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A peek into the mind of a Blue Dog - insights from talking to a good friend (who IS the blue dog)

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NRaleighLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-06-09 05:42 PM
Original message
A peek into the mind of a Blue Dog - insights from talking to a good friend (who IS the blue dog)
Edited on Thu Aug-06-09 05:55 PM by NRaleighLiberal
I have a good friend who was born and raised in the eastern part of NC - raised in a family of relative wealth, and he maintains his tether to wealth (easily reconciling it with his Lutheran faith). We have lunch frequently (there are three of us - I am clearly pretty far left, another is a left leaning moderate (he can listen to Rush and find him funny...), and then there is blue dog - claims he is a Democrat, but clearly fiscally and socially conservative. He tells us about what it was like to grow up "down east" in NC - one of his statements - "come on, guys, admit it. You must be just a bit racist". But that was a rare moment of lucidity into his real feelings, because he doesn't see himself as racist at all. But the real point of this is around health care. He works in big Pharma, and the paychecks are very important to him so he can drive his set of BMWs and wear his impeccable clothes, clearly sent out to get pressed each day (he is very fastidious). But what really hit me is when we got into discussing the Health Care situation. His main point - and I am quoting him - "I grew up with lots of people who not only were lazy, but expected a handout. And this is what the Democratic proposals seem to be - handouts". I then reminded him of my daughter, who has a preexisting condition, and at 24, no health care - and huge bills from an accident that she is struggling to pay off at 10-20 dollars per month (which will take her forever). And my 28 year old daughter, Peace Corps graduate, out to save the world doing non profit work - but uninsured as well. It really didn't resonate with him - him "keeping his" and avoiding the threat of someone undeserving getting something is much more important than the vast majority of those who aren't gaming the system, are uninsured of no fault of their own. And he somehow squares his view with his faith.

So, to me, this is I suppose at least one version of the Blue Dog mentality, And it sucks. Somehow our friendship maintains (though my respect for him diminishes over time), but in our many conversations, I think I am moving him toward the light...but it is a slow process.
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rfranklin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-06-09 05:51 PM
Response to Original message
1. That is what is known as a Republican mindset...
Of course, I guess I do have an idealized vision of a Democrat as a socially responsible person, caring for others, knowing that "there but for the grace of God go I." Certainly, the Democrats have harbored the worst racists and self-serving demoagogues over the years but there was always the FDR inspired vision of a just society which valued all humanity.
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wtbymark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-06-09 05:52 PM
Response to Original message
2. seems like these lyrics are more relevent lately
"Shooting powders back and forth
Singing "black goes south while white comes north"
And the whole world full of petty wars
Singing "I got mine and you got yours."

And the current fashions set the pace.
Lose your step, fall out of grace.
And the radical he rant and rage,
Singing "someone got to turn the page"

And the rich man in his summer home,
Singing "Just leave well enough alone"
But his pants are down, his cover's blown
And the politicians are throwing stones
So the kids they dance they shake their bones
Cause its all too clear we're on our own
Singing ashes,ashes all fall down, ashes,ashes all fall down

Picture a bright blue ball just spinning, spinning free
It's dizzying, the possibilities.

-Throwing Stones, The Grateful Dead
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ejpoeta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-06-09 05:53 PM
Response to Original message
3. i know plenty of people like that. they think everyone is just lazy and that is why they don't have
things. if he is from a wealthy family, then i am going to guess he never had to struggle for anything. and how hard it is to get out of a hole... especially when you have people throwing dirt over your head. i know people who HAVE struggled, and are the standard two paychecks away from living in their car... or one big illness, frankly. they somehow think they have earned their place in this world, and anyone who is poor or doesn't have insurance is just not trying hard enough. they don't want to work... they just want to live off welfare... well, as someone who has been on welfare, and medicaid and foodstamps... it is hard to get off of it... because you have to pretty much be living in a cardboard box to qualify. and if you make any amount of money, they don't wean you off... they cut you off. and you end up right back where you started. now imagine you have kids... and daycare costs... sure there are people who game the system. i have met a couple of them. and i assure you they were not black and they weren't living in NYC... (my family members think all the black people in nyc are living on welfare and blah blah blah). but don't bother trying to explain anything to them because they KNOW!!! it makes me sick.
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-06-09 05:53 PM
Response to Original message
4. Utter selfishness and meanness disguised as "toughlove."
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-06-09 05:56 PM
Response to Original message
5. He works for Big Pharma. He could call himself a Wellstonian liberal, but he works for
Big Pharma.

