How Progressive Democrats Can Beat Republicans: Arizona Case Study

Blue Dogs: The Democrats TEA Party?

by DA Morales on Aug. 02, 2011, under Education, Environment, Headline news, Native American

In Arizona a clear divide can be found in the Democratic Party and this state can be used as a microcosm of what is going on nationwide.

Blue dogs vs Progressives.

Before the 2010 election, the two progressives, Raul Grijalva who is also the co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus, and Ed Pastor guaranteed a decade of rule under Arizona 8-seat US Congress.

Of the three self-proclaimed “Blue Dog Democrats,” who coincidentally just happen to also be the non-minorities:

  • Kirkpatrick got beat big time despite spending millions and having the incumbent advantage, and squandered DCCC money to become a one-term loser.
  • Harry Mitchell is out after just two terms.
  • Gabrielle Giffords was the only winner, barely pulling off a ticket to her third term by beating a newbie by less than 2 points, which may have been due to Jesse Kelly’s dumb move of ignoring the importance of advertising in Cochise county.
Only the Progressive Democrats have lasted a decade, and Giffords barely pulled off a win against a neophyte by less than 2 points. Table from Wikipedia.

Should one be proud of being a Blue Dog?

A brief history of Blue Dogs from Time magazine:

When the Democrats lost Congress in 1994, some Representatives blamed the defeat on a party they felt had shifted too far to the left. These disgruntled Democrats decided to form a coalition to stand against their more liberal party members.

They held meetings in the office of former Louisiana Representative Billy Tauzin, who reportedly had one of Cajun artist George Rodrigues’ famous Blue Dog paintings hanging on his wall. The Blue Dog Coalition’s website also lists as an inspiration the 1928 term Yellow Dog, used to refer to a Southern Democrat who was more likely to vote for a dog than for a Republican. Instead of being blinded by party loyalty, this new group complained that it had been “choked blue” by its own party.

Originally comprising just 23 members, mostly from Southern states, the Blue Dogs supported the Republicans’ Contract with America, complained that the Clinton White House was too liberal and called for a balanced federal budget.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1913057,00.html

In case you have forgotten, the new GOP leader 1994 and the Contract with America was due to Newt Gingrich, and Blue Dogs felt that President Clinton was too liberal and sided with Gingrich instead.

Something to be proud of?

The Time article also adds that “Blue Dogs tend to come from conservative areas of the country, where voters see them as a nonthreatening alternative to Republicans.

It’s a thin red line between love and hate…

Blue Dogs will continue to lose

With the exception of Giffords, who as any reader can agree is in a special category due to recent events, the rest of the Blue Dogs will continue to lose and continue to not regain the seats they lost, such as Ann Kirkpatrick in CD1.

Why vote for a Democrat who feels they are being “choked blue” by liberals when you can vote for a conservative?

Why vote for a weak Blue Dog Democrat when you can just vote Republican?

If you really don’t want any reform for immigration, why vote for Kirkpatrick, who failed to vote for the DREAM Act, when you can just vote for the TEA Party?

If you are conservative, the Blue Dogs are no match for the TEA Party… but if you are a Democrat or a liberal, the question becomes:

Why vote for the Blue Dog when a Progressive is running?

Progressives will remain true to Democratic principles, while Blue Dogs venture out into GOP territory. Consider the issue of environmental racism, where mines are being built in spite of opposition from the Native Americans who live next to the mines and have to deal with the pollution and exploitation that will take place, just for non-American mining corporations to make off with our country’s natural resources.

The “before” image of where the Resolution copper mine, as it looks now.

A bill to clear the way for development of North America’s largest copper mine, near Superior, was approved Wednesday by a deeply divided House Natural Resources Committee.

The party-line vote by the committee was 26-19, with Republicans supporting the federal land swap needed to facilitate the Resolution Copper Mining project and Democrats opposing it.

Wednesday’s vote pitted U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., the bill’s main sponsor, against Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz. Both Arizonans serve on the Natural Resources Committee. The mine would be in Gosar’s 1st Congressional District.

Paul Gosar is TEA Party, Raul Grijalva is Progressive. Republican vs. Democrat.

But why is Grijalva opposed and does he have alternatives?

Grijalva said the bill threatens sacred Apache lands and could shrink the region’s already-scarce water supply. The Democratic congressman, who blocked the bill from passage in the previous Congress, acknowledged he is fighting a losing battle now that Republicans have the House majority.

“They’ve got a clear path to get it done,” Grijalva said. “I hope we don’t end up in a position where we have buyer’s remorse later on.”

Grijalva offered four amendments to Gosar’s bill, but they were all defeated. The amendments included requirements that Superior residents be given preference for mine jobs over out-of-state residents and that the U.S. Geological Survey assess the impact of the mine on the region’s water resources before the land swap can be completed.

Continue reading How Progressive Democrats Can Beat Republicans: Arizona Case Study

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Jobs and GOP ‘Dialectics’: Turning Things Into Their Opposites

By Carl Davidson

Beaver County Blue

People sometimes either groan or laugh when they hear the term ‘dialectics,’ a word which some people use to bamboozle others into thinking they know something when they don’t.

But here’s a great ‘laughing out loud’ example inspired by a few lines for Mike Hall’s current post on the AFL-CIO blog today, Aug. 2:

“The 4,000 furloughed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) workers and 90,000 workers on airport construction projects stalled by the Republican shutdown of the FAA are worrying about how they will pay their bills in the coming weeks.

“But the only worry House Republicans have is how they are going to spend their six-week summer vacation. House Republicans leaders adjourned the House last night until Sept. 7 without taking action on reauthorizing an FAA bill so the agency—shutdown since July 22—could reopen and construction funds move down the pipeline again.”

So here’s a great example of Republican ‘dialectics’, their ‘Jobs Plan’ of turning real jobs into their opposites, non-jobs. It’s easy to laugh at, if it didn’t mean so much suffering for so many working-class families. I suppose we could say there’s a ‘unity of opposite’ there, too.

One thing that burns me up more than GOP nonsense, though, are many of the mainstream media pundits who don’t have any idea on how to ask a decent follow-up question. When our right wing lawmakers (and their White House allies) go on at length about cutting this and slashing that, taking money from low-income and middle-income workers and giving it to the super-rich, there always comes a point where they assert, ‘and this will create jobs!.’

Back in my youth I taught logic for a year at the University of Nebraska. Full disclosure here: I actually appreciate real dialectics, and other rules of argument. But one point I often made to my students: An assertion is not an argument.

Now why can’t our media pundits say, ‘Wait a minute here, Congressman (or other policy wonk). You’re cutting both spending and jobs, reducing overall demand. Then you assert this creates jobs? Can you tell us exactly how that works? Especially when it’s mainly demand that creates jobs? An assertion is not an argument.”

If I heard it just once on CNN, it would make my day.

My logic course back in 1965 was for incoming freshman. Wouldn’t it be great if news anchors could at least reach that level, even if it’s too much to expect of Congress and the White House? All the more reason we have to rely on our own labor-oriented blogs and news services. We know how to make use of decent dialectics, and put a spotlight on the foolish versions of our adversaries.