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Ronnie Shows

Ronnie Shows

Posted: October 29, 2010 12:49 PM

I don't make predications, but the midterm elections aren't going to be pretty for a lot of moderate Democrats. The loss of these centrist Democrats - known as the Blue Dogs - may also mean lost control of the House of Representatives.

Anyone who has been following my blog on the Huffington Post knows that I believe that what is bad for the Blue Dogs is also bad for the progressives. Why you may ask? It's very simple; retaining Blue Dogs in swing congressional districts are the key to keeping control of Congress and all the benefits that come with being in the majority.

While there are some Blue Dogs in key positions of power in the House, many of the most powerful positions are held by prominent progressives. These include Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the chairmen of several very influential congressional committees, including: Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, Judiciary, Financial Services and Appropriations. Being chairman allows the majority -- currently, Democrats -- to call hearings, launch investigations and even issue subpoenas for witnesses and relevant information that companies or government agencies won't give up nicely. Today, the Republicans on those committees cannot do any of those things. Having been in Congress, trust me, having that power means a lot.

Something else to consider, on the House side, only the majority can bring legislation to the House Floor for an up or down vote. This means that many bills important to progressives simply won't ever have a chance of becoming law because the Republican Speaker of the House simply won't allow it.

What else does Republican control of the House of Representatives mean? It means investigations of the Obama administration, some of which will be nothing more than political witch hunts. So rather than the President and his team working to pass their legislative agenda, they will be fighting off political attacks from Capitol Hill (remember the impeachment of President Clinton?). It also means that powerful committee chairman will hold hearing and advance legislation that will seek to undue or weaken many important Democratic priorities like Healthcare Reform or efforts to fight to improve the environment. In other words, control of Congress is no small potatoes.

Reading the comments posted on some of my previous columns, I kept seeing people say that Blue Dogs are bad for Democrats and that not having them around would be better for the party. Well, if we lose the House of Representatives, it will be precisely because many of those Blue Dogs have been replaced by extremely conservative Tea Party supported candidates. This won't be good news for progressives, and frankly, it won't be good news for our country either.