In the process of reading "Centrist Dems: Dogged If They Do, Dogged If They Don't" by Froma Harrop (short version: pity the poor Blue Dog Democrats; the Left wants them to fall into line behind the progressives and the Right wants them to actually act as if fiscal conservatism meant something), I noticed this particular passage.
And Blue Dogs hold undisguised contempt for recent Republican conversions to fiscal rectitude. [Rep. Paul] Ryan's appeal "to help us defeat this unprecedented taxing, borrowing and spending spree" drew a tart response from Louisiana Rep. Charlie Melancon.
"These statements come from the same individuals who wrote the president a blank check for eight years, driving spending to the highest levels in our country's history," said Melancon, a co-chair of the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition.
It struck me as an... odd reaction.After all, Ryan's been banging this drum since he became ranking member of Budget in 2007 - you can see where Charlie Melancon's (D, LA-03) lying already, given that his party signed off on two years' worth of those 'blank checks' - and his latest presentation should have gotten Melancon's at least grudging approval for keeping the conversation going along lines that he's supposedly favoring. For that matter, Melancon's on Budget, too - so he knows that Ryan has been out there getting his fellow Republicans to stop backsliding on fiscal conservatism. And yet, we get "undisguised contempt" from him, instead. I wonder why that is? Maybe because it's because Charlie Melancon voted for Obama's 'stimulus' bill? Then ducked out to go to Europe afterward?
But specifically, [LA GOP Chair Roger] Villere wanted to know why Melancon chose to skip over the pond on an international junket that includes trips to Vienna, Paris and Brussels instead of flying back home to his district to justify his stimulus vote.
“When he is back from their taxpayer-funded junket, he should explain why struggling middle-class families should be forced to foot the bill for this wasteful Washington spending,” Villere said.
As you might remember, this is the same little jaunt that Rep. Bart Gordon of Tennessee - also supposedly a fiscally conservative Democrat - took on the taxpayers' dime. Also like Gordon, Melancon never had any real call to make this trip in the first place... except, of course, that he's a majority-party member of the very powerful Budget committee, which is all the excuse that one needs to go skiing in Europe. Review the itinerary, and review the man's committee memberships, and you tell me.
So, to recap: when a Republican - one who has bucked his own party's past excesses, and who is spearheading his party's return to fiscal sanity - brings up a supposedly fiscally conservative coalition's refusal to live up to its principles, he is met with harsh language and 'undisguised contempt' from a prominent Democrat of that coalition who has voted for what is actually the highest levels of spending in our nation's history (with nary a House GOP vote, might I add). He's doing all of this fresh from junketing to Europe on the taxpayer's dime, too. And we're apparently expected to sympathize with the Democrat.
Since we're going with undisguised contempt, let me add mine: Charlie Mescanon, you are indeed a Democrat. You're even a Dog-Democrat. But you're not Blue.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.