Several days ago I wrote about the toothless and useless 'Blue Dog Democrats,' who strut around bragging about their commitment to balanced budgets, but who regularly take a dive when told to. Apparently their liberal masters have told them it's time to shut up and get in line.
Less than a week ago, the Blue Dog leadership released an open letter to Speaker Pelosi:
We are writing as leaders of the Blue Dog Coalition to urge a redoubled effort to streamline the stimulus and recovery package...
While a number of Blue Dogs voted against the package considered in the House, many of those who did support it did so with serious reservations and the conviction that the package should and would be improved through Senate consideration, and, ultimately, through negotiations between the chambers of Congress, together with President Obama.
To be sure, the House package contained a number of sound provisions that will provide a real stimulative boost and strengthen our nation’s economy – such as transportation and infrastructure spending and tax relief for individuals and businesses of all types. However, a number of other provisions were included that, while in and of themselves may be worthy of consideration in the regular order of business, were not properly included as part of an emergency spending package...
Now that the Senate is debating its stimulus and recovery package, reports indicate certain senators, including Senator Nelson of Nebraska and Senator Collins of Maine, are engaged in a bipartisan effort to pare further spending. We believe that’s a highly worthwhile goal, and that there are additional provisions that would be better left for consideration in regular order.
Every news outlet that reported on this took it the same way: if the Obama-Reid-Pelosi debt spending plan didn't get smaller, there would be more Blue Dog defections. If they actually made good on such a threat, it would be pretty much the first time the Blue Dogs ever had the guts to actually stand up against their own leadership for what they believe in.
What will the Blue Dogs do -- now that the Senate bill is actually bigger than the House bill? With so much pressure from liberals in the House and Senate to increase the total even more, the Blue Dogs will have to swallow their political cowardice and stand up to the leadership, right? Otherwise it would be clear that their raison d'etre is a sham.
Well, there'll be no history made here today, folks. The Blue Dog leadership met today with the President, and they are folding like a house of cards:
Laredo congressman Henry Cuellar and four dozen other conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats spent an hour this evening with President Barack Obama, talking of fiscal discipline and long-term debt reduction...
All but a handful of Blue Dogs already voted for the plan, so "we were not there to be sweet talked into the stimulus package. Our thing was we have a very serious situation with the debt," Cuellar recounted tonight.
And Obama hit the Blue Dogs' fiscal hot button, affirming that "we've go to start looking at how do we reduce the debt - the debt that we owe so much of to foreign countries," Cuellar said.
Blue Dogs suggested creating a commission to study ways to cut costs in Social Security, Medicare and other expensive entitlement programs. They reiterated their longstanding demand for a statutory requirement that new spending be offset by cuts or new revenues (pay-as-you-go or "paygo," in Beltway lingo). Cuellar suggested a push to make government more effective, efficient and accountable...
Blue Dogs generally supported the stimulus plan and they'll stand by Obama, Cuellar said.
It's amazing that Cuellar can completely surrender on all of his principles, and then claim a victory. If he is to be believed, there's not even a consideration that the Blue Dogs might stand up for their beliefs. They'll all be good soldiers and make sure President Obama gets a victory on the single biggest spending bill in the history of the United States.
But don't worry, they'll tackle the deficit soon -- once the present emergency is past.
There's no way the Blue Dogs can ever pretend to be 'fiscal conservatives' after embarrassing themselves like this.