Representative Pete Sessions (R-CA) speculated earlier this week in Politico that the end is near for Blue Dog Democrats like Rep. Ben Chandler (D-KY). His premise is that the Democratic party of (the hated) Nancy Pelosi is so relentlessly liberal that it no longer has room for the “moderate” Blue Dogs.
The irony of this is that it isn't moderates the Democratic Party has no room for. Almost every member of the Democratic Party is a moderate. It is the liberals who are shut out and shut down time after time.
What has happened is that the Republican Party has moved so far to the right that the people who 30 years ago would have run as moderate Republicans now run as “Blue Dog” Democrats. People who would have been on the rightward edge of the Democratic Party are now its mainstay. True liberal Democrats are few and far between to the point that most of us can name them off the top of our heads. Dennis Kucinich. Raul Grijalva. Jan Schakowsky. Anthony Weiner (until recently). Barney Frank.
What would politics look like if Democrats in Congress and the administration were really as liberal as they are made out to be? Here's a sampling.
Democrats would have pushed for a government owned and operated health care system that serves everyone – like Great Britain has. Short of that they would have pushed for a single-payer “Medicare-for-all” system like Canada and much of Europe has. Short of that they would have demanded a public option. Deals would not have been cut with big pharma before the debate began. The health care reform the administration pushed through is not a liberal program. It is Mitt Romney's conservative program!
Guantanamo Bay would be closed. The prisoners there with no case against them would have been returned from whence they came, and the prisoners with cases against them would be progressing through civilian courts, mostly, on their way to life sentences without parole.
There would not still be 50,000 US troops in Iraq. There would not still be 100,000 US troops in Afghanistan.
The failed banks would have been nationalized, fixed, and sold off in small pieces to new investors. Caps on bank size would be in place. Derivatives would be standardized, regulated, sold in public on exchanges, and ownership tracked. Credit Default Swaps would be folded into insurance contracts and insurance reserves would be mandated.
Consumer financial protections would have happened!
The $760 billion stimulus package would have been $2.3 trillion dollars, wouldn't have been limited to “shovel-ready” projects (ie. resurfacing), and would have stretched out longer than two years.
The Bush tax cuts would have been allowed to expire for everybody.
Anti-trust legislation would be enforced. The Comcast/NBC merger wouldn't have happened.
Card-check would have passed and there would be a whole host of legislation working through Congress to strengthen unions, strengthen collective bargaining rights, and make it easier to organize segments of the workforce that desperately need union support but that have never had it.
Capital gains would be taxed as income.
Social Security would be means tested and/or the contribution limit would be eliminated.
Economic debate would be about applying demand-side solutions to our demand-side problems instead of trying to make them worse by applying supply-side solutions that are not appropriate to the issues we face.
Hillary Clinton wouldn't be Secretary of State, she would be a Supreme Court justice. Neither of President Obama's decidedly moderate SCOTUS nominations would have seen the light of day.
Don't Ask-Don't Tell would have been fixed on January 21st, 2009... if not sooner.
The Defense of Marriage act would never have survived the 2008 session.
Our free trade pacts would have been re-opened tp obtain provisions ensuring that competition take place based on quality and productivity... not a race to the bottom for wages, worker protections, environmental safety, etc.
There would be heated debate about how states can compete based on quality of life and productivity rather than their own race to the bottom for wages and taxes.
The Office of Faith Based Initiatives would have been dismantled rather than just renamed.
The architects of de-regulation would not have been invited to run the administrations economic policy shops.
Global climate change would be several years into being fixed rather than still waiting to be addressed.
The DREAM Act would already be law.
A lot of people will look at this list with horror and thank their lucky stars that these things are not happening. If you are one of them, get off the Democrat's backs! The majority of Democrats never pushed for these things and never would! Only the most liberal among them are in favor of these things, and they have absolutely no say in what the party does.
As for Blue Dogs like Ben Chandler, they would probably sooner have bamboo shoots jammed under their fingernails than see most of these truly liberal policies come about... and yet there they are. With that D after their name. And with power. The Blue Dogs stopped all but the most conservative aspects of the health care reform bill. The Progressive Caucus got diddly. See that public-option anywhere?