Blue Dogs

Kirsten GillibrandWe noticed this week that Kirsten Gillibrand was described as a "Blue Dog" Democrat in a story about her vote on the Wall Street bailout bill.

Wait a second... a what?

The Blue Dogs are a coalition of House Democrats who describe themselves as "moderate and conservative" and "particularly active on fiscal issues, relentlessly pursuing a balanced budget and then protecting that achievement from politically popular "raids" on the budget." There are currently 37 members of the coalition.

So, why the name "Blue Dogs"? The name seems to have its roots in another phrase, "Yellow Dog Democrats," which was used to describe Southern Dems who reluctantly voted for NY Governor Al Smith in the 1928 presidential election -- a choice explained by an Alabama senator this way: "I'd vote for a yellow dog if he ran on the Democratic ticket." That phrase was reformulated in 1994 to describe Democrats who had been "choked blue" by the more liberal wing of the party leading up to the Republican takeover of Congress. The name also seems to be an allusion to the "Blue Dog" paintings by George Rodrigue. Billy Tauzin, a former Congressman and Blue Dog, apparently had a few Rodrigues hanging in his office.

The Blue Dogs have been enjoying a recent upswing in influence. Eleven first-time members of Congress joined up with the coalition in 2006, including Gillibrand. (The name for these new members: Blue Pups. No, we're not making that up.) The Dogs have also been catching flak from the more liberal parts of the party for, among other things, supporting retroactive immunity for AT&T on the warrantless government wiretapping.


And in their spare time, they all get together and watch Blues Clues on their blue ray. And a whole bunch of other things happen which also involve the word "blue". No no no, not like that, you sicko. I don't even know why I hang out with you. You're always saying inappropriate things. I think it's time we end our friendship. Please give me back the golden headband I loaned to you. Seriously. Hand it over. I want it back. Oh c'mon, you don't have to cry about it. Seriously, you're making a scene! Now everyone is staring at us. Real mature dude, real freaking mature.

What? Don't give the Blue Dogs credit for the wiretapping immunity. That was pushed by the party leadership and therefore both our Senators and Rep. McNulty all voted in favor of it.

Anybody know if there's any polling on the Gillibrand/Treadwell race? Treadwell's ads have taken a nasty turn recently... maybe the "Uncle Sandy" spots weren't effective?

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