Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Was Blue Dog Jim Cooper There?

Salon.com's Greenwald has been covering the Democratic Party's Blue Dog honeymoon in Denver with corporate sponsor and patron AT&T, which also happens to have a hub in Middle Tennessee and to be represented by Congressman Jim Cooper, who also happens to be one of the bluest Blue Dogs.

Greenwald watchdogs the Blue Dogs:
It was really the perfect symbol for how the Beltway political system functions -- those who dictate the nation's laws (the largest corporations and their lobbyists) cavorting in total secrecy with those who are elected to write those laws (members of Congress), while completely prohibiting the public from having any access to and knowledge of -- let alone involvement in -- what they are doing. And all of this was arranged by the corporation -- AT&T -- that is paying for a substantial part of the Democratic National Convention with millions upon millions of dollars, which just received an extraordinary gift of retroactive amnesty from the Congress controlled by that party, whose logo is splattered throughout the city wherever the DNC logo appears -- virtually attached to it -- all taking place next to the stadium where the Democratic presidential nominee, claiming he will cleanse the Beltway of corporate and lobbying influences, will accept the nomination on Thursday night.
It is really not hard to believe why this Democratic Congress is one of the most unpopular in history. They are shamelessly more connected to corporate money and unabashedly less responsive to their constituents.

Here's the video footage of the salon.com crew's attempts--hindered by private security and police--to get some surveillance of AT&T wooing Democrats to bed:

Yeah, and wealth shouldn't matter, right?

UPDATE: One American Prospect writer scored a ticket to the Blue Dog affair, and sends a dispatch from inside:
Here's a number I started to tally in my notebook before giving up: the list of sponsors (roughly three dozen) scrolling continuously across the flat-screen TVs above the bar at Mile High Station. Almost every industry had a company or trade association on the roll call: Conoco, Novo Nordisc, Citibank, the National Automobile Dealers Association, and the suddenly embattled National Association of Mortgage Bankers were there, to name a few ....

And it must be noted that, on the eve of a convention about to elect the first majority-party African American candidate in history, "A Blue Night in Denver" was noticeably white. Of course, there is only one African American Blue Dog in Congress -- Georgia's David Scott -- and a mere handful of Latinos, including California's Loretta Sanchez and Colorado's John Salazar ....

If there's not much color in the coalition, neither is there much estrogen -- of the 47-member Blue Dog coalition, only six are women. Of these, two are rookies -- Arizona's Gabrielle Giffords and New York's Kirsten Gillibrand -- and a third who only won her first full term last cycle: South Dakota's Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, who won a special election first before being re-elected in 2006. Perhaps the coalition will change in time with the infusion of these newer, younger members and more input from women.

I asked Democratic pollster and women's vote expert Celinda Lake about this as we strolled along downtown Denver's 16th Street pedestrian walkway. "I think that women voters and women Democrats believe in a proper role for government, and the corporate stuff is a bit of a turnoff," said Lake. "Even the women in the coalition have the most progressive voting records for Blue Dogs, by far."

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