Blue Dogs, health care and conservatism

Last year I applied for a research grant to examine conservative Democrats to the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney and was unsuccessful. Perhaps the grant application was not very good or perhaps its lack of success reflected the underestimation of the significance of conservative Democrats in the immediate aftermath of Obama’s victory. The struggles over health care have confirmed their importance. Yet many observers have pointed out the paradox that many conservative Democrats represent lower income rural districts which although socially conservative are likely to be supportive of a greater public role in health care. Despite this many, such as Arkansas’ Mike Ross, have declared their opposition to a public option, and conservative Democratic ambiguity on health care infuriates liberals as shown by the above video. In part here we see the distinction between attitudinal and policy conservatism, Blue Dogs represent districts in which large majorities of voters are likely to define themselves as conservative. Opposition to the public option signals to these voters that their Congressperson is ‘conservative’. It is costly for voters to obtain information and they economise by accepting cues.

One thought on “Blue Dogs, health care and conservatism

  1. [...] understands that to govern effectively he will need to govern from the center. Yet his first two …Blue Dogs, health care and conservatism Geoff Robinson… that many conservative Democrats represent lower income rural districts which although socially [...]

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