August 1st, 2009
02:30 PM ET
9 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. carrie miller

    how about blue dogs show true color they are not blue thay are repulicians wearing sheep colors

    July 31, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  2. chris

    Today's AOL poll...

    It asked a very simple question.

    Are you for, against or not sure about the current Health Care bill.

    78% are against it.

    Congress... ARE YOU LISTENING????

    July 31, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  3. Ajay Jain, Garland, TX, USA

    We are the ONLY industrialised nation on earth without Healthcare.

    So in 2010 we should go after all the Republicans who oppose Heathcare and also the Blue Dogs who do not deserve to be in this Congress when 75% of all the public wants some form of Healthcare passed.

    Obama – Biden 2012.

    July 31, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  4. Fla.

    The Democratic Party appears to encompass many facets of the political spectrum now: moderate, liberal & conservative.

    The party has to work harder for reasonable compromise to find common ground, as the House did yesterday with the Blue Dogs. I may not agree with everything (never really do in politics), but the overall healthcare reforms would be a step in the right direction.

    Dems should also consider adopting a few malpractice reforms. Call the GOP's bluff so-to-speak, and if an inevitable Party of No votes against the final legislation, hold their unreasonable nature accountable in 2010.

    July 31, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  5. Tom Everhardt

    Rep Wotring, we do not need Obamacare or anything that comes from the federal government to tell us if we should live or die.

    July 31, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  6. Doug, New Jersey

    Major major differences between red and blue America. In red America people can carry around guns in public places and if anything it is a crime deterrent. If you allowed people in blue areas to carry around guns, you would have thousands of people murdered each day. A conservative with a gun is less of a threat to take a life than a liberal with an automobile, that is a fact.

    Red America doesn't want freebies, they don't want a big government that controls each and every aspect of their lives from cradle to grave. It is the selfish mean-spirited takers of the blue and their elitist academia idiots who hate this country that are trying to destroy it. I really can't put it into words for most of you reading this, but please get an understanding of what a Democrat vote truly is supporting, come to a blue area and directly interact with the people for a week. You will really get a dose of reality that might just save our great nation.

    July 31, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. Pete East

    Please, please let the liberals keep believing that the Republican party is finished and or is otherwise irrelevant.

    Also, you do not need Blue Dog Democrats. Real liberals know that thier constituents are misguided. They should be forced to tow the liberals party line regardless of what they hear from thier consitiuents.

    July 31, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  8. RealityKing

    Only progressive morons believe the healthcare program run by the Veterans Administration's would be a good model for all Americans.

    July 31, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  9. the southern progressive

    i have already contacted my blue dog democrat senator bill nelson to make sure that accessible affordable and adequate health care for all americans no matter their employment or standing in life happens before the end of this year.. this does not mean, sign off on just anything, but i want him to work to make this possible, for it has been proven, that a majority of american want an overhaul to the health care industry and his political career may depend on it.

    July 31, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  10. charlie in Maine

    "I believe Blue Dog Democrats see their constituents more realistically than the real strong liberals. I really do."

    Well she is wrong in my case my "liberal" congresswoman is right in touch with this contituent and shame on her for sugggesting otherwise.

    BTW My Republican Senators are in touch pretty much as well. What she seems to be saying is that her constituents are different than those in Maine. Okay I accept that. It is a free country. But don't go tellin me who my representatives listen to.

    July 31, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  11. GaVoter

    Healthcare reform without tort reform is no reform at all..

    July 31, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  12. Doug, New Jersey

    Stop the hate.

    Obama 2012

    Ha ha, priceless!

    Obama and his supporters are the haters in this nation, if that wasn't so then he wouldn't be using the DHS to target law abiding Americans who disagree with him. He wouldn't be lying about his partisan elitist attitude and refusing to listen to any and all moderate and republican ideas. Finally, Rahm Emanuel, you only hire a person like this if you are filled with hate, as Obama often shows us when he speaks off prompter, just like admitting he hates the police and is racially biased against them while fully supporting a race baiting hate-filled Harvard Marxist professor.

