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Harold Meyerson’s June 23rd article “Centrist and clueless” in the Washington Post attacks the “skittish” Blue Dog Democrats who have inexplicably become hesitant about continuing the onslaught of government spending. Meyerson is disgusted by any considerations that ask the least amount of prudence in federal spending- “cutting weekly unemployment benefits by $25?" Outrageous! “Scroogish!” How could these Blue Dog Democrats be so foolish, he wonders, to confuse the short term need for government job creations with the mounting long term deficit?
It seems these Blue Dogs can make a distinction that Meyerson cannot- the complete lack of success to date of the Stimulus’ ability to create private sector jobs, as George Will notes while dissecting the frightening May job report. Meyerson is trying to scold the Blue Dogs for losing focus on job creation: “the Blue Dogs' short-term deficit hawkery is more than bad economics. It's bad politics, too.” In reality, it seems they are just beginning to see more clearly how stimulus money has not been the answer for this economic downturn. Recent victors like Senate Candidate Mike Lee and safe incumbents such as Senator Jim DeMint can attest that fiscal responsibility is good politics, politics that is beginning to realign itself with the realities of the average American. It takes considerable resolve to deny a stimulus to “save the jobs of teachers and police officers, maintain states' ability to make Medicaid payments and extend unemployment insurance” but another bailout for public workers and additional funds would only serve the special interests of a few while forcing taxpayers to bankroll unsustainable and unreasonable government budgets. The mismanagement of state governments cannot be coddled by the federal government, but instead must be forced to operate within their given means, even if it means pay cuts or layoffs. A true emergence from this recession can only be achieved through a robust free private sector that is brought about by free market policies. This level of economic health cannot be achieved with continual government intervention.
Regardless of whether or not you hope to see them replaced in November, the country will be stronger if Blue Dog Democrats refuse to be collared by the Pelosi/Obama agenda.