Sunday, March 01, 2009

Washington Lobbyists Give Blue Dog Democrats Cover to Slash and Burn Obama's Domestic Budget?

President Barack Obama's popularity is still high and Congress's is not.

So, it is no surprise that Blue Dogs like Tennessee's Jim Cooper are ostensibly praising Obama's budget without having even deliberated on it in committees and on the House floor. However, financial, health, and oil industry lobbyists are promising to unleash their dogs of war on it as it makes its way through the approval process. Keep in mind that Mr. Cooper represents a huge Middle Tennessee medical industry and the Blue Dogs have a bad reputation for accepting corporate patronage. So, last week's faint praise may soon be forgotten if it does not serve as disingenuous posturing.

Guardian reporter Gary Younge identifies two disadvantages that the lobbyists face, and the second one concerns lefty bloggers:
First, conservatives are in ideological retreat and organisational disarray. The system they cherish - capitalism - is collapsing around their ears and taking their mantras with it. This was patently clear last week when Louisiana's governor, Bobby Jindal, delivered his ill-received response to Obama's congressional address. The problem wasn't just the delivery, but the goods. At a time when one in five home owners believes they are in negative equity, and fear of unemployment is rising in every region and class, people don't want to hear about the perils of big government and the joys of low taxes. Particularly from a party fresh from bloating the deficit.

Second, the left is better organised than it has been since the 1960s. It has a popular president, controls both houses of Congress, has a grassroots presence and - thanks to eight years of Bush - fire in its belly. A group of leftwing bloggers, unions and other activists have just teamed up to form a leftwing pressure group within the Democratic party. The blogosphere has done for the left what talk radio did for the right in the 1990s - provided the base with a platform and organising potential to put pressure on its leadership.

"The battle had been lost by the time the progressive community and its allies began rallying around the Clinton bill," Ralph Neas, the chief executive of the National Coalition on Health Care, told the New York Times. "Now, people are prepared."
Strap yourself in. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

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