This post originally appeared on Open Left.
Congress returns to session this week. In case you missed it, after passing Afghanistan war funding without battling an eyelash, last week Blue Dogs slashed an economic relief bill by nearly $100 billion. It was a glorious "victory" for them
The Blue Dogs won a significant victory by forcing House Democratic leaders to cut $79 billion in spending, including subsidies to help laid-off workers buy health insurance and ease state budget cutbacks.
This is only a victory if self-immolation is considered a victory. Consider:
- Blue Dogs slash aid to states;
- In response, states will engage in massive layoffs of public sector workers;
- These layoffs will exacerbate an already dismal employment picture;
- Voters will likely turn against Democrats as a result;
- More Democrats in vulnerable seats will lose re-election;
- Blue Dogs are disproportionately from vulnerable seats.
So yes, truly a big victory for the blue Dogs. They managed to reduce their own chances of re-election. Awesome!
Of course, the Blue dogs don't think they are doing this. Instead, they think they are following the will of the voters
"We are hearing from the public, 'You're adding to the deficit, you're adding to the deficit,'" said Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, a member of the conservative Blue Dogs who have held together against many proposals that require even more borrowing by the Treasury to pay for them.
Yeah, sure they are. That is why, when Americans are asked to list the biggest problem facing the country today, and are not prompted with a list of problems, only 5% cite the budget deficit
CBS News/New York Times Poll. April 5-12, 2010. N=1,580 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.
"What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?" Open-ended
Health care: 8%
Budget deficit / National debt: 5%
Poverty / homelessness: 4%
War / Iraq / Afghanistan: 4%
Big government / bureaucracy: 2%
Moral values: 2%
The country cares a a lot more about jobs than about the deficit. So, naturally, to fulfill the will of the voters, Blue Dogs slash aid to states that will result in huge layoffs, all in the name of reducing the deficit.
Genius. The name "Blue Dog" derives from
supposedly being choked blue by the left-wing of the party, but it seems to me that Blue Dogs are engaged in a self-asphyxiation right now.