Friday, January 23, 2009

"Blue Dog" Dinner Meeting Invitation

I first want to thank those that were kind enough and thoughtful enough to invite me to a get together of some "blue dog" Democrats from Chesterfield County, Virginia last night. For those of you who thought that Democrats were dead and buried in Chesterfield might be interested to know that there may just be a resurrection afoot-well conservative Democrats anyway.

Of course, none of these "Blue Dogs" are associated with or affiliated with the local CCDC in any way which basically reinforces my views that niether the CCRC nor the CCDC are effectively reaching those that have a dedicated interest in the direction of the community and Virginia at large. Had any been associated with a local committee, I may not have been as interested in attending given the notion many here have in Chesterfield that both committees seem ripe with politics of the past. Some call it the "good ole boy" network and though probably more myth is a hard label to break.

So why sit down with professed "Blue Dog" Democrats?

Well, frankly many of these Democrats are more conservative than I on a great many of issues. All too often we allow ourselves to be fixed on the extremes of both the Republican Party and the Democrat Party that we forget that the majority of folks sit right in the middle. Some of these folks are moderates and some are truly conservative.

The term "Blue Dog" relates back to 1994 in Congress where various Southern Democrats mostly in the House aligned with various Republican agendas in direct contrast with the liberal wing of the Democrat Party. At the time there was also the movement of the DLC underway within the Party that was more moderate. These folks were known as New Democrats, but still closely aligned with the Democrat Party overall. The "Blue Dogs" however had a bit more of an independent streak, especially on economic and trade issues.

Historcially, and some at the dinner still believe in the old Boll Weevils views that supported Ronald Reagan's economic agenda and tax policy of the 1980's. Flash forward to today, and these folks still are on the side of tax cuts, fiscal conservatism and smaller government.

This is at the very heart of why I came to accept the invitation.

You see much of the ideals behind the "Blue Dogs" are very similar to the kind of Republican Party that I wish would re-establish itself in Virginia. A Party focused more on economic issues than that of the social ones.

What I learned through the discussions is:

That "Blue Dogs", (at least these) are pro-gun, pro-immigration reform, pro-welfare reform, pro-tax cut renewal, and split right down the middle on pro-life/pro-choice. What there are pro-life Democrats? Imagine that. That explains why it is these Democrats get no attention by the liberal media.

Until? Well at some point during the night word leaked that Caroline Kennedy had withdrawn her bid and a "Blue Dog" Congressman from Upstate NY would be appointed the next Senator of New York to replace Hillary Clinton. Needless to say, the wine glasses went up.

Look, anyone to counter liberal Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is a win win for this conservative.

One aspect that really got heated was the rather dissatisfaction these "Blue Dogs" feel they have been treated by the Liberal arm of their Party the last few years. You see, these folks supported and still do FISA and have come under diect fire by the LeftyBlogs and certainly Open Left.

OpenLeft refers to all "Blue Dog" Democrats as "BUSH DOGS", which is of course code for traitors.

The Republican side of this Republicrat smelled blood.

I urged these folks to join the greater conservative blogging community and create a new blog for those Democrats who align themselves with the same principles and tenents as they do.

There is alot of common ground with fiscal conservatives of the Republican Party and though the table was split 60/40 on the election last Fall for Obama, everyone supported Warner for Senate but then all either supported Republican Forbes or Cantor for Congress in their respective districts. Though in truth, many expressed real concern for Cantor's heavily waited social conservative leanings in the last few years as well as his support for the bailouts. In short- Washington changed Cantor and Cantor failed to change Washington.

What I noticed is the clear ability to reason why it is important to leverage what people have in common more so than concentrating on the differences. I found myself seeing things eye to eye on about 70% of the issues discussed and began to wonder how great things could be if we all focused on the 70% instead of the 30% exactly how much could be accomplished. In my opinion you can build a coalition with 70%.

