Blue Dog Democrats

“Fiscally conservative” Blue Dog Democrats fail to protect taxpayers

Blue Dog Democrats

Much ink has been spilled in the last few years over the decline of the Blue Dog Coalition in the House of Representatives. Just this week, the Washington Post ran a story noting that this group of purportedly centrist Democrats will has seen its numbers fall from 50 members four years ago.

“[T]he Blue Dog Coalition is a shell of its former self, shrunken to just 15 members because of political defeat, retirements after redrawn districts left them in enemy territory and just plain exhaustion from the constant battle to stay in office,” wrote Paul Kane at the Washington Post. “Several are not running for reelection in November, and a few others are top targets of Republicans.”

There actually 19 members of the Blue Dog Coalition, though three members aren’t running for reelection in 2014. Reps. Jim Matheson (D-UT) and Mike McIntyre (D-NC), whose districts were targeted by Republicans, decided to retire. Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) is running for governor in Maine. Other members of the Blue Dog Coalition face tough bids for reelection, which could further dwindle its numbers at the beginning of the next Congress.

Blue Dog Democrats claim to “represent the center of the House of Representatives” and purport to be “dedicated to the financial stability and national security of the United States.” In news stories, reporters will frequently refer to Blue Dogs as “fiscally conservative” or “deficit hawks.”

Recapping the 2010 mid-term election

“Last night was devastating, no question.” - MoveOn.org

The dust is still settling on last night’s returns. We’re going to hear a lot of analysis over the mid-terms and what it means for both the new majority for House Republicans, Democrats that survived in both chambers and President Barack Obama.

As it currently stands, Republicans gained over 60 seats in the House and six in the Senate. They also picked up at least nine governerships and 19 state legislatures. The states where the GOP made significant gains make up a chunk of the electoral college.

Keith Olbermann and others can deny it all they want, it was a historic night. Newt Gingrich, who was behind the Republican Revolution in 1994, is calling last night “a more decisive repudiation” than what President Bill Clinton faced. The Republican Party will enter the 112th Congress with their largest majority since 1928, during the Hoover Administration, and the largest pick-up for either party since 1948.

UT-04: Incumbent Democrat announces retirement, GOP likely to pick up seat

Jim Matheson

Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) has decided to retire rather than worry about trying to distance himself from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other national Democrats in what was shaping up to be another contentious race with Mia Love, his 2012 Republican challenger.

“When I launched my first campaign in 1999, I knew that the arc of my public service would have many chapters. It has been a tremendous privilege to serve the people of Utah during my time in the United States House of Representatives, but my time in the House should not be the sum total of my service,” said Matheson, one of the few remaining Blue Dog Democrats, in a post on his Facebook page.

“Today, I am announcing that I will not seek reelection to the House of Representatives,” he said. “While at the end of 2014 my tenure in the House of Representatives will come to an end, my duty to our state and our country will undoubtedly continue.”

Some have already noted that Matheson could be setting up a run for higher office in 2016, either for governor or against Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who will be up for re-election. A defeat in 2014 would, obviously, be a blow to his credibility as a candidate, nevermind his terrible record on fiscal issues.

Matheson and Love had recently traded barbs. The Republican framed Matheson as a ‘squishy’ moderate and ineffective legislator, according to The Salt Lake Tribune, while the incumbent Democrat called Love an “extremist.”

UT-04: Mia Love slams incumbent Democrat

One of the most anticipated House races in 2014 will be the rematch between Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) and Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love in Utah’s Fourth Congressional District (UT-04). The candidates are 11 months away from the general election, and shots are already being fired by both sides:

Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love says Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, is an ineffective, “squishy” moderate who has alienated Democrats and has no clout with Republicans.

Matheson says Love is a tea-party extremist who, if elected, would only add to the polarization crippling Congress.
[…]
“I am not an extremist. I’ve never been an extremist,” Love said Tuesday during a visit to Washington, D.C.. “I’ve talked to other tea-party members and, you know, the tea [partyers] have different ideas of who they are and what they believe in and what I’m telling you now is they’ve been the ones who label me. I don’t want anyone to put me in a box.”

The incumbent Democrat barely survived a challenge from Love last year. In the run up to the 2012 election, Matheson trailed by double digits, but managed to pull out a 2,646-vote win on election day.

Matheson has been trying to distance himself from national Democrats. He opposed Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s bid for re-election as leader of the House Democratic Caucus and has voted with Republicans on several issues, including Obamacare.

Mia Love Seeks Re-Match Against Blue Dog Democrat

Mia Love

Just months after a tough loss in her bid for Utah’s Fourth Congressional District, Mia Love announced this weekend that she would seek a re-match against Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) in 2014:

Saturday, Mia Love announced her second candidacy for the 4th Congressional District.

Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love told the Utah Republican Organizing Convention Saturday she would be running for the 4th District seat in Congress in 2014.

“We have some unfinished business with Jim Matheson,” she said.
[…]
In her announcement Saturday, she said the election showed her what to do next time to be successful.

“I am confident in our country. I am confident in our future. And I have great confidence in the people of Utah and America,” Love said

Love became somewhat of a conservative rock-star in 2012. She gave a great speech at the Republican National Convention last August, during which she talked her upbringing and early sense of personal responsibility and slammed the economic policies pushing by President Barack Obama. Love was articulate in her fiscal conservative views and would have been a great addition to the House.

