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Earlier today, I got an email from Chris Bowers celebrating the primary defeat of two blue dog democrats by progressive primary challengers, and urging that we work to defeat more blue dogs, replacing them with progressives. The sentiments were repeated in this front page diary, also by Chris Bowers

Now, just to be clear, I am solidly in the progressive camp.  I would like to see a single payer health system, thought the biggest problem with the stimulus was that it wasn't big enough, and I am deeply concerned about global warming and other environmental issues.  I can't think of a single issue where the progressive policy options wouldn't lead to the best options.  

Even so, the Bower's post worries me.  Follow me over to see why

My concern is that taken too far, this line of thinking would turn us into the mirror image of the Republican party.  

The biggest problem the Republicans face is that they have banished all dissenting voices within their ranks.  Because of that, there is no one to bring them back when they go over the rails.  

I wasn't always like that.  At one time, there was a liberal wing of the Republican party known as the "Rockefeller" Republicans.  Starting with the southern strategy of Nixon, and intensifying as Reagan and Bush brought in the evangelicals, and they ultimately took over the party, the Rockefeller Republicans were systematically banished.  Now, any Republican showing a whiff of compromise is challenged by a tea bagger, and typically loses.  

The result is what Andrew Sullivan has referred to as Epistemic Closure, where people only have contact with people that they already agree with.

The danger of this path is we have no one to challenge our assumptions as Peter Wehner discussed in Commentary.


We channel facts in a way that reinforces views that are based on something different than – something deeper than – mere empirical evidence. None of us, then, are completely open-minded; and we’re all understandably reluctant to alter deeply-held views. The question, really, is given all this, how open are we to persuasion, to new evidence, and to holding up our views to refinement and revision? How do we react when our arguments seem to be falling apart? And what steps can we take to ensure that we don’t insulate ourselves to the point that we are indifferent to facts that challenge our worldview?
So yes, let's get more progressives into congress.  Let's work for them, donate to them, and advocate for them.  But please, let's remain a large enough tent that people with different views remain welcomed and respected.
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Comment Preferences

  •  People will vote for a real Republican over a (19+ / 0-)

    pretend one.

    By running clear contrasts, we actually improve our chances.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 06:52:03 PM PDT

  •  I had a discussion about this (9+ / 0-)

    with my wife today, her point was similar to yours in that there are people who might vote for a conservative democrat and not a progressive.  I said, the problem with the blue dogs wasn't that they held non-progressive positions, but rather that they were not willing to support the party line when push came to shove.
    The party would often be willing to find ways to blur the line for them, as vote ya on the cloture but nay on the vote, or similar procedural votes in the house.  It's when it's make or break time, like a budget that you need people to toe the line.
    So, we'll see if we can hold these seats, as that's undoubtedly the big test.

    •  That's a good point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But you have to blame the leadership too.

      Repubs wouldn't dare cross DeLay when he was running things on the Repub side.

      I don't think we've ever had a leader like that, in the house or the senate.

      If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

      by Bush Bites on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 07:11:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, it was a long, long time ago, and those (5+ / 0-)

        leaders are not necessarily beloved in what the Democratic party has become, but there have been a few...

        ...Lyndon Baines Johnson was one of them...

        "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

        by Jack K on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 07:25:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  ever's a long time (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        atdnext, ardyess, Egalitare, tardis10

        nobody crossed LBJ, Sam Rayburn was also pretty effective.  Locally,
        in CA, Willie Brown was elected speaker with a republican majority, now that's leadership...

      •  Actually, we have. (5+ / 0-)

        I honestly think many progressives don't give Harry Reid & Nancy Pelosi enough of the credit that they both deserve. I mean come on, we finally have universal health care coming online! It had been just a wild eyed dream during the FDR & Truman era. And then, of course, there was the failed "Hillarycare" effort.

        And there's the Recovery Act, the largest scale of public infrastructure investment we've seen since at least LBJ. Of course, we could have used even more stimulus. However, what we ended up getting has been key in keeping America out of the "double dip recession" that much of Europe is now experiencing.

        And there's financial regulatory reform. Again, it's not 100% perfect. However, this is the first time since at least LBJ's era that we're moving back in the direction of MORE oversight of Wall Street. (Both Carter and Clinton oversaw quite a bit of deregulation.)

