Wednesday, August 26, 2009

(Blue) Dog Whistles

Dah-yum! Says here that the so-called Blue Dog Democrats are raking in political contributions from the pharmaceutical, health insurance and health insurance industries.

McClatchy's Washington news bureau has the shocking news:
As the Obama administration and Democrats wrangled over the timing, shape and cost of health care overhaul efforts during the first half of the year, more than half the $1.1 million in campaign contributions the Democratic Party's Blue Dog Coalition received came from the pharmaceutical, health care and health insurance industries, according to watchdog organizations.

The amount outstrips contributions to other congressional political action committees during the same period, according to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit watchdog organization. The Blue Dogs, a group of fiscally conservative lawmakers, successfully delayed the vote on health care overhaul proposals until the fall.
The article continues:
On average, Blue Dog Democrats net $62,650 more from the health sector than other Democrats, while hospitals and nursing homes also favor them, giving, respectively, $5,680 and $5,550 more, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit organization that tracks the influence of money in politics.

The contributions came at a time when health care and pharmaceutical companies were mounting a campaign against a government-run public health insurance option, fearing cost controls and an impact on business. The Blue Dogs' windfall also came at a time when the 52-member coalition flexed its muscle with both the White House and the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives as an increasingly influential bloc in the health care overhaul debate.
With 'friends' like these, who needs Republicans?

Well, at least the those same interests view the Republicans as more reliable votes, based on the money they give them:
House Republicans, however, tend to collect more than Democrats — including Blue Dogs — from insurers, health professionals and the broader health sector, the Center for Responsive Politics found.
I consider myself a loyal Democrat, but I am sick and tired of supporting Democrats who go to Washington (and Baton Rouge) and vote like Republicans on issues that matter to me. Healthcare reform is a signature Democratic issue and has been since Harry Truman tried to pass universal healthcare back in the late 1940s.

If these Blue Dogs can't bring themselves to stand with their party and their president on this core issues of our party, the question that must be asked is this: "Why are they members of this party?"

If their loyalty is to their corporate fund-raisers and not to the hard working people in their states and districts who are struggling to afford health insurance and/or to avoid losing everything they have in order to pay medical bills, why don't they align themselves with the party that makes no pretense about their loyalty to the rich and the powerful?

There is a party that welcomes people who think and vote that way.

The Democratic Party is not it.

We have a party primary system in place for federal elections in Louisiana. Those primaries should be used to remind Democrats who have apparently gone soft headed running in open primaries that there is a loyal Democratic base that cannot be taken for granted or ignored.

We matter. We volunteer. We work in campaigns. And we vote.

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