Brad Ellsworth on Principles & Values
Coats went on to say, "I said, 'Under the laws, I'm not able to negotiate anything." But Coats was still in the Senate when his office announced in Dec. 1998 that he planned on joining the firm.
[A Democratic spokesman] called Coats' assertion a "bald-faced lie." The spokesman stopped short of saying Coats violated any ethics rules. He said the "laws" Coats alluded to in his debate response were not in place when Coats was in the Senate. Coats may not have broken any rules, the spokesman said, but did lie "because he knows that his position as a lobbyist and the fact that he took advantage of the revolving door in Washington is a vulnerability to his campaign."
The 32 conservative and moderate Democrats in the Blue Dog Coalition hail from every region of the country, although the group acknowledges some southern ancestry which accounts for the group’s nickname. Taken from the South’s longtime description of a party loyalist as one who would vote for a yellow dog if it were on the ballot as a Democrat, the “Blue Dog” moniker was taken by members of The Coalition because their moderate-to-conservative-views had been “choked blue” by their party in the years leading up to the 1994 election.
The Coalition was formed in the 104th Congress as a common sense, bridge-building voice. Since then, the Blue Dogs have successfully injected a moderate viewpoint into the Democratic Caucus. The continuing political success of “Blue Pups” in the 1998 and 2000 elections points to the public’s approval of the centrist, fiscally responsible message represented by The Coalition.
The Coalition has been particularly active on fiscal issues, relentlessly pursuing a balanced budget and then protecting that achievement from politically popular “raids” on the budget.
The Coalition’s proposals on welfare reforms served as middle-ground markers which laid the foundation for the bipartisanship necessary to bring about fundamental reforms, and helped set into law policies reflecting the “common sense, conservative compassion” so often attached to the group’s efforts.
In the 107th Congress, the Coalition intends to continue to make a difference in Congress by forging middle-ground, bipartisan answers to the current challenges facing the Country. A top priority will be to finish the job of truly balancing the budget without counting the Social Security trust funds. Other early efforts will include campaign finance reform, strengthening Social Security, and health care reform. The group also expects to be involved in education, regulatory reform, taxes, defense and veterans affairs.
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