Speaker Pelosi’s Coalition Government! eprof2

As usual, things aren’t always what you think they are in the world of politics.  Case in point: Democrats aren’t always Democrats and Republicans aren’t always Republicans in the sense that members of the Congress follow their leaders on critical issues to the nation.  This last fall, Americans were told that they had ushered in a new Congress made up of a Democratic majority larger than the one that came into office in 2006.  Democrats rejoiced everywhere!  Finally, they said, we’ll put this country back on track toward a more progressive society. 

In addition, a new Democratic president took office giving Democrats control of the White House and the Congress.  The Senate, too, now has a substantial margin of Democrats over Republicans in an almost veto-proof situation with 59 Democrats holding seats.  

So, why has President Obama and the Congress become so indecisive, compromising, and centerist in most, if not all policy initiatives? 

The reason is especially transparent in the US House of Representatives where on every major vote Speaker Pelosi has to keep her "coalition government" together to get even the most tepid Democratic initiatives passed.  Why?  Because of the faction in the House known as the "Blue Dogs."  This group originally made up of southern conservative Democrats has grown into a large national faction that must be taken into account with each and every vote in the Congress.

Yesterday’s vote on keeping the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan going with money for the IMF and a new weapons system was made possible by the "Blue Dogs" holding out their support until the bill looked like they wanted it to and not what progressive Democrats wanted.  Health care reform, if there is to be any, will also be decided by the "Blue Dogs." 

Mostly made up of Democrats, these "blue dog" representatives are center to right leaning and eschew major progressive changes as either too costly or too radical.  There are 53 "blue dog" representatives in the House who together can make or break just about any policy initiative. 

Speaker Pelosi doesn’t have a Democratic majority at all.  She has three factions: Progressive Democrats; Reactionary Republicans; and, centrist "Blue Dogs."  In essence, there are now three political parties in the United States at the national level.  Republicans are in decline; Democrats are in decline; and, "Blue Dogs" are increasing their numbers as a centrist political party. 

And, you thought we only had two political parties in this country! 

(This post is also on eProf2)



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23 responses to “Speaker Pelosi’s Coalition Government! eprof2

  1. Good read eprof, democracy is very frustrating at times, especially times like this!


  2. dnd

    As usual, excellent post eprof2. A while back you wrote that those who thought the Republican party would fracture between the reactionary fundamentalists and the semi-moderates may have it wrong. Your point was that it’s the Democrats who could split, between the leftists and the centrists. Today’s post strengthens your argument.

    BTW Bev and eprof2, Rockies took the series with the Rays yesterday. They played at Coors, so their pitchers had to bat, as God intended.

  3. Nannymm

    Well said, eprof2. Those damned blue dogs are not dems at all. Maybe it is time to start targeting them for electoral extinction.
    I am becoming increasingly fearful that we will not get meaningful healthcare reform under this administration and congress. Obama needs to get out there and start banging heads; too bad it looks like that will never happen. So can you all remind me again why I supported this guy?

  4. According to this morning’s newspaper, even the public option, much less the single payer system, has been removed from the Senate bill “in order to achieve bipartisan legislation.” Who are the Democrats kidding — there won’t be but one or two, maybe, Republicans voting for health care on the grounds of taxes being raised. I don’t know why the Democrats even try to gain bipartisanship on anything as the party of no is in the minority.

    Yes, dnd, my argument for a split in the Democrats rather in the Republicans is coming true with each compromise.

    Yes, nanny, why did I vote for these spineless politicians?

  5. dnd

    “Yes, nanny, why did I vote for these spineless politicians?”

    I’m guessing the alternative was less attractive 😉

  6. “Maybe it is time to start targeting them for electoral extinction.”

    That worked really well for the GOP didn’t it nanny?

  7. dnd

    Following up on your idea of a split in the Democratic party, I think the bipartisan effort should be between the leftists and the centrists. The reactionary fundamentalists on the far right refuse to compromise, and their gerrymandered districts allow them to do anything, so why bother?

    As for health care reform, the administration’s biggest failure is to distill into some digestible and specific points how their proposal will work and would be a net decrease in overall costs to the consumer. They really need to get to work on that if they want to get it done.

    And even though there’s bad blood between Emanual and Dean, they really need to read Dean’s book.

  8. Nannymm

    What they really need is cojones.

  9. dnd

    Here’s what Obama, Reid and Pelosi know: if it wasn’t for the Blue Dogs, President McCain would be bombing Iran now, under the advice of SECDEF Joe Lieberman.

    Oh, and veep Caribou Barbie would have David Letterman shipped off to Gitmo. Also, too. Don’t ‘cha know, you betcha. 😉

  10. Nannymm

    Hmm…are you saying we should be grateful Moose Mouth can still see Russia from her house, dnd?

  11. trout boy


    I prefer to think of Caribou Barbie or Moose Mouth as Moosiliny.


  12. Vent day on the BackChannel!

  13. Nannymm

    Moosillini? I Like that name, Doots! Fits her to a tee.

  14. “if it wasn’t for the Blue Dogs, President McCain would be bombing Iran now, under the advice of SECDEF Joe Lieberman.”

    Given the electoral college results and the total popular vote, how can you be sure, dnd, that the “blue dogs” won the election for the Democrats? Couldn’t it have been the youth vote? The progressive vote?

    Yes, your Rockies are on fire. What is it now, 13 out of 14 games won?

  15. dnd

    The “youth” vote don’t mean diddly. I know. Despite my efforts, Nixon was elected over a war hero and Methodist minister, George McGovern, while I was up for the draft in Vietnam.

  16. dnd

    Ya darn tootin’ I’m old. Hell, I remember when Neil was actually Young!

  17. Gosh, you two make me feel really old. 1972! Yes, I voted for George McGovern. He was the fourth president I voted for in my young adult life (Kennedy, Johnson, Humphrey, and McGovern.) Old as dirt, as I like to say. Baseball dirt!

  18. Steve

    admit it, eprof, you voted for Dick Nixon.

  19. Yeah, right, Steve! In your dreams and other disreputable places!

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