The budget process has dredged up a lot of muck during the past few months. Of special interest to the Blue Dog has been the demonization and punishment meted out by both parties against those who don’t toe the party line. The latest incident involved the Republicans blackballing six legislators who voted for the budget. Last year, we saw Democrat Nicole Parra sent to the woodshed with an office across the street from the Capitol for holding out on a vote.
Enough of this bullying. The Reps like to jaw about the virtues of freedom while the Dems trumpet the importance of cultural diversity. This is all well and good. But who is protecting intellectual diversity and the integrity of free thinkers?
The Blue Dog offers kudos to the Republicans with the guts to break ranks and vote as they saw fit — not as they were ordered to do. The Sane Six: Roy Ashburn, Abel Maldonado, Dave Cogdill, Mike Villnes, Roger Niello and Anthony Adams — realize people are elected to solve problems and represent their constituents — not the simple-minded edict of political party.
And this goes for Dems too. The Blue Dog would be on a beach in Hawaii if he had been paid a buck for every time he’d heard that a piece of ill-conceived legislation had been voted out of committee or sent to the Senate/Assembly/Governor as a favor to a colleague who shared a “D” after his or her name. So, Dems, how about taking a page from the Sane Six and vote your own convictions this session?
The Blue Dog is heartened and intrigued by an item a few months back in the New York Times – “Web Sites That Dig for News Rise as Community Watchdogs.” The piece explores an emerging form of journalism and cites VoiceofSanDiego.org as an example of “a brand of serious, original reporting by professional journalists — the province of the traditional media, but at a much lower cost of doing business.” Similar operations are popping up in New Haven, Twin Cities, Seattle, St. Louis and Chicago, the paper reports.
At a time when credible media sources are shrinking and online journalism remains highly suspect, this nascent development is worth keeping an eye on as new model for the journalism of tomorrow. It gives this Blue Dog a bit of hope that newspapers may find a way to adapt after all. Definitely a bone to chew on.
Welcome to the California Blue Dog blog. While a Blue Dog is a term historically associated with fiscally conservative, socially moderate to liberal Democrats, this site takes a fairly broad view of a Blue Dog. Regardless of your party affiliation, do you basically consider yourself a centrist or moderate? Are you turned off by the polarizing nature of political and policy discussions? Do you see gray areas where everyone else sees black and white? Are you tired of the lunatics running the asylum? Do you crave some mature, insightful and respectful conversation about the state of California politics, press and policy issues?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider yourself a Blue Dog. So welcome to this blog. Feel free to subscribe to the RSS feeds and to carry the spirit of this blog into your comments.