So long to Blue Dogs and GOP moderates

There’s a good piece over at by David Gergen and Michael Zuckerman detailing, and decrying, our continued slide into extreme-partisan gridlock.

Basically, it takes note of some the latest developments in this abhorrent trend:

One can see these trends in harsher relief amid campaigns for the Senate and House. Olympia Snowe, a moderate and much-beloved GOP senator from Maine facing her first primary challenge, is retiring because of a lack of bipartisanship and mechanisms to find “common ground.”

Sens. Richard Lugar and Orrin Hatch — both stalwarts of the GOP who have committed apostasy by trying to work across party lines — face primaries this season that imperil their survival: A poll Thursday morning found Lugar down 5 points to a tea party-backed challenger in Indiana, and Hatch failed to secure a 60% supermajority at his party’s convention in Utah, sending his race to a primary. Only two years ago in Utah, another stalwart Republican who had worked with Democrats, Bob Bennett, was deposed by an ideologically purer primary challenger.

In the House, meanwhile, the once-robust cadre of “Blue Dog Democrats” — moderate to conservative members of the liberal party — has been winnowed out, with two more members (Reps. Jason Altmire and Tim Holden of Pennsylvania) defeated in primaries this past Tuesday by opponents from their left flanks.

As of 2010, there were as many as 54 Blue Dogs, but the midterms knocked their caucus down to 26. With retirements and primaries, that number will probably be well below 20 by next January — an effect that further turns Democrats into the party of the left…

Are there any good guys left? Yes there, are, but they are few:

So it’s crucial to bolster the men and women of courage in politics: the ones who can act as ambassadors between these increasingly dug-in parties and who can kindle that small flame of trust that has almost gone out. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) and Mark Warner (D-Virginia) and a handful of others, for example, have launched laudable work on this count in the Senate, pulling together small, quiet dinners with legislators from both sides of the aisle who are strong in principles but equally strong in their commitment to moving the ball forward for the country…

I’ve always liked Lamar, ever since I covered him running for governor back in 1978.

4 thoughts on “So long to Blue Dogs and GOP moderates

  1. `Kathryn Fenner

    Are there any “good guys” left–sure. being in the middle doesn’t make one a “good guy” any more than being on one end or the other of the spectrum makes one a bad guy. The truth or best choice isn’t always the middle one!

  2. Karen McLeod

    This country is becoming paralyzed as a result of partisanship. Since no one will compromise, nothing gets done.

  3. bud

    Being a “centrist” is certainly not a prerequisite for being a “good guy”. Being a righty does not necessarily make you a bad guy. What is disturbing about todays political environment is just how extreme the GOP has become. That doesn’t necessarily make them evil but it does make them dangerous. On the other hand, the Democratic party has largely gone in the other direction. Heck the Democrats are pretty much what qualifies as centrist 15 years ago and conservative 30 years ago. Perhaps Bernie Sanders of VT can still be counted in the liberal camp but he’s an independent.

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