The phrase on everyone's lips is "Blue Dog" ("Five Democrats in Caucus Balking on Health Bill," July 26). Apparently, this means a politician like U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire, who represents the 4th Congressional District, who accepts contributions from political action committees representing coal companies and HMOs and then votes against his party and his constituents' interests on climate change and health care.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the HMOs and drug companies have been pouring money into the campaign coffers of the Blue Dog caucus members in an all-out effort to defeat health-care reform. Jason Altmire is near the front of the trough, taking in $419,279 from health-related PACs in recent years. Is it really that surprising that he is quoted as calling the reform package "a bad bill"?
According to the PG article, the term "Blue Dog" was coined as the antithesis of the "Yellow Dog Democrats," who were party loyalists. Exactly who or what the Blue Dogs are loyal to is still uncertain, but we do have our suspicions.
MIKE USMAN, M.D.