        Things may not look fantastic all the time right now. But looking back, I increasingly believe this era will be remembered as the time when Americans began to move back in the direction of recognizing the importance of the public sector.

        •  I agree to an extent, (0+ / 0-)

          but I think Reid and Pelosi built majorities by collecting votes among equals.  Tom Delay once ordered people to change their votes on the floor, and they complied.  In a way, Reid and Pelosi's is the greater legislative accomplishment because it's a sounder method, but there's a price in terms of quality when policy is bargained down to the 60th or 219th most liberal vote.  Especially on the senate side, legislation is mathematically more conservative than the median member favors, and that is true in the House to the extent Pelosi had to make up defections from the left, or concessions to regionalism, on this that or the other.  

          The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

          by Loge on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 08:43:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Two Words (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Lyndon Johnson

      •  the only way that comes about, (0+ / 0-)

        is if there's centralization of control over campaign finance.  DeLay controlled the money.  So did LBJ.  Is that something we want to give to anyone on our side?  

        The fact is, the republicans don't even have anyone like that anymore.  Karl Rove can do some damage in a general election, but in a low-turnout primary, Christine O'Donnell can beat Mike Castle, Sharron Angle can beat Sue Lowden.

        The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

        by Loge on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 08:38:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My view on Blue Dogs is based on their districts (18+ / 0-)

    A Blue Dog from a red district or a GOP-leaning swing district makes sense, since those are often the only Democrats who can win those districts. Those are fine and essential to a big tent party.

    However, a Blue Dog from a blue district or a Dem-leaning swing district makes no sense whatsoever. Altmire and Holden lost in large part because they now represent such districts and can be replaced by better Democrats.

    A classic local example of this (I live in IL) is Dan Lapinski, who has represented a solidly blue district ever since he inherited his father's seat, but has voted like a Blue Dog. There is no excuse for that.

    •  Agreed. It depends on the district. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cedwyn, JamieG from Md, ardyess, Loge

      Frankly, we still need Blue Dogs to win those marginal seats, especially the ones in Appalachian districts that have been trending away from Democrats for some time. I discussed this in my diary on Saturday. Sorry, but a "fire breathing liberal" probably won't ever be winning a district like PA-12.

      OTOH, we have another conundrum arising regarding the growing rank of "New Democrats". I live in a swingy district represented by a douchey "tea party" panderer that can be flipped (again) this year. We have a pretty good Dem legislator running who's with us on at least 85% of the big issues. However, there are still a few folks (mostly outside the district) screaming because his legislative record isn't perfect. It's a 54% Obama district, so it's not like we can really elect a "fire breathing liberal", either... But at least we can elect someone who supports climate action, marriage equality, and Social Security & Medicare.

      But certainly, anyone who has a record like Dan Lipinski, Jason Altmire, or Mark Critz and is running in a 60%+ Obama district is worthless IMHO. I certainly feel bad for you.

      •  Thankfully, I don't live in his district (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But he's close enough for me to sympathize with those who do.

        •  Lipinski's district carefully gerrymandered... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

 Mike Madigan, the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, to protect Lipinski from a Dem primary challenger and a GOP general election challenger. The redrawn IL-3 is now a D+2 district If Lipinski retires before 2022, however, it is quite likely that Lipinski's successor will be a Republican...a D+2 district in Illinois is Lean R because Obama's statewide over-performance in 2008 throws off the CPVI ratings in Illinois.

      •  The kind of Dems I would like to see (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Running in those districts would be a Stupak-like Dem...generally anti-war, pro-union, and left-populist on economic issues while more conservative on social/culture war issues, basically the opposite of neoliberals.

        Cultivating that sort of bloc would lead to something more like the Democrats of the New Deal and less like the DLC-style politics of the past few decades.

        •  Well, I think that approach (0+ / 0-)

          recognizes that at least someone is being thrown under the bus no matter what.  By the same token, you can't run Bart Stupak in New Jersey, but you can run a pro-choice economic moderate and win.  I think singling out Stupak is a bit problematic, since he was willing to let the health care bill fail unless he got some concessions (sacrifices) on womens' health.  Who put him the hell in charge?

          The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

          by Loge on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 08:48:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The fact that Critz (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ardyess, Loge

    won a primary is so far from a "progressive victory" as to make Bowers celebration puzzling & foolish.  In other words,IMO,your concern seems more than a bit premature.

