It’s time for the Blue Dog Democrats to follow their principles

Michael Busler
3 min readJan 25, 2022

The website says they stand for fiscal responsibility, a strong national defense, and transcending party lines. What happened?

In the 1994 off-year election, the House of Representatives flipped from Democrat to Republican. After 40 years in the minority, the GOP, led by Speaker Newt Gingrich, were ready to honor their Contract with America. But they would need the help of at least some Democrats.

Then-President Clinton changed his policies. The effort to pass a National Health Insurance bill, not only failed but was the primary reason the GOP won the House. Clinton and a group of Democrats known as Blue Dogs worked with the GOP

The result was that by 1996, the capital gains tax rate was cut and President Clinton said, “The era of big government is over.” From 1997 to 2001, the economy grew at a 4 ½% annual rate and the government’s budget had a surplus for those four years.

Who are the Blue Dog Democrats?

They were created in 1995 to “represent the commonsense, moderate voice of the Democratic Party, appealing to mainstream American values. The Blue Dogs are leaders in Congress who are committed to pursuing fiscally-responsible policies, ensuring a strong national defense, and transcending party lines to do what’s best for the American people.”

The group started with 23 members and reached a peak of 59 in 2008. But with the election of President Obama and the subsequent moving of the Democratic Party’s view far away from the Blue Dogs’ positions, their numbers dwindled. Today there are only 19.

Judging by the always nearly-unanimous votes of the Dems in the House, the Blue Dogs have been very silent and they are voting for legislation that is not consistent with their mission. Last March, just one voted against Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

That spending bill ballooned the deficit, added nothing to economic growth, and created so much excess demand that inflation soared to 7%. The 18 Blue Dogs who voted for that were certainly not “committed to pursuing fiscally responsible policies.”

And how about the infrastructure bill? The massive $1.2 trillion package really spent about half on infrastructure and the…

Michael Busler

Dr. Busler is an economist and a public policy analyst. He is a Professor of Finance at Stockton University. His op-ed columns appear in Townhall, Newsmax.