Progressives are told every election they must vote for the Democrat, regardless of what policies that Democrat supports. We are lectured, we are cajoled and we are scolded if we entertain the idea of voting for a third party candidate. Ralph Nadar is dubbed the 'great spoiler' because, so the logic goes, he single-handedly caused Gore and then Kerry to lose the Presidential elections of 2000 and 2004. The Green Party that has consistently promoted sustainable technologies and the preservation of our environment, two cornerstones of progressive thinking, is also considered a spoiler.
However, there is another truism that trumps the fallacious spoiler theory. It goes, "the definition of insanity is repeating the same action and expecting a different result." If progressives want fundamental change, they must consider making fundamental changes themselves. And the 'spoiler theory' is the first myth that must be changed.
There are many solid progressive Democratic Congresspersons, but a small group popularly called the "Blue Dogs," within the ranks of Democrats, renders their efforts wholly ineffective. Until recent years these traitors to the progressive agenda have flown under the radar, almost unnoticed. It was not until they repeatedly voted with Republicans on key issues throughout Bush's years in office that we began to see how Blue Dogs have compromised progressive ideas. Corporate lobbyists cleverly manipulated the Democratic Party to create this situation. They knew it would be difficult, if not impossible, to convince large numbers of progressive Democrat Congresspersons to vote against Americans' interests. They also realized it would be very expensive and unnecessary. Only a few million in well-placed campaign contributions were required to reap billions in corporate rewards. Only a small number of key Democrats were needed to sway the balance of power. On popular emotional issues, such as gay liberties and a mother's right to choose, Blue Dogs carefully contrive their speeches and votes to appear to be liberal. But when it comes to corporate friendly legislation, the oligarchs can count on their Blue lap dogs to vote for corporate welfare and removal of all forms of corporate regulation.
Examples of this phenomenon abound. Clinton signed NAFTA into law. The repeal of the Glass-Steagall act also occurred under his watch. Democrats voted for the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act and Bush appointees. Diane Feinstein even "sponsored" Condoleeza Rice for her appointment to Secretary of State. In 2006 the Democrats took control of Congress and failed to enact any meaningful progressive legislation. They knew it could damage their ability to raise money from the corporate lobbyists if they voted for any real progressive change. No longer able to use the excuse of being the minority party in Congress they invented new reasons to explain their spineless appearance. Suddenly bipartisanship became the Democratic talking point du jour.
Democratic Blue Dogs are worse than Republicans. At least most Republicans openly promote their cherished neo-conservative policies. But Blue Dogs promise change, gain their seat in Congress and proceed to concoct every possible reason for blocking such change. True wolves in sheep's clothing, Blue Dogs are the bane of the Democratic Party and have guaranteed their corporate sponsors that no progressive agenda will ever get past their vote.
In spite of this circumstance progressives continue to vote for Blue Dogs and so-called 'moderate' Democrats. Progressive Democrats take little effective action to isolate the traitors and remove them from office. Many Blue Dogs are deeply entrenched in Congress, serving multiple consecutive terms largely because of their ability to wage effective campaigns funded by large corporate donations. Max Baucus is only the latest Blue Dog to be exposed.