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It's how politics works, but it's still pretty galling.

House Democratic leaders have directed tens of millions of dollars in federal funds to the districts of vulnerable incumbents, including many conservative Blue Dogs who typically stress fiscal restraint.

Nearly $200 million worth of earmarks has gone to members of the Blue Dog Coalition — including $150 million in the military construction appropriations bill and over $44 million in the transportation bill. The biggest winner so far is Rep. Bobby Bright (Ala.), who comes from a district with a heavy Republican advantage in voter registration. He won eight earmarks in the two spending bills worth more than $76 million....

Supporting worthwhile projects for your district and advocating for deficit reduction are not mutually exclusive,” Bright told The Hill.  

“I would challenge anyone to make the case that securing crucial funding for vital military installations in my district is not a worthwhile use of taxpayer dollars. Even though earmarks represent a very small fraction of federal spending, I scrutinize each one very seriously and am fiscally responsible with my requests.”


Some Blue Dogs, such as Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), do not request earmarks. But many others do, and with good success.

Recipients include Reps. Baron Hill (D-Ind.), Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.) and Zack Space (D-Ohio), all of whom come from districts with a Republican voter registration advantage.

Herseth Sandlin won $3.6 million that Obama did not request for aircraft maintenance shops, and Hill got $1.25 million for interstate maintenance and bus facilities. They are both members of the House Democratic Blue Dog leadership team.

Apparently unemployment insurance extensions are not worthwhile to Bobby Bright. Nor was the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to assist the victims and heroes of 9/11. Nor was Wall Street Reform, nor disaster relief and summer jobs, nor transportation funding, small business lending, the Affordable Care Act, and on and on and on.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 06:10 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ship him mustard for his pork nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heartcutter, nicethugbert

    We Destroyed this Village in order to save it from the Viet Cong er um Taliban

    by JML9999 on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 06:14:40 PM PDT

  •  Did they get their earmarks after (0+ / 0-)

    being pressured by Leadership to vote for the Democratic agenda?

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 06:16:04 PM PDT

  •  Its How Politics Works (0+ / 0-)

    How do their districts feel about unemployment insurance extension?

  •  How much pork would a Republican district get (6+ / 0-)

    if the Republican Congressperson voted against the party's leadership?  Probably zero, but nobody knows because it's never happened.  Disagree with their ideology, but they know how to get results.

    Barack Obama in the Oval Office: There's a black man who knows his place.

    by Greasy Grant on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 06:19:16 PM PDT

    •  No (0+ / 0-)

      Formerly known as Jyrinx.

      “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” ― Emma Goldman

      by Code Monkey on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 06:30:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  (Ugh. (0+ / 0-)

        The iPad keyboard makes it a bit dangerous to try to backspace in a subject line, since you might accidentally hit return twice, which previews and immediately submits the comment …)

        Formerly known as Jyrinx.

        “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” ― Emma Goldman

        by Code Monkey on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 06:34:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not completely true; (0+ / 0-)

      consider the revolt over Bush's immigration proposals.

      Also, if you think the Blue Dogs get away with bucking the administration all the time, I suggest you misunderstand what the leadership wants. When someone is really voting against them, they get the hammer all right.

      Formerly known as Jyrinx.

      “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” ― Emma Goldman

      by Code Monkey on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 06:33:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well... (0+ / 0-)
    voters often say that Congressional incumbents should be tossed out, even while they want to keep their own (which of course leads to most people keeping their own, and therefore lots and lots of career imcumbents).

    Change a word here and there, and suddenly it's government spending is bad, unless there's something in it for me and mine, but of course all spending has something in it for somebody, which of course leads to plenty (really, all) of spending exempt from the complaints.

    And so it goes...

  •  I have no problem with Bobby Bright (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Yes, I would prefer that he wasn't a Blue Dog. Yes I would prefer a real, honest-to-God progressive.

    But he represents southeast Alabama. And I know from having lived in Alabama for so long what the alternative is.

    The alternative is a moronic Republican like Jeff Sessions, who has decided to support the repeal of the 14th Amendment because waves of pregnant Brazilian women might fly into Birmingham, have their children and fly home.

    "I'm not sure exactly what the drafters of the (14th) amendment had in mind, but I doubt it was that somebody could fly in from Brazil and have a child and fly back home with that child, and that child is forever an American citizen," Sessions said.

    So, yes, Bobby Bright can be irritating, but he ain't Jeff Sessions.

    •  I'm not entirely convinced (0+ / 0-)

      that deficit peacockery is such a necessity for Dems in red districts. People only understand The Deficit as some sort of abstract bad thing — it doesn't impact their daily lives. There has to be a better framing for these sorts of issues.

      Formerly known as Jyrinx.

