Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Doggone Those Blue Dogs

A dog is a dog, no matter whether it’s blue, pink or chartreuse. It’ll wag its tail one moment and growl in the next. The only thing it’s concerned about is how full its bowl is.

Democratic Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas is howling over health care reform. Like a pit bull in heat, he and the 51 other Blue Doggers have sunk their jaws into the jugulars of their fellow Democrats and with ferocious tenacity have refused to let go. Ross, according to the Washington Post, keeps yipping and yapping that “the committee’s draft falls short.”

Apparently Ross, a former pharmacy owner, is licking his jowls in anticipation of more fodder for him and his followers. Like most canines they run in packs and are a rather hungry bunch. While their bowl already runneth over due to the generosity of the insurance and health care industries, they’re licking their chops in anticipation of even more nibbles and bits.

Poor little pups. Until June of this year they’ve only been able to collect $1.1 million in PAC funds – with more than half coming from the health care, insurance and financial services industries. That’s so pitiful you almost want to adopt them so they don’t have to live in tiny little cages.

The Washington Post reports that “typical Blue Dogs receive significantly more money -- about 25 percent -- from the health-care and insurance sectors than other Democrats, putting them closer to Republicans in attracting industry support."

Most of the major corporations and trade groups in those sectors are regular contributors to the Blue Dog PAC. They include drug makers such as Pfizer and Novartis; insurers such as WellPoint and Northwestern Mutual Life; and industry organizations such as America's Health Insurance Plans. The American Medical Association also has been one of the top contributors to individual Blue Dog members over the past 20 years.

Most of the Blue Dogs are from rural Southern and Midwestern districts that overwhelmingly voted for Republican Sen. John MCcain (Ariz.) over Obama in the 2008 presidential election.

It wouldn't take much figuring to figure that out.

Ross has received nearly $1 million in contributions from the health-care sector and insurance industry during his five terms in Congress, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign contributions. The lawmaker founded Ross Pharmacy of Prescott, Ark., which he and his wife sold in 2007. The couple received $100,000 to $1 million in dividends last year from the sale, according to House financial disclosure forms.

Overall, the typical Blue Dog has received $63,000 more in campaign contributions from the health-care sector than other House Democrats over the past two decades, according to the CRP analysis. The top three recipients were Rep. Earl Pomeroy (N.D.), with $1.5 million, and Tennessee Reps. Bart Gordon and John Tanner, both of whom collected over $1.2 million from the industry and its employees, according to the data.

Go Ten-Uh-See.

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