    July 31, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. Annette

    We need healthcare reform now! No more excuses! Congressmen and women receive great healthcare, pay for by the citizens of America. If it is good for them, then it' good enough for the rest of the country. Why should there be a debate against that? The American people deserve to have a good, efficient healthcare just as these congressmen and women receive which works for them, you don't see any of these polticians complaining about it.

    What the debate should be is how will it be paid, not whether we should reform healthcare or who should receive great healthcare.

    July 31, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. Carole

    Blue Dawgs like Landrieu and the Republicans are not on a short leash, they are in the pockets of the insurance companies.

    AETNA STOCK IS UP 12%............gee does someone know something we working stiffs don't?

    July 31, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  15. GaVoter

    I will be voting against everyone that signed onto this defacto government run healthcare program.., not to mention the HUGE increase in deficit spending.

    July 31, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. Hopeful Optimist

    The real difference between a conservative and a liberal is that a conservative lives in perpetual fear of nearly everything he experiences in the physical world and, hence, reacts to every stimulus in his environment with a sense of suspicion and wariness, cynicism and skepticism. A liberal, albeit sometimes foolish and naive, sees his daily life experiences with a sense of wonderment and awe, as if it were a journey to a destination. As such, he can experience, in cooperation with his fellow human species, the little treasures laid out before him by his higher power.

    A true liberal is not in competition with his fellow man and, as such, wants him to succeed alongside him - with good, affordable health care.

    July 31, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  17. notfooledtx

    You're naive if you believe the blue dogs are working for their constituents. They're working for the insurance lobby that much is clear.

    July 31, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. Fred the Moderate

    I'm telling you – you guys and gals better get this done! We pay for your health care and you don't want us to pay for ours? What's worse, you don't want us to have it at all?? Please!!!!!!

    July 31, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. Peoples Voice

    Not everybody lives in the backwoods of this country. There are plenty of us who understand the truth and reject the lies of the GOP.

    I really wish there were less stupid, gullible and easily manipulated people in this country.

    July 31, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  20. Justin

    If the Blue Dogs are so concerned about reining in costs, why don't they support a public insurance plan that can reimburse providers at Medicare rates?

    The whole point of that is to ensure that the public plan is getting maximum bang for its buck, not just paying profit-seeking providers whatever they want so they can line their pockets.

    The idea that a radiologist making $300,000 a year will provide worse service than one making $400,000 annually is ridiculous.

    We can get great care for much less than we pay as a nation. The best way to do that is by bringing rationality to the system and enforcing it with a strong, national, public insurance option.

    If private insurance can't compete, it was never 'competitive' in the first place.

    July 31, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  21. R in Maine

    Read the message above this one and know that you will be on the short end of this issue if you do not help us get a good health insurance policy.

    July 31, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  22. jaye

    Fox news is scaring people with their lies and innuendo about healthcare wonder people are against it.
    And why isn't CNN being more agressive in clearing up the lies?

    July 31, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  23. Angie in Pa

    Blue Dogs so called Democrats are like republicans they do not work for you,They work for the Insurance compaines and special interest they wait and see which Insurance company will contribute the MOST MONEY! MONEY MONEY MONEY!

    July 31, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  24. Deborah/Kansas City

    Don't listen to the people who are so hateful and afraid of change. They are in the pocket of the insurance company. Anyone who has Medicare, loves it and does not want it changed. How many Policitians have lost elections because they threatened to reduce Medicare? Anyone who stands up and says that there should be no Public Not for Profit Option, should forever give up their right to have Medicare. Only the Healthcare Insurance Companies ration care. Medicare does not. Yes, the payment structure may be a little low, but not that much after the negotitated contract rates that the Private Insurance Compaines get. All the healthcare reform is doing is making sure that we all would have the choice to join a public not for profit plan if we want to. The insurance compainies are not going to just go out of business, are you crazy. They will have to lower their rates for premiums and stop raping the rest of us with their huge profits; just like the bankers and the oil compaines have been doing.

    July 31, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  25. Sue in NJ

    Here's an idea... for those in congress who vote against a public health insurance plan option. They must opt out of the government plan they now get and buy a plan from the insurance industry. Let them deal with some nameless person, sitting in some office whose only job is to find ways to deny coverage for a necessary procedure.

    July 31, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
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