Mike McIntyre, The Blue Dogs and "Old Ken"


In the wake of the recent election, The Wilmington Star-News has given a lot of coverage to Mike McIntyre, and nearly all of it emphasizes his status as a "Blue Dog" Democrat. Typical of the paper's treatment is a depiction of Rep. McIntyre as very influential in a group of Democrats so conservative as to be virtually identical to Republicans.

One recent article leads off an interview with the Congressman by describing a sign that appears on the office door of every member of the "Blue Dog" coalition. That sign is a changing tabulation of the growing national debt. The article makes clear that the foremost objective of these conservative Democrats is addressing the national debt. That comes before everything else.

Rep. McIntyre admits to his support for an increase in the minimum wage, reforming the Medicare prescription benefit, and making college tuition tax deductible. However, he also makes it clear that this is about as far as his loyalty to the Democratic agenda takes him. Beyond that his positions have a decidedly Republican cast. Short of an exhaustive review of the tax code he refuses to endorse repealing any of the Bush tax cuts, and he strongly supports the repeal of the estate tax (though there's some consolation to his Democratic colleagues that he doesn't call it the "death tax.")

According to Cory Reiss, a reporter for The Wilmington Star, "Now the 'Blue Dog' Coalition expects to have its day. The mostly Southern group, formed in the wake of the 1994 Republican takeover, grew by at least nine members in last week's election, making this pack almost a fifth of next year's House majority. A tenth new member would bring the coalition to 45..."

Rep. McIntyre promises that the "Blue Dogs" won't be a rubber stamp and that, "We can be in a position to help legislation go forward or make sure legislation is revisited before it goes forward. This is going to be the Blue Dogs' shining moment to truly push for the things that we deeply believe in."

Among those things that they believe in is a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget.

If all of this sounds pretty Republican to you, you're probably right. However, if you're ready to jump up and down and call poor Congressman McIntyre a traitor to his "bluer brethren" there's a great story in a recent issue of The Fayetteville Observer told by Don Worthington.

He recalls the election of 2004 and a trucker from Kings Mountain named Ken Plonk. Evidently "Old Ken," a Democrat until only four years before, decided on a whim to run for Congress in the 7th District as a Republican. Conveniently State law allowed for the fact that he didn't live anywhere near the 7th District. His sole reason for choosing to run there was that his opponent, Mike McIntyre, did not have a Republican challenger.

Yet no sooner had "Old Ken" had his little whim then the pipe dream up and left him. Evidently he came to his senses and realized that compared to a life in politics driving his truck was honest labor. By his own admission, he didn't ask a single person in the 7th District to vote for him, not one. And given his decision to flee a life in politics, it was good that he didn't. When the election was over, and all the votes were counted, 66,084 people had cast their votes for "Old Ken."

I'm sure the lesson of that curious contest has not been lost on Mike McIntyre. He knows that he could be George Washington himself, and still there would be 66,084 people in his District who would vote against him, simply because his name appeared in the Democratic column.

I don't suppose anytime soon Rep. McIntyre will be endorsing a comprehensive program of National Health Care. Unless of course he intends to leave Congress and embark on the life of a poor person.

Comments

Great entry, George.

I just learned more about Mr. Mike than I'd learned in 25 years. Some of it's scary, some of it's reassuring, but most of it makes me glad I live somewhere else.

The casualness with which so-called conservatives (no matter which party) want to create amendments to the Constitution is boggling. They remind me of druggies who want check themselves into rehab because they can't control themselves. The Balanced Budget amendment is a scam and a sham. There are so many tricks in cooking the books that no one imagines it would make any difference anyway. Just look at how Bush has funded his little venture in Iraq!

He should be primaried.

With someone who is more in line with Democratic principles, instead of conservative Republican principles. Actually, if he is a social liberal, then I have no problem with him being a fiscal conservative. Where does he stand on privacy issues and personal liberty issues?

I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for. ~ Thornton Wilder

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

McIntyre Not a Social Liberal

I don't have any problem with Rep. McIntyre being in favor of a balanced budget, in fact I would hardily endorse an effort to bring some sanity to a budgeting process that's gone off the tracks, over the bridge, and down into the canyon far below. H. Ross Perot had a very positive effect in '92, but outside of the "Blue Dogs" who is left to carry on with the same sort of zeal and intensity?

