Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Am I Blue? Yup.

The Blue Dog Coalition defines itself as, "The fiscally conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition was formed in 1995 with the goal of representing the center of the House of Representatives and appealing to the mainstream values of the American public." So where exactly do the sleeping Blue Dogs lie when it comes to the ratings of the American Conservative Union and the Americans for Democratic Action, respectively the prominent conservative and liberal ratings organizations?

Each organization selects a number of votes considered to be of paramount importance to their constituencies. They then track the votes of all members of Congress. Each organization uses 100 as the "perfect" score, with the ACU defining the "perfect" conservative, and the ADA doing the same for the "perfect" liberal. Using the latest published data (ACU, ADA), for those members of Congress present during the 2008 legislative session, we can calculate the bona fides of the Blue Dogs.

Blue Dog ACU Lifetime Rating ADA 2008 Rating
Altmire, Jason (PA-04) 26.00 80.00
Arcuri, Mike (NY-24) 2.00 90.00
Baca, Joe (CA-43) 16.44 90.00
Barrow, John (GA-12) 41.00 75.00
Berry, Marion (AR-01) 36.81 75.00
Bishop, Sanford (GA-02) 32.30 90.00
Boren, Dan (OK-02) 54.25 65.00
Boswell, Leonard (IA-03) 27.52 95.00
Boyd, Allen (FL-02) 35.53 75.00
Bright, Bobby (AL-02) New NA
Cardoza, Dennis (CA-18) 28.50 85.00
Carney, C. (PA-10) 24.00 85.00
Chandler, Ben (KY-06) 26.50 85.00
Childers, Travis (MS-01) 41.00 NA
Cooper, Jim (TN-05) 24.17 60.00
Costa, Jim (CA-20) 25.25 80.00
Cuellar, Henry (TX-28) 38.10 80.00
Dahlkemper, Kathy (PA-03) New NA
Davis, Lincoln (TN-04) 52.54 80.00
Donnelly, Joe (IN-02) 36.00 70.00
Ellsworth, Brad (IN-08) 26.00 75.00
Giffords, Gabrielle (AZ-08) 12.00 80.00
Gordon, Bart (TN-06) 28.76 80.00
Griffith, Parker (AL-05) New NA
Harman, Jane (CA-36) 22.23 95.00
Herseth Sandlin, S. (SD) 41.11 70.00
Hill, Baron (IN-09) 24.50 75.00
Holden, Tim (PA-17) 40.23 85.00
Kratovil, Jr., Frank (MD-01) New N/A
McIntyre, Mike (NC-07) 51.50 85.00
Marshall, Jim (GA-03) 47.14 70.00
Matheson, Jim (UT-02) 42.75 55.00
Melancon, Charlie (LA-03) 46.22 80.00
Michaud, Mike (ME-02) 16.00 90.00
Minnick, Walt (ID-01) New NA
Mitchell, Harry (AZ-05) 20.00 75.00
Moore, Dennis (KS-03) 17.10 80.00
Murphy, Patrick (PA-08) 8.00 85.00
Nye, Glenn (VA-02) New NA
Peterson, Collin (MN-07) 45.41 80.00
Pomeroy, Earl (ND) 23.08 85.00
Ross, Mike (AR-04) 38.00 85.00
Salazar, John (CO-03) 27.00 85.00
Sanchez, Loretta (CA-47) 3.33 100.00
Schiff, Adam (CA-29) 8.56 90.00
Scott, David (GA-13) 23.92 95.00
Shuler, Heath (NC-11) 5.92 75.00
Space, Zack (OH-18) 16.00 80.00
Tanner, John (TN-08) 41.49 80.00
Taylor, Gene (MS-04) 66.11 75.00
Thompson, Mike (CA-01) 11.38 90.00
Wilson, Charles (OH-06) 12.50 80.00

Average 29.00 80.89

Unfortunately, even while there is some overlap in the issues used by each organization to rate Congressmen, each organization uses a different set of votes to do its calculations, and therefore it is difficult to directly compare ratings. But both sets of numbers allow trends to be identified. A Representative such as Jim Matheson, representing the relatively conservative second district of Utah comes in somewhere in the middle of the road in both ratings, while Loretta Sanchez, representing the relatively liberal Orange County stands out as a die-hard liberal in both ratings. Just for comparison, John McCain carries an 82.3 ACU rating and a 15.00 ADA rating, and while in the Senate, Barack Obama had an 8 ACU and 95 ADA rating.

We now know that Obama deserved his extremely liberal rating as we witness his attempt to overhaul the Constitution and change the American experiment to a collectivist path. Looking at the corresponding ratings numbers for the Blue Dogs, we see they are much more closely aligned to Obama than they are to McCain. While a small number of Blue Dogs are undoubtedly in the center of the political spectrum, as a group we must call them liberal and it is arguable that they are aligned closely to the center of America.

Paraphrasing Rep. Peter Roskam, the Blue Dogs are really just traditional Democrats by another name. The numbers seem to agree.

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