|History of the
Yellow Dog Democrat.
A Yellow Dog Democrat is a staunch loyalist to the Democratic Party. These days, the term is widely recognized as an expression of regard and, as such, it is only used in a manner of praise. Yellow Dog Democrats embody loyalty. This is a trait that should never ever be taken for granted by any Party nor by any individual for that matter. The Democrat Party recognizes this, thus correctly acknowledges the Yellow Dog Democrat as some of their "Best Friends".
The term, Yellow Dog Democrat, blossomed during all of the Hoopla which surrounded the 1928 elections, when Al Smith ran for President against Herbert Hoover. During that campaign, Senator Tom Heflin, of Alabama, declined to back his fellow Democrat, Al Smith the Governor of NY. In fact it was much worse than that, Senator Heflin decided to back Herbert Hoover, who would then go on to become President- a Republican President no less. Heflin's controversial actions were considered heresy, especially in the South. As you can imagine, quite a large number of Alabamans vehemently disagreed with Senator Heflin's decision to cross his "Party Lines". Hence, the popular saying, "I'd vote for a yellow dog if he ran on the Democratic ticket" was born! It was adopted as the proud slogan of the staunch party loyalist.
At the time, this phrase certainly did not reflect well on Senator Heflin.
Adapted from William Safire's Safire's New Political Dictionary.
© 1993 by the Cobbett Corporation.
Blue Dog Democrats, on the other hand,
are a relatively new group. The Blue Dogs are made up of approximately thirty conservative-leaning House Democrats who came together in 1995 to contest the liberal inclinations of the Democratic party. The Blue Dogs have now become the balance of power in the closely divided House.
The term, Blue Dog Democrat, is playfully derived from the original term "Yellow Dog Democrat". It was Former Democrat Rep. Pete Geren, of Texas, who said that the members have been "choked blue" by those extreme Democrats, from the left. Thus, he is credited for coining the term Blue Dog Democrat.
Blue Dogs are descendants of a 1950s defunct Southern Democratic group once known as the 'Boll Weevils', who played a critical role, in the early 1980s, by supporting President Ronald Reagan's tax cut plan. Well anyway, Boll Weevil is out and Blue Dog is in. Today, the Senate has its very own version of the Blue Dogs, a.k.a. the New Democrat Coalition, which took shape in 1999.
In our research we have also come across other terms such as: "Rabid Yeller Dawg"( this is a Great Tag!), "Yellow Pups", and "Blue Pups". Due to the lack of information on these groups, we took creative license and filled in the blanks, developing our own characters. See Variations of the Dem. Dog.
Adapted from the Collections of Ken Rudin Special to washingtonpost.com
Friday, August 3, 2001
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