Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Trying to Spank the Blue Dog

Former Tennessee football star and NFL quarterback Heath Shuler, a second term congressman, criticized the Democratic leadership in both the House and Senate for a lack of bipartisanship regarding the stimulus bill negotiations. Shuler is a Blue Dog Democrat who represents a conservative district in rural western North Carolina and was one of a handful of Democrats who voted against the package in the House. Shuler was quoted as saying: "In order for us to get the confidence of America, it has to be done in a bipartisan way. We have to have everyone - Democrats and Republicans standing on the stage with the administration - saying 'We got something done that was efficient, stimulative and timely.'...I truly feel that's where maybe House leadership and Senate leadership have really failed."

In a truly sophomoric and pathetic attempt to respond to Shuler's criticism, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's spokesman Jim Manley criticized the Congressman for his observations about the stimulus package as well as his NFL record: "Let me get this straight - this is coming from a guy who threw more than twice as many interceptions than touchdowns?" Politico congressional gossip columnist Glenn Thrush piled on the Congressman: "In four years as an NFL QB -- three with the Redskins, one with the Saints -- Shuler threw 32 INTs while tallying only 15 TDs. Shuler was the third overall pick in the 1994 NFL draft and held out for a seven-year $19 million contract, but completed fewer than half his passes -- with a rock-bottom 54.3 lifetime passer rating. In 2008, ESPN rated him the 4th biggest draft bust in league history."

First, I'm guessing both these guys, Manley and Thrush, never played a team sport past first grade. Sure, maybe they dabbled in karate, or tried skate boarding, maybe belonged to chess club, but certainly never strapped the shoulder pads on, boiled and fit the mouth guard, and slapped on the helmet. I've got some news for you both: Shuler was a tremendously good quarterback for the Tennessee Volunteers, one of the powerhouses of college football. Where did you both play? True, his NFL career was short and painful--both literally and figuratively, but the dude still played in the bigs.

Second, if Democrats truly want to be a lasting majority party, you need people like Heath Shuler, as well as Zack Space and John Boccieri of Ohio, and others who have a centrist hue because that's why Dems have such heavy majorities in both houses and that's where the majority of America is--in the middle. Shuler, Space, and Boccieri all won tough contests in their districts because they were centrist Blue Dog Dems--their constituents expect them to buck their party leaders--especially when their party leaders are considerably left of center. Instead of trying to spank the blue dog, Democratic party leaders should include them in their strategy sessions. As for Shuler, Harry Reid may be seeing a lot more of him in the future--he is considering making a run for the Senate seat currently held by Republican Richard Burr.


this guy said...

If i were a North Carolina Dem, I would rather have the support of Obama than Reid or Pelosi, and it seems the president has the support of the blue dogs, per Roll Call...

Fiscally conservative Democrats emerged from a Tuesday meeting with President Barack Obama reassured that he is committed to the same level of fiscal responsibility as they are.

Nearly all 49 members of the Blue Dog Coalition met with Obama for an hour to discuss budget discipline at a time when Congress is about to pass a roughly $800 billion economic stimulus bill.

“We were pleased to find a partner with President Obama,” said Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.), a Blue Dog co-chairwoman.


DC said...

This Guy--agreed. A NC Dem, especially from that poor district, better lean right on some issues including many social & fiscal ones.

Obama needs the blue dogs. Pelosi & Reed need them too--they just don't know it...

Palehorse said...

You have to forgive Reid: he is leading our party to the gates of hell when he should be playing shuffleboard on the lido deck.
Heath was a great quarterback for UT, and is proving to be an effective congressman with the moxie to move our party to the center, where is can thrive, especially in the South.
There are a great number of young men named Heath in East Tennessee and Western Carolina. This is due to their parents recognizing his greatness as a player and guy. I doubt there are many kids named after the senator from Nevada, because it would hurt to name your kid f**ktard.

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