The problem I do have with Rep. McIntyre and his fellow "Blue Dogs" is that when it comes to addressing the deficit their prescription is something of a one trick pony. Don't raise taxes, in fact abolish the estate tax, and then slash spending everywhere except for the military, and there no appropriation ever seems quite high enough.

If you're holding out hope that he might be progressive on personal liberty issues, I'm afraid you won't be encouraged.

* Voted NO on allowing human embryonic stem cell research. (May 2005)
* Voted YES on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother’s life. (Oct 2003)
* Voted YES on banning Family Planning funding in US aid abroad. (May 2001)
* Voted YES on making the PATRIOT Act permanent. (Dec 2005)
* Voted YES on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage. (Sep 2004)
* Voted YES on protecting the Pledge of Allegiance. (Sep 2004)
* Voted YES on constitutional amendment prohibiting flag desecration. (Jun 2003)
* Voted YES on banning gay adoptions in DC. (Jul 1999)
* Supports anti-flag desecration amendment. (Mar 2001)
* Rated 27% by the ACLU, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)
* Rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record. (Dec 2003)


My gut reaction is that Mike McIntyre may be the most liberal Democrat that can be elected in the 7th District. However, today Wilmington is represented in the NC State Senate by Julia Boseman, a Democrat and the only openly gay member of the North Carolina legislature, and she won in the last election by a landslide.

Maybe hope is on the way.

I'm 56 years old. I moved to North Carolina five years ago. The previous twenty-five years I spent as a resident of Chicago's north shore and before that Wisconsin, Utah and California. I live in Moore County. My Congressman is Howard Coble, my State Sen

Why does Mike McIntyre

hate the Constitution?

This is me...

rubbing my hands in glee. I agree with you for once George!!! I too want fiscal responsibility, but not through tax cuts. Duh, what a stupid idea.
Obviously, he is a social conservative, so begone with him.

Do you think Senator Boseman would like to introduce herself to the netroots???

I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for. ~ Thornton Wilder

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Chances are, there are big

Chances are, there are big differences between Boseman's district and McIntyre's. Chances are also pretty good that most of the people in McInty'res district are social conservatives.

I can't think of a worse

I can't think of a worse idea than forcing an already vulnerable Democrat to spend money and resources fighting off someone who wouldn't win a general election. What are "Democratic principles", anyway? Clearly, we're a big tent party - we don't apply litmus tests on social issues. And you'd be hard pressed to find 2 Congressional Democrats who agree on every issue involving taxes and the economy. The fact is that McIntyre is more conservative than I am, but he's about right for his district. And he sticks up for the middle class more than your typical right-wing Republican would.

Wasn't McIntire

an exterminator before he was elected to Congress, kind of like Tom Delay?

7th not that conservative

One of the biggest areas in the 7th is the home county of Mike, Robeson County. Robeson has over 60,000 dems vs 10,000 reb.and has voted dem. in every presidential race I can remember. I know a lot of folks who are fed up with Mike's votes. Mike has Potomac fever and I hope there is a cure. Note Mike was the only dem. in the congress who did absolutly nothing for Larry Kissell. Don't leave out his support of the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

But

If your numbers are correct, then Boseman represents about 10% of the population of the district. Not enough to pull the whole thing to the left.

?

Wilmington is in New Hanover.

Which is not an incredibly Democratic place. The people there responded to the personal attacks on Boseman by voting her in in 04 and then she ran on a stellar record in 06.

Additionally, she might "look" like a communist, but she is a very mainstream, progressive Democrat.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

7th is a Democratic District

across the board from the courthouse to the state house the 7th is Dem. with small pockets of Reb. Check out the voting numbers.

Robeson County

was carried by Carter, Clinton, Gore, Kerry,Bowles etc. that is democratic to me.