All politics is local, and his "Blue Doggery" has far, far less to do with his mindset on the health care debate than does his j-o-b.
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OHdem10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-06-09 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
6. O'Reilly does not hesitate to say People are poor because they
are lazy, or alcohols, drug addicts and I do not believe
he has any NC roots.

This "handout" mindset has some of its roots in civil rights
legislation. LBJ's anti-poverty programs were seen unfortunately
as handouts.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-06-09 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
7. Jesus healed the sick and never asked their families for a donation
either before or after he did it.

Remind your friend of that and ask him why he thinks only the wealthy are considered worthy of being healed.

I know tidewater NC and he's probably a miracle of tolerance, all things considered. Continue to be gentle and you might manage to change a few of the funny opinions he grew up with.
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-06-09 06:16 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Seconded
The only way this guy is going to come around is through talking, talking and more talking. His paycheck, which he loves, is dependent on not seeing certain things, and he will damn sure not see them without assistance. The appeal through his Episcopal faith is a good one, particularly with citations to Episcopalians like John Shelby Spong and Gene Robinson (not to mention Desmond Tutu). Your friend stands in a religious heritage far richer in consideration for the less fortunate than he may be aware of.

Good luck.
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kevinbgoode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-06-09 06:37 PM
Response to Original message
9. Conservatives don't mind handouts at all.
One of their favorite talking points is how annoyed they are about paying inheritance taxes. In other words, they always view the money, property, position, and power they inherit from friends and relatives as an "entitlement"...even though none of those things were accumulated due to their own labor.

It is also more apparent to me as time passes that conservatives are most beholden to those "businesses" which actually produce nothing. They will scream about "welfare" so much because they see any government program as interference in their own entitlement to fleece the public through scam operations, faux-religious organizations, and yes, insurance companies - and they are always the first to call for less regulation so the non-producing corporation can increase profits. Everything is a moneymaking scheme to them - (yes, and this is me at my most cynical). . .and those not "smart enough" to engage in ripping the public off don't deserve access to services like good health care.

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City Lights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-06-09 06:41 PM
Response to Original message
10. He sounds a lot like the Republicans in my family.
They are incapable of seeing a situation through the eyes of another. It's always all about them getting theirs. And as long as they pray to Gawd every night, what they do during the day doesn't matter.
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wiggs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-06-09 07:35 PM
Response to Original message
11. yes..."him "keeping his" and...
... avoiding the threat of someone undeserving getting something" sums up the mentality. Everyone recognizes that there are some, a minority, who could work harder or who didn't save money or who are lazy and who want benefits of some kind. There always have been and there always will be those. But the new deal was adopted with the recognition that people fall into hard times through no fault of their own (50% of bankruptcies are due to health related a current example) and this seems to have been forgotten by some.

The difference is that the RWrs use those very few as justification why a program shouldn't exist and the progressives use the deserving remainder -- the eligible majority -- as reasons why a program should exist.

Another thing wrong with that kind of thinking is that the whole semantics emphasis is backward. RWrs look at a social program or at SOCIAL security and they think of socialism or they think of society (the rest of us) giving something to an individual who may or may not really deserve it. The way I look at it is that social security provides security for SOCIETY, not only the individual. Your well-off friend would not be enjoying his lifestyle without a somewhat stable society where there are courts, roads, police and where most people are well fed and getting through life in reasonable fashion. He would not be able to do what he wants if he had to step over homeless folks on his way to the office, if there were constant protests, if people were literally dying in the streets, if there were frequent work stoppages, if crime were rampant, if the employees in his company weren't reliable because of health issues...if everyone didn't cooperate to some degree to make life livable. Or if the downtrodden decided that a revolution was in order. Not good for business.

Thom Hartmann has been talking about equality as a key indicator of the success of a country or a state. The more equality there is, the fewer negative societal ills there are and the less equality there is the fewer positive societal attributes there are. Very convincing and well documented. We in the USA are near the bottom in economic equality and near the bottom in positive happiness and quality of life indices.

The last 30 years have seen an assault on economic equality. Not talking about every individual...talking about society as a whole.
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-06-09 07:41 PM
Response to Original message
12. i've lost contact with all of my past friends w/similar mindsets -they aren't worth the frustration.
life's too short to waste a minute of it socializing with pricks.
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