For years I've considered myself a Blue Dog Democrat, fiscally Conservative but with a heavy leaning toward personal Liberty, Constitutional Rights, and more than a little Pursuit of Happiness. I voted for Bill Clinton, both times, Al Gore and John Kerry (although I was an Edwards supporter that primary season). Like many Democrats, I've always viewed the Republican Party as power lusting and dangerous to our civil liberties... willing to legislate against the rights of any group that doesn't march lockstep with their Christian beliefs. It's not like they try to hide it.
What makes a Blue Dog Democrat? I suppose it's an obsessive belief in balanced budgets, we are not "Tax/Borrow/Print and Spend" Democrats. We believe the Government should live within its means without further taxes or borrowing.
We believe in a sound monetary policy. We believe the Government shouldn't be creating money to make up shortfalls in the budget. Currently, if the Government can't borrow enough money to pay its bills it resorts to printing more money. This causes the value of the dollar to drop, it causes inflation and it causes the value of your savings to drop.
We are against unconstitutional and preemptive wars. We do not believe the United States Government should be looking for fights around the globe. We believe that we can make more friends and earn more respect around the world by talking and trading with countries than we can by bombing them.
We believe the Constitution is our contract with our state representatives and with our government. We expect them individually and as a whole to abide by the separation of powers and to be ever vigilant and proactive in guarding our rights against federal encroachment. We also expect our representatives to work within the limits of a Constitutional Government and not assume powers that rightly belong to the States, or to coerce states into federal compliance by threatening to withhold funds.
The Ninth Amendment States -
"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
The Tenth Amendment States -
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people."
The biggest reason this country is being torn apart and divided every two, four, and six years is because we have failed to hold our representatives accountable to the Constitution, specifically the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.
The Ninth Amendment means, quite simply, that any right not specifically acknowledged in the Constitution is still your right, and the United States Government cannot use the omission of a right as a justification to deny you that right or to claim jurisdiction over any other rights you may hold individually or at the State level.
The Tenth Amendment makes explicit what had only been implied - That all powers not expressly granted to the United States Government in the Constitution are prohibited to it. The omission of a power or limit of powers does not entitle the United States Government, or any Branch thereof, to assume or claim new or undeclared powers without an amendment to the Constitution. All powers not explicitly granted it in the Constitution are reserved for the individual states, or for the people.
Any politician who claims that the United States Constitution is outdated, anachronistic, or "just a god-damn piece of paper" (a quote attributed to President George W. Bush), is saying that they are above the law. Any politician who says that the Constitution is a living document is saying the same thing.
In both cases they are usually trying to subvert the Ninth and Tenth amendments. They want you to believe these two amendments are no longer relevant. They want you to believe that your rights are not really inalienable (unable to be taken away or given away), but rather privileges granted to you by the Federal Government, privileges that they can revoke and legislate away.
They would have you to believe any power not expressly forbidden them is an inherent power and the prerogative of Government. The claimed justification for assuming these powers is Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 - Giving Congress Power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the several states and with Indian tribes." The Commerce Clause, as it's known, is the basis on which Congress enacts Social Policy, environmental, criminal and civil rights laws.
We believe the Founding Fathers would be appalled, and quite literally "up in arms" over the Federal Governments use of the Commerce Clause to trump the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, as they were added expressly to keep the Government from expanding it's powers without a Constitutional Amendment. The Ninth and Tenth Amendments were a deliberate attempt to protect us from our representatives and from the perils of a centralized bureaucratic dictatorship.