comes the relatively unsurprising news that Indiana Democrat Evan Bayh
is attempting to form a “Blue Dog” coalition in the Senate, one which
would mirror the one that Democratsalready have in the House. This group will presumably include some of theswing senators that I described last week, folks like Ben Nelson, Mark Pryor and Mary Landireu.
practical upshot of something like this — apart from making Bayh one
of the ten most powerful people in Washington — is that the Democrats
in the Blue Dog coalition would presumably tend to vote as a group
rather than individuals. That is the whole point of a coalition; if a
coalition’s members are not voting together, it really isn’t serving
any purpose. Let’s say that there are seven Democrats in the Blue Dog
group. In theory, this means that instead of havinganywhere between
zero and seven votes on a particular bill (but most commonly some
in-between number like two, three or four), Barack Obama would tend to
get either get exactly seven votes or exactly zero. Would this behavior
be helpful or harmful to his agenda?
I would argue that it might be helpful, simply because of where the numbers tend to stand in the Senate right now.
The problem is that the Blue Dog coalition in the House has largely served to fuck over progressive Democrats at every turn and hump on Bush’s leg, and so while I’m hopeful the magic of Obama will overcome the tendencies of Bayh and Landrieu and the like to cower before anyone who threatens to call them a pussy on TV, I cannot see anything modeled on the House’s Bush Dogs as anything other than a giant “oh shit this again” moment.
It seems sick that we have to figure out who among our own party is most likely to screw us, but it looks like Bayh’s getting them all together in a room so they can reinforce each other’s paranoid delusions. While on any other day a block of Democrats working together would be a good thing, on the whole I’d rather they stay in Gen Pop where they can be peeled off and given stern talkings-to by Feingold and Kerry and Teddy as the need arises.