Who Let the Blue Dogs Out?


On health-care reform, it seems Henry Waxman is irritated that Blue Dog Democrats won't just shut their mouths and get with the program. The allegedly deficit-averse wing of the party, meanwhile, almost seems as if it's operating as a de facto separate party from its more liberal brethren. Fox News reports:

A key House committee chairman on Friday threatened to roll over moderate Democrats who are holding up the health care reform bill and bring the package straight to the floor.


The statement underscored the deep divisions the health care reform debate is causing in the ranks of the Democratic Party.

Fiscally conservative Blue Dogs are holding up the bill in the House Energy and Commerce Committee over cost concerns and other issues. But Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., on Friday accused those Democrats of empowering Republicans.

"I won't allow them to turn over control of the committee to the Republicans," Waxman said, threatening to bypass the committee process.

"I don't see what alternative we have," Waxman said of talks that have raged for days with the Blue Dogs. "This can't be an interminable discussion."

Au contraire, Mr. Waxman, this is Washington, where gab is not a gift but a requirement for residence, and largely stagnant policy-reform discussions can span careers, perhaps even lifetimes. Interminable discussion is one of the central features of our nation's politics, as American as baseball, apple pie, and blaming the president for giving your daughter syphilis. And the Blue Dogs are just doing their part to exercise the natural right of all elected officials to flaunt their petty powers and convey their own self-importance through long-winded deliberations. 
And in the process, they're chipping away at the chances for blockbuster liberal health-care reform. If it fails, Blue Dog opposition will be a significant, perhaps even the primary, reason why. Contrary to what Obama says about Republican opposition, which has been consistently unfocused and unhelpful, it's factional squabbling within the Democratic party that's dragging the bill down. If Democrats lose this one, they'll only have themselves to blame. 
John Stossel wrote about the arrogance of impatient health-care reformers here