August 1st, 2009
02:30 PM ET
5 years ago

King: Blue Dogs on constituents' short leash over health care

Editor's note: On CNN's "State of the Union," host and chief national correspondent John King goes outside the Beltway to report on the issues affecting communities across the country.

ST. MARIES, Idaho (CNN) - Gwen Wotring is a small-business owner in this tiny Northwest Idaho timber town, a proud Democrat who says her British parents taught her "socialized government is not the bad thing that everybody reports it to be."

But from the lively conversations in her popular café - Bud's Drive Inn dates to 1963 - she knows she is outnumbered.

"It's difficult to be a liberal in this neck of the woods," she said with a smile.

And because of that, she knows the local congressman is in a difficult spot even though he wears the label "Blue Dog Democrat."

"It means somebody who thinks realistically and pragmatically about spending," Wotring said when asked to define the term heard so often in Washington these days because of the delicate health-care negotiations among Democrats. "I believe Blue Dog Democrats see their constituents more realistically than the real strong liberals. I really do."

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Filed under: Health care • State of the Union
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Bill, Bloominton IL

    and she doesnt have to be in the minority if she goes to Britain to live. Problem solved.

    July 31, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  2. Julia Byrd- Hayden Idaho

    Read the article in MSNBC and find out how much the blue dogs have received from the health care industry. CNN, why aren't you reporting this, hmmm. just another National Enquirer wanna be.

    July 31, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I don't see how Blue Dogs consider themselves democrats when they look out for the interest of conservatives, who are ultimately in the back pocet of the insurance companies. If the constituency of the Blue Dogs are conservatives, maybe they need to go back to the republicans.

    July 31, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Privatized health care already robs you of your money, and in turn their BUREAUCRATS deny you services. They have already burdened millions of families and destroyed thousands of businesses. So if you want that to continue then by all means, go ahead and keep your head burried in the sand. But let the rest of us have a new option!

    July 31, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  5. Peter E

    The US has the greatest military in the world of all history! And it is government run... 'Say what? It's government run? Then it MUST be terrible, expensive, and ineffective! Down with socialism! We must privatize the military! We want corporations to decide America's security based on their profit margins!'

    July 31, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  6. Blue Dogs = Lapdogs for Health Insurance companies

    Blue Dog are listening to the lobbyists of the health care companies and are on the cash dole....Good thing this fight is not over because as the light shines on these greedy hounds the public will know those who lie with fleas...

    July 31, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  7. JS007

    These "Blue Dog" Democrats are not that much different from Republicans. What happened to leadership? These (usually) poor or middle class red state constituents are the ones who'll benefit from health care the most – so just explain that to them! It's not about liberal or conservative, it's about common sense.

    July 31, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  8. Mike

    Any blue dog who votes for this health care plan should be considered a liberal and voted out of office and that goes for republicans as well.

    July 31, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  9. Bob in Pa

    Their constituents, isn't that who our representatives are supposed to be responsible to.

    I believe the American people are getting very very tired of those that feel more responsibility towards the national party and blindly follow without proper reading or vetting of legislation. Congressman like John Coyners who openly say it's too much work for he and his staff to read the health care legislation.

    July 31, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  10. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Insurance, whether it's private corporate or otherwise, is a COMMUNIST idea! The insurance company takes your money, then redistributes that wealth based on need! Each subscriber, including YOU are trying to play the system to your advantage and hope to get out ahead, at the expense of everyone else. You want others to pay for your health care.
    If this wealth redistribution, and people paying for others' health care sounds appaling to you, then you should not get ANY insurance whatsoever! You won't pay for anyone else's care, and nobody will pay for yours! You are on your own! Just make sure to save up those hundreds of thousands of dollars for your expensive surgery tens of years in advance before you have any idea what that money is even needed for! Oh wait, you can't save hundreds of thousands of dollars? I guess you're screwed, the hospitals can't treat you without payment!

    July 31, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  11. Rob

    Who cares about the Blue-Dogs, I am in such distress. I awoke today, some 10 hours after the 'Teachable Moment' that was going to unite us all, all races, together in peaceful harmony demanding the Pelosi/Obama backed healthscare, and was dismayed. There was no signing of praises in togetherness! As I was driving into my job that at least until November still provides me the freedom of having healthcare of MY choosing, and not once did I see people of different races come together and embrace! What is going on here? His Almightiness, Lord Barrack on High, proclaimed this as a teachable moment. Giving thought that this may be just that one thing that will lead to racial equality. And if there was anyone in the history of the world who could do this, surely it would be Jesu Patre Obama.

    I mean after all, this would NEVER be a photo-op chance to try to cover his tracks after putting his foot in his mouth and commenting on something he had no business commenting on. Obama would never ever do that, right?

    July 31, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  12. LacrosseMom

    *** Warning to Blue Dogs**********

    We WILL vote YOU out of Office in 2010!

    Who will have the courage to put America FIRST?

    Who will stand up to the BIG healthcare corporations?

    We ALREADY PAY for the UNinsured!

