Blue Dog Democrat

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A Blue Dog Democrat is a relatively conservative Democrat in Congress, as opposed to the leftist Democrat leadership. They have organized a caucus in the House, and usually vote together on fiscal issues. Many come from districts that have been voted Republican in the past, so the Blue Dogs make an effort to appeal to conservative voters.

The Blue Dog Coalition is a caucus of 52 conservative House Democrats. Leaders include Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas, Rep. John Tanner of Tennessee, and Rep. Allen Boyd, a farmer from the Florida Panhandle. The Obama Administration tried to mollify them, realizing they have the power to defeat legislation if they vote with the Republicans in the House. The health care bill—a major item on the Obama agenda—was only able to pass with their support, and negotiations for a compromise that would satisfy the Blue Dogs went underway in late July, 2009. Ultimately, Obama was able to win the Blue Dog's support by signing a misleading and loophole- full executive order supposedly banning the federal funding of abortion.

Founded in 1994, the Blue Dog Caucus took its name from their view that the Democratic Party's liberal establishment had "choked blue" conservative voices in the party, from the drawings of blue hounds by Louisiana artist George Rodrigue which graced the walls of offices where they met, and as wordplay on "Yellow Dog Democrat".

Most recently they were successful in the 2006 and 2008 Congressional elections.[1]

An editorial from the conservative Washington Times notes they have had success in foreign policy too:

  • ... the Blue Dog Coalition ... joined with Republicans in passing a temporary FISA fix that would ensure that the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies could monitor suspected terrorist communications overseas without having to obtain a warrant. [1]

Dick Morris says "There is no such thing as a conservative Democrat." [2] Evidence of this was seen when almost all of the so-called "Blue Dog" democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives voted against the repeal of ObamaCare.[3]

111th Congress

Blue Dogs like to consider themselves moderate or conservative that are independent of their liberal leadership. Their website states, “particularly active on fiscal issues, relentlessly pursuing a balanced budget and then protecting that achievement from politically popular ‘raids’ on the budget.” On the critical health care reform bill that passed the House by 220–215 in Nov. 2009, 22 of the 39 Democrats who voted no were Blue Dogs, including three of the four leaders.

2010 Midterm Elections

The Blue Dogs were crushed in the 2010 Midterm Elections. Of the 52 representatives that were members of 111th Congress, only 22 remain. One former Blue Dog Democrat, Kristen Gillibrand of New York, switched from the House to the Senate in 2009 after she was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton, and as a result left the Caucus. Gillibrand won the special election for her Senate seat in 2010. She is included in the count of 52 because she was elected to the 111th Congress as a Representative.

This happened as a result of the public being fed-up with their votes for liberal Nancy Pelosi's agenda, the Democrat leadership and liberal trade unions refusal to fund their re-election.


Most of the attacks on the Blue Dogs come from the left, as liberals complain about the betrayal of party principles. However some attacks on the Blue Dogs have come from the right with complaints they are not conservative enough on every issue. The Heritage Foundation and Human Events have compiled a list of the 16 top issues before the 111th Congress and scored the Blue Dogs on their votes.[4] What they found was that the Blue Dog Coalition has voted in lockstep with liberal Rep. Steny Hoyer 78% of the time.

  • SCHIP- 96% of all Blue Dogs voted in favor
  • TARP- 82% of all Blue Dogs voted in favor
  • $787 billion Economic Stimulus- 80% of all Blue Dogs voted in favor
  • Republican alternative to the Economic Stimulus- 96% of all Blue Dogs voted against
  • Fiscal 2009 Omnibus- 69% of all Blue Dogs voted in favor
  • Mortgage Loans Modification- 68% of all Blue Dogs voted in favor
  • Obama’s $3.6 trillion 2010 budget- 73% of Blue Dogs voted in favor
  • Republican substitute for the Fiscal 2010 Budget Resolution- 100% of all Blue Dogs voted against
  • Hate Crimes legislation- 68% of all Blue Dogs voted in favor
  • $64.5 billion 2010 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations- 89% of all Blue Dogs voted in favor
  • Fiscal 2010 Interior Environment Appropriations, a 17% increase over 2009 figures- 78% of all Blue Dogs voted in favor
  • Cap and trade- 44% of all Blue Dogs voted in favor
  • Fiscal 2010 State Foreign Operations Appropriations, a 33% increase over spending in 2009- 90% of all Blue Dogs voted in favor
  • Fiscal 2010 Financial Services Appropriations- 57% of all Blue Dogs voted in favor
  • $33.3 billion Fiscal 2010 Energy Water Appropriations- 94% of all Blue Dogs voted in favor

Legislation to defund Planned Parenthood

The 2009 measure offered by Republican Mike Pence to stop taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortions failed and funding was kept in place. Only 12 Blue Dogs voted with conservatives to remove funding.[5]

Legislation to defund ACORN

Of the seventy-five failed Democrat votes in the September 17, 2009 House resolution defunding ACORN, surprisingly only one Blue-dog Democrat stood with ACORN.[6]

Blue Dogs For ObamaCare

The following Blue Dog's November 7, 2009 votes for a nationalized healthcare proved that in reality, they were fake conservatives and in fact statist big government supporters;[7]

Arcuri, Mike (NY-24) Baca, Joe (CA-43) Berry, Marion (AR-01) Bishop, Sanford (GA-02) Boswell, Leonard (IA-03) Cardoza, Dennis (CA-18) Carney, Christopher (PA-10) Cooper, Jim (TN-05) Costa, Jim (CA-20) Cuellar, Henry (TX-28) Dahlkemper, Kathy (PA-03) Donnelly, Joe (IN-02) Ellsworth, Brad (IN-08) Giffords, Gabrielle (AZ-08) Harman, Jane (CA-36) Hill, Baron (IN-09) Michaud, Mike (ME-02) Mitchell, Harry (AZ-05) Moore, Dennis (KS-03) Murphy, Patrick (PA-08) Pomeroy, Earl (ND) Salazar, John (CO-03) Sanchez, Loretta (CA-47) Schiff, Adam (CA-29) Scott, David (GA-13) Space, Zack (OH-18) Thompson, Mike (CA-01) Wilson, Charles (OH-06)

Former Members

Kirsten Gillibrand was a Blue Dog member before being appointed Hillary Clinton's seat in the Senate.

Parker Griffith (AL-05) was a Blue Dog member before switching to the GOP on December 22, 2009.[8]

See also


External links