Impeachment of Clinton

If you chose to research McIntyre's votes for impeachment of President Clinton, you would notice that he not only voted against one article of impeachment, but against every single article of impeachment. 106th Congress H.R. 611

I said support

not vote. He supported the hearings even though the pressure kept him from voting for the article. I talked to him person to person about this issue and I know where he stood.

I was just looking at the

I was just looking at the Congressional Record and the "official" support or non-support.

I can understand McIntyre

I can understand McIntyre may not be as freely liberal as you folks would like him to be, but he is a very distinguished and very honest Congressman. I have never seen an article, or heard a story where McIntyre says one thing and then does another. I guess I do not understand the animosity towards him when he goes to Washington to represent his district, and he does that to the best of his ability. While it is important to focus on his votes concerning socially progressive issues; wouldn't it also be important to focus on his attempts to have the Lumbee Indians recognized as a federal tribe. Is there another Congressman in Washington doing this? Congressman McIntyre's district also encompasses one half of Fort Bragg, why wouldn't he be a strong proponent of the military with this type of demographic? To be a progressive party, shouldn't we be able to acquiesce to some views that are divergent from our own?

I generally agree with you.

If we had a unified progressive party with anything near clout in Congress, or for that matter here in North Carolina, we'd want to invest lots of energy and resources in activating the progressive base and coaxing people like McIntrye into more forward-thinking positions. But in the meantime, we have other work to do.

And while I detect a bit of animosity in the thread, it seems more to me that the feelings are mostly regret that we have a Representative who:

* Voted NO on allowing human embryonic stem cell research. (May 2005)
* Voted YES on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother’s life. (Oct 2003)
* Voted YES on banning Family Planning funding in US aid abroad. (May 2001)
* Voted YES on making the PATRIOT Act permanent. (Dec 2005)
* Voted YES on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage. (Sep 2004)
* Voted YES on protecting the Pledge of Allegiance. (Sep 2004)
* Voted YES on constitutional amendment prohibiting flag desecration. (Jun 2003)
* Voted YES on banning gay adoptions in DC. (Jul 1999)
* Supports anti-flag desecration amendment. (Mar 2001)
* Rated 27% by the ACLU, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)
* Rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record. (Dec 2003)

These are not conservative positions. They are reactionary and they are not aligned with some of our basic Constitutional principles.

Your comment also brings up another question for me, which we can take up at another time perhaps. How does a Congressman balance the needs of a district with the needs of the nation. On the issue of choice in particular, public sentiment has long been in favor of abortion rights. The same with stem cell research. I suspect that's even true in the 7th district. Which makes it interesting to analyze the notion of "representing" anyone except his own personal beliefs.

supported torture bill

n

Animosity?

I've re-read the thread here, and I don't see any animosity. I have no reason to believe that Rep. McIntyre isn't a good and decent man and a very effective Congressman. I'll even go further than that, his position on the issues is a perspective welcome in the Democratic Party, just so long as that perspective falls within the broad latitude of views acceptable to his Democratic constituents.

That could well be exactly what's going on here. McIntyre's views, which I'm sure he holds for reasons of personal conviction, might be quite acceptable to his Democratic constituency, and spot on for his District at large. If so, let's kiss him on both cheeks and send him a check when he asks for our support.

However, if you are a person whose views are a bit more liberal than Congressman McIntyre's, aren't you welcome to advocate those views and support a candidate in the primary election with whom you're in closer agreement? Isn't that perfectly democratic with a small "d"?

What none of us should do, and what I don't think anyone here has done, is find personal fault with the Congressman simply because he doesn't perfectly agree with us, or suggest that we shouldn't support him enthusiastically if he's the party's nominee. If we did that then we'd be stupid with a capital "S."

I'm 56 years old. I moved to North Carolina five years ago. The previous twenty-five years I spent as a resident of Chicago's north shore and before that Wisconsin, Utah and California. I live in Moore County. My Congressman is Howard Coble, my State Sen

Of course, I believe it is

Of course, I believe it is our responsibility to question our leaders at every turn. Animosity, however, may have not been the correct word choice. Statements not inline with the facts may have been more correct. Rep. McIntyre compared to Delay as an exterminator. Rep. McIntyre graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Carolina and then went on to law school there. The statement about him supporting the Clinton Impeachment, inaccurate. It was just frustrating.

