Congressional Loyalty Scorecards, Part Four: Blue Dog Democrats
by Chris Bowers, Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 08:29:20 AM EDT
Part Two: The DLC
Part Three: Building a Real Majority
Pelosi was set to sit down individually with Hoyer, while a similar meeting with Rep. John Tanner (Tenn.), long a leading figure among conservative Blue Dog Democrats, was being rescheduled because of Wednesday evening's ethics vote. She also had asked for a meeting with Rep. Ron Kind (Wis.), a leader of the centrist New Democrat Coalition.(...)
Sources at last week's meeting said Pelosi didn't help repair the rift, and perhaps even inflamed it, when they said she accused moderates of selling out to special interests on the bill and betraying the party by urging the GOP leadership to bring the measure to a vote. Several of those sources said Pelosi has an obligation not only to bring Members together, but also to apologize to the moderates.
"Actions speak louder than words," said one source from the conservative wing of the party. "No meeting will undo what she did, and it will take a while for her to repair the damage with Democratic centrists."Jeez, voting for a piece of terrible legislation isn't bad, but yelling at someone for it apparently is. Nice to know where people's priorities are these days.
In the second part of this series, I examined the voting records of the thirty-nine members of the House of Representatives who are also members of the DLC. I concluded that the DLC receives far too much share of the blame for the lack of loyalty within the Democratic caucus. Overally, DLC loyalty was close to non-DLC Democratic loyalty, and DLC members exhibited no clear voting pattern whatsoever.
However, the above passage from Roll Call, via Escahton, made me curious about another group of Democrats, the Blue Dogs. I did a quick Google search and found a list of their thirty-five members in the 109th Congress. I then added up the number of times they defected from the Democratic majority in the 109th Congress when the Democratic majority was different from the Republican majority on an actual piece of legislation. The results were staggering.
Out of the nine votes (the child interstate notification abortion act has since been added to the original eight) and the one proxy vote (I have also added Social Security to the totals via the Fainthearted Faction and Conscience Caucus collected by TPM) here are the current levels of party loyalty among different groups in the House:
- All Democrats: 82.5%
- All Republicans: 96.1%
- DLC: 79.0%
- Democrats, non-DLC: 83.3%
- Blue Dog Democrats: 54.3%
- Non-Blue Dog Democrats: 88.3%
- Stayed with the party all ten times: Adam Schiff (CA)
- Stayed with the party nine times: Loretta Sanchez (CA), Mike Thompson (CA)
- Stayed with the party eight times: Jane Harman (CA), Steve Israel (NY), Dennis Moore (KS), Ellen Tauscher (CA)
- Stayed with the party seven times: Joe Baca (CA), Ed Case (HI), Mike Michaud (ME)
- Stayed with the party six times: John Barrow (GA), Lenord Boswell (IA), Dennis Cardoza (CA), Jim Cooper (TN), Stephanie Herseth (SD), John Salazar (CO)
- Stayed with the party five times: Allen Boyd (FL), Jim Costa (CA), Mike McIntyre (NC), Earl Pomeroy (ND), John Tanner (TN), Gene Taylor (MS). It is worth noting that Ron Paul (R-TX) broke with Republicans five times.
- Stayed with the party four times: Marion Berry (AR), Sanford Bishop (GA), Ben Chandler (KY), Harold Ford Jr. (TN), Tim Holden (PA), Mike Ross (AR), David Scott (GA). It is worth noting that three Republicans, Mike Castle (DE), Christopher Shays (CT), and Christopher Smith (NJ) broke with their party four times.
- Stayed with the party three times: Dan Boren (OK), Lincoln Davis (TN), Jim Matheson (UT), Charles Melancon (LA). It is worth noting that three Republicans, Sherwood Boehlert (NY), Walter Jones (NC) and Bob Simmons (CT), borke with their party three times.
- Stayed with the party twice: Collin Peterson (MN). It is worth noting that thirteen Republicans broke with their party twice.
- Stayed with the party once: Bud Cramer (AL). It is worth noting that thirty-eight Republicans broke with their party once.
Clearly, the defections and anti-progressivism that many in the blogosphere attribute to the DLC are actually the result of the Blue Dogs. DLC loyalty, 79%, is far higher than Blue Dog loyalty, 54.3%. In fact, loyalty among non-Blue Dog Democrats, 88.3%, is almost identical to loyalty among Democrats who are neither Blue Dogs nor DLC, 89.6%. Both come within inches of the desired 90% line.
Obviously, many of these Blue Dogs, and especially the Problem Children, come from pretty red districts. That, however, does not absolve them for supporting many of these heinous pieces of legislation, such as the bankruptcy bill, which are not popular in red districts either. For Problem Children not in red districts, we should seriously start thinking about mounting primary challenges. In the blogosphere, we need to embrace our role as party whips, and primary challenges against disloyal Democrats in blue districts would be the ideal place to start.