Progressives vow to 'dog the blue dogs' listen03/24/09 Mitch E. Perry
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Last week, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh announced that he was part of a new "practicality caucus" of Senate moderate Democrats who will be questioning President Barack Obama on his budget proposals and other parts of his agenda.
But today, a coalition of progressive groups say they’ll fight against those moderates, or as they billed their conference call, a new campaign to “Dog the Blue Dogs.”
William McNeary is president of U.S. Action. The group has already targeted some House Moderate Democrats in newspaper ads, and they say they hold upcoming rallies in some Blue Dog Districts.
Jane Hamsher is a blogger who runs the liberal site FireDogLake.
Activists on the call denied that they were ready to recruit more liberal Democrats to run against the three senators of the so-called Practicality Caucus who are up for re-election next year.
Jane Hamsher, was part of the netroots activists that turned on Joe Lieberman in 2006 and supported his challenger, Ned Lamont, in the Democratic Party Primary in Connecticut. She calls what is happening now more of an education campaign.
Robert Borosage is co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future. He was asked if it was fair to say that if Senate moderates don’t support part of the president’s agenda, it’s because they’re listening to special interests as opposed to representing conservatives or others who have a different philosophy.
Last week it was reported that the administration may consider the idea of reconciliation on issues like health care and or their cap-n-trade energy plan. That would mean looking to get just 51 votes in the U.S. to pass legislation, as opposed to 60, which is considered filibuster proof.
Borosage says he’s not sure if the president will opt for reconciliation, but said he would be foolish to take the possibility off the table this early on.
WMNF called Sen. Bill Nelson last week to hear his thoughts about being part of this moderate group of Senate Democrats, but he did not return our phone call.