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 07:01:09 PM PDT

  •  I wouldn't worry too much about that. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pat bunny, GAS, atdnext, ardyess, paulacvdw

    As shown on this site alone, Democrats are eminently capable of fighting amongst themselves and taking many different viewpoints on any idea large or small, without the need for people who don't actually agree with a majority of the Party platform.  In fact, the major difference between the two parties is that Dems always want more proof, more studies, more points of view, while Republicans feel that the appropriate views will 'come from on high'.

  •  The biggest problem republicans have (8+ / 0-) that they're fucking lunatics and getting crazier every day.

    And there's plenty of dissent on that side of the aisle too --that they're not going further to strip workers rights, wage war on women, deny ballot access, immigration -- you name it.

    This hand-wringing --or bed-wetting-- over the loss of a few blue dogs is tiresome.

  •  There Is Less Than No Universe Where This Needs (6+ / 0-)

    to be a worry.

    First of all "Reagan" did not bring in the evangelicals, they brought him in. The rightwing revolution which began before Nixon (and I don't know that Nixon was ever much part of it) mobilized them roughly around the end of the 60's. For one it made them into rightwing activists but for another it helped them grow. They're a far larger population than they were back then, and mainline Protestantism has been losing people to them the whole time.

    The rightwing didn't become a serious force till the mid 80's which was a good 20 years along in their organizing.

    Progressives essentially have not even begun organizing, and there isn't a single billionaire fighting to make the country liberal as there have been very rich people doing for the right from the inception.

    If conservatives are losing Democratic primaries it's because of Democratic primary voters.

    Saying we might become a mirror of the Republican party is first of all 1/3 of a century and a dozen billionaire funders premature, and 2nd of all not possible under the known laws of physics.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 07:04:32 PM PDT

  •  Bye Bye to the Dogs..... (6+ / 0-)

    Republicans ran them off in 2010.  They lost half their caucus then .  They fool no one.....not even in the dumbest Tea Bagger district.  

    Good riddance.  It's quite enough to have regular Dems & Progressive Dems. more quasi, wannabe Republican Dems.  

    •  I see the 2010 election somewhat differently (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hlsmlane, Loge, caldreaming, bartcopfan

      than you do. I live in a red district and we had a blue dog until he was defeated by a teabagger in 2010. Now, I cursed Lincoln Davis almost daily while he was my representative, BUT he voted for Nancy Pelosi as speaker and that (along with other BD votes for her) allowed the passage of quite a bit of progressive legislation. You may, for instance, not like the ACA as well as you would have liked a different piece of legislation; however, I assume you like it better than nothing at all - which is what would have been passed with this present Congress. Likewise, DADT... you know the list. None of it would have been passed without a Democratic Majority Leader and BDs enabled us to have a Dem as Majority Leader. While I was (and am) pissed that Lincoln Davis voted against the ACA, the fact is that if Scott Desjarlais had been the representative then, along with other Republicans instead of the BDs, we would have had nothing.

      Do you really prefer the present Congress to the previous one? I doubt it. To me, the ability to control what legislation comes up for a vote in Congress means a lot. And for us to have that control, we need Blue Dogs.

      For those of you in blue districts who elect Blue Dogs, my advice would be to get involved so that you nominate a liberal and then elect him/her. For us in red districts, a blue dog is better than no dog at all.

      You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

      by sewaneepat on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 05:18:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  we have epistemically closure now (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ItsaMathJoke, chuckvw, ardyess

    Electing progressives is about the only way to crack the DLC bubble the party is in now

  •  I would be far more sympathetic (8+ / 0-)

    to the arguments of Blue Dogs that Blue Dogs are being unfairly singled out or persecuted for heresy if they were actually being unfairly singled out or persecuted. If anything, the opposite is true.

    Take Heath Shuler. Soon-to-be ex member of Congress.

    This cynical buffoon's attempt to become minority leader after the 2010 election losses typifies how Blue Doggism has been coddled and been treated with kid gloves. Can anyone imagine any other Democratic sub-group, any, being allowed to treat a member of the Democratic leadership, including the President in some cases, with such open contempt and disdain?

    Liberals in Congress can get slapped down for completely reasonable attempts to pull legislation in more progressive directions, and nobody bats an eye.

    But a Blue Dog can take cheapshots at the most powerful Democratic House leader since Tip O'Neil, and it is okay? This is a sign of a sickness that has infected the functioning soul of a party. This is not the sign of a vital and effective party ready to run the nation.

