U.S. Congressman Mike Ross of Prescott will host a conference call with reporters on today’s announcement by the Blue Dog Coalition to endorse Clark Hall for Congress in Arkansas’s First Congressional District. Ross, who represents Arkansas’s Fourth Congressional District, also serves as the Blue Dog Co-Chair for Communications.
The Blue Dogs are a big part of the reason why Congress is broken today. Democrats had substantial majorities in the last Congress and should have been able to pass far more than they did without trouble, but the Blue Dogs gummed up the works for their corporate campaign contributors/future potential employers and helped the Republicans derail much of their own party’s agenda. It created deadlock, sent good public policy like the public option to the ash heap, and left our base depressed and unwilling to turn out while leading independent voters to decide that Democrats couldn’t govern. They were, and still are, part of the problem rather than the solution. Mercifully, their caucus is nearly extinct, though it seems Clark Hall may yet be inclined to join them in the fossil club.
That said, I’m more and more finding myself disgusted by this coronation of Clark Hall as the AR-01 nominee with an actual primary opponent in the race. At this point, both Hall and Gary Latanich are largely unknown to the voters in the district. I was skeptical of Latanich myself at first, but after talking to him I don’t see any reason to write him off. He’s got some strengths that people aren’t seeing yet and he may yet prove to be a compelling candidate. For that matter, Hall has some apparent flaws and may not hold up to the scrutiny of a tough campaign. That’s why we have a primary-so we can sit back and see what these guys have got before we anoint one of them as the candidate. As I said, I want to see what both of these guys have to offer. I’ve got time set aside to interview Latanich, and I’ll probably have that video up sometime after the holidays. I would like to sit down with Clark Hall at some point too of course, and believe me when I say I’ve got questions I’d really like to see him answer at this point.