dogs. That position is only understandable from a fundraising point of view. Progressives are not very generous in giving money to people who oppose women's rights and gay rights and are more willing to spend money in Iraq and Afghanistan than in our inner cities. And the Blue Dogs represent a lot of poor, rural districts. They have to get their money from somewhere, and that's why they keep humping the leg of insurance corporations.