    The attempted humiliation of Nancy Pelosi by Heath Shuler stands in stark contrast to the idea that the Blue Dogs have ever been treated unfairly. If anything, they have been allowed to get away with murder in a way no other political sub-caucus would be allowed to.  

    Now, lets talk about the Big Tent.

    Blue Dogs pushed themselves out. I'm sorry, but it's true. If the Democratic base was waiting for the Democratic Party to push them out, we would be waiting until doomsday, because the Democratic leadership has bought into the meme that holding them to the same standards of respect and party loyalty that everybody else is held to is somehow beyond the pale unfair.

    The Blue Dogs made two arguments:

    1. They would sit in Red or Purple seats that Democrats couldn't win, and
    2. They would guarantee a permanent Democratic majority by undercutting the GOP on policy.

    The problem?

    Both arguments are epic fail.

    A pro-Medicare Democrat sits in a seat in upstate New York that was designed to be permanently GOP held. She didn't run against the Democratic ideal, she doubled down on it. That's a profound lesson for a party that has been willing to kneecap itself out of fear since Nixon's second campaign.  

    Blue Dogs have sat in Blue seats, and acted like they represented Red districts not liberal ones. This actually undercuts the intellectual argument that they were organizationally only doing what they had to do to win in their districts. Rather, it exposes them as pro-corporatists at all costs who will act in the best-interests of the people who fill their campaign coffers more than the voters they represent, even if their votes hurt the locals they are supposed to represent.

    That's not just stupid politics, it's bad for policy fights inside the party because Blue Dogs making the Blue Dog argument, while representing liberal districts, is not representative of the will of the local people. Ed Case has no business trying to sit in a US Senate or House seat from Hawaii. There is no Red or Purple argument that holds water. And this happened inside the Democratic Party for two decades.

    I would take the more meta argument about the dangers of purging the party of dissent more seriously, or that the Democratic party was in any danger whatsoever of becoming a mirrow image of the GOP if the Democratic Party wasn't legendary for hating it's left flank more than it hates losing to the GOP. If I had been living in a bubble and not paying attention to American politics in the last 20 years, and I stepped out into the world and delved back into American politics with a vengeance, I would be amazed that the Blue Dog movement hadn't become extinct after the Clinton impeachment mess.

    The Blue Dogs are losing their seats not because the left mobilized against them, which I would have loved to be the reason they are becoming extinct, but because the Blue Dogs model for governing, and their argument for their being viable, has proven to be wrong. They are losing their seats because there is no reason to vote for them over a Republican because a huge swath of their caucus provides absolutely no policy contrasts between themselves and a Movement Conservative Republican.

    Heath Shuler's attempted coup completely undercuts the argument that "but they are a vote for Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi as Senate Leader and House Speaker" as much as the old Joe Lieberman line about "he's with us on everything but the war" was undercut by Lieberman campaigning with John McCain against Barack Obama.

    Joe Manchin's bullshit on not knowing if he is going to be voting for Romney or Obama is another nail in the model they sold the Democratic Party and it's base. They are a bunch of unprinciples cynical liars just waiting to become lobbyists when their runs are up professing to be the most moral and most disciplined of us.

    If anything, the last 20 years has been a referendum on the Blue Dog, Third Way, Reasonable Centrist theory of how politics works.

    The theory was, Blue Dogs would take Movement Conservative ideas, co-op them, and then create a permanent Democratic governing majority by giving the GOP no legs to stand on.

    Rather, quite the opposite is true.

    Movement Conservatism is dominating American politics.

    The Right hasn't had this much control over domestic policy since the Gilded Age.

    My issue with Blue Dogs is not that I have no tolerance for people who are more conservative than I am, my problem with the Blue Dogs is that they take great glee in serving as Movement Conservatism's useful idiots in policy fights, the organization lies about everything from its intellectual to policy unperpinnings when they need to, and they can't be trusted.

    They are the most dangerously over-empowered minority in American politics.

    I believe you, that you are in the progressive camp.

    Now I would ask you to see through the two decades long bs PR campaign that the Blue Dogs have been pushing. Nobody has purged them. The two Blue Dogs in the Keystone state find themselves in more liberal districts and that is representative in the outcome of their primaries. It's too bad that Heath Shuler was redistricted out of existence, because I would take great joy in watching him lose to a more loyal, not necessarily more liberal, Democrat. Because that would be a healthy sign for the rest of us moving forward.

