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  10 YEARS OF LEADERSHIP
 


 

The Blue Dog Coalition - celebrating 10 years of leadership in 2005 - has built a reputation as a serious player in the policy arena, promoting positions which bridge the gap between ideological extremes. Many of the group's policy proposals have been praised as fair, responsible, and positive additions to a Congressional environment too often marked as partisan and antagonistic.

The 35 conservative and moderate Democrats in the group hail from every region of the country, although the group acknowledges some southern ancestry which accounts for the group's nickname. Taken from the South's longtime description of a party loyalist as one who would vote for a yellow dog if it were on the ballot as a Democrat, the "Blue Dog" moniker was taken by members of The Coalition because their moderate-to-conservative-views had been "choked blue" by their party in the years leading up to the 1994 election.

The Coalition was formed in the 104th Congress as a policy-oriented group to give moderate and conservative Democrats in the House of Representatives a common sense, bridge-building voice within the institution.
Most agree that, since then, the Blue Dogs have successfully injected a moderate viewpoint into the Democratic Caucus, where group members now find greater receptiveness to their opinions. In fact, the continuing political success of "Blue Pups" in the 1998, 2000, and 2002, 2004 elections points to the public's approval of the centrist, fiscally responsible message represented by The Coalition. Since 1996, eighteen Blue Dogs won their seats by defeating a Republican incumbent.

The Coalition has been particularly active on fiscal issues, relentlessly pursuing a balanced budget and then protecting that achievement from politically popular "raids" on the budget. Past Coalition budgets have won the endorsement of the nonpartisan Concord Coalition and multiple newspaper and magazine editorials. As one column pointed out, the Blue Dogs have proven that "common sense, conservative economics and compassion aren't necessarily mutually exclusive."
Blue Dog Coalition proposals have served as middle-ground markers which laid the foundation for the bipartisanship necessary to bring about fundamental reforms, and helped set into law policies reflecting the "common sense, conservative compassion" so often attached to the group's efforts.

In the 109th Congress, the Coalition intends to continue to make a difference in Congress by forging middle-ground, bipartisan answers to the current challenges facing the Country. A top priority will be to refocus Congress on balancing the budget and ridding taxpayers of the burden the debt places on them. The group also expects to be involved in a variety of issues, where the stale extreme left vs. right approach requires a breath of fresh air.

 

 

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