    July 31, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  13. southerncousin

    As a former democrat, I can understand the problems Congressman Minnick faces. The party that represented the ideals in which I believe, has been hijacked by the Pelosis, Reids, Rangels, Dodds and all of the other whack jobs currently running amok. It started when the good people of Massachusetts elected Killer Kennedy based on his matyred brothers name. Then George Soros, the unions and ACORN put up this idiot we have as our president and of course the state run media played a big role in making sure he was elected despite his numerouse shortcomings. I think the rank and file dems, who actually work and pay taxes need to revolt and throw these people out.

    July 31, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  14. "I believe Blue Dog Democrats see their constituents more realistically than the real strong liberals. I really do"

    I'm sure you really do, though telling us 'you do' and telling us 'you really do' does not engender any more confidence

    I have sat in and been a part of these coffee shop breakfast politic discussions in the south

    the ones I was a part of were heavily emotional and very little fact, a long the lines of: 'this is the way my daddy had it, and duggon its good enough for me and mine'

    July 31, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  15. Doraine Gordon

    I think the so called Blue Dog Democrats are really Republicans in disguise. What else could they be? They disagree with everything our President and the other Democrats try to do. If they are so opposed to everything being done the Democratic way why didn't they just run on the Republican ticket and be done with it? They wouldn't have been elected that's why. So they need to ditch that Blue Dog label and start being a Democrat!!

    July 31, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  16. Post always rejected by CNN

    I feel sorry for a lot of the republicans who pretended to be the blue dog democrats. They are exposed now and the people who voted for them are going to kick their butts out of office. If I lived in their states I would ask them to move altogether.

    July 31, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  17. Asian4Hillary

    Blue dogs answer only to their constituents who voted them in office not to their party. Since Pelosi became Speaker of the House, US spending and borrowing out of style. The one holding the purse is Congress. When Obama was in the US Senate he voted for ALL earmarks (pork barrel spending) with his own pork barrel for $3 million TV screen in Chicago. Pelosi answers to everything since 2007, "borrow money from China" even when Bush told her and Congress USA don't have money for ALL their spending. Congress HOLD THE PURSE. IF these government CANNOT manage CASH FOR CLUNKERS how can you expect them to manage socialize medicine? Anyone who even dare to vote for this socialize medicine of Obama should be voted OUT of office.

    July 31, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  18. Clifford in New York

    So much for the Democrat's filibuster proof super majority!

    July 31, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  19. Barbara Independent in NY

    It's sad that these people see the Blue Dogs as actually seeing their constituents. What the Blue Dogs actually do is take more health care Lobbying money than the rest of the Democrats. However, pulling the wool over their constituents' eyes is the dream of many politicians.

    July 31, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  20. lkb

    Gwen Wotring can say socialism isn't a bad thing having been raised in England but let us remind her that this country fought for its freedom from England and was founded to be free from BIG government. All you need to do is look at the living standards and medical care in these countries to know it isn't all that good.

    July 31, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  21. Retired US Army

    It is a crying shame that Americans can be taken in so completely by scare tactics of those individuals that do not want to see health care reform.

    I have also seen health care in others nations and it is nothing as deplicted by those against health care reform. Care is not rationed, care is not denied, you might have to wait for an appointment, but I have to plan illnesses 30 days in advance if I want to get in to see my doctor on anything other than a stand by baisis.

    Reform can occur, without significant increases in money out of pocket and with improved health care services. That is what health care reform is all about. You do so by putting everyone on an even playing field. It can be through private insurers, it can be though a one payer plan. Bottom line is that everyone is covered and the costs are shared equally by everyone. We have the most expensive medical systyem in the world and receive a very poor bang for our dollar.

    What does that tell me? It tells me that he money is there to provide good health care to the entire population of the United States, what is not there is the desire by the health care industry to submit to change.

    July 31, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  22. Kay

    There is a lot of truth in this article. Obama's radical agenda is going to sink Democrats in conservative districts. I have been waiting for him to wise up and migrate to the middle to hold ground like Clinton. He did it to get elected but now that he is in I do not see it happening. Sooner or later it will become evident to most voters that being likable is not the same as being a good leader.

    July 31, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  23. dominican mama 4 Obama

    Once again, I do not see any Red Dog RepubliKlans, why are the Democrats unnecessarily differentiating themselves from other Dems as opposed to presenting a UNITED FRONT? It is bad enough that the President is attacked by Repubs. at large on a continuous daily basis, without being able to count on his own party as a WHOLE supporting him. You guys are making this wayyy more difficult than it has to be considering you now have the majority.

    The health care proposal with the public option MUST pass. Politicians need to put a stop to the raping of America by the insurance companies. That means they have to get out of the pockets of an industry that is EXEMPT from the anti-trust act. 450% PROFIT in the last 10 years in the insurance industry. Recession? Not for them.
    Insurance companies, thanks to high premiums and claim denials are effectively recession proof.

    Stop the hate.

    Obama 2012

    July 31, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  24. NH Independent

    The government can't even run right a cash for clunkers program that was supposed to only last about 4 months....due to misjudgment and the government wants us to support a healthcare overhall........Obama, Pelosi, Reed, Dodd, etc...they are all idiots

    July 31, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  25. phoenix86

    Attention Blue Dogs,

    You vote for a bill that increases the deficit, doesn't protect current coverage; adds coverage to illegal aliens; elminates choice etc,

    then you best use the August recess for job hunting. You'll need a job after the next election.

    July 31, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
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