They're back! (Just don't call 'em Blue Dogs)
Well, lookie here, a letter from Freshmen congressmen to the leadership of both parties:
The 113th Congress House Republican and Democratic new members are troubled by the fiscal crisis facing the country, with burdensome debt and trillion dollar annual deficits, which affect economic growth for all and healthcare assurances for our seniors. Members of our class implore the President and Congress to address this serious challenge now. In recent years, Congress has lacked the political will to come together and find solutions. The freshman members of the 113th Congress believe now is the time to work together.
We call upon leadership to no longer accept piecemeal solutions and to work toward finding long-term solutions to avoid financial collapse like Greece and other European countries. The bi-partisan freshmen members, as noted below, come to the table with mutual understanding and without personal agendas or political gamesmanship.
We affirm the following actions to secure the fiscal health of our nation:
• Strengthen and Preserve Medicare and Social Security- While protecting current recipients and seniors, we must reform the Medicare and Social Security’s long-term financial obligations by addressing rising health care costs and changing demographics. The goal is to make sure these essential programs meet our obligations to our seniors and ensure that these bedrocks are available to future generations, while reducing our long-term deficit and debt issues.
• Promote economic growth to generate revenue- Of critical importance is a fair and broad tax plan including eliminating excessive corporate subsidies, tax loopholes and other subsidies to provide lower rates, that will encourage a pro-growth economy, providing added revenue for the federal budget. We must also encourage innovation with less stringent regulation to help small businesses grow, which will lower unemployment.
• Cutting spending- While some spending cuts have already been made, we must look for additional savings moving forward to further reduce spending, while seeking to protect the programs that are crucial to our future health as a nation.
• Identify efficiencies and consolidations- Restructure and consolidate agencies and departments, eliminating duplication and waste.
• Medicaid fraud- Aggressively pursue Medicaid fraud, waste and abuse.
We believe that a bipartisan effort encompassing these needed reforms will yield a prosperous future for our country, while making good to today’s seniors who are counting on the federal government to fulfill its obligations. We are committed to a new era in Congress where bipartisan solutions are the norm. We are dedicated to working with leadership to help bring these solutions to reality. The common good of the country demands good faith negotiation, compromise, and immediate and significant action.
Now you may think that reflect President Obama's position, but it doesn't. His is bad enough (and they do agree on quite a bit) but I think the administration has given up on "revenue neutral" tax reform and I've never heard them demagogue medicaid, which is right out of the dog-whistle playbook.
No, this was circulated by a newly minted Democrat.Howie has the story:
Last week 5 or 6 progressive freshmen called me to warned me that lifelong Republican Patrick Murphy (D-FL) was working all the freshmen for some idiotic statement of "bipartisanship" he had concocted. I mentioned it Thursday and it was made public this morning, much to the delight, no doubt, of Beltway Media Broderists.
Almost no Democrats signed his pathetic, badly crafted letter-- but lots of Republicans did. So disappointing to see Ann Kuster (D-NH) lending her good name to this foolhardy initiative. Most of the rest of the Democrats who signed are typical untrustworthy hacks-- or worse. The only Blue Dog freshman, Pete Gallego (TX) couldn't wait to jump on board. And the only "Democrat" who has a ZERO ProgressivePunch score on crucial votes this session, corporate shill Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), was right on top of it. (Kirkpatrick, unlike over 100 Republicans voted with Boehner on every single crucial roll call this year, a breathtaking record of achievement.)
Far more Republicans signed the wretched letter-- which the New Dem types love-- than Democrats. And the worst imaginable Republicans in the whole Congress, dreck like hate talk radio host Trey Radel (R-FL), domestic terrorist Steve Stockman (R-TX), Ted Yoho (R-FL), sociopath Kerry Bentivolio... Here's the whole list
I can't tell you how it hurts me to see Ann Kuster join that group of right wing weirdos. In fact, it's a pretty big betrayal of the progressive movement that supported who through very tough races. But I'm going to guess that the Villagers will be thrilled to frequently feature all these people as the only grown-ups in the room and laud them for "standing up" to the so-called extremists. Of course, the only "extremists" they are standing up to are progressives who don't believe that we should "reform" Social Security and Medicare by cutting benefits or enact tax reform in order to lower rates. Or any of the rest of the drivel in that letter.
True, it may be that Ryan will come out with an even more draconian approach and this will be the "moderate" alternative that can garner enough Democratic votes so Boehner can release his loons to let their freak flag proudly fly. (I have a sneaking suspicion some of the names on this letter will be flying theirs as well.) Who knows?
But it's telling that the first move the guy who beat Alan West does is circulate a letter that gets far more Republican signers than Democrats. Of course, he was a Republican until approximately five minutes before he filed to run so I suppose it shouldn't surprise us.