      “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” ― Emma Goldman

      by Code Monkey on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 06:30:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am exactly sure (0+ / 0-)

      what the drafters of the 14th amendment had in mind. They meant to keep bigots from Alabama from re instituting the practice of slavery once they got to vote again. In the end, as a result of the compromise of 1877, they got a long way toward that goal before television showed them for the thugs they are and moved the rest of us to make them stop it. Since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 the DOJ has revisited their politics in light of the law and the 14th amendment at regular intervals. Now they can't rag on black people any more, its just too obvious, so "illegal aliens", a convenient phrase for poor brown people, will have to serve. Its the same argument with the same assholes. Jefferson's campaign slogan in 1800 was "The Rights of Man" and we've never been able to get completely beyond that very basic from that position.

      "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

      by johnmorris on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 06:58:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  i agree with you on this one (0+ / 0-)

      as I stated downthread, Bright is the only Dem that could win here.

      I don't know that Martha Roby the Republican would be much worse though other than voting for Boehner for Speaker. She does seems fairly moderate for a Republican.  

      I'm again looking for that signature line that says it all. Any ideas?

      by alpolitics on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 07:11:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good for Jim Cooper, by the way. N/T (0+ / 0-)
  •  They really don't get it, do they? (4+ / 0-)

    I would challenge anyone to make the case that securing crucial funding for vital military installations in my district is not a worthwhile use of taxpayer dollars.

    I really don't know what to do here other than to talk to him like you would to a five-year-old about how Timmy and Sally's districts have projects that are worthwhile too.

    Fight until we win. Then we can begin arguing about the details. - Kwickkick (RIP) 2009

    by RickMassimo on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 06:32:56 PM PDT

  •  These Democrats... (0+ / 0-)

    ...are the anchor around the parties neck. Instead of offering help with their reelections, Democrast should be mining for better candidates in  2012.

    -7.5 -7.28, Democratic Socialism...It's not just for Europeans.

    by Blueslide on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 06:33:06 PM PDT

    •  Sorry...that's not sensible. (0+ / 0-)

      Bobby Bright represents a district with a PVI of 20+ Republican.  It's amazing he could get elected.  Same could be said for Herseth and Hill.  They almost certainly could not get elected if they voted with the leadership consistently.  The administration and House leadership know this.  They also know that all three are votes for Pelosi as speaker, and all that entails, and that is the greatest contribution they make to the Democratic Party.

      If looks could kill it would have been us instead of him.

      by jhannon on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 06:51:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's completely sensible (0+ / 0-)

        ...if you want to have a party based on principles, rather than self serving power. DINO's are counter productive, they undermine policy, drain resources and are proven train wrecks for economic growth, workers rights, consumer protections and all thing populist.

        -7.5 -7.28, Democratic Socialism...It's not just for Europeans.

        by Blueslide on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 10:13:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Cutting Food Stamps to balance the budget (7+ / 0-) other word for it.

    To Get Medicaid and Education Aid to States, An Unprecedented Cut to Food Stamps:

    This week, the Senate is preparing to rob Peter to pay Paul. They will take from one program helping the neediest of Americans in order to give to another. The lucky recipient is a whittled-down state-aid bill with $16 billion to help sustain Medicaid and $10 billion to keep teachers on the job. That is less money than the states were originally promised, but not nothing: This bill, a compromise of a compromise, could save an estimated 138,800 jobs and ease states’ budget woes by $26.1 billion.

    But to gain the votes of the Republicans necessary for passage, the bill includes "pay fors" to make it deficit-neutral. There is language to close a foreign tax credit loophole, raising $9 billion. Billions more come from tinkering with Medicaid drug prices and rescinding unspent funds from a variety of programs. But controversially, the bill will also likely slash $6.7 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the benefits formerly known as food stamps. This might result in a cut in benefit checks from one month to the next — an unprecedented event in the history of the benefit."

    Much of life is knowing what to Google
    (and blogging at BPI Campus)

    by JanF on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 06:37:32 PM PDT

  •  When we say we need "better Democrats"... (5+ / 0-)

    ... we are talking about replacing professional frauds like the folks named here.

  •  And we are paying all this for what again? (0+ / 0-)

    NO votes, bullshit vote.

  •  Blue Dogs make me see red. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Bright is the only Dem could win here (0+ / 0-)

    and I'm not a big blue dog fan by any means.

    There may only be one district in Alabama than this which is more Republican.

    I'm again looking for that signature line that says it all. Any ideas?

    by alpolitics on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 07:09:23 PM PDT

  •  Blue Dogs are cowards who have no core values (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    714day, NoMoreLies, KingCranky

    except for staying in office. On the fraud scale they are right below the Rethugs.

  •  Because only the projects in Bobbies district.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    are worth it.  All the other districts, not so much.

  •  does this mean that safe districts are getting (0+ / 0-)

    screwed ?

    after all why send money to D+ districts since you don't have to.

    big badda boom : GRB 080913

    by squarewheel on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 09:41:26 PM PDT

  •  Add it to The List (0+ / 0-) but one more reason why the Democratic Party as a whole is unworthy of support.

    They'll spend time and money protecting members of their caucus who refuse to vote for protections for the American people.

    More and Better Democrats

    by SJerseyIndy on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 06:10:26 AM PDT

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