Blue Dogs and Health Care Reform

If only the Congressional Blue Dogs were this adorable.
If only the Congressional Blue Dogs were this adorable.

North Dakota Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad made headlines yesterday when he said health care reform won't pass Congress without Republican support.

But that's not a mathematical truth, it just reflects Conrad's sense that some Democrats won't support legislation without some Republicans backing the bill.

If that's true, it is completely infuriating. For six years, from 2001-2006, Republicans held the country hostage. They seemed to be able to pass nearly anything they wanted. The Iraq war happened, a medicare bill with huge subsidies to drug companies slid through, enormous tax cuts to the wealthy that sent the deficit soaring past, etc.

Now, with Republicans on their heals with less control than they've had in 20 some years, Democrats are still behaving like the party out of power.

No group of Democrats optimizes this bizarre mindset more than the Blue Dogs. This group of conservative Dems in the House has held fast to its members' commitment to eliminating a public plan in any health care legislation. They also rail against the price tag on reform, while opposing elements of Democratic-backed plans that would actually decrease the cost of legislation.

Their motivations could be financially driven, but President Obama and other public-plan supporting Democrats accepted a lot of money from the medical industry, just like the Blue Dogs. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman tries to make sense of the Blue Dogs' incoherent message on health care.