Blue Dogs, Yellow Dogs, Bobblehead Dogs

| Comments (0)

July 29, 2009 | Comments

So, the committee Blue Dogs have cut a deal on the health-care debacle – or at least are apparently willing to do so. Senator John McCain (somewhat of a Blue Dog himself, unfortunately) warned us last night not to allow our expectations to get the better of us, and he was right.  When the announcement was made this afternoon, you could practically hear the moans emanating from conservatives – and even not-so-conservatives – from coast to coast.

In a flash these would-be heroes apparently sacrificed the proud Blue Dog mantle for that of a more yellowish hue, thus eliciting comments from an angry (and I believe majority) public about blackmail, the Chicago way, bribery, threats, and family hostage-taking. I personally picture a passel of dark-suited bobblehead dogs, their silly loose noggins, complete with phony simpering smiles, nodding in unison in agreement to whatever the democratic leadership tells them they will now believe and execute. Never mind the voters, comes the mantra. Never mind the polls. Never mind liberty, whatever that is. We know what’s best for the masses.

Not all the Blue Dogs are on board with this, God bless ‘em. At the moment a few have expressed disappointment with their colleagues, and several democrats, Blue Dogs or not, have said they will not vote for this bill. I’m just left wondering what were those colleagues thinking? Burdened with a monstrous bill that virtually no one other than the public has read, what could have been changed that would suddenly make it palatable, affordable, humane and ethical to the Blue/Yellow/Bobbleheads? Has the path to euthanasia been excised?  Or worse, accepted? Was torte reform suddenly injected into the text? Has mandatory end-of-life counseling been carved out and discarded? Has the truth been told about the dominance of the public option? Have the representatives en masse decided that yes, for the good of public opinion, they will abandon their Cadillac congressional coverage and enroll in this wonderful bill, as well? Did the committee members decide that perhaps the term “mentally retarded” should be deleted from the bill? Somehow I doubt much has been changed, because how can one edit and alter a document that he or she has not even read?

No, I have a feeling this has more to do with party loyalty, party leadership and strong-arm tactics. I envision wayward reps being called one by one into a small beige room, a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling. One by one each is told that his or her political future hangs on a speedy “yes” vote on this very-critical bill that, like the stimulus, multiple bail-outs, and cap-and-trade, will save America. Yes political futures do indeed hinge on these votes, but not, perhaps, in the way I envision these representatives are being told. I would think a “yes” vote on such a twisted, dangerous and vilified bill would itself be signing the death warrant on one’s political career, and I believe, regardless of what has been threatened or promised, they know that. Why, then, would this ostensibly more conservative-minded bunch choose to fast-track that fate when they could have been, and have been, heralded as heroes courageously defending the realm?

The bright side, I suppose, is that the Blue/Yellow/Bobbleheads’ previous persistence at least resulted in a postponement of the House vote on the bill, ensuring that the President and the House leadership’s goal of ramming it through before the August break will not be realized. Time is on the side of those of us who fear for the future of our country. The longer this awful thing is out there, the more that is revealed about the insidious content within its pages, the more illumination the American public is offered about its consequences. And the more opportunities American voters have to let their opinions be known. Their Representatives may try to ignore the emails and phone calls flooding into their offices, they may try to ignore the eruptions at town-hall meetings from sea to shining sea, but we know they are listening. Fingers jammed into ears block out only so much sound.

I don’t envy these men and women when they return next month to their home districts to the people responsible for sending them to Washington in the first place. It will be a stark reminder to them that it is these everyday people who are responsible for their jobs, not party leadership. Even if they decide for whatever lame reason to forego town-hall meetings or ribbon cuttings this time around, unless they lock themselves into their homes or catch a private jet to the Arctic Circle, the people will find them. At restaurants, grocery stores, shopping malls and movie theaters, the people will find them. And they are choosing to be the silent majority no more. I’ve witnessed this myself in more peaceful times; I can only imagine how dramatic it will become come August as they are reminded of just who it is they are representing.

Betsy Siino | Comments