What do Joe Donnelly, Brad Ellsworth, and Baron Hill have in common? They have decided to enter into the ranks – 52 in all – of the Blue Dogs, or more accurately, as newer members of Congress are called the “Blue Pups.” Just what is a Blue Dog? The Blue Dogs are a group formed in 1995 in response to the Democratic losses of 1994 – although they haven’t barked too much until recently.
Blue Dogs call themselves moderate to conservative members of the Democratic Party who, according to Pete Geren have been “choked blue” by “extreme” Democrats from the left. Hmm, wonder where the “Red Rovers” are – you know, those Republicans who have been strangled by the right-wing of the Republican party?
Part of the Blue Dogs’ motivation in opposing President Obama’s health care proposals may be attributed to the vast contributions they have attracted from medical interests, who are spending an additional $1.3 million a day on lobbying. The Washington Post reported:
The Blue Dog group has set a record pace for fund raising this year through its political action committee, surpassing other congressional leadership PACs in collecting more than $1.1 million through June … More than half the money came from the health care, insurance and financial services industries.
Of course, Donnelly, Hill, and Ellsworth aren’t the only offending members of Congress. Evan Bayh of Indiana has decided that his bread is better buttered by the medical insurance and pharmaceutical companies and has opposed many of the components of President Obama’s health care reform plan under the guise of working for the “citizens of Indiana.” The ads, of course, have been paid for by big Pharma.
Senator Bayh’s wife Susan, a former Lily pharmaceutical executive, received $2.1 million over the last several years for serving on the boards of health-related firms like WellPoint, the nation’s largest insurer, based in Indianapolis. Kind a hard to bite the hand that feeds you.
WellPoint alone accounted for the biggest single source of Susan Bayh’s board income, paying her $976,000 in cash, stock options and stock awards from 2006 to 2008, according to Equilar, a California-based executive-compensation research company.
Blue, purple, or green – it really doesn’t matter. It is pretty apparent from where their dog food comes, and, as long as their dog bowl is full, well, again, why bite the hand that feeds you.