Speaking as one who was a moderate, Northeastern member of the Republican party (generally referred to in abusive terms as a “RINO” by the party faithful) for many years, I find that I can definitely relate to the Blue Dog Democrats these days. It’s not easy when you decide to eschew the most radical, fringe ideas of your party and attempt to reach across the aisle and work with “the enemy.” That was hammered home again today when I read about Rep. Pete Stark, (D-Calif) who decided to call the Blue Dogs “brain dead” and accuse them of all manner of sins.
A key House liberal suggested Thursday that party moderates who’ve pushed for changes in health care legislation are “brain dead” and out for insurance company campaign donations.
Moderate Blue Dog Democrats “just want to cause trouble,” said Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., who heads the health subcommittee on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.
“They’re for the most part, I hate to say, brain dead, but they’re just looking to raise money from insurance companies and promote a right-wing agenda that is not really very useful in this whole process,” Stark told reporters on a conference call.
Leaving aside for the moment the fact that many of these members are from districts which are far from liberal in their demographic profile and that they might like to be elected again next year, these insults are nothing new. Some of the comments I’ve received here at TMV in response to criticism of H.R. 3200 have included pointless drivel about my alleged “buddies in the health insurance business” or how I must own stock in those companies. It’s the same old story.
The treatment of the RINOs hasn’t been much different in the Republican party. If you’re not 115% in line with the platform, you must be part of “the enemy” and of no use. It was more noticeable, in some ways, when the GOP still held power, but it hasn’t faded entirely. And now that the Democrats are in charge of all the chips on the table, there’s a certain wry satisfaction in watching them throw themselves on their own swords in a similar fashion. At least there’s one thing that both sides can agree on, it seems. You must drive out the heretics.
That worked so well for the Republicans, as evidenced by their current hegemony over all power in Washington, it’s no surprise that the Democrats would wish to emulate them. Let us know how that works out for you, ok?