Blue Dog Tim Matheson, who won the primary in in UT-2 last night, wasn’t lacking for money:
By contrast, Matheson spent $757,000 as of June 2, and he still had money left to spend. About $959,000 of his contributions had come from various PACs, and $161,000 came from individual donors.
His opponent, Claudia Wright, spent about $20K after convincing 45% of the delegates at the Utah Democratic Convention to back her, which forced the primary.
I don’t know if this R+15 district could support a more progressive candidate, but this race illustrates a key point about the ugly mix that characterizes the typical Blue Dog. They’re conservative because of the ideology of their constituents, and they’re corporatist because of the demands of fundraising. If you need a couple million dollars every two years, you’re going to be in the pockets a more than one industry.
Yeah, but at least it’s not a lifetime appointment, like crooked judiciary members who are owned by Big Oil.
How much of that money was from out-of-district?
In other words, Blue Dogs are forever and nary will a Dem who won’t waffle right more often than not upend them or their power.
Not the exact impression of your post, but still the one I come away with when I see the sad facts of ‘Blue Dog > ‘Rea’ Dem’. Er….not that ‘Real’ Dems aren’t pocketed by the corps. They just don’t give enough lip service to big business to win too often, electorally or legislatively.
I liked him on “The West Wing.”
That’s the thing that drives me nuts about MSM characterization of the Blue Dogs as ‘centrist’ Dems representing swing or R-leaning districts.
As a small-d democrat, I can deal with it (with a little bit of wincing, but I can deal with it) if they take the conservative side of certain issues in deference to the wishes of their constituents. If they earn a 100% rating from the NRA, so be it. If they’re way too pro-life for my tastes, yeah, I’ll grit my teeth, but ultimately the only thing to do is win this one in the court of public opinion.
The problem isn’t all that. The problem is that these guys are corporate tools, but the MSM characterizes that as ‘centrist.’
A Dem who’s both of these things – conservative on social issues, AND a corporate tool to boot – is, for all practical purposes, a Republican. We don’t really gain much advantage in voting patterns from such people, and our brand gets totally muddled.
The best outcome in the House this fall is that 15-20 Blue Dogs and DLCers lose their seats, but everybody from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party gets re-elected.
If only Obama would order those corporate interests to not donate any money to Blue Dogs, then we’d get them!
You don’t know whether a district in Utah that’s R+15 could elect a lesbian ex-Mormon? I have a pretty good idea what the answer is. I’m not fond of Blue Dogs either, but when they’re necessary to prevent a Republican takeover of the House (which has a good chance of happening), I’d rather have one than the Republican alternative.
This is a great argument for why progressives need to focus on the voters. Going door to door, going to local organizations, their churches, their events and working long and hard to convince them that republican policies are not working for them.
Bill Rutherford, Princeton Admissions
Eric Stratton, rush chairman. Damn glad to meet you.
I believe the Congressman’s name is Jim, not Tim.
It can’t, and I say this as someone who both lives in that district and participated in the Utah Democratic Convention. After the 2000 Census, the Republican-dominated State Legislature tried to gerrymander Jim Matheson out of existence by splitting up Salt Lake County (which houses most of Utah’s Democrats, and particularly most of its liberal Democrats) and attaching half of the fucking state (look at the map) to the resulting 2nd District.
Matheson nearly lost in the next election, and the only reason he’s been able to hang on to the seat up to this point was because he has gone and pandered extensively to all those conservative southern Utah folk. If Claudia Wright had won her quixotic challenge, Utah Democrats would have lost our only representation at the national level, likely for good unless Utah gets the 4th seat.
Now, I know some of you are probably thinking, “Well, he’s a conservative blue dog who votes against most Democratic stuff anyways, so what’s the loss?” The reason why having Matheson is good is because, while he may be conservative, ultimately he does have to answer to the state party and convention. Get a Republican in there, and the combination of fund-raising, Republican state dominance, and ultra-conservative Republican primaries, and that Republican Representative will be pushed so far to the right that he’ll make Matheson look like Dennis Kucinich.
American “democracy” summarized.
Brett nails it ( I’m betting mistermix is being a bit sarcastic here) but at the same time it was a tiny bit nice to see his feet held to the fire over some of those nasty votes he did make. I was going to call his office during the Health Care Debacle and offer 50 hours of my time to him if he’d just vote for the bill to get it through, but not being a constituent I figured he’d just ignore me. And don’t doubt that the majority of his “blue dog” votes are more about fund raising than they are constituent pleasing votes.
He’s being as liberal as his gerrymandered district allows. The state legislature not only divided up SLC to make his district more conservative, they just barely cut out Park City from it, and added in Sandy, which would have at least given him a chance to not have to swing so far right.
And yes, it’s Jim, not Tim.
Let’s put it this way: No.
Correct. Or at least they need to refrain from being overtly antagonistic toward industry. And this is about more than just money.
For one thing, there’s an ideological component to where a person thinks the line should be drawn in regulating business. So it plays into voter’s perceptions of a candidate’s relative liberalness or conservativeness.
For another, it appears that some of those dumb hillbillies out in the red states have somehow gotten it in their heads that their elected representatives should be looking out for the interests of the folks back home, and the largest industries in a state often turn out to be the largest employers. (Funny how that works.) When something happens in Washington that affects the bottom line of a home state industry, voters can lose jobs and states can lose tax revenues. Not to say you shouldn’t do it anyway if it’s in the best interests of the many, just that most things in life is come with trade-offs, and that’s an easy thing to forget sometimes.
Another thing that’s easy to forget is that the vast majority of the time, it’s not like politicians are using the contributions they collect from any source to enrich themselves. All they can legally use that money for is to try and get elected, and the fact that it takes so damned much money to do that is our fault, not theirs. If voters could be bothered to spend a little more time informing themselves about the working of our government and the actions of their representatives, which are a matter of public record, elections would cost a lot less advertising wouldn’t play much of a role in forming our opinions. But we don’t, so it does.
The good new is that (a) half a loaf — or maybe 55% of a loaf in Matheson’s case, which admittedly is pretty dismal even for a Blue Dog — is still better than none and (b) having Matheson in that seat instead of a Republican helps keep Democrats in control of the congressional agenda. And if that was the only thing Blue Dogs were ever good for, it would still be pretty huge. That’s why Nancy Pelosi calls them “the Majority Makers.”