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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 6, 2009 / 16 Menachem-Av 5769

The Blue Dogs and the Bloc Party

By David Broder



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When several members of the Blue Dogs, a moderate-conservative Democratic faction, met last week with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to negotiate the deal that allowed the health-care bill to move to the floor, it was a signal of their rise to prominence.


The Blue Dog Coalition was formed after the 1994 election gave Republicans control of Congress. Democrats from rural and small-town districts, especially in the South and West, were worried that the party leadership, drawn mainly from big cities in the Midwest and Northeast, would present too liberal an image. So they drew together to try to protect themselves and, if possible, to increase their influence.


Their story is typical of the narratives behind the many other ideological, ethnic and geographical factions that have marked the history of Congress and that are a feature in today's House as well.


These organizations — essentially caucuses within each party — are relatively uncharted territory for students of Congress. But two articles in the current issue of Congress and the Presidency, the journal published by the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University, examine the history and impact of these factions.


The Blue Dogs may be the best known at the moment, thanks to all the publicity they've received as controlling the "swing votes" on health care in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. But they are not the largest or necessarily the most influential such grouping.


Their 52 members are outnumbered by the 68 members of the New Democratic Coalition, a legacy of the Clinton years, and the 81 House members affiliated with the Progressive Caucus, which goes back to the early 1990s and has worked throughout its history for enactment of single-payer, Canadian-style health-care legislation.


All of them are dwarfed by the Republican Study Committee, the largest and most conservative of the GOP factions with 106 members — more than half the entire Republican Conference.


It is not an accident that these factions are much more prominent in the working life of the House than of the Senate. The 100 senators are a small enough society that they can negotiate as individuals, which they are doing over health-care legislation right now in the Finance Committee.


The House, with 435 members, is so large that individual backbenchers can almost feel lost. The factions give them a chance to mingle with like-minded legislators, to swap ideas and experiences, and figure out together how to accomplish their personal and legislative goals.


That is exactly what the Blue Dogs did in their negotiations with Pelosi and committee chairman Henry Waxman on the health-care bill. They wanted — and got — protection for rural hospitals from Medicare cuts that the hospitals claim would be ruinous. They also tried to kill or weaken the proposal for a government-sponsored alternative to private health insurance, and they had to settle for less than they sought.


There is nothing new about factions playing a central role in the legislative bargaining process. One of the articles, by Daniel DiSalvo of City College of New York, finds that factions, which he defines as "cohorts that are smaller and more agile than the party as a whole," have been prominent in Congress at least since the first years of the 20th century.


Often linked to interest groups, intellectual centers and activists outside Congress, they are "agenda-setting vehicles and engines of political change that develop new ideas, refine them into workable policies and promote them on Capitol Hill," DiSalvo says.


Historically, their greatest impact has been on the structure of Congress itself. The Democratic Study Group, a liberal faction whose numbers swelled after the election of 1974, led the way in strengthening the central leadership of its party in the House at the expense of autonomous committee chairmen.


Twenty years later, the Conservative Opportunity Society led by Newt Gingrich did the same thing on the Republican side. The result, for better or worse, is that today's House is a much more top-down, centralized body than it was during a long period of its history.


Some of today's factions welcome that trend. Others, including the Blue Dogs, do not. But the clear lesson is that the factions command votes — and cannot be ignored.

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