View to Washington: Blue Dog Effect

Conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats have undercut progressive Dems on health care reform, but how are they affecting the push for LGBT equality?



Forty of the Blue Dogs signed a letter in early July warning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that they wouldn't vote for health reform without significant changes to hold down costs, and they managed to bog down the bill in committee until more progressive Dems made some concessions. Rep. Maxine Waters of California summed up the sentiments of many progressives on MSNBC when she said, "Now, the chickens have come home to roost."

As a point of inquiry, I decided to match up the Blue Dogs on the only LGBT vote taken this year in the House -- the hate-crimes expansion bill, which passed 249-175 and is considered one of the ripest pieces of pro-LGBT legislation (although even some pro-LGBT folks oppose it on philosophical grounds). Of the 52-person coalition, 35 Blue Dogs, or 67%, voted to pass the bill -- meaning that even if a few other Democrats were lost on the vote, the Blue Dogs would have provided more than enough padding to push the legislation through, even without the 18 Republicans who also voted for it.

Overall, 16 Blue Dogs voted against hate crimes with one abstention and, broken down by region, 12 of those congressional members were Southerners, three were Midwesterners, and one was from the Northeast (Christopher Carney, PA-10).

Tags: Politics