So a few near future challenges expressed-

1. End the Independent experiment that is the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors and support Conservative (fiscally-minded) candidates next cycle and begin building networks of aligned interest.
- alot of time on the topic of the School Board's 52 million shortfall and the hurdles ahead for Chesterfield

2. The Governor's Race- (R) Bob McDonnell has the advantage of some real name brand recognition and they only thing that could happen within Democrat Party in Virginia to derail support for McDonnell would be the nomination of (D) Creigh Deeds. I could not have agreed more.
- Moran has zero chance with these Blue Dogs
- alot of fence sitting on Terry MacCuliffe though

3. Petition (R) Eric Cantor and (R) Randy Forbes to not support anymore bailouts or support only a true stimulus package that consists of tax cuts on capital gains, payroll taxes and the like and no so-called stimulus checks like last summer to anyone let alone those who pay not income taxes.

One of the biggest things to overcome is to work to end the divide and divisiveness that the social issues have created the feeling that all Democrats are liberals and are Pro-Choice and Pro-Gay Marriage and thus keep Republicans from attempting to reach out to these Democrats.

To me that is an issue at the top of the State GOP that appears willing to remain beholden to the social conservatives.

I left firmly believing that if there ever was a Conservative Party that could unite these Democrats with the likes of fiscal conservative and moderate Republicans then it would certainly outmatch the Liberal wing of the current Virginia Democrat Party. And lets not forget the Independents out there either.

What a future that would be for Virginia.

6 comments:

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Similarly, I've been smacked as a RINO for doing the same thing up here.
I agree with your outreach.
It's not about being a Republican or a democrat...especially at the local level. Many local democrats and I have talked at length. As you indicate..they support local lowering of taxes, initiatives that watch the fiscal condition of the county, and they have pushed for responsible development that keeps infrastructure costs from ramping.
I'm adding your blog to my blog roll. Watched you at tooconservative.com for sometime...and I've been meaning to do that.

Alter of Freedom said...

I appreciate your comment.

There seems to be a tug of war a bit over at Too Conservative. I think quite a few folks that were active at RK have now determined to play a bit there and shake things up. I always like a lively debate.

I will add your blog as well to the blogroll here. See on the boards.

Lucks Lane said...

There are many folks of all political and non political stripes concerned about the County's finances.

I think the BOS is doing a decent job in fiscal management. The school system is in denial. They cannot seem to cope without the annual 11% increase in their share of RE taxes. Those days will never be back.

2001 will be the year the School Board receices an overhaul like the BOS got in 2007.

Bon Air said...

In fairness, the SB had its overhaul in 2007 and have had longer term issues to have to dive into than the BOCS has.

What exactly has the Board in your view Lucks accomplished?

Upper Swift Creek? A raise in the Cash Proffer thants still below average for like size localities? Property rights issues? Environmental issues? Zonings for development?

This Board in its first year deserves a "D". They made the determination to lower tax rates out the fact that they knew the assessments increases of 16% were not sustainable.

The Capital Improvement Plan approved is blouted with governmental spending and buildings for government employees and of course as Alter as pointed to a 18 million dollar library for Robious corridor which is unneccessary. New Courtrooms, new adminstrative buildings and countless other infrastructure projects that will increase th size of government and not decrease it.

The SB has its issues, but the BOCS has been unresponsive in the wake of the current crisis. Growth is not paying for growth and the proffer model is broken and yet they continue to approve zoming case after zoning case.

Fortunately, the BOCS was lucky that the housing market came to a halt given the approval of some 15,000 new homes in Midlothian alone that could have been built out as fast as the developers could have put them up had the sales been there.

can you imagine if the average Chesterfield home has 1.42 students what that would mean to the schools in Midlothian over the next five to ten years given they are all at max levels as it is?

I can't wait for the campaigns in 2011 for the BOCS. You think 2007 was a blood bath, just wait two years.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for introducing your good friend. The presentation ws awesome and we really know that we can take what we learned together during the campaign canvassing and network and apply the same structure to our team building for our business. The correlation is unbelievable.

We will continue to grow our business even in this economic times by refocusing in the same manner a campaign does. After meeting you at the dinner, we knew that regardless of politics you take things from a real ground level, personal take and how it impacts people and their lives.

We have added six new members to our team by taking your simple advice and reaching out to people and making them see that-

Fear makes real the problems, but NOT the solutions!!!

Again thank you.

CP

Anonymous said...

You have tested it and writing form your personal experience or you find some information online?