Those on the left may be upset at the news that Mikie Sherrill has joined the “Blue Dog” caucus, a group with southern and, relatively speaking, conservative roots.
Should they be?
That probably depends on your point of view.
Sources in the Sherrill camp explained this is an outgrowth of a campaign in which she talked about bipartisanship and fiscal discipline. Moreover, the Blue Dogs will not be the only caucus the congresswoman joins.
Sherrill put it this way in a statement.
“I am committed to building broad coalitions that are going to work to address the issues facing North Jersey – from crumbling infrastructure to the state and local tax deduction, to lowering the cost of healthcare. I want to bring to the forefront the best and brightest ideas that will move smart legislation forward. That means hearing
from many groups in the Democratic Party – including New Dems, Blue Dogs and Progressives. Listening to each other is something I ran on and that won’t stop when I take the oath of office on Jan. 3.”
One can probably make too much about a caucus within the largerDemocratic Party caucus, but there’s no denying the right wing drift of the Blue Dogs. The caucus was formed in 1995, but seems to have its roots in an old southern custom in which many would support a “yellowdog” as long as it was endorsed by the Democratic Party. The south, of course, in those days was solidly Democratic. These days, the Blue Dogs concentrate on policies that promote fiscal discipline.
What makes all of this interesting to observe is that in the recently-concluded campaign, Republican Jay Webber sought to portray Sherrill as a leftist radical who wanted to abolish ICE and promote Medicare for all.
Besides Sherrill, Congressman-elect Jeff Van Drew also will caucus with the Blue Dogs. But newly-elected Congressmen Tom Malinowski and Andy Kim will not.
A bigger issue for Sherrill, of course, is Nancy Pelosi, who wants to return to her previous job as Speaker of the House. Sherrill is on record as saying she will vote against Pelosi. She even had a TV commercial saying as much.
There is a closed caucus vote on Wednesday* in which Pelosi is assured of being the party’s choice for speaker. The real challenge for Pelosi critics will come Jan. 3 when the new Congress is sworn-in and when a speaker is officially selected.
Asked about Pelosi at a Democratic event Monday in Mendham Township, Sherrill noted that during the campaign she “made a commitment to the district.”