What, pray tell, is a “blue dog Democrat” these days? If you look up the term online, you will find several variations on what characteristics define this politically endangered species.
Growing up as a Democrat in ‘70s Texas, I always heard that “blue dogs” — especially in West Texas — were progressives on economic issues and conservatives on culture. Many were “populist” Texans left over from the old New Deal coalition. Eventually, it was crucial that many “blue dogs” were Democrats who angered Planned Parenthood.
Meanwhile, we had a term for politicos who were conservative on economics and liberal on cultural and moral issues. They were “country club” Republicans.
Here is some language from the website of the current Blue Dog PAC :
The Blue Dog Coalition was created in 1995 to represent the commonsense, moderate voice of the Democratic Party, appealing to mainstream American values. The Blue Dogs are leaders in Congress who are committed to pursuing fiscally-responsible policies, ensuring a strong national defense, and transcending party lines to do what’s best for the American people.
Ah, what do the words “mainstream American values” mean in a land dominated by digital “progressives” and Donald Trump? Are there moral or religious implications there?
The term “blue dog” showed up in a recent New York Times feature about the U.S. Senate race in Tennessee, the Bible Belt state that I now call home. (Click here for a previous post on a related subject.) Here is the Times headline: “A Changing Tennessee Weighs a Moderate or Conservative for Senate.”
In Times terms, of course, this is a race between a “moderate” Democrat, that would be former governor Phil Bredesen, and the “hard-line” Republican, Rep. Marsha Blackburn. As always, the term “moderate” is a sign of editorial favor.