House Democrat will not support Pelosi for Minority Leader

Nancy Pelosi

While Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has made it clear that she will run stand for re-election as House Minority Leader, she doesn’t have the support of every Democrat in the chamber. Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), a so-called “Blue Dog Democrat” who barely survived last week in a tough race against Mia Love, has stated that he will oppose Pelosi if someone steps up to run against her:

Matheson, D-Utah, told The Salt Lake Tribune on Wednesday that he would oppose Pelosi’s bid to lead the Democratic Caucus, as he did in 2010, though he doesn’t know if anyone will step up to challenge the powerful leader and he expects that she will keep her post.

“I think it is time to shake things up within the Democratic Caucus. I think we should look for some new leadership,” Matheson said. “I won’t be voting for Nancy Pelosi.”

He argues Pelosi has contributed to the polarization in Washington that has squeezed out moderates in each party and made it more difficult for Congress to take action on pressing issues.

“If we had new leadership, that helps create a new opportunity for working in a constructive way,” Matheson said.

UT-4: Mia Love holds a 12-point lead

Mia Love

According to new polling from the Salt Lake Tribune, Mia Love is on her way to becoming the first black Republican woman in Congress. The poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon, shows Love leading Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) by a 12-point margin:

Matheson trails Republican challenger Mia Love 52 percent to 40 percent in a new poll conducted for The Salt Lake Tribune, a large margin in a race where, even a few days ago, both campaigns were predicting a tight finish.
[…]
The Tribune poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, found that the coalition of Democrats, independents, moderate Republicans and women that Matheson has united in past elections is failing to coalesce this time around, with just 9 percent of Republicans crossing over to support him.

Matheson’s poll showed him getting 19 percent of GOP support.

Brad Coker, managing director at Mason-Dixon, said that Matheson may be falling victim to the popularity of Mitt Romney.

“Romney is winning [Utah] by such a big margin and Republican voters are coming out because of Romney,” Coker said. “It’s just not a good year to be a Democrat in Utah.”

Love — with the backing of national groups and fundraising help from prominent national Republicans — has also been able to keep pace with Matheson’s spending and has become a popular figure among national Republicans, Coker said.

House passes repeal of ObamaCare

Late yesterday afternoon and on the same day as a new poll by ABC News and the Washington Post was released showing that slight majority of Americans support repeal of ObamaCare, the House of Representatives followed through on a campaign pledge by  repealing the health care “reform” law enacted last March, by a vote of 245 to 189 - with only three Democrats, Dan Boren, Mike Ross and Mike McIntyre, supporting repeal:

Democrats are deriding last night’s House vote to repeal ObamaCare as “symbolic,” and it was, but that is not the same as meaningless. The stunning political reality is that a new entitlement that was supposed to be a landmark of liberal governance has been repudiated by a majority of one chamber of Congress only 10 months after it passed. This sort of thing never happens.

Republicans plan repeal vote for ObamaCare

With the 112th Congress set to convene in just a few days and tax hikes on pharmaceutical companies and new restrictions on health savings accounts (HSAs) as a result of the law passed last March took effect at the beginning of the new year, Republicans are promising a legislative assault on ObamaCare before the President Barack Obama gives the State of the Union at the end of the month:

“We have 242 Republicans,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” He added, “There will be a significant number of Democrats, I think, that will join us. You will remember when that vote passed in the House last March, it only passed by seven votes.”

Upton, whose committee will play a key role in the GOP’s effort to roll back the law, said that he believes the House may be near the two-thirds majority required to override a presidential veto.

“If we pass this bill with a sizeable vote, and I think that we will, it will put enormous pressure on the Senate to do perhaps the same thing,” he said. “But then, after that, we’re going to go after this bill piece by piece.”

Upton specifically called out the requirement for businesses to complete 1099 tax forms, the individual mandate and the amendment on abortion introduced by Michigan Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak. “We will look at these individual pieces to see if we can’t have the thing crumble,” he said.

Democrats select Pelosi to serve as minority leader

In case you haven’t already heard, House Democrats decided to pay no attention to the results of the election that took place two weeks prior and elected outgoining House Speaker Nancy Pelosi - the most unpopular politician in America - to serve as Minority Leader in the 112th Congress, defeating Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC):

The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California, was re-elected on Wednesday to lead the Democrats in the next Congress, despite her party’s loss of more than 60 seats and its majority control of the House in the midterm elections.

Officials said that Ms. Pelosi defeated Representative Heath Shuler of North Carolina in an internal party vote, 150 to 43. Mr. Shuler acknowledged before the vote that he had no chance of winning, but he wanted to give disgruntled Democrats a chance to register their opposition to Ms. Pelosi’s leadership anyway.

Earlier on Wednesday, the House Democrats defeated a motion to delay the leadership election by a vote of 129 to 68. The 68 votes for delay showed the fractures in the caucus over Ms. Pelosi’s continuing as the party’s leader. Representative Peter DeFazio of Oregon, one of those pushing for a delay, said he believed the vote sent a substantial message.

Pelosi is still fighting as a handful of members are trying to essentially save the caucus from the soon to be ex-Speaker. Writing at The New Republic, William Galston, a veteran of Democratic politics, wrote that House Democrats “should have dumped Pelosi”:


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