Mike the Mad Biologist

Why Blue Dog Democrats Are Despicable

‘Blue dog’ conservative Democratic Senator Nelson’s list of proposed cuts from the National Recovery and Reinvestment Act was leaked to Huffington Post (the documents are available at TPM). I’ve never understood the Blue Dogs. While conservatives are full blown batshit loony (Tax cuts today! Tax cuts tomorrow! Tax cuts fo’evuh!), there is at least some kind of ideology there (albeit twisted). What motivates the Blue Dogs? Do they like the power of being spoilers? Does it make them feel good when they can be the ones to make the deal? Do they not realize that ‘stimulus’ means spending? Or do they really believe that cutting funding to help rape victims (really) and eliminating the entire NSF increase are actually good?

Below the fold, I’m going to go through some of what Nelson called for (even though his spokesvermin are now claiming that he’s moved away from these positions) because I think it’s important to realize what the ‘conservative’ Democrats actually want to do as opposed to the bromides they love to offer.

Here’s some of the items:

  1. Eliminating $300 million for USDA facility upgrades. Because that will help improve food safety.
  2. A fifty percent cut in the NASA exploration budget.
  3. The entire NSF budget increase ($1.4 billion). That will help. Definitely.
  4. A 35% cut in the increase for the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration. Because global warming is for pussies!
  5. One of my favorites: a fifty percent cut for the Violence Against Women Act. Because I’m sure they deserved it.

    Seriously, what the fuck is Nelson’s major malfunction?

  6. A 38% cut in the increase for the Department of Energy’s Alternative and Renewable Program. We’ve been having a cold winter in Boston anyway….
  7. A 47% cut in the increase of the EISA technology loan program. Boston. Too cold.
  8. The entire increase for the DoE Office of Science. Fuckers.
  9. 100% of the increase for the National Park Service Historic Site Restoration Fund. Because preserving America’s heritage is unAmerican. Or something.
  10. 100% of the increase to the Smithsonian’s Capital Fund. Something about America’s heritage….
  11. Eliminating the entire increase for the Department of Education’s Disability Research program. Fucking cripples. You’re supposed to leave them out in the snow to die, anyway. Again, what the fuck is wrong with Nelson?
  12. Another favorite: the entire $39 billion (plus change) that would help decimated state budgets. Because the bestest way EVAH!! to help stimulate an economy in a recession is to cut government spending at the state level….Hunh?

  13. 50% of the increase to Head Start. We gave the little shits health insurance through S-CHIP. What else do those freeloaders want?
  14. Ninety percent of the HHS increase that would have paid for smoking prevention, HIV detection, diabetes detection and prevention, and pandemic flu preparation. Sweet Baby Intelligent Designer, Nelson is fucking evil.
  15. 100% of the increase for State Department Consular Programs and Services. Because that will help improve our image worldwide.

This isn’t even the whole list. But I think it lays out what the consequences of the Blue Dogs’ vaunted ‘fiscal responsibility’ mean. Again, this is a recovery and reinvestment package. Do Nelson and the other Blue Dogs really think that not increasing funding for these programs, regardless of the legislative mechanisms by which we do so, is a good thing?

One of the things that turned people against the social conservatives was the Schiavo incident which made it clear what they really stood for. We can’t let these guys hide behind phrases like ‘fiscal responsibility’ while they do despicable things.

Comments

  1. #1 Pierce R. Butler
    February 6, 2009

    It bears mentioning that the Senator Nelson in question is Nebraska’s own Ben N., not Florida’s beloved Bill “Zell” N. (also a closet Repub, but less energetic).

  2. #2 Chamelaeon
    February 6, 2009

    I am amazingly irritated at my senator right now. I sent him an email, but god knows he’s unlikely to respond or care. Most Nebraskans seem Palinistic on science.

  3. #3 Matt Platte
    February 6, 2009

    I called. I wrote. I hang my head in shame.

    Cereally, though, a *real* Democrat probably can’t get elected here so what they do is divide up the Republicans into two lines – that’s what elementary school is all about, creating the illusion of teams.

    The payoff for the Nebraska voter is that no matter who wins, there are two Republicans in the Nebraska Senate delegation.

    Lovely.

  4. #4 Skup
    February 6, 2009

    If the new guard in Washington is serious about investing in the sciences, then it should come from its own legislation, and not a knee-jerk fear-inspired joke. All that we’re getting this way is a LARGE spike in the national debt, and limited, or possibly no, long-term good. The position that they’re trying to take with this, “if we don’t do it, America will never recover” stance is laughable. Ultimately, it’s going to become the economic scapegoat. I can see it in a year from now, “The economy is in the toilet because *my* version of the bill didn’t get passed/funded.”

