I took an accidental spin over to Daily Kos on Monday (darn bit.ly!) and got a look at the new DK 4 while I was at it. What really struck me were diaries griping about the Blue Dogs in the Democratic Congress, and how they didn’t get it. Which were just repeating the same gripes I’ve heard for the past two years. My problem with that? It just shows how little the lessons of the past few months have sunk in with the frustrati. The clue train pulled into the station and left without them. They’re still griping about things that no longer matter.
You see, in January, the Republicans took over the House of Representatives. They have the majority, and they’ve shown a willingness to vote the party line. So the Blue Dogs really don’t matter in the overall scheme of things, except as an occasional way to show some “bipartisanship” on the part of the Republicans. They’re just a part of the minority party. If anyone hasn’t been paying attention to the news, the Republicans in the House are on a tear. They’ve tried to repeal the health care reform legislation. They’ve tried to redefine rape. They’ve just rolled out their own budget proposals, which involved seriously cutting funding for environmental enforcement, food safety, alternative energy, high-speed rail funding, education, Medicaid, and the food stamp/WIC programs. Those are just a short list of the various programs that they want to take an axe to.
Virtually every program and protection which progressives have fought for in past decades is now under attack by the Republicans in Congress. Why are they even getting this chance? Because the Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives. Which, not so coincidentally leads to what the frustrati miss: That those Blue Dogs also enabled the Democratic Party to have the majority in the House, and for progressive legislation and programs to advance or be protected. You see, it was all well and good to complain about Blue Dogs when Democrats controlled the House. Heck, I even shared a good deal of the frustration with them, and did my share of ranting about them. There was a point to it then. Now that the Democratic Party doesn’t control the House, there’s no point in it.
That’s why there’s more than a whiff of futility coming from the frustrati. They’re still locked into attacking the administration and various “less than pure” members of Congress for their failure toe a mythical line, and ignoring the real problem. It might be because this was what they wanted. Yes, I’m serious. They whined, moaned, and bitched enough about how “disappointed” they were, and made threats about primarying them. Which they didn’t do. When they weren’t making idle threats like that, they were saying how it would be so much better for the Democratic Party if the Republicans won. Which is what happened, and they tried to paint it as a ‘good thing’. Now that reality has struck and it’s worse than any of them ever dreamed, they’re retreating further into their fantasy world of “purifying” the Democratic Party.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it. The harsh reality is that any chance of advancing a progressive agenda, pure or not, went out the window when the new Congress took office. Bitching about ideological purity is a waste of time, and totally meaningless. The real problem is trying to keep the damage that the House Republicans want to do to a minimum. None of the attempted rollbacks of LGBT rights, women’s rights, environmental legislation, food safety, and education among many others are because of the Blue Dogs. It’s not because of anything that the President is doing. This is the reason:
Jolted to action by deficit-conscious newcomers, the Republican-controlled House passed sweeping legislation early Saturday to cut $61 billion from hundreds of federal programs and shelter coal companies, oil refiners and farmers from new government regulations
Get it? It is because of the Republicans. All that continuing to complain about various Democrats shows is that they don’t get that. Maybe the next time the clue train pulls around, they might decide to get on it, and spend some of their outrage on the real problem. It’d be more useful than they what they’ve been doing.