The First Dog and Blue Dog Democrats

Bill Gallagher

How Blue is Oregon?

Barack Obama will win in 29 states. Missouri, according to the latest numbers, will remain red, but just barely. (This is the first time since 1821 - yes, 18 frickin' 21 - that a Democrat will be elected President
without winning Missouri.)

So how did Oregon rank among the 29 states that Obama wins in terms of the precentage of vote we gave him?

If the percentage here ends up at 55% or 56% that means at least 15 other states gave the President-elect a higher percentage of the vote. That means at least 15 other states are BLUER than Oregon. The BLUEST?
Well, if you exclude the District of Columbia (not really a state) and Hawaii (not a contiguous state), Vermont wins the bluest ribbon by giving Obama 67% of the vote.

It looks like the 44th President of the United States will have a sizeable majority of Democrats in the House - more than 250. Jimmy Carter had a nice majority. So did Bill Clinton. Yet they got sideways with the House and saw legislation blocked. That raises the question of how many different sub-sections of House Democrats President Obama will need to persuade.

Sure to be heard from is the Blue Dog Coalition. These members are mostly socially liberal and fiscally conservative. Oregon's never had a Blue Dog Democrat as far as I can tell. Sounds like a perfect place for Representative-elect Kurt Schrader from the Fifth CD.

Speaking of dogs.......

I've got to weigh in on the first controversy of the Obama Presidency.

The President-elect very publicly promised that his daughters Sasha and Malia would be getting a puppy when they move to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And that's the story that is generating the most comments on various newspaper web sites and blogs. Yes, Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff matters. But a new dog in the White House?!?! Now that's news.

PETA weighs in with a warning that the Obamas had better not choose a pure breed because that would be "elitist".

God, I'm tired of PETA.

Malia Obama has allergies. So does my son Pete. When Pete's mom decided in 2003 it was time to get him a puppy after too many Christmases of telling him it would be hard because of HIS allergies, she did the research and found the perfect hypoallergenic dog for a kid with a compromised immune system: A Cockapoo. Part Cocker Spaniel and part Poodle. We named him Marley - partly for Bob and partly for Jacob of "A Christmas Carol" - and this was long before that best-seller called "Marley and Me". Our Marley is clean - no shedding - and smart.

Malia herself did the same kind of research and came up with a mix of Poodle and Labrador called, I believe, a Labradoodle. That's fine. Except I once owned a Lab mix and they can be a bit .... unpredictable.
Go with the Cockapoo.

As for PETA, would they have the Obama's ignore their daughter's allergies to make a point about the need to give mutts a good home? Were it not for Malia's medical concerns it would be a splendid idea to head down to the pound and pick up the next White House pooch. But in this case I don't think you want sneezing, wheezing and sniffling to come between a girl and her dog. So back off PETA.

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    Don't forget, PETA are the very same people who put out a press release demanding that Ben and Jerry's should stop using cow milk and start making ice cream out of human milk.

    They are bozos, for the most part.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)

    "Jimmy Carter had a nice majority. So did Bill Clinton. Yet they got sideways with the House and saw legislation blocked"

    No one has mentioned, yet, that Carter and Clinton were former Governors of their states they came from. Obama is from the Senate. Could this distinction be the difference in how Obama may run his administration? Many may remember that JFK was a senator - never a Governor - before he bacame President. Some would consider JFK to be the "Gold Standard" of a Dem President, and Obama is just as young as JFK was when the Presidency was achieved.

    This is too much of a coincedence, and it is a good one at that. The only difference will be the puppy, but that will not be much of a story after a while.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    Rahm Emmanuel will be a good fit as the "enforcer" in getting legislation passed. He has a wealth of experience in both the White House and in Congress. He will definitely have Obama's back. I know that some of the peanut gallery here doesn't like it, but I think he's a good choice as Chief of Staff.

  • Jonathan Radmacher (unverified)

    As a kid, I had a cockapoo. He was great.

    As an adult, I've had a cocker-bischon mix, which was equally good (slightly better).

    Both of them think they're really tough.

    But the Bischon wants nothing more than to press up against a human.

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    I had a cockapoo when I was young, too. She was a sweetie.

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    Well at least Obama won't be needing to give a "Checkers" speech because of this puppy. He's doing the smart thing and buying one himself.

  • Garrett (unverified)

    Thank god we can complain about PETA and a dog instead of John McCain and Sarah Palin!

    Get those girls whatever they want because they're going to be under the pressure cooker when they're becoming young women. Screw PETA.

    Like Barack probably is I hear their side and I am always compassionate towards their views, I also like steak sometimes.

