Can Barack Obama collar the Blue Dogs’ vote?

June 20, 2008

Barack Obama’s White House bid could depend on guys like Allen Boyd.
 
To be sure, this 63-year-old white, Florida farmer is not the protoypical rtx73g1.jpgsupporter of the drive by the 46-year-old liberal to become the first black U.S. president.
 
But Boyd, who also happens to be a Democratic congressman, seems to be edging in Obama’s direction, citing economic and foreign policy reasons.
 
Obama “adheres to fiscal responsibility,” Boyd says and on foreign policy he’s “sort of out front on that about how we change the direction of this country.”
 
At the same time, Boyd says Obama likely has an uphill battle to win Florida, a likely crucial battleground.
 
“I would say if you look at the history of the last few presidential elections, it would be very difficult for him (Obama) to win,” Boyd said. He added, “Obama has a very tough bore in districts like the one I represent” in Florida’s panhandle.
 
In an interview taped on Friday for C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers,” Boyd, a six-term lawmaker, said he has no plans to endorse Obama, explaining he never endorses presidential candidates.
 
But when asked if there was any chance he would end up supporting Republican presidential candidate John McCain, Boyd said, “From what I see right now from a policy perspective, I’d say no.”
 
Boyd is a leading member of a group in the U.S. House of Representatives known as “Blue Dogs,” lawmakers who think government spending is out-of-control. They’re known for their independent streak within the Democratic Party and for holding  up legislation, such as an Iraq war spending bill, to insist that popular add-ons costing billions of dollars be paid for.
 
Given the difficulty pigeonholing these lawmakers, it’s been an open question if they — and voters in the conservative districts many of them represent — will back Obama.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage. 

Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Bourg (Barack Obama at Washington news conference June 18)
 

2 comments

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The author makes an inaccurate about what Blue Dogs are. Indeed, he describes them as concerned about government spending, then says they’re known for insisting on billion-dollar riders. Some Blue Dogs are concerned about spending, perhaps more so historically. In any case, it has come to refer to conservative members of the Democratic party, particularly social conservatives.

I’ve tried to figure out these so called blue dog democrats, Mr. & Mrs. Reader. It’s hard to say what most of them have in common except wearing the label of democrat while perhaps having constituencies that are socially conservative, i.e., republican. It’s a curious mix to be sure.

If these folks [and the republicans (supposedly conservative by definition) that these democrats hang out with] really want to be fiscally and financially conservative…well…they ought to hearken to the days when republicans controlled the house of representatives, the senate and the White House…and came up with the 16th amendment to the U.S. Constitution that was ratified in 1913.

Let’s see now…what was that amendment all about?

The income tax! Wow!

What was the purpose of this income tax?

Why, the purpose was to pay the bills of the United States Government, i.e., to pay America’s bills without borrowing to do it!

For whom was this income tax intended?

Well, it sure wasn’t meant for the working class, that’s for sure. Likewise, this income tax wasn’t intended for small businesses or for the low end and center of the middle class (what there was of it then) either.

This progressive income tax was intended for the upper middle class (what there was of that too) and PRIMARILY for the privileged class, i.e., everybody earning (in 2008 dollars) over $65,000 for singles and over $85,000 for marrieds.

Yes, I know that Woodrow Wilson (a democrat president) signed the Revenue Act of 1913 into law. However, the act pivoted on the 16th amendment…a republican amendment to the supreme law of the land.

The bottom bracket of the income tax scooped up all those marrieds with incomes over $340,000 (in 2008 dollars). The top bracket put the collar on those marrieds with incomes over $10,530,000 (in 2008 dollars).

Subsequent to 1913 (e.g., during World War I), when the America’s bills went up, so did the progressive income tax rates for America’s millionaires.

PAYING AMERICA’S BILLS WITHOUT BORROWING was part and parcel of being fiscally and financially conservative. TAXING THE PRIVILEGED CLASS to pay those bills was also central to being fiscally and financially conservative.

There was a lot of tinkering with the original intent of the income tax over the decades. The slickest part of that tinkering was when (somewhere along the line) the working class and lower end to center of the middle class got sucked into the privileged class progressive tax system. It wasn’t enough, apparently, that the working class and middle class members of Our Best & Finest sacrificed their lives or limbs, sight, hearing and mental & physical health on foreign battlefields chosen by the privileged class. Eventually, even Our Best & Finest’s incomes (as small as they were) got sucked into the privileged class progressive tax system as well.

In 1981 (and then in 1986), Ronald Reagan and a democrat-controlled congress decided that the tried and true principles of paying America’s bills without borrowing (and taxing the privileged class to do just that) simply didn’t sound “fair” somehow.

That’s when the top marginal rate (70% in 1980) was severely cut to first 50% and then to 28%. That’s also when the bottom rate was increased to 15% for the working class and middle class.

That’s also when privileged classer, Ronald Reagan, and his equally privileged class friends in congress started borrowing to the hilt to pay America’s bills. Interestingly enough, one of the sources of their borrowing was the SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND that belonged to the working class and middle class…not to the privileged class!

We were all told by Mr. Reagan and his inner circle that there wouldn’t be any borrowing when the privileged class received the aforementioned drastic cuts in their income taxes. All of these privileged classers said that the money that they pocketed would be invested in America to create taxable jobs for the working class and middle class. Then (interestingly enough), the working class and middle class would be so happy to have those jobs, that they would willingly pay more taxes to make up the revenue shortfall created when the privileged class had their taxes cut!

Anybody with a grain of common sense could see through all of this smoke and mirrors perpetuated by the privileged class for the benefit of the privileged class. Personally, I think it was (and continues to be) downright unpatriotic!

To add insult to injury, the privileged class never did do what one of their members, Ronald Reagan, said they would do. Instead of investing in America’s jobs, they simply pocketed their newly tax-free dollars and had a high old time at the expense of not only the working class and middle class, but also at the expense of America as a whole!

Perhaps the blue dog democrats can help us all out here…or are they just a bunch of unpatriotic privileged classers too?

OK Jack