Thursday, July 23, 2009

Blue Dogs: A Nice Name for Whore



David Sirota has a nice piece up on why "Blue Dog" Democrats are really nothing more than ugly little political whores of the worst kind.

Finally, someone describes how it really works in Washington! Read the whole thing. This is serious truth:

What's really going on is this: "Blue Dogs" and "conservative Democrats" tend to represent swing states and districts - that is, states and districts that are among the very few that aren't gerrymandered and therefore actually play host to competitive elections. Because of this, their re-election races tend to be especially expensive, which means these politicians have to raise a shit-ton of cash for television ads. How, pray tell, do career politicians raise a shit-ton of cash? They trade their votes and legislative maneuvers for corporate campaign money, most of it coming from special interests in Washington who have little to no grassroots support/connection to the politician's state/district. The special-interest, D.C.-centric nature of these bribes is only enhanced by the fact that many of the "Blue Dog" and "conservative Democratic" districts/states are rather poor, meaning the money-sucking politicians are all but compelled to rely on out-of-state cash for their warchests.

All of this creates a closed circuit that serves the status quo. A "conservative Democratic" politician from a swing state needs to raise millions to finance a competitive campaign. There's not a lot of loose money lying around the district, considering the recession and the destitution of the very kind of district the "conservative Democrat" comes from. So the "conservative Democrat" ends up relying on money from D.C. special interests like, say, health insurers - interests that are largely hated in the "conservative Democrat's" state and have little grassroots connection to the state. That money then buys House and Senate votes that prevent stuff like health care reform that would most benefit the constituents of economically struggling states like the "conservative Democrat's" state.

In the end, because of this kind of transaction, the state remains destitute, and the politician remains in office, keeps raising out-of-state cash, and keeps insisting with a shit-eating grin that it's crazy - just crazy! - for anyone to think their votes could be influenced by millions of dollars.

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2 comments:

retrieverman said...

I just that same epiphany driving to Pittsburgh this morning.

They aren't centrists because of ideology. They are centrists because they are vulnerable and have to raise heaps of money from health insurers.

There's one Rep. from nearby in Ohio (Space), and he's one of them. I had somewhat higher hopes for him, but I don't live in his district.

He replaced Bob Ney, who used to be my neighbor (I live not far from his where he was incarcerated. Richard Hatch, of survivor fame, was another).

Ney now has his own radio talk show in Moundsville, which ironically is where the old West Virginia state prison was located.

http://www.wksu.org/news/story/23268

I guess West Virginia loves Ohio's bad boys.

I'm no blue dog. I'm a yellow dog. I'll vote for any Democrat, even if he's just a yellow dog. And probably would be more likely to vote for one if he or she were an actual "yellow dog," especially a golden retriever.

zron said...

This is obviously a systemic or endemic problem. It's not so much a failure of individuals as a structural aspect of our democracy.

And there's much more to it.

I recently spent a extended assignment in the Philippines, and the corruption there is much less hidden. Votes are openly bought and sold. Not just individual's votes, but votes of the legislature, as well as judges' rulings. (There is no jury system.)

Noam Chomsky - a noted political philosopher (and linguist) said that any political system is basically defined by the unintended abuses that it has no way to prevent, and those will eventually lead to its failure.