    If they are an endangered species, they poisoned themselves and while dying called it liberal murder. They are going out as intellectually honestly as they came in.

    And Andrew Sullivan? I'm sorry. He's about as intellectually honest as David Brooks or Ross Douthat. This is a man who only learns by touching hot stoves over and over and over again. I know not to do that even once. He doesn't get to be an arbiter of what is, and is not, a good mindset for my being, or my party, because he was ready to smear half of America as being fifth column traitors if they didn't put their brains in the pickle jar for the Abu Graib crowd a decade ago. He should have applied his theory to himself when I was in high school. It might have saved us from decades of wankery, thuggery, and apologia for racism like the Bell Curve.

    I would no more accept his judgements of what is, and what is not, a sign of a healthy party or healthy politics than I would listen to a raving man on a street corner.

    The man spent 20 years being an absolute apologist for a conservative movement that would have allowed him to die a horrible death of AIDs, and wouldn't have cared less about his suffering as he died because of who he falls in love with, if they were in complete charge of American domestic politics. He had to wake up to an America where he was afraid to start questioning his choices. I would expect him to love the Blue Dogs and Blue Doggism for the Democratic Party. It's just like him. Both are signs of suicidal thinking cast as chasing robust health.

    There is no purge. There never was, because the Democrats are always willing to listen to those who wish the Democratic Party was a powerless paper opposition party. They love them some Heath Shuler like an upper middle class white submissive in a zipper mask loves his dominatrix whipping him while making him say "yes, I'm a fat pig and a worm and I deserve this!"

    I would say, Democratic voters turning out the Blue Dogs can't be anything else but the chickens coming home to roost, not a movement to be rid of them, because the national party in DC would give money to a Blue Dog before they would fund the next Ted Kennedy because they have been conditioned to be fearful first.

    This is a form of rapid political natural selection, and the most unfit for political survival is going extinct because they don't have an argument for their continued survival. I know real moderates, they don't act like Blue Dogs. They moderate policy discussions, and then they really back to the flag when it is time to vote.

    They don't hold a President and a party hostage, simply because they can.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 08:11:15 PM PDT

  •  Not mourning their loss. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    reflectionsv37, ardyess, Egalitare

    They've aided the Republicans and put a pause on progress which should have been able to be made. Good Riddance.

    The last thing we need is faux democrats. Some cohesion now would be a good thing. Having blue dog compromisers compromise the party at almost every turn is an acceptable 'loss'.

    -6.38, -6.21: Lamented and assured to the lights and towns below, Faster than the speed of sound, Faster than we thought we'd go, Beneath the sound of hope...

    by Vayle on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 08:36:23 PM PDT

  •  Come on, blue dogs suck (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alguien, ardyess, tardis10

    I (relatively) recently had a blue dog rep: Gabby Giffords. Rah rah military, rah rah "border security", and all.

    We had one or two actual progressives in the race to replace her, but now her hand-picked successor is running, and everybody else dropped out. He'll be elected as the sympathy vote. And he's already come out with the same blue doggy rah rah military, rah rah immigrant bashing crap too.

    We don't get a choice. Gabby beat the tea Partier last time; the same tea Partier is running again this time. Our district is being re-allocated and will be a bit more blue, but we're stuck with the blue dog choice, on the sympathy vote.

    Crap! Crap! Crap!

    This would be such a good opportunity to get somebody worthwhile, but we're stuck with Barber! Yyaacckk!

    Reality has a well-known liberal bias -- Stephen Colbert

    by ItsaMathJoke on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 08:41:01 PM PDT

  •  Shift to the Left! I hope so (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, bartcopfan

    I too considered that by getting rid of the Blue Dogs, the Dems would become more extreme-left, a mirror image of the extremist right GOP. Then, I asked myself, how would we ever be able to arrive at consensus and have a government that, well, governs?

    Then I reflected on how far to the right the Dems have shifted, away from any Progressive idea of governing.

    Then I thought how unlikely it would be for the Progressive wing of the Dem Party to sweep the seats like the Tea Party did to the GOP.  I think they will pick up many seats overtime and I think a Dem Party leaning Progressive, will be a good thing for all of us and this Country. In fact, I hope it happens, sooner than later.

