Down Cujo

Down Cujo

by digby

You may have heard that the Blue Dogs of the Democratic party are officially joining up with K Street. Apparently, they feel that their "ideas" aren't getting enough airtime.

In a letter to Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.), who co-chairs the Blue Dog Coalition, Cramer and Stenholm wrote that they were establishing the organization to “ensure there will always be a forum in Washington to mark that middle ground when it comes to issues affecting the country’s fiscal health.”

The group’s goal is to be an incubator for policy ideas affecting the economy, such as energy, health care, tax policy, national defense and entitlements.

The research forum takes its name from the 54 fiscally conservative Democratic Members who have emerged as a powerful voting bloc on major legislation, but no current lawmaker has been involved in setting it up, according to Cramer, an original Blue Dog and president of the new research forum.

“They actually legally cannot dictate control or dominate what happens here,” Cramer said. “We can involve them. We can involve any Member in the policy forums we will carry forward, and we hope to be able to do that.”

However, as the lobbyists quietly set up the organization over the past several months, they have kept Blue Dog leadership generally informed. And Cramer, who now lobbies at Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates, said the Members have been supportive so far.

In addition to Stenholm-- who works at Olsson, Frank & Weeda-- and Cramer, the board of directors for the new venture includes Jeff Murray of the C2 Group, Vickie Walling of Prime Policy Group, Stacey Alexander of Elmendorf Strategies and Libby Greer of Cauthen, Forbes & Williams.

Murray, who serves as the forum’s treasurer, said he expects to send out solicitations in the near future asking potential corporate, union and other donors for pledges worth about $10,000 each to participate... “A lot of ideas don’t get to see the light of day,” said Greer, former chief of staff to Blue Dog Rep. Allen Boyd (Fla.). “We want to give them a place to breathe.”
Isn't that special? As if they don't already dominate the Democratic Caucus. As Howie writes:
Blue Dogs do even more damage than just by voting with the Republicans against working families and against equality and liberty. The worst damage they do is within the Democratic caucus, where they constantly work to pull caucus positions ever rightward, farther and farther away from the Democratic base. In committees you constantly have corporate shills-- which, in the end, is what all Blue Dogs are-- undercutting all attempts to work on behalf of regular American families.
I spoke to two DCCC-endorsed candidates yesterday who told me that when they got to Washington for briefings they were forced to listen to warmongering Blue Dog Jane Harman-- perhaps best known for her quote, "I am proud to be introduced as the best Republican in the Democratic Party," a distinction she shares with Joe Lieberman-- on, what else, foreign policy. One candidate told me that he was sickened to hear her reciting talking points he's heard over and over again repeated on Fox News. She and Lieberman were on the radio this week telling an NPR audience that what the U.S. ought to do is expand military operations into Yemen.
Blue America has a fundraising campaign devoted to ousting these Bad Dogs and Howie has made an offer you can't refuse:

Today, in honor of the attempt by some of the shadiest lobbyists on K Street starting a new Blue Dog think tank to push the Democratic House caucus even further right and to divorce it entirely from the interests of ordinary working families, Blue America is going to give away a genuine RIAA-certified double platinum record award for "Who Let The Dogs Out?"

The award, which of course, can't be purchased, was given to a Baha Men supporter who gifted it to the Blue America PAC to be used to help raise funds to rid America of the scourge of corporate-oriented conservatism inside the Democratic Party. "We already have a Republican Party for that," explained a Blue America spokesperson. "Shouldn't the Democratic Party represent regular working families who don't hire lobbyists and spend millions of dollars to shape legislation to rip the rest of us off?"

Blue America answers, double yes on that rhetorical question and is offering the double platinum award today. Actually tomorrow morning there will be a drawing among all donors to the Blue America Bad Dogs page on ActBlue. To qualify all you have to donate is $1.00 at this website

The contributions can go directly to progressive candidates Regina Thomas, Marcy Winograd or Doug Tudor, all fighting recationary Blue Dogs-- respectively John Barrow, Jane Harman and Lori Edwards-- with strong ties to unsavory corporate lobbyists. Or the donations can go into the Blue America PAC where it will be used in efforts to defeat Blue Dogs in primary elections.

You can join the drawing here.