There is no getting around the other more conservative voting trends, that much is obvious. I just hope that he will no longer have to cast votes that do restrict the rights of Americans with a Democratic majority who feels that such issues are only raised to rally the GOP base, and, therefore will not allow those issues to be brought forward.

I currently live in Durham County where Price is my Congressman, however, I still vote in Gaston County because some local Democrats still have a chance. The home to Patrick McHenry and Sue Myrick's district (mine). On any day of the week, I would gladly trade either of those for McIntyre.

how do you vote in a different district than you live in?

I must not be reading your entry correctly.

I thought you said:

I currently live in Durham County where Price is my Congressman, however, I still vote in Gaston County because some local Democrats still have a chance.

How can you do that?

My understanding is that you need to transfer your voter registration to the county of your residence.

What could happen is that when the the BOE sends a card to your address at your former home, it is returned to them.

They then send another card/inquiry to the address listed on your registration via certified mail, and if it is returned again, they put you on the inactive roster.

Also, you could get removed from the rolls altogether.

I'm in school. That's how I

I'm in school. That's how I do that. Even when I when I went to an out of state school for three years, I could still vote in NC. For residency purposes I am still considered to be domiciled in Gaston County and not in Durham.

Are you in law school at NCCU?

I'd love to read what it's like in law school these days. Every now and then I think about going myself, but as an old man, I'm not sure I have the patience or brain cells to make grade.

Yeah, I just finished my

Yeah, I just finished my first semester. It's not as bad as they make it out so long as you can handle the massive workload. NCCU is really good about having people come back to take on law school for a second career. We have a Vietnam Vet in there now who is just coming back. It's for everyone.

Bush won McIntyre's district

Bush won McIntyre's district by four points in 2000 and then by twelve points in 2004. It is a somewhat conservative district and possibly becoming more so.

Yet McIntyre consistently wins with over 70% of the vote. He is also an impeccably ethical person. I certainly don't agree with all his votes, don't agree with a lot of them. But I think he's one of a small handful of Democrats who can still win that district and I'm happy to have him keep on doing it.

Not only would trying to take him out in a primary not likely be successful, but it would also probably be tantamount to handing the seat over to a Republican like Patrick Ballantine. Not a pretty thought.

Mike McIntyre is a good person. I'm glad that he's a Democrat even if he might not be as liberal as many of us here, and I'm glad he's in Congress.

Good person

Mike McIntyre is a good person.

These days, that just about enough to earn my undying loyalty. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

Saying one thing and doing another.

You wrote: I have never seen an article, or heard a story where McIntyre says one thing and then does another. Perhaps this is because McIntyre rarely says anything substantive. In regards to Iraq, he has been saying the same thing for a year and a half: 1/7/07--"We need to be lessening the American footprint and letting the Iraqis take more responsibility for their own security, self-government and ultimately, their own destiny. We have got to see a commitment from the Iraqis."

1/19/2005
--“We should be able to lessen the American footprint in Iraq and begin bringing our troop levels down in the coming year,” McIntyre said. “I hope that our force levels can be reduced from the current level of 160,000 troops down to 40,000 to 60,000 troops in the months to come. The Iraqis can and should move toward self-governance and fulfilling their own destiny, which will continue to increase stability in this new democracy.”

Funny.

Good catch, Bosuncookie.

Well, maybe funny's not the best word. More like sad.

Totally agree, George

Once someone is the party's nominee, they should be supported enthusiastically, particularly by the party in their own district. McIntyre seems to be well-liked within the 7th district. From my knowledge of our neighbors, his views don't seem that far off from theirs. But most of my experience of the 7th district comes from Ft. Bragg and the Lumbee tribe, and the people of both of those groups tend to be fairly conservative. (I would *love* to see federal recognition for the Lumbee. It's something everyone in NC should be working for.)

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Ghandi

Will McIntyre resign

when he runs for Dole's seat?

I think it'd be hard for him

I think it'd be hard for him to run for it now that he's in the majority with a nice subcommittee chairmanship. Maybe Etheridge or Miller now?