    One thing to remember is that the Progressives are not as close minded and rabid and lock step as the GOP/TP are. To herd Dems, is a bit like herding cats.  We have so many ideas and approaches to solve problems. To herd the GOP/TP is to stick a Judas goat in front of the line, and off they go, all together.

    I  think it excellent that the Blue Dogs are being defeated in the polls. I have often cursed them for being GOP-ers in Dem clothing and they have not done any of us much good.

  •  I have to think that your concern that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    all dissenting (i.e., moderate) voices could be purged from the Democratic Party at any time in the foreseeable future was offered for pure comedy . . . (considering that 90% or more of the party currently is center or right of center).

  •  The truth of the matter is that they (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    are systematically being targeted and beaten by teabaggers.  They're an easy target because they have that D after their name.  

    I don't feel bad that they're being targeted, they don't support the Democratic agenda and vote against every issue the Democrats do support.

    They're not moderates.

    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 05:49:59 AM PDT

  •  strategy and tactics (0+ / 0-)

    In the primary, you elect the most liberal/progressive candidate you can that has a reasonable chance of winning. If that's a "blue dog", well then, that's what you do. 10% or even 5% progress is better than none.

    Now, you work at changing the conditions so that you can elect a more liberal/progressive candidate next primary. And you let the Blue Dog know it. Every primary is contested, with much discussion and debate over the most liberal/progressive candidate that can win. No candidate is sacred or "safe". Blue Dogs are stepping stones to a better place. Either they adapt and keep up, or they get stepped on.

    Only if you cannot possibly win even with a Midnight Blue Dog do you "give up". Even then, you run an eloquent liberal/progressive for messaging and laying groundwork for the future.

    "Beat the hell out of 'em in the primary, and then pull like hell for 'em in the general."

    Less "WAAAAH!", more progress.

    by IndyGlenn on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 07:26:57 AM PDT

  •  Welcomed and respected participants are welcome (0+ / 0-)

    a Republican 5th column is not. Dennis Moore (KS 3rd) went in as a moderate progressive and became vice chair of the blue dogs for a while. He supported Bush like a sycophant mostly voting with Dems only when it didn't matter and against us whenever it did. He was replaced by a Republipunk named Yoder. No real difference.

  •  You are so right on this. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I go this email, too, and it disturbed me, too.

    Until Southern whites can be convinced into progressive values, and/or more demographic changes happen in our favor, there are some places where progressives can't win. Period. Sure, BDs don't vote how I would like them to 100% of the time, but I would rather have an congressman that votes my way 50% of the time than 0% of the time, like a Republican would.

    The defeat of Tim Holden in last week's primary is just like the defeat of Robert Bennett, or Mike Castle in 2010. For the time being, especially since the Republicans are excising all sane members of their party out, we Democrats need to be an open, big-tent party.

    Farm boy who hit the city to go to college, WI-03 (home, voting), WI-02 (college), -7.88, -4.26, 6/5/2012- the day the great error of Wisconsin history will be corrected!

    by WisJohn on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 10:31:32 AM PDT

  •  You already answered your own concern. (0+ / 0-)
    My concern is that taken too far, this line of thinking would turn us into the mirror image of the Republican party.
    Until we have our own network(s) w/ comparable viewership and comparable numbers of millionaires and billionaires willing to fund campaigns and think/"belief" tanks, we'll never be able to "take it too far".

    "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

    by bartcopfan on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 11:29:59 AM PDT

  •  "Railsback Effect" (0+ / 0-)

    Back in 1982, Tom Railsback, a moderate Republican from Illinois running for a 9th term in the U.S. House of Representatives in IL-17 (was IL-19 prior to 1982, IL lost 2 seats as a result of the 1980 census), based in Rock Island and Moline, lost in the Republican primary to Ken McMillan, a hard-line conservative ideologue. McMillan lost the general election to Lane Evans, a very liberal Democrat who founded the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Evans would have stood zero chance of getting elected had Railsback won the Republican primary, as Railsback had a considerable amount of crossover appeal (he was one of six Republicans to support impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon, for example). But, because McMillan was an ultra-conservative ideologue and Evans was an ultra-liberal ideologue, the 1982 general election became a base election, and Evans was able to turn out more of his supporters than McMillan.

    This is what I call the "Railsback Effect". When a party loyalist defeats an incumbent that is considered a moderate within his or her party, the other party's nominee has a much better chance of winning the general election.

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