Will those Blue Dogs ever hunt? (updated)

I find my reaction is mixed to a story in Congressional Quarterly, a subscription site quoted by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air about a potential revolt among Blue Dog Democrats. 
Democratic Reps. Jim Matheson of Utah and Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona have joined a quiet revolt in the House that could slow some of President Obama’s fast-moving priorities.

The two are among 49 Democrats from congressional districts that backed Republican Sen. John McCain ’s 2008 presidential race and whose support for the Democratic majority’s progressive agenda is increasingly not assured.

A dozen of them were among 20 House Democrats who voted against the $410 billion discretionary fiscal 2009 spending package (HR 1105) on Feb. 25. Another group later forced House leaders to sideline a contentious bill (HR 1106) to allow bankruptcy judges to modify home loans.

As Ed notes, the potential is there to for Pelosi to allow large groups to split off on any given vote without ever effecting the end result.

 It’s a game of whack-a-mole that would allow them to claim to support their conservative-minded constituencies while providing no practical obstacle to Obama’s Deadbeatonomics.

It's also a game that was played masterfully during the last 
Congress.  Many of the Blue Dogs regularly engaged in petty ploys to make it look as if they were not moving in lockstep with House Leadership, allowing them to claim they were independent of the liberals. Among other things, they voted against the approval of the House record of proceedings for the prior day, in effect, taking a courageous stand against the minute book.  When one looks behind this sham distancing from leadership to the votes on the major major legislative initiatives on the economy such as this analysis by the Club For Growth, a very different picture emerges.  Many of the Blue Dogs elected in 2006 had more liberal voting records than Barney Franks, Charles Rangel and John Murtha on important economic issues.   

Part of this was because these newcomers lacked seniority and dared not buck the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Rahm Emanuel on key votes if they wanted their own pet projects to be move forward.   They also were relying on the unpopularity of a Republican president rubbing off on their opponent in the upcoming 2008 election as well as a medi fueled misperception among independent voters that Republicans still controlled Congress. With the election of Obama they no longer can rely on such ploys. The question is, do they really understand that?  And do they realize that voters eventually do see through all these games?

Last Friday I was at the Asheville Tea Party Those who showed up on a very cold and wet morning were not giving Blue Dog Heath Shuler much credit for his vote against the so called stimulus package.  One man angrily noted that Shuler had to ask for permission before doing so like some s a third grader who needed to go to the bath room.   This voter hadn't realized that when he had voted for the local sports hero over incumbent Charles Taylor in 2006 he had in effect elected Nancy Pelos to represent Western North Carolina.  While almost no one at the rally had much faith in the Republican party anymore, neither did they trust Shuler to be true to his word on tax and spending issues while remaining a member of the party of Obama.  

I suspect the Congressional Democrats that represent suburban and rural districts will be watching the upcoming special election in New York with great interest.  They might also be keeping an eye on how many votes the Republican gets in the 5th District in Illinois.  While it is highly unlikely that a Republican can win that election (although that did happen in 1994 when the incumbent was under the cloud of an ongoing investigation that led to his conviction on corruption charges) the district has a great many voters in the investor class who might just cast a protest vote because as one speaker noted at the Asheville rally, “This is not a Democrat/Republican thing . . . it’s an American thing.”

Update - Clarice Feldman writes:

The patently unconstitutional D.C. Voting Rights Act was pulled from the calendar today after the NRA held "the blue dogs paws to the fire", according to Jed Babbin's account
I find my reaction is mixed to a story in Congressional Quarterly, a subscription site quoted by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air about a potential revolt among Blue Dog Democrats. 
Democratic Reps. Jim Matheson of Utah and Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona have joined a quiet revolt in the House that could slow some of President Obama’s fast-moving priorities.

The two are among 49 Democrats from congressional districts that backed Republican Sen. John McCain ’s 2008 presidential race and whose support for the Democratic majority’s progressive agenda is increasingly not assured.

A dozen of them were among 20 House Democrats who voted against the $410 billion discretionary fiscal 2009 spending package (HR 1105) on Feb. 25. Another group later forced House leaders to sideline a contentious bill (HR 1106) to allow bankruptcy judges to modify home loans.

As Ed notes, the potential is there to for Pelosi to allow large groups to split off on any given vote without ever effecting the end result.

 It’s a game of whack-a-mole that would allow them to claim to support their conservative-minded constituencies while providing no practical obstacle to Obama’s Deadbeatonomics.

It's also a game that was played masterfully during the last 
Congress.  Many of the Blue Dogs regularly engaged in petty ploys to make it look as if they were not moving in lockstep with House Leadership, allowing them to claim they were independent of the liberals. Among other things, they voted against the approval of the House record of proceedings for the prior day, in effect, taking a courageous stand against the minute book.  When one looks behind this sham distancing from leadership to the votes on the major major legislative initiatives on the economy such as this analysis by the Club For Growth, a very different picture emerges.  Many of the Blue Dogs elected in 2006 had more liberal voting records than Barney Franks, Charles Rangel and John Murtha on important economic issues.   

Part of this was because these newcomers lacked seniority and dared not buck the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Rahm Emanuel on key votes if they wanted their own pet projects to be move forward.   They also were relying on the unpopularity of a Republican president rubbing off on their opponent in the upcoming 2008 election as well as a medi fueled misperception among independent voters that Republicans still controlled Congress. With the election of Obama they no longer can rely on such ploys. The question is, do they really understand that?  And do they realize that voters eventually do see through all these games?

Last Friday I was at the Asheville Tea Party Those who showed up on a very cold and wet morning were not giving Blue Dog Heath Shuler much credit for his vote against the so called stimulus package.  One man angrily noted that Shuler had to ask for permission before doing so like some s a third grader who needed to go to the bath room.   This voter hadn't realized that when he had voted for the local sports hero over incumbent Charles Taylor in 2006 he had in effect elected Nancy Pelos to represent Western North Carolina.  While almost no one at the rally had much faith in the Republican party anymore, neither did they trust Shuler to be true to his word on tax and spending issues while remaining a member of the party of Obama.  

I suspect the Congressional Democrats that represent suburban and rural districts will be watching the upcoming special election in New York with great interest.  They might also be keeping an eye on how many votes the Republican gets in the 5th District in Illinois.  While it is highly unlikely that a Republican can win that election (although that did happen in 1994 when the incumbent was under the cloud of an ongoing investigation that led to his conviction on corruption charges) the district has a great many voters in the investor class who might just cast a protest vote because as one speaker noted at the Asheville rally, “This is not a Democrat/Republican thing . . . it’s an American thing.”

Update - Clarice Feldman writes:

The patently unconstitutional D.C. Voting Rights Act was pulled from the calendar today after the NRA held "the blue dogs paws to the fire", according to Jed Babbin's account