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Posted by on Sep 19, 2009 in Health, Places | 4 comments

Health Care Debate Makes Life Hard for Black ‘Blue Dogs’ in Georgia

Georgia congressmen Sanford Bishop and David Scott are both ‘Blue Dog’ Democrats. And both are being put to the test by the raging health care debate. McClatchy Newspapers:

While both men say they’re comfortable balancing the fiscal conservatism and strong support for the military that the Blue Dog Coalition advocates with the black caucus’s socially progressive platform — which includes pushing for a strong public health option — the health care debate has made it tough for them to walk the moderate fine line that’s defined much of their tenure in the House of Representatives.

Scott learned that last month, when he found a swastika spray-painted on a sign outside his Smyrna district office after a contentious town hall meeting on health care.

One letter sent to his office addressed him as “Nigga David Scott.”

“The folks are not going to stand for socialized medicine even though negro’s (sic) refuse to stand on their own two feet,” read another letter, sent from a Michigan address. […]

Bishop represents Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District, which is nestled along the state’s southwestern border with Alabama. The area is a patchwork of small rural towns, peanut farms and Fort Benning, a sprawling military installation near Columbus that’s seen large numbers of its troops deployed in heavy rotations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Roughly 50 percent of the district’s active registered voters are white and 47 percent are African-American. Though some counties in the district voted for Republican John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, Bishop handily defeated his Republican challenger with roughly 69 percent of the vote, according to September figures from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

In the 2nd District, the priorities are “God, country, hard work and guns, and not necessarily in that order, and that’s for the black and white community,” said Bishop, who was one of only four Congressional Black Caucus members to vote in 2002 to authorize the Iraq war.

For all the talk about the racial divide in the South, how many northern districts have a racial split like that? Or, for that matter, how many even have rural blacks?

Via Jim Galloway.

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  • DLS

    Enjoy the show not only in Atlanta, but outside it, Joe (and T-Steel).

    The Blue Dogs are a more grown-up bunch, but they face a real test of partisanship and “loyalty” as well as the ideological challenge. The Baucus bill has fizzled and there’s now probably going to be more, not less, pressure to move eventual legislation farther left than pre-Baucus.

    Perhaps it’s time not only for Obama but for other Dems to exploit the “campaign” phenemonon and try to put a more “centrist,” “safe and sane” “We are not radical” face on the effort (even though it is going to be a likely leftward move, preserving some kind of public option or “co-opting” [!] the co-ops to become the “stealth public option” — make it a state or federal _government_ co-op system).

  • Leonidas

    Well Joe Liebermann faced a similar difficulty, he stood by his guns lost the democratic primary, and then got re-elected by the voters in his district. These blue dogs will likely find themselves in a similar situation, they can please the folks who vote for them, or they can please a special interest group in Congress.

  • Gegenschattenbild

    Leonidas, you act as if special interest groups have no influence over the opinions of the folks who vote, or for that matter, vice-versa.

  • Leonidas

    Oh I’m sure they do, but what can the special interest congressional black caucus do but support a more progressive democratic candidate? If they do and win the primary, they likely kill their chance to win the general election in these Republican leaning districts. I think they are less likely to do that than the voters are to forgive the Blue Dogs if they fold to the liberals.

    Still comes down to partisan support of their party/congressional black caucus or re-election.

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