    Plus, by bundling this together, we’re simply presenting the Republicrats an easy target. They all get a turn at creating their own little focus group to pick it apart. That way they can come back during the next election and say, “I voted against spending $X in congressional pork.”

    …the entire bill is pork.

    Being from Michigan, I can say with a fair amount of experience that the last one did absolutely nothing for domestic manufacturing. This one is simply more of the same, albeit with some nice shiny baubles attached. The bottom line is that it doesn’t stimulate the economy if most of the money is going to be spent on imported goods. Well, it might help the logistics industry, but it doesn’t do a lot beyond that.

    If they were able to keep a reasonable budget, and properly fund research to begin with, we wouldn’t have to try shoring up, or in some cases recovering, our position as an international leader in technology, chemistry, physics, etc. It would simply be the case open and shut. We were too sure of our own position as a world leader that we forgot that you have to do some work, and cough up a little bit of the budget, to maintain that lead.

  5. #5 Marion Delgado
    February 6, 2009

    The entire bill is not pork, this IS coughing up the budget, there is no overall lead, and the above commenter is trolling.

  6. #6 jay
    February 7, 2009

    I think maybe the Blue Dogs are providing some balance to the Democratic party feeding frenzy. Some of these issues DO deserve spending but not part of some (questionable) ‘economic stimulus’ package.

    If that idea is going to work at all it should be about getting average jobs back on line, and fast, NOT about science or social policy.

    Head start, smoking prevention, even funding preventing violence against women (whatever that involves) has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with trying to pull a rapid improvement in the economy.

    This is becoming one big porkfest, hell a whole barbeque, where everyone is looking for a handout for their pet causes.

    Just becauese you think it’s a good cause (some of the above are really questionable anyhow) does not mean it belongs in the stimulus package.

  7. #7 Troublesome Frog
    February 7, 2009

    Head start, smoking prevention, even funding preventing violence against women (whatever that involves) has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with trying to pull a rapid improvement in the economy.

    I’m interested in seeing your numbers, and how you’d define “stimulus” in this case. People select random lines out of the stimulus package and point to them as if they’re self-evidently a bad idea, but nobody seems to bother doing the legwork to explain their reasoning.

  8. #8 Skup
    February 8, 2009

    The point I was trying to make is that while none of the programs outlined lack merit, very few of them have anything to do with getting your average guy on the street back to work.

    There are only a handful of things that will actually help the economy (near term, just one):
    1 – People have to be working: If there’s no work, there’s no disposable income. The stimulus should focus on creating jobs, and not using it as a way to give everyone a chance to dip into the cookie jar.
    2 – Export more, and import less: When the majority of your consumer goods come from overseas it’s not going to matter what size package they try to pass. It would be simpler for the US Government to write a check to China, and call the whole thing done.
    3 – Eliminate credit as a source of income: When citizens, and corporations alike, use their credit rating as the determining factor for their standard of living, or to dictate the number of employees that can be kept on staff, any concept of stability goes straight out the window.

    If the politicians can come up with a way (short of brainwashing the general public to get the third) to accomplish those three things I will embrace it wholeheartedly.

    For the bill in question, the original version and the cut version, I think the poster jay put it best calling it a barbecue. It’s a thinly veiled attempt at funding everyone’s pet-projects. None of the programs or funding targets are bad ideas, they simply have very little to do with fixing the problem at hand.

    The few ideas that can put people to work are going to be hindered by the you-must-spend-it-now provisions. In those cases you’re talking about departments that have suffered for the last eight years getting a huge amount of money all at once. That’s just asking for failure.

    Ultimately, like I said, it’s going to become the economic scapegoat.

  9. #9 Troublesome Frog
    February 8, 2009

    People have to be working: If there’s no work, there’s no disposable income. The stimulus should focus on creating jobs, and not using it as a way to give everyone a chance to dip into the cookie jar.

    Again, we have the idea that some of the things that we hire people to do are self-evidently not creating jobs. Why is it that things suddenly get vague and hand wavy whenever somebody suggests that accounting and economic problems could be discussed using actual numbers and models?

    Why, for example, would Head Start, which is a good that one presumably can’t import from China and is likely to be more labor intensive than anything else, less likely to have a stimulative effect than, say… well… whatever the opponents of this package are suggesting as a solution?

  10. #10 mirc
    April 15, 2009

    thanks.

  11. #11 figurin
    June 12, 2009

    there is no overall lead, and the above commenter is trolling.