November 20, 2006


Woof! Who Really Won the Hoyer/Murtha Showdown: Remember the Blue Dog Democrats? In the new Congress, you’ll be hearing from them a lot. (James Ridgeway, November 16 , 2006, Mother Jones)

Steny Hoyer's victory as House Majority leader not only signals an embarrassing defeat for Nancy Pelosi, but underscores the importance of the conservative Blue Dog bloc in the Democratic party. [...]

If the Dems pin their hopes for a working coalition within the party on Blue Dogs, the Republican minority back bench will fiercely fight to convert them or win them as allies. In an open memorandum to House Republicans yesterday, Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker, and organizer of the right wing during the early years of the Reagan era, urged Republicans to not "hide'' from their defeat, but instead get busy winning allies: "Our team lost. Begin to reorganize."

"From a House Republican standpoint, the center of gravity should be the 54 Blue Dog Democrats," Gingrich wrote. "If we and the Blue Dogs can find a handful of key things to work on together, we can almost certainly create a majority on the floor just as the Reagan Republicans and conservative Democrats did in 1981. Bipartisanship can be conservative and back bench rather than liberal and establishment leadership defined. What did the Blue Dogs promise to get elected? What was the nature of their coalition back home? They give us the best opportunity to create grassroots efforts to pass solid legislation. Remember, the liberals will find it very hard to write a budget acceptable to the grassroots that elected the Blue Dogs. We have real opportunities if we are creative."

Gingrich’s scenario may be going a bit too far, says Eric Wortman, a spokesman for the Blue Dog Caucus, but, "We will work with Republicans if that's the right thing to do."

If Ms Clinton were to ally herself with this group, her husband's old power base, she could make herself a viable national candidate, but at the expense of alienating the Party's activists.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 20, 2006 4:44 PM

Her husband's old power base?

My understanding is that Bob Kerrey, Charlie Stenholm, John Dingell, and other leading Democrats like Monyihan, Mario Cuomo, Bob Casey (Sr.), and even Dick Gephardt detested Bill Clinton.

Or are you just referring to the ones who liked his AstroTurf jokes?

Posted by: ratbert at November 20, 2006 11:14 PM

The hubby will have to have gone on his final resting place before the next election or Ms Rodham can't be a candidate. He'll never allow her to be in the limelight except as it reflects off him.

However, lucky for her, Clinton doesn't look like a well man in recent photos and playing the grieving widow may garner her enough sympathy votes to win in '08.

Posted by: erp at November 21, 2006 9:18 AM

Bill Clinton's "power base" was Hollywood, the elite academic establishment, and the feminists/dovish women. It remains so today, with some adjustments.

Hillary wants a wider base, but she has too many enemies on both sides to get one.

Posted by: jim hamlen at November 21, 2006 10:40 AM