  • zull (unverified)

    From someone who spends a lot of time at dogparks with my Shiba Inu (which does shed 2 times a year, but is also obsessively clean and neat), Labradoodles are really awkward dogs and need a lot of socialization early on, or they get hyper/spazzy and get in fights (usually of no fault of their own, aside from clumsiness). The designer breeds also are susceptible to health problems inherent in both breeds. The more you breed a dog down, the more you breed out the natural traits that make them intelligent in favor of certain preferred traits...don't take offense. It's not elitist to want your best friend to be healthier and live longer. The only reason people think purebred dogs to be messed up is because the puppy mills inbreed them. Avoid the puppy mills and you'll get a great dog if you put the time and effort into them, regardless of breed. PETA doesn't really get that.

    That said, Jimmy Carter got stuck with paying down Vietnam War debt, and that didn't help him too much with the polls. Bill Clinton came into power when it was pretty easy to find corruption throughout a very stale Democratic Party that was entirely bereft of new ideas. And Bill wasn't exactly one to avoid controversy himself...making it hard to hold onto his overall influence in favor of triangulation strategies. Obama's getting stuck with a big mess too...just like FDR. We can only hope that Barack is as successful as FDR, and isn't stuck in the mud like Carter and Clinton were. It's going to take a lot of effort from the people...a selfless effort that didn't really materialize in the 1970's and 1990's very often.

  • Chris #12 (unverified)

    Blue Dogs are socially liberal? Please explain...

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    To quote my own post from a short while ago:

    Back in the late 80s and early 90s, it was fashionable to claim that one was "socially liberal, but fiscally conservative". I remember a friend who asked another friend, rather heatedly, "What the hell does that mean? Does that mean you're for public education or against it? Does that mean you're for universal health care or against it? Does that mean you're for job training programs or against them? You can't be in favor of important social programs but against spending the money to fund them!"

    I think sometimes people mean that they're pro-choice, but fiscally conservative. And that's fine, but it leaves out a whole lot of issues and principles.

  • Displaced Oregano (unverified)

    If you didn't see Jon Stewart Wednesday night, he showed the clip of Obama promising the dog to the kids and then he (Jon) said: "That...that was exactly the same deal I had with my dad when I was a kid....'Yeah, you can have a dog when I'm President of the United States.'"

  • Admiral Naismith (unverified)

    Seems to me, the "blueness" of a state isn't determined by the vote for President alone, but on a variety of elections.

    Seems to me, with the election of Merkley to the Senate and our expanded state legislative majority,Oregon is solidly in the most blue ten states in the union, joining Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Colorado and Washington.

    Those ten states not only voted Democratic for President, but they also have Democratic Governors, two Democratic Senators, Democratic majorities in their US House delegation, and Democratic majorities in both houses of the state legislature.

    Many other states voted for Obama but have Republican control in at least one of those areas. Rhode Island, Vermont and Hawaii have GOP Governors, for example. Delaware has a Republican in its one US House seat, Iowa has a Republican US Senator, and Michigan has Republican control of its state Senate. Maybe that makes them a little less blue than Oregon, even if some of them gave Obama a bigger share of the vote. It may have made a difference that Oregon was so clearly a blue state on the Presidential level that neither Obama nor McCain bothered to campaign here after the primary.

    Two other states, Arkansas and West Virginia, voted for McCain but have solid Democratic dominance of every other elected office in their state--Governor, State legislature, most Congressional representatives, both US Senators. Does that make them "red states"?

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)

    Obama should start out with a better working relationship with Congress than Clinton or Carter for a lot of reasons, no the least being that his long coattails helped get a lot of new faces into the House and Senate. The huge turnout he generated among Democrats resulted in victories for the Udalls, Merkley, Kay Hagen, etc. They owe him.

  • Meryl (unverified)

    Poodles are great dogs. A friend of mine with allergies has a Havanese (Javanese?). Remember the wee pads and teething sprays. ;)

  • Garrett (unverified)

    Blue Dogs are socially liberal? Please explain...

    They're not...they just aren't going to push for outright bans on abortions and stuff like that. If you bring it up they may vote for it or they may not. Usually they're more Libertarian about things like that. They also like church and guns.

    Well, actually I have a friend that's a high level staffer for one of the high ranking blue dogs and he has several basically he likes god when it gets him reelected, which I'm sure is the case with most of the blue dogs.

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    Labradoodle, Huh?

    Ok, for kids you cannot do better than a lab, and some of my favorite midsized dogs have been poodles (without the fussy owners). Another great breed IMO.

    Mailia cound do worse. She might have chosen some wired-up little breed like.....well.......say Scotties....May look cool, but not the ideal "first dog" for a girl to learn on.

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    And Kurt ain't no Blue Dog.

    He's more like Obama, a pragmatic progressive, who seems to think a lot about how far you can push without a totally destructive backlash that sets you back a decade or two, because you By God know how the world should be and you want to get there RFN and consequences be damned.

    <h2>And you know the kind of progressive behavior I'm warning against.......Or maybe you don't and that's gonna be part of the problem.</h2>

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