They’re Called Blue Dogs for a Reason…
(Crossposted at your flippant and irreverent source for Ohio politics and humor, Athens Runaway)
Answer: because they bark and make a lot of noise, but then they roll over for Nancy Pelosi like the good little doggies they are.
In February, I debunked Rep. Zack Space’s (D-Nancy PelosiOH) claim that he was politically “only 4 spots away from dead center of the US House’s ideological spectrum”. In truth, Rep. Space is one of the most liberal Congressmen in office, because he, more or less, has no ability to think for himself.
Rep. Space, who claims to be an independent thinker, a conservative, and a nice person, has proven to be none of the above. As I’ve said before, if you don’t believe me, I have charts to prove it. Like that one at left.
But what about Ohio’s other so-called moderate thinking man’s thinking man, Charlie Wilson? The man who successfully eluded his constituents, remaining in hiding more successfully than the offspring of Waldo and Carmen Sandiego over the summer Congressional recess?
Yes, what of Charlie Wilson, indeed…
The following chart, derived from CQ Politics’ “2009 Vote Studies” tool, represents the accumulative voting patterns of every Representative in the House—in terms of how often the Representative voted with their respective party, plotted against how often the Representative voted with the President—during the year 2009. Some dots represent more than one Representative, some represent just one
First, Democrats often like to claim that they are ideologically more accepting the Republican Party is a “bigger tent” than the Democratic Party—in other words, they claim there is more diversity of thought on the right side of the aisle than there is on the left. Dissent is tolerated within Republican ranks, but not as much within Democratic ranks.
However, as you can see, most of the House Democratic Caucus is clumped in the high-party unity/high-presidential support corner, whereas the Republican Party is spread across almost 80% of the American political spectrum.
Second, we can see that the oft-repeated mantra that the Republican Party does not contain the American political Center is false. There are more Republicans inside that overlap than there are Democrats. If Democrats were the moderate party, there would be Republicans that could pass for Democrats—as opposed to the Real World, where there are more Democrats that could pass for Republicans.
Finally, you can see from the chart that, if you thought Zack Space was a flaming, Pelosi-esque, San Francisco-style liberal, the “moderate” Charlie Wilson is much worse.
Sadly, this isn’t a fluke of charting. As I did with Zack Space, I used OnTheIssues.org’s VoteMatch tool to plot , which plots political ideology on a two-axis graph—with “libertarian”/”populist” as the Economic Issues axis, and “left-liberal” plotted against “right-conservative” on the Social Issues axis. The results are… less than heartening.
As you can see, Rep. Wilson’s political beliefs are more liberal than those of Rep. Space, who is already pretty damn liberal.
Now, this would not be as much of a problem, if Wilson’s beliefs were in line with those of his district.
However, Wilson represents a district where only 14% of the population have a college education and the poverty rate is between 14% and nearly 20% of the population. Yet Charlie Wilson votes to kill small businesses and subsidize abortions, against the wishes of his constituents.
In any event, we shouldn’t be surprised at Wilson’s inability—or refusal—to listen to the will of the voters. This is, after all, the man who ducked his constituents for an entire summer, as well as the guy who, literally, slammed the door in the face of constituents wishing to meet with him, or his proxies. As one commenter on a previous blog about Wilson noted, “No reason to meet with constituents when you don’t listen to them anyway?”
Sad but true. Sad but true.