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article imageObama Losing Democratic Support Over Proposed Budget

By Michael Krebs     Mar 26, 2009 in Politics
A new moderate Democratic coalition led by Indiana Senator Evan Bayy is posing a big problem for President Obama's proposed budget - and fractures in the Democratic party.
President Obama's proposed budget drew universal scorn from the Republican Party and has created a deep rift between both parties. While the Republican positioning has been somewhat expected by the Democratic leadership, the new dissent coming from moderate senators within the Democratic Party has set off an unexpected split among the Democratic faithful.
In the House, the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition - a 49 member splinter group of fiscally conservative Democrats - has vocalized its opposition to the Obama plan. And last week, moderate Democratic sentiment reached the Senate - where Indiana Senator Evan Bayh has established a group of 16 Democratic senators.
This level of defection is certain to throw Obama's proposed budget off the rails, as the Republican Party is unanimous in opposing it.
The threats to the ambitious Obama budget have set liberal organizations in motion, with Moveon.org and Americans United for Change hitting the airways with advertisements urging moderate Democrats in the House and Senate to back Obama's budget.
“The point of this ad effort is to make sure the moderate Democratic and Republican members who are critical to the outcome of this budget hear it loud and strong from the real folks they represent about their support for President Obama’s commitments to healthcare reform, education and energy,” Americans United for Change spokesman Jeremy Funk told Politico.
The frustration among these organizations has caused them to target Sen. Bayh directly. One ad accused him of “standing in the way of President Obama’s reforms,” Politico reported.
As MSNBC reported, Sen. Bayh is also being associated with heavier Wall Street themes, "A new MoveOn radio ad, which will start running in Indiana Thursday, will urge listeners to 'Call Senator Bayh at (202) 224-3121 and tell him to vote for the Obama budget. We’ve tried it Wall Street’s way long enough. It’s time Washington listens to the rest of us.'"
MSNBC went on to document Sen. Bayh's conflicts with the Democratic left, "Bayh has a history of sparring with the left in his party. As chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council in 2003, he warned of then-rising presidential campaign of Howard Dean. 'The Democratic Party is at risk of being taken over by the far left,' he told DLC members in 2003. 'We have an important choice to make: Do we want to vent, or do we want to govern?'”
The one certainty in all of this is that President Obama and the Democratic leadership need the moderates to come into the fold to have any hope of the budget passing.
More about Obama, Bayh, Budget, Democrats, Politics
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