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Bridget Johnson


January 16, 2014 - 5:46 am

A group of House Democrats who have been crossing the aisle on key votes over the past year have finally decided to go to the Dogs — the Blue Dogs, that is.

The coalition of fiscally conservative Dems has seen shrinking numbers in the past few years as members retire from Congress, sparking concern about the strength of moderates within the party.

Veteran congressman Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) has now joined the Blue Dogs, as well as Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), Gabby Giffords’ former district director who served the remainder of her term after she resigned then won a full term in the last election cycle.

Two freshmen Dems are also now officially with the Dogs: Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

“Our newest members are a welcome addition to the Blue Dog Coalition,” said Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), Blue Dog co-chair for communications. “Their deep commitment to fiscal responsibility and reaching across the aisle when crafting public policy is just the sort of leadership we need to solve the problems facing our country.”

Schrader got into verbal fisticuffs with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough this week in a closed-door meeting with the New Democratic Coalition, a larger caucus of moderate Dems that has been growing faster than the Blue Dogs.

Schrader confirmed reports that when McDonough began rattling off talking points about Obamacare, he butted in to say that none of those mattered when his constituents were getting hit with higher health insurance costs and cancellations.

“I’m sure he knows best,” said Schrader, in a voice reportedly “dripping with sarcasm,” adding “I’m just a little country veterinarian from a small town in the great state of Oregon. So what do I know? I’m from a marginal district that they need to have that talks to people on a regular basis. Whatever.”

The Blue Dogs added two members last year, Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-Ind.) and Pete Gallego (D-Texas). Reps. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah) recently announced their retirements.

The four new members brings the coalition count to 19.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (4)
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There are no real "Blue Dogs". Even if they have differing personal beliefs, even if they lie to their own constituents; you cannot point to one who will not vote the most Marxist party line vote if directed to do so by the Democrat leadership. The rare exceptions are when they are given permission by that leadership for local electoral reasons [to help reinforce the lies] and usually are based on being paired with Republicans who can be depended to vote with the Democrats instead of their own people. You know, RINO's and DIABLO's.

Subotai Bahadur
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Blue Dogs are just a tease: "No. No. No. No. Oh, OK."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Leadership will not tolerate this "Yes, but" dissent. Punishment is certain. In the words of Pink Floyd, "Have you heard the news? The dogs are dead. You better stay home and do as you're told. Get out of the road if you want to grow old."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The increasing numbers in a year following a November without any House or Senate elections shows where Democrats think ObamaCare is going to take them this November. Those who didn't join the Blue Dogs before ObamaCare's roll-out but have suddenly seen the light after reality showed what a total fustercluck it it likely haven't changed their core beliefs, but merely are looking for anything to burnish their credentials with swing voters 10 months from now.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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