2:11 PM | Posted in
This week Elwyn Tinklenberg received the endorsement of the “Blue dog Democrats”

El Tinklenberg's background in business and public service, combined with his dedication to the economic stability and national security of the United States, make him a perfect fit for the Blue Dogs, and we are proud to give him our endorsement today," said Rep. Mike Ross (AR-04), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Communications. "We look forward to working alongside Elwyn next year as he fights to advance commonsense policies in Congress as Minnesota's 6th District Congressman."

What are “Blue Dog Democrats?

The Blue Dogs are 43 conservative House Democrats who tend to vote together as a coalition on budgetary, economic issues and social issues. Their stated goal is to bring their own party back to the center of the ideological spectrum, and to forge good working relationships with moderate Republicans to help move that party more toward a centrist agenda.

If more than 5 Republican Members stray from the fold on any given vote, the Republican leadership often turns to the Blue Dogs on the Democratic side of the aisle to gain their bloc vote in exchange for negotiated changes in legislative language (pork). Think of them as the Republican bench players.

The Blue Dogs derive their name from the artwork of a Cajun painter, George Rodrigue, well known in Louisiana for his series of paintings featuring an unusual blue dog. The fledgling members of what became the Blue Dog Coalition used to meet regularly in the offices of then-Democrats Rep. Billy Tauzin and Rep. Jimmy Hayes of Louisiana. Tauzin has since switched to the Republican Party and Hayes was defeated in a run for the Senate.

The Blue Dogs are less partisan and at times seem confused as to what they stand for, if anything at all. Blue Dogs are today’s version of a former coalition of southern Members of the House known as the “Boll Weevils,” whose heyday was in the early 1980's. These Members defected as a group from the Democratic Party to vote with Congressional Republicans on budgetary and tax bills. The result was the largest deficits in the history of the country (until now) and the sweeping of Democrats from power in the 90’s. All Southerners, they were named after the insect that infected and often destroyed cotton crops, so the name “Boll Weevil” had a pejorative implication.

Blue dogs claim to be fiscally moderate but the reality is that they and their districts are often the largest beneficiaries of federal grants and spending. Collin Peterson and Oberstar are blue dogs. One seldom hears that they are budget hawks as they are the chairs of the House Ag and Transportation committees and these committees are known as the largest producers of pork spending in the federal budget.

A more unifying factor for the Blue dogs is their stances on Abortion, GLBT issues, sex education in public schools and Iraq war funding.

The Blue dogs are one of the main reasons the Bush administration has been able to pass so much of its agenda since the Democrats took control of congress.

There is no comparable Republican group in the House.

Congratulations Elwyn.


5 responses to "Blue Dog Elwyn Tinklenberg."

  1. lloydletta On May 3, 2008 at 11:59 AM

    Actually I thought there was a "Tuesday caucus" or something like that among republicans - and many of these were pro-choice Republicans. Ramstad was part of the group - they might not be as formal as the Blue Dogs.

  2. Gary Gross On May 3, 2008 at 10:44 PM

    El faces a steep uphill fight to win. He isn't a moderate like he claims. If he were, he wouldn't have announced in May, 2006 that he'd vote for impeaching President Bush before even getting endorsed.

  3. lloydletta On May 3, 2008 at 11:11 PM

    Actually Gary, Tinklenberg's problem is he is a chameleon. We will see whether it works for him. So far it seems to work for Norm Coleman - who says totally different things to the mainstream media than to right wing bloggers or to Republican conventions.

  4. Anonymous On May 4, 2008 at 10:13 AM

    "The Blue dogs are one of the main reasons the Bush administration has been able to pass so much of its agenda since the Democrats took control of congress".

    And the statement above IS the problem. Since Tinklenberg is supported by this group then he will be obliged to vote as they do. So there goes his stance on social issues such as changing the civil union laws to protect LGBT partners. Blue Dogs have supported the endless war and continue to do so. If we want Republican representation we would support Bachmann

  5. Blue man On May 4, 2008 at 4:59 PM

    Oberstar is not a Blue Dog.