RealClearPolitics has a story up on how the Blue Dogs are finally getting respect from President Obama and the Democratic congressional leadership — now that they hold the keys to whether health care reform passes. This kind of attention irritates liberals to no end, much like the Republican leadership’s solicitude toward moderates bothers conservatives. Why, liberals ask, pay so much attention to the Blue Dogs when the Congressional Progressive Caucus is larger?
Short answer: Because most members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus hail from safe districts while the Blue Dogs are disproportionately vulnerable to Republican challengers. Their fear of handing such challengers votes in favor of higher taxes, ballooning deficits, and mandatory abortion coverage as cudgels with which to beat them in 2010 is what makes them reluctant to go along with the party.
Of course, the Blue Dogs frequently put up a fight at first only to roll over. So we’ll see.