Blue Dog Reaganite exists to preserve a political heritage that is in danger of being lost.
The Democratic Party of the New Deal—the one that produced five straight presidential wins, an enduring congressional majority and successfully oversaw the transformation of the U.S. economy from agrarian-based to industrial-based, with all the social safety net measures that necessarily entailed—was built on the backs of the ethnic Catholic vote, and then usurped by left-wing activists hostile to the values of those who built the mansion.
The backlash to extreme activism came in the form a Democrat who came of age in that New Deal era, saw the Left move in and immediately got out. That ex-Democrat was Ronald Reagan, who built up an enormous coalition, with the ethnic Catholic vote being the game-changer that made the coalition big enough to win the presidency.
The “Reagan Democrats” as they came to be called, produced 1980’s transformational election and set the stage for the Republican Party to ultimately retake Congress 14 years later. The Reagan presidency successfully vanquished the Soviet Union, won the Cold War and turned back the clock on the one big excess of the New Deal era, which was confiscatory tax rates that were as high as 70 percent when Reagan was sworn into office in 1981.
But the GOP coalition today is being defined and overrun by extreme libertarianism. Where Reagan was simply skeptical about government’s salvific value, the Right has moved in against the very idea of social safety net or human concerns themselves. History has repeated itself, as the ethnic Catholic vote is being made to feel uncomfortable in a mansion they helped build.
The Democratic Party of the early 20th century and leading up to 1968 was the greatest political party this country was ever seen. Ronald Reagan was, if not the greatest president, at least the best of anyone whose last name isn’t Washington or Lincoln. The ethnic Catholic vote laid the groundwork for both, as sure as the Irish once laid the track for the railroads in the 19th century. And that heritage deserves better than to be flooded under by Daily Kos commenters on the left or Ayn Rand lovers on the right.
Two examples will suffice for the introduction. No less an authority than Franklin D. Roosevelt, who crusaded for the rights of labor, drew a distinction between the employees of private companies and employees of the government when it came to collective bargaining rights. To draw that same distinction today gets you tarred as a right-wing extremist. No less an authority than Ronald Reagan said his efforts to trim federal spending, devolve power to the states and eliminate abuses of the social justice system in no way meant he wanted to deprive the poor of the assistance “the rest of us owed them.” (The Gipper’s own words in his autobiography An American Life and in line with the thought of his friend and Cold War ally Pope John Paul II). Reagan would be destroyed as a liberal "RINO" if he ran in today's Republican presidential primaries.
The Democratic Party of old understood the balance that has to exist in labor relations. Ronald Reagan understood the balance that has to exist in the relationship between a market economy and the government. The Daily Kos Left and the Ayn Rand Right understands neither, and it’s those forces that are the Establishment in today’s politics. Blue Dog Reaganite stands in opposition to both, and it stands for preserving and advancing our rightful political heritage.
If you vote Democratic and silently seethe that your party kowtows to Hollywood and Planned Parenthood, or if you vote Republican and are tired the extreme libertarianism, then I hope you can find some common ground here, regardless of whether you agree with my conclusions on who to vote for.
The long-term changing of the political landscape—and the eventual nomination of candidates more in line with our values on either side of the aisle is more important than a short-term disagreement in a specific election.