Over the last few weeks, an amazing thing has happened within the Democratic Party. Democratic elected officials are beginning to take the Mask of Unity off and speak the truth about what’s going on within their own party: The right wing Blue Dog Democrats are trying to kick progressives out of the party, and recreate it as a Republican-lite organization. For years, progressive Democrats have been told that they have to put up with anti-choice, pro-war, Religious Right, corrupt corporate Democratic candidates because it was so important to take back power from the Republicans. Progressives who complained about these nasty Blue Dog candidates were called “bomb throwers” and a “liberal fringe”.
Now the Democrats have both houses of Congress, as well as the White House, and we see what the growing strength of the Blue Dogs has brought us – though the Republicans are out of power in name, they’re still calling the shots in Congress. Right wing Blue Dogs are handing the reins of power over to the Republicans, and allowing the GOP to block the progressive legislation that we were promised in 2008 – health care reform, climate legislation, LGBT equality and a restoration of our constitutional rights.
For years and years, fear of Republicans kept most Democrats from criticizing the growing right wing presence within their own party. Now, the consequences are clear: The right wing’s political agenda is still dominating Washington D.C., and it’s the Democratic Party leadership that’s to blame. This week, U.S. Representative Maxine Waters spoke with rare honesty when she acknowledged that party leaders like Rahm Emanuel are now unable to reign in the Blue Dogs, because they gave the Blue Dogs permission to swerve to the right in the first place. Even the usually partisan Air America has stopped making excuses, and is openly criticizing Democrats who are taking part in the Blue Dog insurrection.
It’s time for progressive Democratic voters to get back up on their feet and join the fight for control over their political party. America needs every voter who sincerely believed in the promises of 2008 to push to make sure that those promises are fulfilled. If Rahm Emanuel won’t do anything about the Blue Dogs, then the Democratic rank and file should. All those Blue Dogs in the House of Representatives, and some in the Senate as well, are up for re-election in 2010 – with primary elections in just a few months. It’s time for Democrats to stand up and shout, No Blue Dogs in 2010!